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What is the Most Effective Way to Take CBD?

August 13, 2019 11 min read

Americans are discovering CBD for the first time and are falling in love with its wide range of all-natural benefits.  Everyday, new people are experimenting with cannabidiol for the first time and discovering the wonders of the body's natural Endocannabinoid System.

With a massive array of CBD products available, many in our community are left wondering what the most effective method could be.  Different delivery methods change how the CBD is absorbed and have different lengths of onset and duration times.  The questions remain though, should you eat CBD?  What about dropping it under the tongue or rubbing it on your skin?

The truth is, how you take the CBD largely depends on YOU and what you are trying to get out of it.  What benefits are you looking to experience?  Those looking for a solution to manage a discomfort may well prefer a different delivery method versus another using the CBD to promote general wellness.  Here is a breakdown of the pro's and con's of the three most popular forms of CBD: Tinctures, Gummies, and Topicals.  We'll also explain what the most efficient method is as well.

what is cbd?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is an extract found most commonly in both hemp and cannabis plants.  As of the 2018 Farm Bill,  industrial hemp that contains less than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis was removed as a Schedule I drug by the DEA; making CBD products legal to manufacture, distribute, and consume.

Products that are extracted from hemp, such as CBD, other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids can be turned into a variety of bases - namely, CBD oil.  There are pure CBD isolates that appear in powder form, but we'll be looking at the most efficient ways to take Full Spectrum CBD oil for the most part of this guide today.

what is the best type of hemp-derived formula?

There are three main types of CBD products; and between Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, and Isolates, each aims to achieve the same thing, though they're not equal in terms of how the oil is extracted.

full spectrum

Full Spectrum CBD relies on using the entire plant (stalk, leaves, and flower) to extract its necessary cannabinoids.  Full Spectrum includes the entirety of the molecular structure, therefore retaining all cannabinoids and plant matter, including THC.

If you were to compare Full Spectrum to say, an orange, the orange's skin would constitute the plant matter and the white rind part that separates the skin from the rest of the fruit would be the THC.

broad spectrum

Broad Spectrum CBD also relies on using the entire plant to extract its necessary cannabinoids.  What differs between this and Full Spectrum is that during the extraction process, the molecular structure of the plant is altered slightly to remove certain cannabinoids, such as THC.

If you were to compare Broad Spectrum to say, a glass of orange juice, the juice was derived from the orange fruit - but the composition of that orange was altered as the skin and rind was not included in the finished product.


CBD Isolates rely on solely CBD upon extraction.  Whether you use the full plant or not is not the goal as all other matter is effectively removed.  What you are left with is the full concentrated amount of CBD and only CBD.

CBD Isolates would most likely associate itself with that of a Vitamin C tablet.  Derived from an orange, but stripped of any defining characteristics.  While Vitamin C itself can provide value to overall wellness, it would never come close to its efficacy as drinking a glass of orange juice, or better yet, eating an orange fruit.

so what is the best type?

Many believe a Full Spectrum CBD formula works best, as all cannabinoids and plant matter is retained upon the initial extraction.

A Full Spectrum, as the name suggests, uses the entire plant.  We convert the biomass, which is simply the cultivated hemp ground down to a coarse powder, through a Super-critical CO2 extraction process.  The result is a raw, crude CBD oil.  Once we have the raw, crude CBD oil on-hand, we winterize our oil to -85C which helps to isolate unwanted plant matter, lipids, and wax that would otherwise throw off the purity of the CBD product.  After the winterization process, we apply a state-of-the-art chromatography process that effectively filters out the THC, resulting in a refined, potent, and pure CBD oil.

Again, referencing an orange, this is the equivalent to taking an orange fruit and peeling its skin.  It's nearly impossible to remove all of the rind from the fruit, so while there will still be some degree of unwanted matter in the final product, the levels are low enough to not react with our bodies, but not completely removed as to destroy the molecular structure that would make a product a Full Spectrum CBD product.

what is the most effective method of taking cbd oil?

cbd tinctures

By far, the most common and possibly the most effective method of taking CBD oil is to take your preferred serving under the tongue.  This is called Sublingual Consumption, where you apply the oil under the tongue for 60 to 90 seconds before swallowing.  Sublingual Consumption allows the CBD to be absorbed directly into the blood stream instead of having to metabolize it and pass through multiple systems before its effects are experienced.

