How to Take CBD Oil: Methods, Doses & Side Effects​

With the narrative around CBD oil getting more and more positive both anecdotally and in terms of academic studies, you might well have recently began considering taking it yourself.

However, even if you read up on some of the research and decide CBD oil is for you, the next question is – how do you take it?

There are countless different brands of CBD oil, each with different contents in different ratios. There are also different methods of taking CBD and the product quality can differ wildly between brands.

This can be a problem for somebody looking to use CBD for the first time, as it’s extremely difficult to know who to trust.

In order to help make things more simple to understand, we’ve put together this guide on how to find a quality CBD oil, how best to take it, and how to work out your ideal dosage.

First things first:

model and 500mg cbd oil

Find a Brand You Can Trust

Since CBD is a trending product, the ‘green rush’ has opened the doors to a whole spectrum of brands, resellers and sometimes bad actors flooding the market with CBD which doesn’t contain what it says on the bottle. 

The UK Centre for Medical Cannabis carried out the largest assessment of the UK CBD market to date, in July 2019. Testing 30 of the most commonly used CBD oils in the UK, finding over 38% of them featured less than 50% of the advertised CBD content, including one CBD oil bought from a pharmacy containing 0% CBD.

With a little research, however, it’s fairly easy to tel these bad quality products apart from those with genuine quality products.

You should ideally look for a CBD oil that is:

  • Third party lab tested: As CBD is derived from hemp, the content of the hemp extract varies from batch to batch and even plant to plant. Genuine brands third party test products across a spectrum of tests, ensuring the product contains what it should and it is safe to consume. These tests are done at a batch level, ensuring each batch is consistent, avoiding variation from bottle to bottle. Should you not be able to see copies of these third party lab tests, do not buy the product and move on.
  • Traceable: Look for signs the brand is open about talking about its supply chain. In particular, to understand how the CBD is sourced and extracted. Where does the hemp originate from? How do they extract the CBD from the hemp? These questions are important as hemp is a bio-accumulator, meaning it absorbs heavy metals from the soil, which concentrate in a CBD extract if it’s not tested for. The gold standard are brands which can provide seed to shelf traceability.
  • Full spectrum or broad spectrum: Full spectrum, is also known as a whole plant extract, as beyond CBD it contains other potentially beneficial ingredients from the hemp plant such as other cannabinoid terpenes, and flavonoids (broad spectrum is the same minus THC). 

Even when you’ve decided on a brand you trust, chances are they don’t just have a single product.

There are multiple ways to take CBD, and these are the most common:

How to Take CBD Oil

There are several effective methods of taking CBD oil, and which one is the best mostly depends on you, and the benefits you’re hoping to obtain from CBD.

Let’s take a look:

CBD Oil Tincture Under The Tongue

Model and cbd tincture

Dropping CBD oil drops under the tongue, letting it sit for 60-90 seconds before swallowing is the method of taking CBD that provides the second highest bio-availability (after vaping).

It’s also one of the easiest ways to take a quick dose when out and about, to increase or decreases doses as needed, or you can cook with CBD oil.

Due to this versatility, combined with the fact it is usually one of the easiest ways to use CBD, it is the most common consumption method.

Vaping CBD Oil

vaping in black and white

Vaping CBD oil provides the highest bio-availability, meaning it is a great option for people who wish to get a high dose of CBD rapidly.

It also has been found to hold benefits for those attempting to quit smoking cannabis.

Others may find vaping CBD oil to be a great way to relax before bed.

However, it’s important to remember that full spectrum and broad spectrum CBD oil used sublingually usually cannot be vaped. As a result, most CBD e-liquids contain CBD isolate, which is pure CBD, with no other cannabinoids and frequently without terpenes.

This is thought not to be an optimum way of taking CBD for those using for its wellbeing benefits.

However, there is a way around this for those who prefer to vape their CBD, and these are known as concentrates, for example CBD crumble.

