While there are many ways to take CBD oil, it depends on the strength of the oil. With our 250mg CBD Oils (a great starting point), you put five CBD oil drops under your tongue and hold them there for 30-60 seconds, and do that three times a day. You can, however, freestyle, putting your drops into a smoothie, juice or even your morning cuppa. CBD is said to take the edge off coffee too.
It depends on a variety of factors, such as how strong the CBD oil is (the stronger the concentration, the faster you will feel its effects) as well as how you are consuming it. For example, if you are taking CBD oil by placing a few drops under your tongue, it should take effect in around 15 to 45 minutes , while a topical application may take longer.
1. In a tincture
If you’re feeling fancy go on the hunt for a CBD cocktail. We’ve heard reports that over in San Diego you can order The Mr Nice Guy – that’s a vodka and mezcal mixed drink that includes CBD. More proof, if any were needed, that CBD can be imbibed alongside any other food or drink, and that you’re going to be seeing a whole lot more of it soon.
If only there was a way to capture the energy of coffee without its associated jitters. Oh wait… there is! There are an increasing number of CBD coffee brands popping up, who claim that when coffee beans are infused with CBD, they take away the anxiety that caffeine consumption can cause. This makes the ‘up’ that your coffee gives you a little smoother; it takes the edge off. Or use a dairy-free milk that’s infused with CBD to easily control your dosage and allow you to continue using your favourite coffee blend.
In balm or rub form, CBD is often blended with fragrant coconut oil or beeswax, which makes it easy to spread on the skin (and makes your bod smell great too). When used topically, CBD can reach local targets, like sore muscles or joints. We’ve also heard it works wonders for period pain.
To find out—because there’s been relatively little rigorous research on CBD to date and I’m a skeptic by nature—I reached out to a doctor and a scientist for the 411. As I suspected, this isn’t a topic that has been studied in depth. Yet there is some reason to believe that certain CBD products may truly be more bioavailable when absorbed under the tongue than if taken through food or drink.
Long story short: You may as well try holding your CBD oil or tincture under your tongue before swallowing it—you could find that you feel it working slightly faster. Anecdotally, says Dr. Birdsall, experts recommended that you hold it there for at least 60 seconds. (A word of warning: There will be drool.) Your other option is to try a product that’s specifically created to be absorbed sublingually, like Kin Slips, which are kind of like those breath-freshening films that dissolve in your mouth.
How does this apply to CBD? Surprise, surprise: It’s hard to say. “There has been very little scientific research on the sublingual absorption of CBD,” says Dr. Birdsall. The research that does exist has some inconsistencies, adds Kater, since there are so many factors that affect absorption—such as the quality of the CBD or the pH and consistency of the formulation. Plus, many of these studies focus on formulas that contain both CBD and THC—a psychoactive compound found in cannabis that’s supposed to be absent from CBD-only products—so it’s unclear whether their findings would also apply to a product that contains predominantly CBD.
Sublingual delivery isn’t always a better option for all substances, points out Dr. Birdsall—some B vitamins, for instance, need to be “activated” by the liver in order to do their jobs—but for certain vitamins and medications, it can be a super effective delivery method.
Even so, Kater says that “most of the literature supports the notion that CBD has better bioavailability when consumed sublingually versus orally. [and] MCT oil-based tinctures are thought to provide better uptake than a traditional oil.” But, again, there’s no evidence that this applies to the exact CBD oil or tincture that you, specifically, have in your cabinet. As mentioned before, every formulation is different, and those small differences matter when it comes to bioavailabilty.
2. Weed J. As new cannabis products gain traction, ‘pass the joint’ may turn to ‘pass the eye-dropper.’ Forbes. April 1, 2019. https://www.forbes.com/sites/julieweed/2019/04/01/pass-the-joint-may-trun-to-pass-the-weed-eyedropper/#6e1d57ecde03. Accessed January 21, 2020.
Anecdotally, patients have successfully used sublingual cannabis products to treat occasional mild panic attacks because the fast-acting sublingual can mute the panic attack before it escalates into something that affects normal daily activities. When the panic attack has been averted and the effects of cannabis have worn off, patients can go on with their day. If the anxiety continues, precise doses can be administered to help control the physical and mental symptoms. This is superior to edibles, which may take too long to avert the panic attack and because the effects may last longer than necessary.
According to 2018 cannabis industry data, the medical segment made up $7.2 billion of cannabis revenue share, the largest share and growing.1 This growth is attributed to the increasing acceptance of cannabis as a treatment for chronic diseases such as pain, cancer, and mental disorders. Yet traditional methods of cannabis consumption are not among the top trends in medical applications. In April 2019, Forbes reported that cannabis-infused sublingual products were the fastest-growing cannabis product category in 2018, a trend also credited to the medical segment.2 The advantages of using sublingual products include avoiding smoke and other byproducts of combustion, known cannabinoid concentrations, accurate dose administration, the ability to titrate and track doses, and discretion.3
How to Use Sublingual Cannabis Products Effectively
One reason the usefulness of sublingual cannabis has been called into question pertains to incorrect administration. It’s imperative that the sublingual product stay in contact with the mucosal membranes under the tongue for as long as possible. The mistake most patients make is holding it under the tongue for only a few seconds. When educating patients, emphasize that for maximum absorption, they should hold the product under the tongue for 10 minutes. While this may seem difficult, there are a few steps to follow to make it easier:
Tablets or Lozenges
These are exactly what they sound like—small, usually round discs that patients put in their mouths. However, unlike other kinds of tablets or lozenges, they aren’t intended to be swallowed or sucked on. They slip under the tongue, where they dissolve quickly and deliver cannabis directly to the bloodstream. There’s no harm in swallowing or sucking on them, but symptom relief may be delayed by as much as two hours and the duration of action might be longer than desired.
By definition, a tincture is an herbal solution made with alcohol as the primary extraction solvent. In commercial cannabis products, the term tincture is often used to describe any concentrated liquid preparations that are meant to be applied topically or sublingually. Sublingual products prepared in alcohol can be absorbed through the mucosal membranes of the mouth quickly, providing symptom relief in as little as 15 minutes, while oil preparations may take up to 30 minutes for full onset of symptom relief.
Sublingual Administration of Cannabis
Sublingual cannabis comes in a few different forms—from tinctures and sprays to strips and tablets—that dissolve under the tongue. However, these are not the same as edibles. Rather than being absorbed through the digestive system, sublingual products are absorbed through the mucosal membranes under the tongue, on the inside of the cheeks, and on the gums. Because of the dense concentration of capillaries under the tongue and around the mouth, products held in the mouth are delivered directly to the bloodstream, which makes cannabis administration quick and easy.2