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CBD guides: What’s the best way to take CBD?

Confused about how to start taking CBD? Our helpful guide will help you choose the right method for you.



The best way: A vape, a brown bottle of oil and a yellow oil lie on their sides surrounded by cannabis leaves on a white background

There are a lot of different ways to take CBD so it can be hard to know which method is right for you.

Here is our guide to choosing the best CBD to suit your needs.

It ultimately comes down to personal preference but there are a few things to know before you start choosing your first CBD product.

CBD oil

CBD oil is a really easy way to take CBD. Pop it under your tongue then wait a few minutes for the mucous membranes to absorb it. It can help to wash the remaining oil down with a sip of water.

When choosing an oil, be careful to select a brand or product that has clear labelling, easy to find lab reports and clearly states how much CBD is in the product. Products can be labelled full-spectrum, broad-spectrum or isolate.

Here is what those mean

Full-spectrum: Full-spectrum CBD includes small amounts of all compounds, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), terpenes and flavonoids. Full-spectrum CBD products may contain up to 0.03 percent of THC.

Broad-spectrum: This is CBD without THC in it. It still keeps the other compounds such as terpenes.

Isolate: This is just CBD without any other compounds in it. CBD isolate is a crystal version of CBD, and it is usually ground up to be sold as a powder.

What is the entourage effect?

Some studies suggest that the therapeutic effects of CBD are stronger when combined with other compounds such as terpenes, flavonoids or other cannabinoids.

Best way to take CBD: a yellow pot of CBD oil next to a bunch of green cannabis leaves


Patches are the best way to get a discreet dose of CBD throughout the day. Some people prefer to apply patches as they can forget to take a follow-up dose or they can release CBD throughout the night as someone is sleeping. Patches can also be applied directly to the affected area where the pain is felt.

One of the biggest benefits of patches is that the skin absorbs CBD easily and quickly. However, the patches are developed to be slow-release so they can be kept on for several days.

Sometimes the adhesive used in patches can cause irritation or allergies for people along with reactions to chemicals used to penetrate the skin. They also create a waste product that cannot be recycled.


Tinctures are an alternative to CBD oils. The best way to take them is to pop a drop or two under your tongue and allow it to sink into the lining of the mouth.

The main difference between tinctures and oils is how the CBD is extracted. Oils use while tinctures use alcohol. Tinctures are more likely to have a flavour added to them so can be a good choice for anyone who doesn’t like the taste of hemp.


Vaping is a quick and easy way to get some CBD on the go. CBD enters the bloodstream through the mucous membranes in the mouth, throat and lungs. It’s one of the fastest ways to get a dose as it does not have to travel through the digestive system first.

It’s also perfect for anyone who isn’t fond of the taste of oils or tinctures. Vape e-liquids come in a variety of flavours.

The best way to take CBD; A small jar of CBD topical gel on a yellow background. The lid off the jar and it has a cannabis leaf on the top of white cream


Topicals are the best choice if the problem is skin or muscle-related. CBD is thought to help with conditions such as acne, rosacea or eczema. It is available in many different forms from lotions, balms, gels or creams.

The product can be applied directly to the affected area making it great for targeting specific painful areas. It is absorbed through the skin.

CBD may be particularly useful in the treatment of acne. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation showed CBD inhibited sebum production while having an anti-inflammatory effect. If sebum builds up in the skin then it can lead to acne or breakouts. CBD may help to not only control oil production but soothe any irritated skin

It could potentially offer relief for arthritis pain. Results from a pre-clinical study showed a reduction in arthritis pain in rats. Male rats with arthritis were given CBD and results revealed that there was a potential difference in the inflammation level when treated with a localised CBD treatment. Although there are human studies needed.


An edible is a piece of food with CBD infused in it. This could be anything from gummy bears to chocolate chip cookies or brownies. CBD is fat-soluble so is perfect for adding to most foods. 

Edibles do take longer to work as they have to travel through the body. It enters the hepatic portal system which is a series of veins that carry blood from the capillaries of organs such as the stomach, intestine, spleen and pancreas to the liver. The liver then metabolises the molecules which is referred to as the first-pass effect. From there, the CBD can travel to the bloodstream. 

Some of the CBD is lost due to the metabolic system and can vary depending on the person’s height or weight. It’s not the best option for someone looking to avoid sugar or watch their weight.

The advantage of edibles is that they can be taken easily, discreetly and offer a slow release of CBD. Another great option for anyone who dislikes the taste of hemp oil.

Read more: How medical cannabis could help with skin conditions.


Cannabis Health is a journalist-led news site. Any views expressed by interviewees or commentators do not reflect our own. All content on this site is intended for educational purposes, please seek professional medical advice if you are concerned about any of the issues raised.

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