How to Take CBD: A Beginner’s Guide to CBD Use

20th May 2020

Choosing a product and deciding how to take CBD can be a complicated task. Because it is so versatile, you can consume it in several different ways. Let’s take a close look at each method so you can decide how to use yours.

You can take CBD by:

  • Placing it under your tongue
  • Swallowing and ingesting it
  • Inhaling it as vapour
  • Applying it directly on your skin
  • Inserting it as suppositories or infused tampons

Taking CBD under your tongue 

Placing oil or paste under your tongue allows it to be quickly absorbed into your bloodstream. This method is also known as taking CBD ‘sublingually’ which literally means ‘under the tongue’. It is effective because the area is rich in blood vessels and the membranes that separate them from the bottom of your mouth are thin.

This is the most popular method of taking CBD because it is relatively easy, you need no special equipment, and up to 35% of each measure can reach your bloodstream. When taken this way it enters your system quickly and is likely to take effect in 15-20 minutes.

Swallowing and ingesting CBD 

Swallowing and ingesting CBD is an incredibly versatile method to take it because you can swallow it in capsules, gummies, soft drinks, teas, oils, and pastes. Oil and paste can be added to most food items and used in cooking, making the possibilities almost endless.

Many people choose capsules or gummies because they are discreet, easy to take and deliver a precise measure of the active ingredient in each one. The drawback of swallowing CBD is that when you digest it, your liver breaks it down and your body can use only 4 to 20%.

Inhaling CBD vapour

CBD can be inhaled when purchased as an e-liquid. These are specially prepared oils that you can use in vaporisers or e-cigarettes. Vaping has become popular recently as an alternative to smoking, but it is also an effective way to take cannabinoids.

Inhaling CBD vapour means that you absorb it through your lungs and it quickly enters your bloodstream. Up to 56% can reach your circulatory system to be used in your body and can take effect in about ten minutes.

To get started you will need to buy a vaporiser. Then, you can add the e-liquid directly to the tank, buy a ready prepared cartridge, or you can mix a vape-additive with your standard e-liquid.

Applying CBD to your skin 

Applying CBD directly to your skin is an excellent way of targeting specific areas. This way, the cannabinoids can directly enter your skin cells and surrounding tissues.

Many balms, lotions, ointments, and salves are available, most contain a blend of CBD extract with essential oils and other beneficial ingredients. They can be applied to clean areas of skin and gently smoothed in until completely absorbed. These skin products are often cheaper per mg of CBD than others but can take longer to work.

Another way to take it via your skin is by applying a transdermal patch. Like nicotine patches, these allow the active ingredient to pass into your local tissues and blood vessels.

Inserting CBD suppositories or infused tampons 

When you can’t take CBD orally, or you have pain that can only be reached by direct application, you can use suppositories or tampons infused with cannabinoids. These are effective because both the rectum and vagina are rich in blood vessels allowing the CBD to be absorbed into the blood quickly.

Although these products aren’t as readily available as others, they can deliver up to 50% of the active ingredient into your blood. The effects are usually felt after 20 minutes and can last up to 8 hours.

How to take CBD oil 

Oil is the most popular form of CBD and it’s also the most versatile. There are many brands available which can be of varying quality. So, think carefully before making your purchase. Read reviews and choose a quality CBD oil, as the wrong choice could result in disappointment.

Most oils have a distinctive flavour that can be grassy with a trace of bitterness similar to that of walnuts. This can sometimes put people off, but holding it under your tongue reduces its intensity, and some brands produce extra filtered oils to make the flavour milder.

To take CBD under your tongue, follow these simple steps:

  1. Stand in front of a mirror with your chosen product. Drops, pastes and sprays are best for this method.
  2. Place your chosen number of drops or paste under your tongue. If you have a spray lift your tongue and direct the spray on to the bottom of your mouth.
  3. Lower your tongue and hold the oil underneath for 1 to 3 minutes.
  4. Swallow any remaining oil.

Or, if you prefer, for a milder, longer-lasting effect:

  • Drop it on your tongue and swallow it.
  • Add a few drops to your favourite meal after cooking.
  • Add a few drops to your coffee.

How much should I take?

CBD affects everyone differently, depending on various factors, including your body chemistry, body mass and health. To find out what works for you, start with the minimum amount recommended on the packaging. This is often a daily amount between 10 and 20mg.

Try this for a week and note the effect it has on you. After that, slowly increase the amount every few days until you achieve the outcome you’re looking for.


To get the results you want, you will need to get the right product and apply it in a way that best meets your needs. Take your time to decide how you will take your CBD and start patiently giving it plenty of time to take effect. If one method doesn’t suit you, there are plenty of others to try.

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