These sort of products are broad spectrum, and can be combined with terpenes. Meaning you get a variety of cannabinoids minus any THC (the compound which gets you high) and with intense flavour.

You can even make your own broad spectrum CBD e-liquid and benefit from the “entourage effect”.

To learn more about the best ways to vape CBD oil, take a look at our ultimate guide to vaping CBD oil! 

We also have a post on the difference between full spectrum, broad spectrum, and isolated CBD.

CBD Capsules, Pills & Tablets

Outside of the above methods of taking CBD, it is also available in a variety of pills, capsules and tablets.

It’s important to research the ingredients in full before purchasing something like this as they often contain very low amounts of CBD oil, and could also potentially have lots of other additives.

If using capsules, look out for full and broad spectrum CBD capsules. These are usually gel caps which hold the same CBD oil you would use sublingually. These are the types of capsules some studies have focused on, using CBD oil capsules as a way to take CBD in research related to both anxiety and insomnia.

However, do note that using CBD oil capsules have one of to the lowest absorption rates, as they go through the first pass effect, being broken down by the kidneys before entering the bloodstream. To learn more about absorption rates, check out our post about the bio-availability of CBD.

cbd oil drops vs cbd capsules

As a result, to obtain a similar amount of cannabinol in your bloodstream as when using CBD oil sublingually, you would need to take more dose wise.

However, they can still be a good option for those who want to take CBD daily but who dislike the taste of natural, unflavoured CBD oil.

There are of course also lots of edible CBD products available, but these are typically made by adding CBD oil to regular baked goods and snacks. Note how much CBD is in each piece to ensure you take how much CBD works for you, or instead create CBD edibles yourself!

Hopefully, now you have enough information to know which method of CBD is best for you, but how much should you take?

How Much CBD Oil to Take

CBD Oil Magnolia

You might be surprised to hear that there is no official recommended dose when it comes to CBD.

The optimal amount to take can vary a lot depending on factors such as:

  • Your size and weight
  • Your tolerance to CBD
  • What you are trying to get out of using CBD
  • The quality and other contents of the CBD product you’re using
  • Your endocannabinoid system and if you are predisposed to endocannabinoid deficiency 

Generally, the best way to find your perfect CBD dose is to simply start by taking a single drop under the tongue, and then slowly increasing the amount over time until you find your ‘sweet spot’.

This is called the low and slow methodology, and it’s a little more complicated than the explanation above, but you can find a whole post on it here.

Quite often, through this method, people will find that the results keep improving for a while and then the improvements stop.

This is how you know you’ve reached your ideal dosage, known as your ‘sweet spot’ and don’t need to increase it any further.

Hopefully, from what you’ve read so far, you can see that getting a good quality CBD oil and taking it properly isn’t as difficult as you may previously have assumed.

If you are new to the world of CBD though, you may still have a few more questions, such as:

Can I Get Addicted to CBD Oil? What About The Negative Side Effects?

Considering how long marijuana has been stigmatised, and it’s potential for abuse, you could be forgiven for asking this question.

You’ll be glad to know that any addictive qualities of marijuana come solely from the THC, and according to the World Health Organisation, CBD holds no potential for abuse or dependence.

While some side effects are possible, they are rare and CBD is typically well tolerated by most people.

Despite this, the following side effects have been reported:

  • Tiredness/lethargy
  • Dry mouth
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhoea

CBD is also known to interact with several medications, and as a result it’s important to check in with your GP.

man standing

Conclusion

First things first, caution is always good when it comes to putting new substances in your body.

We would recommend you do as much research you can before taking CBD, and be sure to discuss it with your GP if you’re unsure of anything.

However, as long as you do your research, put in the time to find a good quality CBD oil, and be careful not start low and slow, CBD is a safe food supplement to take.

You might just find it provides some well being benefits too!

To learn more about what science says about CBD, as well as how it works with the human body, check out the following posts:

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Disclaimer: Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Nature & Bloom and its staff. This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention for any disease. Nature & Bloom products have not been evaluated by the MHRA.

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