True or False: the Most Effective Way to Take CBD Is Under Your Tongue
To find out—because there’s been relatively little rigorous research on CBD to date and I’m a skeptic by nature—I reached out to a doctor and a scientist for the 411. As I suspected, this isn’t a topic that has been studied in depth. Yet there is some reason to believe that certain CBD products may truly be more bioavailable when absorbed under the tongue than if taken through food or drink.
According to Timothy Birdsall, ND—a member of hemp education platform Prima‘s medial advisory group—when you take certain substances sublingually, they can enter directly into your bloodstream, where they’re immediately shuttled to your tissues. Think of it as a shortcut to digestion, which is a longer process in which the substance needs to be ingested, broken down by the stomach, absorbed by the small intestine, and metabolized by the liver. “Not only do many compounds lose potential bioavailability during [the digestion] process, but the time to onset is delayed,” adds chemist Jessie Kater, senior vice president of manufacturing for Curaleaf and Curaleaf Hemp.
Sublingual delivery isn’t always a better option for all substances, points out Dr. Birdsall—some B vitamins, for instance, need to be “activated” by the liver in order to do their jobs—but for certain vitamins and medications, it can be a super effective delivery method.
How does this apply to CBD? Surprise, surprise: It’s hard to say. “There has been very little scientific research on the sublingual absorption of CBD,” says Dr. Birdsall. The research that does exist has some inconsistencies, adds Kater, since there are so many factors that affect absorption—such as the quality of the CBD or the pH and consistency of the formulation. Plus, many of these studies focus on formulas that contain both CBD and THC—a psychoactive compound found in cannabis that’s supposed to be absent from CBD-only products—so it’s unclear whether their findings would also apply to a product that contains predominantly CBD.
Even so, Kater says that “most of the literature supports the notion that CBD has better bioavailability when consumed sublingually versus orally… [and] MCT oil-based tinctures are thought to provide better uptake than a traditional oil.” But, again, there’s no evidence that this applies to the exact CBD oil or tincture that you, specifically, have in your cabinet. As mentioned before, every formulation is different, and those small differences matter when it comes to bioavailabilty.
Long story short: You may as well try holding your CBD oil or tincture under your tongue before swallowing it—you could find that you feel it working slightly faster. Anecdotally, says Dr. Birdsall, experts recommended that you hold it there for at least 60 seconds. (A word of warning: There will be drool.) Your other option is to try a product that’s specifically created to be absorbed sublingually, like Kin Slips, which are kind of like those breath-freshening films that dissolve in your mouth.
After all, if there’s one thing that can be said about the wild west of CBD, it’s that experimentation is key—whether you’re looking for your perfect dose or your perfect delivery method.
Here are 6 products that CBD experts use themselves—including a tonic you can put under your tongue. No matter which CBD option you choose, make sure it doesn’t *just* contain hemp seed oil.
Some experts claim that for best results, you should take CBD oil under tongue—but is that true? Here's what science has to say.
One Easy CBD Hack: The Best Way to Take CBD Oil Sublingually
For about 6 months I swallowed my CBD without really thinking about it. It seems almost implied that the best way to use a CBD oil tincture is just to swallow it.
However, I quickly found out that was not the case. I found out that there was a better way.
It’s called the sublingual gland, and it’s under your tongue.
Don’t be surprised if you’ve not heard of it before – my high school anatomy class neglected to mention this to me as well.
The pair of sublingual glands you have in your mouth are major salivatory glands, although they provide only 3-5% of the mouth’s saliva. That isn’t the reason we’re interested in them though; we’re interested in the vessel rich tissue that lays below.
We’re interested in the fast, and precise uptake that the sublingual gland has to offer CBD users. Because of the thinness of the lining, the sublingual glands will intake CBD directly into the bloodstream.
This process dramatically increases how quickly you feel the effects from CBD, as the CBD quickly enters the bloodstream without having to first move through the GI tract.
Instead of swallowing your CBD oil immediately, you simply hold it under your tongue for 1 minute or longer, and then swallow the dose.
Besides the lessened time for effects, the same dose of CBD is more bioavailable when taken sublingually than if you just swallowed it. The more bioavailable your CBD is, the more juice you get from the same CBD, which translates into needing to buy less CBD.
At the end of the day, we all like saving money.
The sublingual method may be safer than vaporization or smoking and possess greater bioavailability than oral use. Sublingual usage also comes without having to inhale anything into your lungs, which is a concern for some, as smoking is known to tar the lungs. The potential health impacts of vaporization are also unclear.
Sublingual consumption is far more effective than simply consuming your CBD oil orally – which is why it makes sense to make it a part of your routine especially with MCT tinctures.
To use CBD sublingually:
- Take a dropper full of CBD oil and squirt it underneath your tongue.
- Allow the oil to sit under your tongue for at least a minute, with longer being better.
- Swallow the oil or wash it down with water or a drink of choice.
- Repeat as needed
Some other benefits of taking CBD sublingually:
- More options. With sublingual CBD, you can use regular CBD oil with increased bioavailability. This gives you the freedom to shop the much greater range of CBD oils, as many CBD vaporizers and vaporizer cartridges are either poor quality or difficult to get. It has been our experience as well that CBD oils are generally more consistent than vapes, as the manufacturing process is far simpler.
- No need to use extracts or smoke it. It’s also more reliable than edibles, or other methods of oral delivery which rely on a complex host of digestive factors to process your CBD. Plus, it saves you from the uncomfortable pain and stomach cramping that can occasionally accompany taking some CBD edible goods.
- Much easier to dose evenly every single time because the CBD enters the bloodstream directly, as opposed to going through the GI tract first and being subject to the “first-pass”.
- Cost Savings. Because you’re able to dose more effectively in an accurate and consistent manner you’ll maximize the impact of your CBD and end up using less overall. Depending on the amount of CBD you take daily, this could result in hundreds of dollars saved per year. CBD oil tinctures are often cheaper than vaporization as well, even when accounting for the differences in bioavailability.
- Low Profile. Although CBD is legal – discretion in how you use it can be best in order to avoid confusion. CBD is more discreet than vaporization and smoking and more convenient than edibles or just swallowing it.
Although I use water-soluble CBD now, which also works well for me, I’ve had great results while using the sublingual method with MCT tinctures. It really is a great way to make what you’ve already got more effective without really having to do much more than wait a little bit before you can swallow it.
All in all, if you’re already using CBD oil, give it a try for a week or two and see how it compares for you to traditional oral use. You might be surprised how you feel!
One Easy CBD Hack: The Best Way to Take CBD Oil Sublingually For about 6 months I swallowed my CBD without really thinking about it. It seems almost implied that the best way to use a CBD oil