CBD 101 Guides & Tips

Exploring Various Ways to Use CBD

Cannabidiol (CBD) can be used in a variety of different ways. Which one is best for your unique situation?

With so many different ways to use CBD, it can be a bit overwhelming to choose which one to start out with.

In this guide, we will list some of the most popular ways to use CBD and discuss which of these methods deliver the most CBD to the body.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural cannabinoid found in marijuana that can be used to ease many ailments, including inflammation, anxiety, insomnia, and more. CBD has gained popularity over the years as a natural way to treat chronic pain and other afflictions.

You won’t get high from taking CBD either, although it can help with counteracting negative THC-induced reactions. Today, many people are turning to CBD as a natural alternative to pharmaceuticals.

How to Use CBD

If you’re interested in trying CBD out for yourself, you’ve probably got a few questions. Or maybe you’ve been trying it, aren’t seeing the results you were promised, but you’re not ready to throw in the towel. Regardless, it’s important to understand the different ways to take CBD, as some are more effective than others.

There are four main ways to deliver CBD: orally, topically, sublingually, and through inhalation. Which method you choose depends on personal preference, how quickly you need the effects to kick in, and how different methods interact with your body. CBD is absorbed in the body differently with each method, so it’s important to carefully consider how you want to deliver the cannabinoid.


Through the mouth is one of the easiest and most convenient ways to administer CBD from children to adults, to dogs. However, ingestion also means traveling through the digestive system first, which can be a lengthy process.

According to a study by the US National Library of Medicine, CBD is broken down in the liver, greatly reducing the cannabidiol concentration before sending it off to the bloodstream. Another study suggests that absorption may be increased by consuming CBD with fatty acids.

To take CBD orally, you can use oils, capsules, infused candies, CBD shots, and infused foods.


Taking CBD sublingually is similar to the oral delivery method, but much more efficient. To take it sublingually, you hold the dose under your tongue for a minute or so before swallowing what hasn’t already been absorbed.

The benefit is that you bypass the digestive system and liver altogether, allowing the cannabidiols to enter the bloodstream immediately. The effects will usually kick in within a few minutes, making sublingual delivery a popular and effective way to take CBD.

To administer oil sublingually, you can use tinctures, droppers, mouth sprays, or pastes.


Administering CBD topically is more of a targeted pain-relief method for specific parts of the body. It’s a great option for achy joints or sore muscles. The cannabinoids never enter the bloodstream, as it is just absorbed directly to begin interacting with cannabinoid receptors in the area.

Actually absorbing enough cannabidiol from a topical application is another story. The skin has a low absorption rate for cannabinoids because human skin is not very permeable.

In order to experience the effects of topical application, a liberal amount should be applied to the area so that the CBD can penetrate the dermal barrier. It’s important to choose lotions or salves with high CBD contents because they will have a higher chance of getting a decent dose of cannabidiol through.


A delicious cup of coffee, a pile of high-quality marijuana buds with some cigar of weed ready to smoke. Top view with a background of black stone.iStock / José Antonio Luque Olmedo

There are a lot of options for taking CBD by smoking or vaping. It’s an effective method of administration because it takes effect almost immediately. There are plenty of low-THC, high-CBD strains available that can be smoked, as well as many oils that can be vaped. Lungs offer a large surface area for absorption of CBD, and the cannabidiols immediately enter the bloodstream after inhalation.

Vaping is probably the better choice for quick relief because CBD oils tend to have greater potency than just flower. To vaporize cannabidiol, you’ll need to get some e-juice that is made up of CBD oil. Vaporizers are easy to use, and usually just require you to pop in the e-juice cartridge, turn it on, and inhale.

Inhalation is an efficient way to consume CBD because it is absorbed quickly and in higher amounts. This means that it will leave the bloodstream more quickly as well, making the effects last a shorter amount of time.

What’s the best way to use CBD?

The method of administration you choose will depend on what your goal is.

Inhalation and sublingual administration are your best bet for quick relief, as they take effect the quickest.

If you have joint pain or achy muscles, a topical solution is a good choice to get localized pain relief, though you will need to apply generous amounts.

Oral consumption works well too, just keep in mind the journey it takes before reaching the bloodstream.

What Are the Benefits of CBD?

While not a cure-all for everything, CBD has loads of health benefits and uses, and that list is only growing with more research being conducted.

Anxiety Relief

In a study involving patients with Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), cannabidiol administered prior to public speaking helped decrease anxiety, making it a potential alternative to pharmaceuticals, which are only effective some of the time.

A 2015 study found CBD oil to be a promising treatment for panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and even post-traumatic stress disorder.

Pain Management

While opioids can sometimes be the best option for a patient in need, many are aware of the dangerous side of these drugs.

If you’re dealing with chronic pain, but don’t want to become dependent on a painkiller, cannabidiol is a great alternative.

Studies have proven CBD can significantly reduce pain and inflammation. It helps the body find homeostasis, which in turn can combat some bodily aches.

Improved Sleep Quality

CBD has been shown to both induce sleep, and promote stability in sleep cycles. Some worry this means that cannabidiol will make them sleepy during the day, which is not true. It is not sedating the body, but rather helping to ease stress and anxiety, which can, in turn, regulate your sleep cycle from the source.


The FDA approved a drug comprised of CBD to treat two rare conditions in 2018. Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndrome are both characterized by epileptic seizures, and difficult to treat with other medication. Now doctors can prescribe CBD (Epidiolex) to treat these conditions in children over the age of two.

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