Learn how to best take CBD oil under the tongue and why it is the most popular method of application. Discover other methods ranked by their effectiveness. 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. how cbd works under your tongue (and why it’s effective) taking cbd under your tongue is easy. this process, known as sublingual administration, is claimed to be one of, if not the best way to
CBD oil under the tongue
Since CBD found its way into high street shops and online stores, the choices have improved. You can choose from products such as drops, sprays, capsules and gummies. You can also choose how to take it. CBD can be swallowed, placed under the tongue, vaped, rubbed into your skin or applied rectally.
Whether it’s CBD drops or CBD paste, placing it under the tongue is also known as “the sublingual method” and it is the most common way to take CBD. Despite its popularity, it is also the method that can cause the most confusion or raise questions.
Placing substances under your tongue understandably sounds a bit odd because it’s not something we often do. So, what is it about this method that makes it so widely used?
CBD under the tongue – Fast facts
- CBD oil is taken under the tongue because the cannabidiol can be absorbed into the blood stream via the sublingual membrane.
- To take CBD this way, simply lift your tongue, squeeze out the required number of drops and hold.
- At for the Ageless, we recommend holding the oil under your tongue for 90 – 120 seconds so that as much CBD as possible can be absorbed.
- Once the time is up, you can safely swallow the oil so the remaining CBD can be absorbed in your stomach.
- CBD e-liquids shouldn’t be taken under the tongue unless they are made using an MCT carrier oil.
How do I take CBD under the tongue?
The beauty of taking CBD in this way is that once you’ve tried it, it couldn’t be easier.
Simply, open your mouth and lift your tongue. Place the suggested number of drops under your tongue using the dropper provided. Then allow the oil to sit for between 90 seconds and 2 minutes.
It is up to you whether you keep your mouth open and your tongue raised or close your mouth. The important part is that the oil must remain in contact with the membrane under your tongue for the full time.
Do I swallow it?
Once the time has passed you can swallow any residue that is left in your mouth. This prevents any remaining cannabidiol from being wasted. Because some CBD oils leave a strong earthy taste, many people choose to complete the 90 seconds and then take a large swig of water to wash down any remaining oil.
Benefits of taking CBD sublingually
The word ‘sublingual’ refers to the large blood vessel found under your tongue. When liquids are placed there, they can cross the thin membrane and enter your bloodstream. The speed with which this happens has played a key part in this method’s popularity.
Many CBD consumers report that once they are used to it, taking it under the tongue is quick and easy. It requires very little effort and can be completed in a couple of minutes without having to use any special equipment. Drops can be placed under your tongue discreetly, whether you are at home or at work.
As an extra bonus, taking CBD under your tongue means that a higher amount will be absorbed for use. This results in a greater effect from less oil, meaning that you could save money when compared to CBD products that are only eaten or swallowed.
While all there are many compelling reasons to take CBD oil under your tongue, it can still take some getting used to. The first few times you try can be tricky, it’s not always easy to tell exactly how many drops you’ve used or if your dropper is positioned correctly.
If you do find this a problem, there are ways around it:
1. Stand next to a mirror or ask a friend to help you position the dropper correctly and count out the drops. Once you’ve tried it a couple of times it gets easier and becomes quick and convenient.
2. Alternatively, there are brands who have packaged their oils specifically to make them easier to use. CBD sprays are a great way to apply the oil directly under your tongue with no fuss. Others have specially designed droppers or have marked them in ways that make it easier to apply specific amounts without any guesswork.
Why does CBD oil burn under my tongue?
When CBD is in your mouth you may notice an intense, bitter flavour. Because many high-quality oils get the best effects from using more of the hemp plant, they can be intensely grassy and bitter. While unpleasant, this alone won’t do you any harm. A mouthful of water will help with any strong flavours.
However, if you get any reaction that is worse, stop using it immediately and consult a doctor. This may only happen in two situations:
- If you have chosen poor quality oil. Unfortunately, some oils that make it into the hands of customers have not passed the same quality checks that we apply to all our products. Contamination by chemicals or other products could result in an unsafe oil.
- If you are allergic to any product contained within the oil. This is very unlikely as great care is taken to choose natural ingredients with low risk of reaction, however, it is always worth carefully checking the lab results and labels of any products before their use.
How does it compare with other methods of taking CBD?
From the 5 methods to take CBD, placing oil under the tongue is one of the most effective. It isn’t as effective as vaping, but because it is so simple it is still more popular.
The effectiveness of each method can be measured by the length of time it takes for you to feel an effect, and how much of the active ingredient reaches your bloodstream. The distance of this journey and the obstacles faced directly affect how effective each method is. Once CBD reaches your bloodstream it is unlikely to be broken down further and it will be transported around your body for use.
True or False: the Most Effective Way to Take CBD Is Under Your Tongue
A s a wellness journalist who lives in hemp-obsessed California, I’ve had the opportunity to taste-test a lot of CBD products. Throughout my time test-driving tinctures and oils, I’ve been told (both from reading the label and from having face-time with creators of these products) that going “sublingual”—aka putting some drops under my tongue and letting them sit for a few seconds before swallowing—is the most effective way to take CBD. But is that advice actually legit?
