CBD Application methods

Everyone is different. There are countless variables such as weight, diet, metabolism, genetics, environment, product consistency which make a universal prescribed dosage almost impossible.

With these facts in mind, most people who are new to cannabidiol begin their journey by starting with the minimal suggested CBD dosage on any product, then gradually increasing the dose until they achieve the desired results. 

Additionally, you might find it useful to record your experiences so you can accurately narrow in on what works and feels best for you. With that understanding in place, it is now time to learn more about CBD application methods.

Vape Cartridges

One method which CBD can be consumed is popular amongst smokers or the younger demographic is via e-cigarette vaporizer devices with CBD filled vape cartridges. The vape device heats up a small portion of concentrated CBD oil until it boils, allowing you to inhale the vapor and feel the effects within 5-10 minutes. 

Pros: Inhaled CBD tends to enter the bloodstream faster than other forms—in as quickly as 30 seconds or less. This quick and easy method of consumption is able to affect the body sooner, which has become popular to ease pain or anxiety.

Cons: Controlling the dosage can be a challenge when using vape method. The dosage depends on how hard and long you inhale. 

Fast delivery

Effects felt within 5-10 mins

Benefits could last 1-2 hours

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Sublingual Drops / Sprays

Drops or tinctures should have a “suggested serving size” and the total milligrams of CBD listed on their packaging. From there, you can determine the amount of CBD you would like to ingest. Simply place the correct quantity of drops under your tongue using the dropper and hold the CBD oil in place for a minimum of 60 seconds.

The 60 second hold allows for absorption via the blood vessels underneath your tongue – efficiently bypassing first-pass metabolism. Once 60 seconds has passed, swallow the CBD oil.

Pro: Tinctures are the second-quickest method to absorb CBD, after smoking/vaping. Typically taking about 15 to 30 minutes. The quick action could make it especially useful in treating pain or anxiety.

Cons: It also could be challenging with tinctures to determine how much CBD you’re getting, either from the bottle dropper or from each spray, especially if the bottle shows only total CBD content and doesn’t list the per-dose amount. 

Fast delivery and smoke-free

Effects felt within 10-15 mins

Benefits could last 1-4 hours

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Topical Creams / Salves

The main advantage of CBD in a topical form is that it can be applied directly to whatever part of the body needs help. Topical CBD products bypass the digestive system and can immediately go to work where they’re needed.

There’s a growing body of scientific evidence to support the use of topical CBD products to ease pain, inflammation, and the symptoms of arthritis. 

Pro: Topicals aren’t absorbed into the entire body, as other forms can be. It is only absorbed in the area which it is applied. This could be considered safer to new users of CBD.

Cons: To be effective, these topical products need to have a lot of CBD — which can make them expensive.

Apply directly to skin

Effects felt within 5-20 mins

Benefits could last 4-6 hours

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Digestive Edibles

Edibles have come a long way from the “pot brownies recipe” of the 1950’s that was first published by Alice B. Toklas, life partner to novelist Gertrude Stein. These days there are not only brownies, but gummies, cookies, rice crispy treats, cakes, sodas, and savory treats galore. There are even “cannabis chefs” who can prepare an elegant pot-infused 5 course meal for your next get together.

Pros: Gummies and edibles alike infused with CBD may have a longer shelf life if kept in a cool, dry location, so they don’t degrade, plus they’re easy to take along with you in a bag or purse. Other baked foods, such as brownies and cookies, may have a shorter shelf life and need to be placed in a refrigerator to keep the CBD oil fresh while storing.

Cons: Eating or drinking your CBD means it will enter the bloodstream through the digestive system, so it will take a while—60 minutes or longer—before you feel it. 


Precisely dosed


Effects felt within 1-2 hours

Benefits could last 6+ hours

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Extract / Rick Simpson Oil (RSO)

In short, Rick Simpson Oil is a cannabis oil extract. It’s made by soaking cannabis plant material in a solvent such as ethanol, which is then evaporated to leave only pure cannabis oil. 

Rick Simpson Oil may contain the same possible benefits as medical marijuana. It may be used to alleviate the symptoms associated with a number of ailments, improving wellness and providing a sense of calm at the end of an otherwise stressful day.

RSO, like CBD oil, can essentially “take the edge off,” making you feel very relaxed and, in some cases, sleepy without feeling groggy or sedated.

Ideal for dabbing, cooking, oral dosing, and topical use

Effects felt within 1-2 hours

Benefits could last 6+ hours

Softgel Capsules

Designed to be taken orally, CBD capsules are small, inconspicuous, and tasteless pills containing a measured serving of CBD oil. In terms of ease of use and precision, there’s simply no better way of enjoying your daily CBD supplement than by taking one or two of these capsules. CBD capsules can be used anywhere and at any time. 

The bottles are designed to fit into an average-sized bag or snugly in your pocket, meaning you can carry your supplement with you to work or when you’re traveling.


Precisely dosed


Effects felt within 1-2 hours

Benefits could last 6+ hours