cbd tinctures - pros

  • Easy to Use - Drop some under your tongue and hold it there for 60 seconds, or drop some into your favorite beverage or food!  The small bottle easily fits in your pocket, your purse, briefcases, and backpacks.  What are some other clever ways to store your Tinctures?
  • Fast-Acting - Tinctures are great for immediate, fast-acting relief against discomfort.  As soon as you dose up, there is only a 15 - 20 minute onset time before its effects are experienced throughout the body!
  • Most Efficient Method of Consumption - Sublingually-administered CBD is the most direct and efficient form of CBD consumption, having the highest and fastest absorption rate of cannabidiol.  This means you need less CBD to get the same results as the less-efficient delivery methods.
  • Consistent Absorption - Since Tinctures are not eaten, metabolizing this does not occur.  Therefore, Tinctures possess a more-consistent absorption level than edible CBD, such as Gummies.
  • Best for High Dosage - Tinctures are the best way to administer higher doses of CBD for people with a high tolerance or those who are taking it for specific, and often, serious complications.

cbd tinctures - cons

  • Easiest to Dose Incorrectly - Droppers can be tricky, and until you are familiar with a Tincture, it can be hard to gauge exactly how many drops you need.  Luckily, ALL Envy Tinctures include measurements on the dropper, making it easy to discern.
  • Shorter Effects - Tinctures are one of the most efficient delivery methods of CBD.  The downside to this, however, is that the effects wear off in a shorter amount of time versus other delivery methods, in this case, like Gummies.

If you are okay with waiting longer, other types of CBD oil can be consumed.  Between our Gummes and Topicals, each offer their own unique way of CBD consumption, each varying with different onset and duration times to satisfy a particular need or lifestyle.

cbd gummies

What if holding a bottle of liquid is too much to carry around?  What if taking a suspect looking liquid under the tongue puts you in an awkward position at work or some other conservative activity around people?  Look no further than by finding your relief in the form of CBD Gummies!


  • Easy to Consume (and Delicious) - Designed for convenience and longevity, CBD Gummies are sweet, chewy morsels that can come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and flavors, making them an easy and tasty way to get your daily serving of CBD.
  • Easy to Dose - Gummies are also easy to dose, meaning there's no guesswork or math for you to figure out.  Our Gummies contain 10mg of Full Spectrum CBD per piece.  This makes dosing easy as you may precisely dial in the dose that works for you and to keep that dose consistent.
  • All-Around Relief - This delivery method requires the CBD to be metabolized in your liver before it is distributed throughout the bloodstream.  Delivered this way, CBD will work with your Endocannabinoid System in all parts of your body and brain.
  • Long Lasting - Gummies provide slow-release comfort.  Instead of carrying around that bottle of CBD Tincture and dosing every 4 to 6 hours, simply eat a couple Gummies and continue on about your day as its effects take longer to come on but last up to 12 hours off a single serving.
  • Discreet - Gummies are arguably one of the most discreet ways to consume CBD.  Odorless, silent, and possesses a low profile; you can easily dose at work, in your car, at the movies; basically anywhere!


  • Slow Onset Time - Due to the Gummies being eaten, a slower onset time is to be expected.  The Gummies must be metabolized for the CBD to be absorbed; and this time varies between 45 minutes to 2 hours for its effects to be felt.  This means they are not ideal for immediate, fast-acting relief.
  • Metabolism Changes - Metabolism also plays a factor - as the rate speeds up or slows down over the course of the day, it will change the CBD absorption rate.  This means you could potentially have inconsistent effects even with a consistent dose.  Common sense, however, and routine can help to mitigate this factor.  If you have a relatively regular and healthy diet, and eat the Gummies around the same time every day, the absorption rate should be more consistent.
  • Lower Dose Size - If you require higher doses of CBD for whatever reason, Gummies may not be the most effective method as its dose size per Gummy is rather low.  Of course, you COULD always eat more!

cbd topicals

What if discomfort was experienced on a particular part on your body?  Maybe after an intense sports game, sore muscles, joints, or even skin irritation began to take its toll on your overall comfort?  CBD Topicals aim to relieve localized discomfort.  The magic happens as our skin absorbs lotions, salves, creams, and balms normally for general wellness.  Adding CBD into the equation only compounds the total benefit as most topical products achieve some degree of moisturization, CBD factors in a therapeutic aspect as well, thanks to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.

