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CBD Capsules vs. Oil: What are the Main Differences?

Author : Jessica Assaf
The Magazine: CBD Capsules vs. Oil: What are the Main Differences?
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It seems like CBD is infused into everything now, from cocktails to face serums. But before bringing home a CBD product or ordering some in your morning coffee, it’s important to know that each CBD product type behaves differently once it makes its way through your skin or into your stomach.

Selecting a CBD product is an individualized decision based on your overall wellness goals. Part of the decision-making process involves understanding how each CBD product type works before applying that process to your intended purpose for using CBD. Here, we’ll break down the difference between CBD oil tinctures and CBD capsules, two popular products taken orally but which work very differently once ingested.

What are CBD capsules?

Capsules insert the CBD we’ve come to know well into an easy-to-swallow pill similar to a vitamin, so you don’t need to guess how much to take when measuring from a dropper as you might do with a CBD tincture. Typically, the capsule itself is gelatin-based, but there are vegetarian options available. Some brands, including ours, are vegan.

Some oil-based capsules contain phytocannabinoid hemp extract (which includes CBD) and others use CBD isolate, with some brands adding in ingredients designed to complement and amplify CBD’s effects. At Prima, our “The Daily” CBD capsule contains 15mg of CBD from broad spectrum hemp extract, enhanced by curcumin oil and clove bud oil and enhanced with a Bio-Terpene complex. This blend is designed to help improve CBD absorption and optimize its full body and mind benefits.

What is CBD oil?

The term “CBD oil” and “tincture” are often used interchangeably, as most CBD oils are in a tincture format. However, CBD oil can also be placed into a capsule or softgel as well. A CBD oil tincture is a blend of hemp extract and a carrier oil (though some brands use isolate). Common carrier oils include olive oil, medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) from coconut, and hemp seed oil. These tinctures come in small dropper bottles, used to measure the CBD and then place it under your tongue. These bottles are small, typically containing 1 ounce of tincture.

The main differences between CBD oil tinctures and CBD capsules

  • Each method has varying bioavailability
    The percentage of CBD your body absorbs is called bioavailability, a process impacted by the digestive system and the first pass effect. Ingredients that are water soluble have much better bioavailability than oils – our bodies are made up primarily of water and ingredients with water compatibility are most easily absorbed into our system. When CBD, terpenes, fatty acids, and other cannabinoids are extracted from hemp, the resulting material is an oil. That oil-based extract by itself is not easily absorbed by the body.

Beyond being incompatible with water, oil molecules (in their natural state) are rather large and difficult for your body to absorb. To support maximum bioavailability, Prima uses an innovative and proprietary microencapsulation technology that allows the hemp extract with CBD to be water soluble and optimized for rapid absorption.

First, we micronize our hemp extract, significantly decreasing the size of the particles so they are smaller and have more surface area. Then, we encapsulate it in a water soluble (i.e. water-loving) layer so the body absorbs it like water instead of an oil.
Picture it like making salad dressing (i.e. mixing water and oil). When first poured into a bottle, the two liquids are completely separate with the oil floating on top of the water. Shake it up and the oil turns into droplets dispersed through the water. Then, if you add an emulsifier, it will stay well mixed.

Unless the CBD has been optimized for bioavailability in this way, CBD oils won’t be easily absorbed by the body and all the benefits may not be felt.

It’s harder to measure CBD oil
Let’s face it, oils are a little messy, and measuring out a precise amount from such a small bottle is not an easy task. The droppers are difficult to fill fully and accurately and if you’re not careful, it’s easy to take too little or too much. Plus, tinctures can be leak-prone when not closed all the way or if the cap malfunctions. Last, people often think the oil is meant to be added to a food or beverage, which won’t be absorbed well by the body. Capsules, on the other hand, leave nothing to chance when it comes to precise measurements, they won’t leak, are easier for travel and on-the-go living, and if they are developed with the right ingredient technology, can be more easily absorbed by the body.

