You’ve probably heard that you’re supposed to put cannabidiol (CBD) oil under your tongue. But why is that?
There are dozens of CBD oil products available, all with different usage methods. Even with CBD oil, you can put it on your skin, add it to coffee, tea, and other beverages and foods, or just swallow it.
However, putting CBD oil under the tongue allows for efficient absorption, making CBD far more effective. But that’s not the only reason.
Here’s why this method remains the most popular way to take CBD.
The Sublingual Method
Putting CBD oil under the tongue is also known as the “sublingual” method. CBD is not the only compound you can use this way; many prescription medications are designed for sublingual administration.
When you take something sublingually, the goal is to absorb it directly into the blood vessels and arteries found in the mucous membranes under your tongue.
This is an efficient way to absorb active compounds because it bypasses what scientists call “first-pass metabolism” — a significant reduction in the concentration of a drug that happens when it passes through your digestive system and particularly the liver.
The Best Way To Use CBD Oil Sublingually
Putting CBD oil under your tongue may seem strange at first but it’s rather straightforward.
Fill your pipette dropper with CBD oil and place the desired number of drops under your tongue in front of a mirror, without touching the pipette with your mouth.
Hold the oil there for at least a minute or ideally a few minutes to give sufficient time for the CBD to absorb into the bloodstream. Be sure to keep the oil in contact with the floor of your mouth the whole time and swallow afterwards.
Benefits of Taking CBD Oil Sublingually
As we’ve already noted, the biggest reason some beneficial substances are taken sublingually is to improve their absorption. This is especially important for CBD because it’s a fat-soluble compound that’s difficult for our water-based bodies to absorb.
Studies have consistently shown that CBD and other cannabinoids have low oral bioavailability, which means that only a small portion of the CBD you ingest actually reaches your blood and provides a beneficial effect.
Taking CBD oil sublingually provides higher absorption than ingesting it orally, which means you get greater effects.
But that’s not the only reason it’s the most popular way to take CBD:
- Since a higher percentage of the CBD you take is absorbed, sublingual CBD oil is one of the most cost-effective ways to use CBD, which is especially important given the relatively high price of CBD products
- You can easily change the dosage by using fewer or more drops
- Sublingual CBD oil starts to work relatively quickly, usually within 10-30 minutes, and its effects last for several hours (typically 4-6)
Downsides of Taking CBD Oil Sublingually
Nonetheless, there are some minor disadvantages to taking sublingual CBD oil.
For one, raw full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD oils have a strong earthy and potentially bitter flavour. Since you need to hold the oil in your mouth for at least a minute, some people may find this unpleasant.
However, you can overcome this downside by choosing a CBD oil flavoured with mint, lemon, or another natural ingredient.
Another disadvantage of sublingual CBD oil is that it’s not as portable and convenient as some other products. For example, you can take and use CBD gummies on the go, which is more difficult to do with CBD oil and would invite unwanted attention.
Using CBD oil sublingually also requires more knowledge. You’ll need to take it a few times before you get used to it and will need to do some calculations to figure out how much CBD you’re taking.
You may also need to spend a few days or weeks finding the optimal CBD dosage for yourself by starting with a small amount and slowly raising it.
In contrast, products like capsules and gummies provide you with a precise dose of CBD and are simple to use. Again, however, you can mitigate some of these downsides by using a CBD oil with a spray top, which is easier to dose.
Sublingual vs Other Ways of Taking CBD
As we’ve already discussed, taking CBD oil sublingually is not the only way to use CBD oil and other CBD products. There are three more major options: oral (ingestion), inhalation, and topical.
The oral route is the main alternative to taking CBD sublingually. This is the method used by capsules, gummies, and other oral products. However, as we noted earlier, CBD and other cannabinoids have low oral bioavailability, so only a small portion will be absorbed.
That’s the biggest reason why oral CBD products are less popular than oils. Still, they do have the advantage of convenience, portability, and ease of use, especially if you’re already taking other capsule or gummy supplements.
Note that even if you hold CBD oil under your tongue, a smaller amount of CBD will be absorbed orally after you swallow it since not all of the CBD can absorb in your mouth.
Another increasingly popular option is to inhale CBD by vaping or smoking. Its main advantage is that the effects are almost instantaneous, so you don’t need to wait.
However, this is a double-edged sword as it also means the effects only last for about 1-2 hours before wearing off.
Another downside is that vaping CBD is more expensive and if you want a proper setup, you’ll need to learn more about vaping and buy a separate vape device.
The last major way to use CBD is to apply it directly to your skin. Although you can apply CBD oil in this way, there are many types of dedicated products such as creams, salves, and patches designed specifically for topical use.
The key advantage of this method is that you get localised rather than systemic effects, which means it’s not ideal for body-wide concerns.
CBD Oil Under the Tongue: The All-Around Best Method
Although you may prefer other methods of taking CBD for convenience or another reason, using sublingual CBD oil is the best method for most people.
It provides the perfect middle ground in terms of absorption, cost-effectiveness, onset time, duration of effects, and dosage control.
While you will need to spend some time getting used to applying CBD oil under your tongue and figuring out the right dosage, it’s certainly worth it.