How to Take CBD Oil: 7 Most Common Methods

How to Take CBD Oil: 7 Most Common Methods

Since the federal legalization of industrial hemp in late 2018, the market has become flooded with cannabidiol (CBD) products. The sheer variety of delivery methods – ranging from tinctures to topical lotions and creams – can leave you wondering just how to take CBD oil.


Ultimately, though, there are just a few underlying methods of delivery here: ingesting CBD oil, vaping CBD oil, and absorbing CBD oil topically through the skin. The finer details of the products may make them more convenient or enjoyable, depending on what best suits your needs.


Let’s break down how to use CBD tinctures, capsules, topicals, and other products and see which combinations can fit your lifestyle!

Short-haired blonde lady in white top uses dropper of cbdMD CBD oil tincture

1. How to Use CBD Tincture Drops

Highly recommended for: Daily users, situational users, athletes, CBD chefs, new users, and advanced users.


CBD oil tinctures are easy to use, efficient, and certainly the most versatile option around.


Tinctures are oils infused with CBD. They’re primarily intended for sublingual absorption, meaning you hold it under your tongue for about 30 seconds so it can permeate the membrane.


Ingesting CBD oil for absorption through the digestive tract is an option as well, but it doesn’t act as quickly as sublingual absorption because of the metabolic process it goes through. Generally, you can feel the effects of sublingual absorption in about 30 minutes, while ingestion can take an hour or two.


Still, swallowing it is definitely faster on the front end. Many people use both methods.


Using oils of this variety allows you to customize servings to your exact specifications. For instance, daily users may decide to take 10 mg in the morning and a larger quantity in the evening before bed.


You can also use CBD tinctures in your favorite recipes or add them to a soothing cup of tea. Tinctures can come in different flavors – ours include orange, mint, and berry – so they can liven up the taste as well as boost wellness.


Tinctures can also include other beneficial ingredients. CBD PM contains melatonin, a hormone that your body naturally produces to regulate your sleep/wake cycle. So if you take it about 30 minutes before bedtime, it can help you get a good night’s sleep.


The heavy glass bottle-and-dropper combo may present challenges for frequent flyers. People whose belongings are subject to rough handling on the job – like construction workers – may also have difficulty carrying tincture bottles.

cbdMD 3000 mg CBD capsules on table with coffee cup in the background

2. How to Take CBD Oil Capsules

Highly recommended for: Daily users, athletes, new users, and travelers.


CBD capsules are the easiest method for taking a consistent serving. There is no dropper, no measuring, and no potential for spills. This simplicity makes capsules perfect for those trying CBD for the first time.


For those using multiple supplements, you can easily integrate capsules into your daily routine. They’re particularly practical for people on the go. Just swallow a capsule whole with water or any other kind of drink.


While convenient, capsules lack the versatility of tinctures. If you want to adjust serving sizes, you’ll need an entirely different product. Further, ingesting CBD oil through the mouth is a less efficient introduction method compared to sublingual absorption or vaping. It may take over an hour for you to feel the effects.

Up-close image of orange, red, and pink CBD gummies stacked on top of each other

3. How to Take CBD Gummies

Highly recommended for: Daily users, new users.


If you’re going to take CBD, why not get all of the benefits in a sweet treat? CBD gummies combine the ease and consistency of capsules with great flavor and a little fun.


Gummies are a good option if tinctures or capsules seem too medicinal. If you’re around other people, they can be an inconspicuous way to enjoy CBD since it just looks like you’re eating candy. At the same time, they’re the best sort of CBD product to share with friends!


If you have any food allergies or sensitivities, be sure to consider the ingredients carefully. Some diets strictly regulate sugar intake as well.

Man in grey shirt and black glasses sits in chair using a vape and exhaling smoke

4. How to Vape CBD Oil

Highly recommended for: Daily users, situational users, new users, advanced users, travelers.


Vaping CBD oil is an extremely fast-acting method for introducing CBD into the body. The speed of delivery makes CBD-infused e-liquids perfect for people looking to use CBD situationally.


Vape juices are also a clean and discreet method for those who would choose not to carry a cumbersome tincture bottle. Simply fill your favorite vaping device in the morning, and you’ll have the CBD you need for the entire day.


Similar to gummies, there are numerous flavors of CBD vape liquid to provide a refreshing twist to your experience.


Though vaping CBD oil is a fast, effective way to introduce CBD to the body, it isn’t recommended for those with lung problems like asthma. And while occasional servings through a vaporizer aren’t likely to inhibit performance, athletes may want to consider different delivery methods.

Hand rests on wood table applying 300 mg CBD Freeze roller by cbdMD with pink flower in background

5. How to Use CBD Topicals

Highly recommended for: Everyone, especially athletes!


Topicals provide laser-focused relief where it’s needed most. Athletes sing the praises of formulas for inflammation and pain. But sprains, strains, and tweaks happen to non-athletes as well. That’s why CBD topicals are great for everyone!


CBD topicals come in a variety of formulas and concentrations, so which one you choose depends on your purpose in using it.