Every day stress remedy for body & mind

How to choose between a CBD oil tincture and CBD capsules

First, begin by assessing why you want to take CBD. Why are you interested in incorporating CBD into your lifestyle? If you’re aiming to incorporate CBD for the long haul in a way that doesn’t require second-guessing or precise measuring or need something portable, a capsule may be an excellent route.

Next, it’s important to decide which type of CBD extract you want. There are three main categories of CBD extracts: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolate. Full-spectrum hemp extract is unaltered directly from the plant, so it includes all the minor cannabinoids, terpenes, lipids, and other plant materials, including trace amounts of THC. Broad-spectrum is the same extract with the THC content further removed. CBD isolate is 99 percent pure CBD, with no other plant materials included. Our products at Prima are made with broad-spectrum phytocannabinoid- hemp extract.

Full-spectrum and broad-spectrum formulations support what has been described as “the entourage effect,” which means that all plant compounds work synergistically for the best outcome. While this process is still being researched by scientists, you may wish to investigate how terpenes and minor cannabinoids may enhance your current wellness routine.

CBD oil vs. CBD capsules: the choice is yours

The smallest difference between CBD products can make a world of difference in your daily routine. Oil tinctures and capsules — as well as other products like face serums, lotions, drink mixes, and even bath products — all take different pathways through the body, determining how long they last and how much CBD your body absorbs. That being said, one product type isn’t necessarily better than the other. What’s best is wholly dependent on your personal goals.

Whether you’re trying to focus*, get some rest*, or just want some peace and relaxation*, our line of hemp CBD wellness products has you covered*. At Prima, our products contain bio-optimized CBD strategically paired complementary herbal extracts, scientifically-proven to improve your state of being*. Each formulation is produced under meticulous quality standards, and tested and verfied over 5 times – after harvest, after extraction, during production, and in the final product using 3rd party ISO/IEC-accredited labs. No matter which of our products you choose, all that matters is that your favorite product supports your own unique wellness journey.

Before bringing home a CBD product or ordering some in your morning coffee, it’s important to know that each CBD product type behaves differently.

CBD Oil vs CBD Capsules: Which is Best for Your Needs?

Updated May 5, 2020

Table of contents
  • Comparison Chart
  • What Is CBD?
  • Why Take CBD Supplements?
  • CBD Oil
  • CBD Capsules
  • Conclusion
  • Community
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    • Featured Sleep Product Coupons
    • Scholarship
  • Sleep Problems
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      • Pillows For Neck Pain
      • Mattresses for Neck Pain
    • Side
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      • Mattresses for Side Sleepers
      • Toppers for Side Sleepers
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      • Pillows For Back Sleepers
      • Mattress for Back Sleepers
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Even if you aren’t new to CBD use, you might be a bit confused as to the many products available that contain CBD and how it can be used. You might even wonder what is best for you and your reasons for considering the supplement. Short of buying up a plethora of products, which can get quite pricey, you can always discuss your options with a healthcare provider or begin a bit of research on your own.

This article helps explain the use of CBD, why you might consider it, and the difference between CBD oil vs capsule form. Although the effects are not different, how you take the supplement can be interchangeable based on certain preferences.

Comparison Chart

What is CBD?

CBD is short for cannabinoid and is an active ingredient in the cannabis family. Found in high amounts in both marijuana and hemp, CBD is a non-psychoactive chemical, and thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill- is legal in all 50 United States. CBD is different than its THC chemical cousin which creates the psychoactive ‘high’ and altered state of mind that is still federally illegal.

Despite the fact that both chemicals are used for medicinal purposes, CBD is a very active ingredient on its own and is used to treat a wide variety of ailments ranging from severe epileptic disorders to anxiety and insomnia. Found in a wide variety of products, it can be used topically, internally, or even inhaled – and is sold as a supplement. Care should be taken, however, to buy quality products that are the third party checked to ensure the label matches the product.

Why Take CBD Supplements?

As mentioned, CBD can work as a supplemental aid for a wide variety of needs. The benefits it provides are still growing as further studies continue to take place, but its most popular use surrounds pain and sleeps support, with anxiety, stress, and depression-related issues a common use as well.