topicals - pros

  • Easy to use- If you've used lotion before, you'll have no trouble using ours.  Simply apply a generous amount to the affected area and rub those worries away!
  • Discreet - Generally, topicals are pretty easy to carry along in your purse or car.  In fact, they're so easy to conceal that many of us have a few of them tucked away in the office, the bathroom, our significant other's bathroom, and wherever else you'd imagine lotion would be.
  • Direct Application - Great for those that are sensitive to CBD or other cannabinoids, topicals are direct application.  Instead of carpet bombing your whole body with CBD, you can apply it directly to the source of your discomfort.  If your knee has been killing you, rub it on your knee!  If you are clearing up skin conditions, apply it directly on your break-outs, no need to treat the entire body!
  • Emollients - When you use Envy CBD topicals, you are not just getting the benefits of CBD, but rather, the benefits of our unique, moisturizing emollient blend.  The vitamins contained in both our Body Lotion and Face Cream helps to nourish and moisturize the skin while the CBD performs its magic.  It's the best of both worlds!

topicals - cons

  • Low Absorption Rate - While CBD does get absorbed through the skin barrier, the rate is significantly lower than other delivery methods.  This means you need to use more CBD to yield. the same results.
  • Difficult to Dose - While you know how much CBD is contained in a full container, it is hard to say exactly how much CBD is in a dollop of the cream.
  • Not Ideal for Mental/Psychological Conditions - Due to the lower absorption rate and direct application, topicals are not the ideal method of CBD application for those looking to alleviate mental and/or psychological conditions such as insomnia.
  • Not Ideal for Higher Dosage - If you have a naturally high tolerance to CB, this is not going to be your preferred method, again, due to taking more CBD to yield the same results.

By-and-large, however, CBD Tinctures are the most effective because of convenience.  It takes less than 10 seconds to open the bottle and drop some liquid under your tongue.  Once swallowed, its effects come on within a matter of minutes and its effects last for a number of hours.  Who can argue against this?

do gummies, tinctures, and topicals have the same characteristics?

While CBD Tinctures, Topicals and Gummies all aim to achieve the same thing, its characteristics are different; and this is due to something called bioavailability.  Bioavailability is defined as the process in which our bodies take in new compounds and distribute its contents across the bloodstream before being filtered out as waste.

Typically, CBD itself is a hydrophobic compound, meaning, it does not react well to water; and our bodies are largely comprised of water.  To increase the bioavailability, the CBD must be bound to a carrier liquid or a multitude of it.  Whether these carrier liquids are MCT oil, coconut oil, or even ActivAloe, the allowance of CBD to bind with these fat-based oils increase the rate in our bodies can take in the CBD and have it stay in there for a longer duration before it is filtered out.

Regarding the CBD bioavailability by product type, the breakdown is as follows:

  • Oral Consumption (Gummies): 6% - 15%
  • Sublingual Consumption (Tinctures): 34 - 46%
  • Vaporized Consumption (Vape): 40%
  • Transdermal Consumption (Topicals): 45%

Given the bioavailability of each product type, the lines can be drawn on the different characteristics.  For example, CBD Gummies differ from CBD Tinctures because of its relatively low bioavailability.  This low percentage is caused by the loss of nutrients upon digestion.  When you eat or drink anything, the material must first pass through the stomach where enzymes strip some of the matter away, then pass through the intestines where more is lost before finally passing through the liver where the remainder is broken down and distributed throughout the blood stream.

At the same time, however, despite the loss in bioavailability, a compound like CBD that passes through 2 systems before it is distributed allows for a more potent effect that stays in your system for a longer period of time.

how long does each method take to kick in?

As we've mentioned, the type of CBD product you use will determine how long it takes for the cannabidiol to take effect; and given the bioavailabilities of each type, you can expect different onset and duration times for each.


  • Initial Onset: 15 to 20 minutes
  • Duration: 4 to 6 hours
  • Suggested Use: Drop desired serving under the tongue to achieve whole-body wellness.

CBD Topicals

  • Initial Onset: 1 hour
  • Duration: 4 to 6 hours
  • Suggested Use: Apply directly to the skin for general wellness or for localized issues.

CBD gummies

  • Initial Onset: 45 minutes to 2 hours
  • Duration: 6 to 12 hours
  • Suggested Use: Take as needed before or after meals.

the bottom line

In conclusion, we still can't help but to recommend Sublingual Consumption as the most effective method to taking CBD oil.  Fast-acting and powerful, it's a potent way to get your daily serving of cannabidiol without having to feel the psychoactive effects from THC or waste your time with a large serving.

Overall, Tinctures are the most cost-effective way to incorporate CBD into your daily wellness routine; with the highest bioavailability, low onset time, and average longevity of its effects, you absorb the most cannabidiol possible instead of wasting product.  The great thing about Envy CBD products, particularly that of our CBD Tinctures is they are flavored, making the entire journey to wellness enjoyable at the very least.  Good luck!

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