CBD oil vs. CBD vape juice: Which is better?

CBD (cannabidiol) oil is a general term for the CBD extracted from cannabis plants. However, for all practical purposes, we refer to CBD oil as tinctures, and not CBD vape juices. 

The reason for it is that CBD tinctures actually contain oils, like hemp seed oil, MCT oil, or olive oil – which is not the case in CBD vape juices. In fact, the CBD in e-liquids is mixed in fluids of a very different consistency – thinning agents. 

CBD tinctures and CBD vape juices are quite different in their composition and purpose. Before deciding on which kind of CBD product to buy, you must first understand some basic differences between the two. 

Composition & Use: Effectiveness

CBD oil/tinctures are composed of certain fat-based carrier oils that are easily digestible and do not have any undesirable effects on our system. While the CBD may be in isolate or full-spectrum form (containing all other cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and fatty acids), the carrier oil is blended in a way so as to administer equal doses of CBD with every serving of the oil. 

On the other hand, CBD vape oils aren’t really composed of oils. That is why they are preferably known as vape juices. The use of thinning agents like propylene glycol (PG) or propanediol (PDO) and/or vegetable glycerin (VG; glycerol) are necessary to ensure the proper and smooth functioning of the vaping devices as well as making the experience of vaping smooth, consistent and more pleasurable. Use of carrier oils produces smoke and clogs up the vaping devices, besides causing other complications in the lungs of the user, like a kind of pneumonia, due to inhalation of fat molecules. CBD vape juices are generally made from CBD isolates. Perhaps the idea is to optimize on the CBD content and leave out all other forms of cannabinoids (including THC) out of the equation. 

One must remember that vaping doesn’t always administer an exact dosage. There is too much room for error and vaping liquids are often inconsistent in their dosage. In order to make sure nothing other than CBD (other cannabinoids) goes into your bloodstream, isolates are a good option. Besides, isolates are more easily available in powder form, and hence easy to blend into your usual vape juice, without having to buy a CBD vape juice product or make CBD vape juice at home

Usage: By now, you must have understood that CBD tinctures are meant to be used orally. Ideally, they are most effective when you use it sublingually, i.e. place a few drops under your tongue, where the sublingual glands are located. These glands are more efficient in transporting the CBD into your bloodstream for easy distribution throughout your body. After keeping the oil under your tongue for a minute or so, you can swallow it with water. 

CBD oil can also be added to edibles (preferably cool or cold foods and drinks) to be ingested. In this process, the CBD must go through the digestive system and be exposed to liver enzymes to be metabolized along with the carrier oils before it can reach the bloodstream. Honestly, this isn’t the most effective method. However, a lot of people feel more comfortable with this route of administration for the obvious reason that it is easier and hassle-free. 

On the other hand, CBD vape juices are inhaled with the help of a vaporizer, vape pen or an e-cigarette. While it requires an additional device to be administered, it is a far more effective and swifter method, providing instant relief from whatever may be ailing you. The reason for that is that in this process of using CBD oil, the cannabinoid is transferred directly from the alveoli of your lungs into your bloodstream. In this process, it neither has to go through a longer route (digestive system) nor does it get wasted due to interaction with the digestive enzymes. 

This is one of the most popular and the second most effective method of administering CBD (only after intravenous injection). 

Are they interchangeable? 

The two forms of CBD oils should not ideally be used in the wrong order, i.e. a vape juice should only be inhaled with the help of a vaping device and a tincture used only orally, ingested or sublingually. 

Neither should you use vape oil orally nor should you vape a tincture

The basic reason for that is their composition. 

  • The thinning agents in vaping juices are unsuitable for ingestion or being placed in your mouth (some part of what you place in your mouth does get ingested even if you spit it out, while CBD tincture is ingested after keeping it under your tongue for a few minutes).
  • The carrier oils in tinctures are unsuitable for vaping, as it clogs up the devices, damages the heating coil, causes too much smoke (instead of vapor like in the case of thinning agents) and sometimes even allergic reaction and inflammation of the lungs. 

If you notice the words MCT oil, hemp seed oil, or olive oil on the label or third-party lab tests, you must know that it is a tincture. If you see ingredients like natural and organic plant extracts, also know that it is definitely not a vaping product. It could be an edible, a tincture, or a topical product. 

If you want to buy a vaping product, always look for the thinning agents we have mentioned earlier. These ingredients are optimized for a vaping product. If a product does not have any of these thinning agents, you should never vape them. 

Action: Benefits & Disadvantages

Sr NoCBD TinctureCBD Vape Juice
1.Easy to use, just like popping a pill; don’t have to worry about producing any smell or drawing attention to yourself with a device; just squeeze a serving into the dropper and place it under your tongue. Easy to use for anyone. Requires a vaping device, even if it is a compact vape pen; cartridges need to be filled in the exact dosage (except for costly disposable ones), the heating device maintained properly; vaping can be illegal in public places (just like smoking). Smokers find it more comfortable to use than others. 
2.Slow absorption: Takes more time to act (at least an hour to an hour and a half). Owing to the longer route that it takes, CBD takes time to reach the bloodstream.Fast absorption and quick to act (maximum 10 – 15 minutes). Does not need the time to go through the digestive system to be metabolized and be transferred to the bloodstream. The lungs do the trick quite effectively
3.Useful in cases where the condition can be tolerated for a bit longer, or when you have already incorporated CBD dosage into your daily routine (so you already have the effects of the previous dose still working in your system)Useful for instant relief. Can be combined with edibles and tinctures whenever needed.
4. Quite a bit of the substance gets wasted along the route, thus reducing its bioavailability. There is hardly any wastage in case of vaping, as it bypasses the longer route where all the wastage takes place due to interaction with the digestive enzymes. Hence, this form of administration also has higher bioavailability. 
5. Remains in your body for a longer period, and hence remains active for a longer period. Its effects wear off faster than tinctures and edibles. As it goes through the bloodstream more quickly, it loses its effects earlier.
6. Can be taken as a daily dose for chronic pain, sleep disorders, anxiety issues. Must be taken after food, an hour before bedtime. Best used for immediate effects, like injury or surgery pain, sudden anxiety pangs, etc. Best taken as and when needed (like an SOS drug), or later during the day to give you an energy boost. 


Final Thoughts

There is no hard and fast rule on which form of CBD is better for everyone. There is no “one-size-fits-all” in CBD use. 

As we have discussed in the Table above, CBD use should not only be consistent and restricted to the right dosage, but also administered in the method that is most suitable for your current situation, i.e. the condition and the immediacy of action required, current location (legalities, etc.) and the time of the day. 

You can incorporate both these routes/methods of administration into your daily routine depending on these factors. Alternatively, use whichever form you feel most comfortable with. It is a matter of both your health and convenience. Even allopath doctors choose to inject instead of giving pills now and then to boost the effect and reduce the reaction time. 

No matter what you choose, however, don’t forget to consult your doctor before buying your first bottle of CBD tincture or CBD e-liquid and a vape pen. 


Author Details
Senior Editor & Researcher , Greenthevoteok
Matt Hansel is a Medical Practitioner, who has been writing and researching about cannabis since 2014.  His popular quotes which we like are: \"Don\'t use CBD oil for a cure, use it as a precaution\"  \"CBD should be considered as any other vitamin supplement and your body needs it!\"