These aren’t the only reasons to begin using it on a regular basis though, especially since it has anti-inflammatory and soothing properties. Studies into improved focus and concentration are also being reflected upon, as is the support of asthma relief.

CBD Oil

CBD oil is the extracted oil from the hemp and marijuana plants. It is separated from THC when taken from a marijuana plant to make it a legal, consumable substance. This oil is then suspended in a carrier oil, such as fractionated coconut or hempseed oil, and sometimes blended with essential oil for both taste and added benefits. Most oils are sold in a dropper or as a spray.

Bioavailability

Bioavailability is defined as the active portion of the product that is available for circulation into the bloodstream of the body. How you use CBD determines how much of it you may be getting. Although you can mix oils with foodstuffs, it is suggested that you take it under your tongue in order to take advantage of the sublingual gland.

This gland is located on the floor of your mouth and quickly absorbs into the bloodstream the available ingredients it comes into contact with. This allows you to immediately get a decent percentage of the oil into your system for quicker results, with the rest made available through the digestive process.

Taste

CBD has an earthy flavor and the oil is a bit ‘slick’ overall. This may be an issue for some people who are not used to taking oil directly into their mouths, especially if they are holding it for the required 30 to 60 seconds that is suggested for maximum body absorption.

Since it is mixed with coconut oil, and often essential oils, this flavor can be masked somewhat due to the strong scents and subtle flavors of the EO’s being used. Popular flavors include orange, peppermint, and lime. Some companies flavor the oil more strongly and may add a sweetener to make the experience more pleasant.

You may want to read: Top CBD Oil Companies

Conveniences

Taking oil is very convenient. Since they are often sold as a spray or in a dropper bottle it only takes seconds to administer. Of course, you should hold it for 30 to 60 seconds, but that is not considered problematic for too many people.

Downside

If you have a sensitive gag reflex or find you cannot handle the taste of the oil blend, this might not be the best option for you. Of course, you also can easily mix it into foodstuffs as well, but you won’t get as much into your bloodstream initially without holding it against the sublingual glands.

Oil can also spill, which might not make it the best option for travel, or if you like to carry it around with you in a purse or bag. It also isn’t incredibly discreet if you are in public and want to administer a dose.

CBD Capsules

Just like the CBD oil products described above, the capsule is the CBD extract suspended in a capsule, usually in gel form. The only true obvious difference between the two is what they look like and how you take them. There are some more important differences to consider that you cannot see, however, as explained below.

Bioavailability

Just like oil, you take a capsule orally, but the difference in your body response is a bit more specific. With the oil, you are taking advantage of the sublingual gland that allows your body to more quickly process the CBD into your bloodstream.

With the capsule, it has to make its way through your digestive system to be broken down before it can make its way into your bloodstream. This process also makes it not quite as available overall. The potency of the oil is reflected in both the gland and digestive system processes, whereas the capsule only has the chance to release through digestion. This makes an oil a favorable choice when you want to take advantage of as much of the CBD benefits as possible.

Taste

Obviously, there is no flavor to a capsule that you swallow. For anyone who struggles with taking oil directly, this is a great option to consider.

Conveniences

A capsule is very easy to travel with, you don’t have to worry about spilling and waste, plus it is very discreet overall. They also are very specific with their dosage, and you don’t have to measure out a dropper to ensure you are getting the proper amount.

Downside

The biggest downside of a capsule is simply the fact that you may not be taking advantage of its full potential due to any loss that might occur through the digestive system. It also does not enter into your bloodstream as quickly as oil, making it less readily available.

You may want to read: Best CBD Oils

Conclusion

Obviously, how you choose to ingest your CBD is entirely personal and dependent upon your own preferences. CBD oil is more readily available, enters into your bloodstream more quickly, and does allow your body to uptake more of its full potency than a capsule. However, it may have a flavor or texture that is not preferred by the consumer, making the capsule a better option.

This article helps explain the use of CBD, why you might consider it, and the difference between CBD oil vs capsule form.