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How to Consume CBD Products?

Updated: Jan 5

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How many different ways are there to consume CBD products? What’s the fastest way? Why might it be advisable to take CBD in a particular fashion? In this blog post, we’re going to explore the various delivery methods, their benefits and drawbacks, and the circumstances in which each method would be preferred.

Delivery Methods to Consume CBD Products

There are 4 main methods of consuming hemp products. They each take a unique path through the body. This is part of the reason results can vary.


Edibles have grown in popularity over the years. You can add a cannabinoid extract to almost any processed food or beverage. One often overlooked edible worth considering is soft gel capsules. A no-frills edible option with an exact and often relatively high amount of CBD ready for consumption.

From the stomach, the majority of the CBD is absorbed into the hepatic portal system, which leads directly to the liver. The liver then begins to metabolize the CBD, before passing into the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, CBD is free to act on the endocannabinoid system throughout the body.

Ingestion is by far the easiest means of consuming CBD, however, it’s far from the most efficient means of getting high levels into your system. Ingestion is also a slow process, taking anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to reach peak absorption. A good way to build up CBD in your system with regular and consistent consumption.

Sublingual Liquids

The word tincture has become a catchall term for traditional CBD tinctures, as well as, CBD oils. The difference is a fairly straightforward one. A CBD oil contains CBD extract and most commonly a blend of coconut oil, MCT oil, vegetable glycerin, and hemp seed oil. True tinctures are made from alcohol and most commonly contain essential vitamins, water, herbs, melatonin, sweeteners, and essential oils.

To take a sublingual liquid, one takes a dropper of CBD tincture or CBD oil and squirts it under the tongue for 30-90 seconds. Unlike edibles, sublingual liquids bypass the digestive system entirely and are absorbed directly into the bloodstream. The effects can take just as long as ingestion. What you’ll see is a subtle increase in the amount of CBD getting where it will have the greater effect compared to edibles.

Tinctures typically taste better but are less effective per volume % when compared to CBD Oil, because the % of CBD is decreased to make room for the other ingredients. Sublingual Liquids are slightly more effective than edibles. They take as much time as edibles to pass through the body. It’s difficult to get a large amount of CBD into the bloodstream at any given time using sublingual liquids. Consistency and regularity are important. One advantage of sublingual liquids is that they can be taken sublingually as well as consumed through the digestive system for enhanced effects. Add a dropper of CBD Oil to your favorite smoothie for a 1,2 combo. The major disadvantage is in administering an exact dose using a dropper.


The topical application of CBD has two variations. The first variant, the salve, is designed to penetrate the skin but takes effect without entering the bloodstream. They act directly on the endocannabinoid receptors in the region the salve is applied to. The second variation is a transdermal patch. As its name suggests, transdermal patches are designed to carry CBD through the skin and into the bloodstream. Spreading CBD to a targeted area primarily then throughout the rest of the body to be used as needed.

While topicals can get CBD exactly where it’s needed, it seldom penetrates deeper than musculoskeletal structure. Topicals eventually move into the bloodstream and are taken to the liver to be broken down. Another method that bypasses the digestive system, allowing the CBD to stay in your system longer.

Topicals are easy to use. Apply a topical directly to the region needing treatment. Absorption of CBD can take anywhere from 15-45 minutes for peak effects. While a great deal of CBD can be deployed in a specific region, it's not as good as other delivery methods for getting the maximum amount of CBD throughout the whole body.


The respiratory system is the quickest way to the bloodstream for CBD. There are 4 variations on CBD inhalation. Smoking and vaporizing are lumped together for obvious health reasons. Along with CBD, you are introducing unhealthy carcinogens into your body. Aerosol inhalers are becoming more common. With far fewer side effects than smoking or vaporizing, this will probably be the preferred method in the near future. The 4th option for inhaling CBD is a nasal spray. You get the added benefits of soft tissue absorption, via the sinuses.

This method of CBD delivery is the most efficient but also has the most potential drawbacks. If it's the quantity and expedience you're looking for smoking and vaporizing are the method to go with. Most aerosol and nasal inhalers have relatively small amounts of CBD per dose. Because inhalation bypasses the digestive system, it's not filtered out of the body as quickly as other methods do.

Not the easiest method of CBD delivery, Inhalation will always require some tools and prep-time to get the most out of. It can be difficult if not impossible to measure doses with smoking and vaporizing, while with aerosol and nasal inhalers, it is rather straightforward. AS you might expect, inhaling CBD may not be for everyone.

The Wrap-up

It's not necessarily an either-or situation. Understanding what your trying to achieve with CBD might lead you to a combination of consumption methods. Now, you're better informed to make those decisions. It's always advisable to check with your doctor before taking CBD, for any possible medication-related interactions.

Top Shelf Hemp Co. makes no health claims about CBD-Cannabidiol. Everything expressed in this blog post is based on the opinion of the author and information sourced online.


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