Pros and cons of CBD oil

by Laura Howarth September 14, 2023

Pros and cons of CBD oil

There is no shortage of wild claims about CBD oil and how it can help users. To be clear, no company should be making health claims about a product unless it is a licensed medicine. And since CBD is classified as a health supplement or “novel food”, this article isn’t really about how it might help you. We’ve covered the benefits of CBD in the past.

Instead, we’re going to explore some of the benefits of using CBD over other product types such as CBD edibles and capsules. 

Fast facts

  • CBD oil is one of the most popular types of CBD product
  • CBD oil offers the most flexibility over strength and serving sizes
  • This product can be added to other food and drink items
  • You can choose between flavoured or unflavoured oils
  • Estimates vary, but bioavailability is thought to be around 35%

What is CBD oil?

CBD oil is simply a cannabinoid-rich hemp extract mixed with a carrier oil. There are many different CBD oil products available, with varying strengths, flavours and carrier oils. 

CBD oil is usually taken sublingually, which means drops of the product are placed under the tongue. The cannabinoids and other beneficial compounds are then absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the small blood vessels under the tongue.

The rest of the product is then swallowed and a small amount will be absorbed in the digestive system. The serving is typically measured through drops or sprays, allowing users to get a precise measurement each time.

What is the bioavailability of CBD oil?

Bioavailability - holding CBD softgel

Bioavailability refers to the amount of CBD that can be absorbed and utilised when using different products. A higher CBD bioavailability means that you need to use less of it to achieve the same effects as using a product with a lower bioavailability.

Estimates vary, but many people think that CBD oil has a bioavailability of around 35%. How you take the product will have a big impact on bioavailability. For maximum effect, the product needs to be left under the tongue for at least one minute.

One downside of this is that the effects could be different every time you take it, even if your serving size remains the same.

If you are looking for a more consistent measure, capsules might be better suited to you. For comparison, capsules that you swallow are estimated to have a bioavailability of between 4-20%. When applied directly to the skin, bioavailability can be as high as 40%, but this remains localised.

How long do the effects of CBD oil last?

Everyone responds to CBD differently. For some people, the effects are more noticeable than for others. In general, CBD takes around 15-20 minutes to take effect once it enters your bloodstream.

The effects will typically last for around 1-10 hours, but the compounds will remain in your body for much longer. It is thought that CBD could stay in your system for between 11-28 days, depending on the strength and the serving size.

If you take capsules, this would typically take between 30 minutes and 2 hours to take effect in the body. This is because the CBD compounds need to pass through the digestive system.

How do you measure a serving of CBD oil?

Meassuring with CBD oil dropper

To get the right serving size of CBD, you first need to choose the right CBD oil strength. Thankfully, this is very simple as CBD oil is one of the most popular products and there is plenty to choose from.

Once you have the right CBD oil strength, you can calculate the amount of CBD in each drop. Many will include this on the packaging to make life easier.

Some CBD oil products have a dropper with measurements to make it easy to get the correct serving size. Others will have a spray which delivers the same amount every time. The important thing to remember with CBD oil is to shake the product before you use it so that it is well combined.

For more consistent and reliable measurements, it might be easier to use CBD capsules. These are more suitable for those who might struggle to dispense CBD using the dropper. 

What does CBD oil taste like?

Green hemp flower

One of the main benefits of CBD oil is the wide range of flavours available, and these are only getting more and more creative. Some people enjoy the earthy taste of CBD and like the “close to nature” feeling they get from the nutty and mossy flavour. However, you don’t have to stick to natural flavours.

Popular CBD oil flavours include orange, strawberry, mint and vanilla. The carrier oil will also have an impact on the flavour. For example, MCT oil is very smooth and has a mild almond/coconut flavour. When blended with cherry flavourings, this can result in a Bakewell tart-inspired taste.

If you dislike the taste, an alternative would be to use sweet gummies or flavourless capsules. 

Is CBD oil easier to use?

CBD oil is a versatile choice for enjoying your favourite supplement. You can take it any time of day, or you can add it to your favourite foods. For example, some people enjoy it in their morning coffee, while others will add it to chamomile tea before bed.

CBD oil is very easy to use for the vast majority of people, but those with restricted mobility and dexterity may struggle with the dropper cap. In this instance, capsules, gummies or topical creams might be easier to use. 

How much does CBD oil cost?

CBD oil prices are determined by the strength and quality of the product. For an entry-level strength CBD oil, you can expect to part with around £25-30. This supply should last for around 15-30 days, depending on how much you use and how quickly you increase the serving size.

All CBD oils collection

After their initial purchase of an entry-level bottle of CBD oil, most people will purchase a medium to strong CBD oil and reduce the serving size. This will last much longer and reduce the cost.

Just like CBD oil, CBD gummies and capsules will vary in price depending on the strength. To determine which product is the most cost-effective for you, you need to know the CBD content of each gummy or capsule, and the total number of gummies or capsules in a container.

For example, CBDfx gummies contain 60x 25mg gummies, which gives us a total CBD content of 1,500mg. These gummies cost £49.99. Compare this to CannabiGold Premium 1500mg CBD oil which also contains 1,500mg of CBD and costs £69.99.

Remember that prices will vary between brands and you should calculate the price per mg of CBD to determine which one offers the best value. 

Other factors may also influence the price, such as whether or not it is a full-spectrum, broad-spectrum or isolate product. This refers to the cannabinoid contents, with full-spectrum CBD products typically costing more than CBD isolate.

Pros and cons of CBD oil

Pros of CBD oil

Cons of CBD oil

  • Flexibility when choosing your strength and serving size.
  • Entry level CBD oil strengths are quite affordable.
  • CBD oil gets to work quickly and the effects can last for up to 10 hours.
  • Bioavailability is thought to be around 35%, which is higher than other choices like capsules.
  • Suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
  • Often offers better value for money, with more CBD available than with other methods.
  • Some CBD oils (must be specially formulated) can be added to a vape device, making them more versatile.
  • Need to keep it under your tongue for the maximum benefit.
  • Difficult to get a precise and consistent serving size.
  • Might not be suitable for those with restricted mobility or dexterity.
  • Increased risk that the bottle could leak or smash, which makes it slightly less travel friendly.
  • Some CBD oils have a strong, bitter taste.


CBD oil might not be the right choice for everyone, but it certainly can be a cost-effective and simple way for you to add CBD to your daily routine. 

First, you need to determine the right serving size for your needs, which should help you select the right CBD oil strength. You can then choose between flavoured or unflavoured oil.

Taken under the tongue, CBD has a bioavailability of around 35%, which is higher compared with methods like gummies or capsules, which are typically only around 4-20%

Despite the many benefits of CBD oil, there are some disadvantages to consider. Getting the same serving size every time may be difficult due to the potential for slight variations in the drop or spray size.

CBD oil is also more likely to spill, which might make it less ideal for travelling or using on the go. It’s also not the most discreet product available. Despite these limitations, CBD oil remains the most popular way to consume CBD. 

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Laura Howarth
Laura Howarth


Laura Howarth is a specialist CBD author based in Manchester, UK. She is passionate about sharing her love for CBD through educational articles and in-depth guides.

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