If you’re experiencing sore muscles or joints from exercise, arthritis, or another chronic condition, you’ll want to go with a topical that combines CBD with medicinal ingredients. CBD Freeze is an award-winning gel that incorporates menthol, the working component of products like Bengay. The menthol provides an instant cooling sensation that can feel great on an inflamed spot.


CBD Recover doesn’t have menthol, but it does have histamine dihydrochloride, the pain reliever in products like the Australian Dream and Golden Creme. It also contains arnica and MSM, popular in the alternative-medicine world, and a vast array of essential oils. Recover is a thick cream, so it might be a better option than Freeze if you have dry skin.


Topicals with medicines should be used only on painful spots, up to four times a day until the problem eases. For everyday use, CBD Revive is a light moisturizer that helps keep skin supple with an added boost of CBD for overall wellness. 


One potential issue with topicals is that they can get on your clothes, so be sure to give some time for them to sink in before dressing the affected area. Also, put them on undamaged skin – don’t use them if the area has scratches or cuts. Stop using them if your skin becomes irritated.

Woman with manicured nails applies a CBD transdermal patch to left arm

6. How to Use CBD Transdermal Patches

Highly recommended for: Busy people and anyone who’s on the go.


CBD transdermal patches work on the same principle as patches delivering nicotine and other drugs: you stick it on, and your body heat gradually induces the product to infuse through your skin.


Patches are great if your life is hectic because they’re basically “set it and forget it.” You don’t have to stick to a schedule of imbibing a tincture or capsule. And you don’t have to figure out where to store the bottle in the meantime. Moreover, the patch can hide discreetly under your clothes, so no one needs to wonder what you’re putting in your mouth.


Patches can also combine the benefits of ingestibles and topicals. The CBD does eventually get through your skin, but on the way, it can impart the same targeted effects as topicals. And also, like topicals, patches can contain pain-relieving medicines to help alleviate sore spots.


Some people’s skin reacts badly to patches, however, so stop using them if they’re uncomfortable.

Hand holds blue Rejuvenate CBD bath bomb by cbdMD with pink flower in background

7. How to Use CBD Bath Bombs

Highly recommended for: Everyone!


CBD Bath Bombs really hit their mark!


Some believe that fancy baths are a ladies-only affair, but everyone deserves a little relaxation now and then. Even verified tough guys could enjoy such decadence.


Bath bombs combine the soothing relief of CBD with the calming effects of essential oils, aromatics, and Epsom salts. And they’re super easy to use. Simply draw a warm bath, drop the bath bomb into the water, let it dissolve, and enjoy!


As with any botanical-infused product, people with allergies should pay special attention to the ingredients to avoid skin or respiratory reactions.

Manicured hands remove dropper with oil in it from cbdMD 7500 mg CBD oil tincture bottle

How Much CBD Oil Should You Take?

As you can tell, some CBD products are designed for daily use, while others target specific problems. But they all come in a range of different concentrations. So how do you know which to use?


Scientific research on CBD is still in the works, and there’s no specific guidance yet on the subject. So if you’re just starting with it, you should probably begin with a lower concentration and, if need be, work your way up. 


Keep in mind that research suggests that CBD builds up in your system over time. So if you, say, start ingesting CBD oil in the morning and don’t feel anything right off the bat, that’s not a license to crank up the quantity. Instead, use it daily for a couple of weeks to get a sense of what that regimen does for you. 


If you still feel that you need more CBD, increase it gradually. 

cbdMD's 300 mg CBD Recover tub rests on white towel with top unscrewed sitting next to squeeze bottle of 300 mg CBD Recover laying flat on towel

What’s the Best CBD Combination for You?

Now that you know how to take CBD oil in every way, you may want to combine multiple products to best suit your lifestyle.


A good example is a health-conscious business traveler. We’ll call her Aria.


She takes a CBD capsule daily as part of her morning routine. From there, she hits the treadmill in her hotel’s fitness center. After a shower, she’s on her way to the office.


After work, Aria makes her way to the airport. As she trudges through the concourse, her knee starts to ache – a common problem for runners. On reaching her gate and finding a seat nearby, she reaches for her tube of CBD gel and applies it directly to her nagging knee.


Aria’s exhausted when she finally turns the key in the lock of her apartment. Even so, she’s still wound tight from her hectic day. The CBD sleep formula she keeps on her nightstand is an option. But tonight she prefers a faster-acting method. She retrieves the small vape pen she keeps in her purse. It contains a CBD-infused vape liquid that usually does the trick in times like these.


After a refreshing night of sleep, Aria’s at it again.


You can easily see how keeping a variety of options available can help when the time is right.


How Do You Prefer to Take CBD Oil?

What’s your preferred way to take CBD? And what combination of superior CBD products best suits your needs in life? Let us know by following us on both Instagram and Facebook where we’re happy to help answer any questions, comments, and concerns – or just to chit-chat!

Disclaimer: The cbdMD page contains general information about health, diet, lifestyle, and nutrition. Any information provided should not be considered or treated as medical advice and always consult a medical professional before making any lifestyle changes. Products and information mentioned on the cbdMD blog are not intended to be used as a substitute for medical diagnosis, advice, or treatment. Any links to third-party websites are provided as a convenience only and cbdMD is not responsible for their content.