How to Use CBD Oil: A Definitive Guide

CBD and its variety of products. It can be administered in a seemingly infinite number of ways.

Each solution tends to have its own advantages and drawbacks. You will get different effects if you decide to use a gelcap or vape a CBD-rich cartridge.

Spoiler alert. There is no one single “best way” to take CBD oil, but there probably is a product that will best fit your individual needs. In this article, we’re going to help you unpack all the data surrounding “using” of the CBD oil, so you can make an informed decision.

Understanding the best way to take cannabinoids is hardly rocket science but it is complicated by the fact that we all process CBD oil a little differently. We walk you through the basics but you will have to try for yourself.

To get started, we need some key criteria for understanding how CBD oil behaves when taken in its different formats.:

  • Speed - The speed you should expect the CBD oil to take effect
  • Dosage - The starting dose you should be looking to take
  • Impact- How you should expect the CBD oil to affect your body
  • Duration - The average length of time the effect should last

Of course, some of these metrics will vary depending on the actual product, it’s quality, etc, but it will definitely give you a ballpark idea of what you should expect.

Different Ways to Use CBD Oil:


  • Speed – You should expect to see the effects in minutes, if not seconds.
  • Dose – You can start with a puff or two, you’ll start to feel the effects immediately so it is easy to manage the dosage. Allow yourself a minute or two and adjust as your tolerance builds.
  • Impact– Obviously, the lungs get affected immediately, quickly followed by the heart and the brain. From there it starts to take effect over the rest of the body pretty evenly.
  • Duration – Again, the more your tolerance builds, the shorter the effect but generally we’re looking at 2-3 hours.

CBD oil behaves like most other drugs when inhaled. The lung gets it first and from there it’s sent via the bloodstream straight to the brain where it takes its effect, which is why inhalation is the fastest method for feeling the effects of CBD oil. From there, it will get metabolized by the liver.

The reason why this is so effective is that the heat from the vape (or smoking) converts some of the acid cannabinoids into its natural form, which makes the effect “stronger”.

The negative impact of having CBD oil absorbed so quickly has the potential for some users to suffer from nausea or acute pain. It can be a problem especially with users new to CBD oils, or when you use a better quality (more powerful) product. That’s why you can get nausea or diarrhea when you use CBD oil for the first time.

It’s not a big issue, any negative side effects are short-lived or can be adjusted by reducing the dose until you become accustomed to taking it.


  • Speed – It normally takes between 1 and 2 hours to feel the effects of the edibles/capsules
  • Dose – Most typically, for new users, you should be taking 3 mg to get a mild psychoactive effect if we are talking THC, CBD oil products should be looking at 5 mg upwards.
  • Impact – Edibles and capsules are ingested, which takes places within 30-40 minutes, then they will be modified by the liver before being spread throughout the body via the bloodstream. This results in a fairly even spread throughout the body.
  • Duration – For most people, you can expect to feel the effects for a good 6 hours and in some cases that can extend up to 12 hours.

The first interaction an edible or capsule has with the body is in the gut. This means the CBD Oil will have a positive effect on stomach affecting conditions such as IBS or inflammatory bowel disease.

Once it gets to the liver, three enzymes start to modify the THC or CBD. This is more commonly known as “first-pass metabolism”.

For those interested in the nitty gritty details, if it’s THC, it will predominantly be converted to 11-OH-THC, which delivers a stronger “high” than just standard THC. Read more about what happens to cannabinoids in the stomach. To understand the difference between THC and CBD here’s an article that breaks it all down – click here

This is the reason why you need to limit the power of the edible, it’s both a strong “high” that lasts almost half a day. At least until your body becomes more accustomed to the product. On the flipside with CBD, if you are suffering from a chronic condition you will appreciate the fact it’s stronger and more long-lasting.


  • Speed – Expect to feel the effects in the first hour, often within 15 minutes.
  • Dose – The recommendation for starting dose is between 2.5-5 mg of THC and CBD. If you’re new to taking THC or CBD oils might start with 2.5-3 mg to get a mild psychoactive effect before increasing to 5mg.
  • Impact – You’ll get that steady and even effect across the body as the CBD oil s is absorbed into the bloodstream from the mouth.
  • Duration – Very similar to edibles, the average duration is between 6-8 hours, but rarely much longer.

Oral-mucosal drugs fall between inhaled forms and ingested forms in terms of absorption speed. They work so quickly because they get absorbed into the surrounding blood vessels of the mouth and tongue. Most find they feel the effects after 30 minutes, with the effects peaking at the 1 and a half hour point.

There are two forms of mucosal tinctures, the spray for under-the-tongue, which is easiest to use, and the dropper which has volume markers that make it more accurate. It’s always prudent to make sure you read the labels of the CBD oil because dosage varies from product to product.

Some Other Ways To Consume CBD Oil


If your interest in cannabinoid products comes from suffering from skin or joint issue then you have to consider topical or rub products. They don’t get absorbed in the bloodstream so there is no general effect, just local. You need to be careful that you don’t use too much as terpenes in larger concentrations can cause skin irritation.


Similar to topical or rubs, they are applied through the skin but that’s where the similarities stop. You get a transdermal patch, which works similar to a nicotine patch. It’s able to release CBD oil into the bloodstream at a steady rate.

They deliver the same kind of experience you would get from taking CBD orally, but recent clinical trials have suggested they fail to work with epilepsy whereas sublingual administration does work for epilepsy.


A newcomer to the CBD product range, medical research has shown that suppositories of CBD oil, either inserted rectally or vaginally, are able to effectively deliver the benefits of CBD oil whilst reducing psychoactive impact other delivery methods have, as well as the side effects.

Similar to products that are delivered orally, CBD oil suppositories are fast acting, normally from within 15 minutes (locally) and within an hour as it enters the bloodstream and spreads around the body. It’s also very fast acting on the organs found nearby in the abdomen, which can be important for some readers.

So what is the best way to take CBD oil?

The short answer is, there is no one way that works best for everyone. It depends on why you are taking CBD oil in the first place.

Edibles last the longest, they seem like a great fit for users who suffer from chronic illnesses and are using CBD oil to manage pain or similar symptoms. Edibles have both the general impact you get when CBD enters the bloodstream, and the local effect of the edible impacting the gut where it is absorbed.

Vaping or smoking has the benefit of delivering a more immediate effect, as do under the tongue / sublingual products, which may better suit your needs.

Topicals have a localized effect, impacting the skin where the cream or gel is absorbed. Once you settle on the best way to take cannabinoids to work for you, then you’ll need to play around with dosages.