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.
how cbd works under your tongue (and why it’s effective)
taking cbd under your tongue is easy. this process, known as sublingual administration, is claimed to be one of, if not the best way to take cbd oil. we wanted to know why that’s the case, so we set out to learn more about sublingual administration and how cbd works when applied under the tongue.
cbd can easily be absorbed underneath the tongue through the thin mucous membranes there. holding cbd oil drops under your tongue for at least 60 seconds before swallowing allows it to bypass digestion and become rapidly absorbed directly into the bloodstream.
cbd is one of many compounds that the body can absorb sublingually. certain enzymes, steroids, cardiovascular drugs, vitamins and minerals also can be taken via sublingual administration to take advantage of the fast path to absorption. using cbd sublingually can allow you to maximize both its effectiveness and the speed at which it will work; it may also help you get the most value out of your cbd oil.
how does cbd work under your tongue?
cbd is often taken under your tongue in the form of a tincture (drops) or spray. this works because your mouth is made of membranes, both underneath the tongue and on the inside of your cheeks. these membranes are full of blood vessels, whose role inside our bodies is to transport blood to and from the heart by way of veins, capillaries, and arteries. therefore, anything that can be absorbed by these membranes can directly enter the bloodstream as long as they stay present long enough to be absorbed, which is usually around a minute for most people.
taking cbd via sublingual drops is different than edible forms such as gummies, chocolates, or even capsules that must you swallow in order to begin the path to absorption. in that case, the cbd goes into your gastrointestinal tract, aka your gut, and it can take upwards of a half-hour to two hours to fully absorb.
in order to further understand how cbd works when it hits the mucous membranes under your tongue, it’s important to know about the circulatory system and its role within our bodies. the circulatory system contains our heart, lungs and blood vessels , and it is responsible for the flow of blood, nutrients, and oxygen to and from our cells .
wwhen anything enters our bloodstream, it is transported through the body for your cells to use where they see fit. different bodily systems use different nutrients, and deficiencies in nutrients exhibit different side effects. your body knows what to do with the (good) stuff you put inside it. that’s why we know that, for example, vitamin c is good for the immune system and protein helps with the growth and maintenance of our body’s tissues.
cbd works with our bodies due to the presence of an endocannabinoid system , or ecs. the ecs is involved in a tremendous range of processes related to sleep, stress, mood, pain, as well as the proper function of many other systems. in other words, its main function is to maintain homeostasis within our bodies , and it has long been an active participant in our lives despite only being discovered in the 1990s.
in fact, there is evidence of the ecs existing as far back as 500 million years ago in some of the earliest life forms on planet earth. because the ecs developed at such a primitive time, it has developed concurrently with the evolution of life in all vertebrates. as a result, the two forms of cannabinoid receptors inside the ecs – the cb1 and cb2 (more on those in a minute) – can be found all throughout the body. if you think about it, there are likely good reasons for this given its vital homeostatic role in our overall well-being. nonetheless, cbd can be absorbed into the bloodstream, where it can bind to these cb1 and cb2 receptors and be utilized by the body.
cannabinoids and receptors
our bodies naturally create cannabinoids that are different from those found in the cannabis plant. these endocannabinoids are produced “as needed” to keep all systems working properly. in theory, this is a perfect system; however, this is often not the case in real life as different people’s bodies process nutrients differently. this is why it may be possible for two people to take the same amount of a vitamin d supplement and then display different levels of vitamin d on a test right afterwards, and individual relationships with cannabinoids are no different.
there are also phytocannabinoids, which come from plants, primarily cannabis. the cannabis plant produces more than 100 known cannabinoids, and of those, cbd and thc are the two most highly concentrated. their effects on the ecs are still being studied due to the legal war that has been waged on cannabis in the past century. despite science being limited, we do know that cbd is non-psychoactive, meaning it won’t get you high; and even better, it is now legal in all 50 states since passing of the 2018 u.s. farm bill.
this means more research can be done on cannabis in the coming years, and that only bodes well for the future of cannabis. in the meantime, we know that phytocannabinoids can activate ecs receptors in the same way as endocannabinoids that the body naturally creates. this means that cbd can go to work on the ecs just like your body’s own endocannabinoids, activating all of its benefits along the way.
the two types of cannabinoid receptors, cb1 and cb2 receptors, are found in different parts of the body and serve different roles. cb1 receptors exist most predominantly in your brain and central nervous system (your spinal cord), and also can be found within the reproductive organs, lungs, liver, white blood cells, spleen, and gut, to name a few. they play an active part in regulating and inhibiting the release of neurotransmitters in the brain, and are involved in proper motor function, pain sensation, sleep, memory retention, and more.
cb2 receptors are predominantly a function of the immune system, and are most highly concentrated in the spleen. the tonsils, gastrointestinal system, and peripheral nervous system (generally speaking, your nerves) also contain cb2 receptors, and even small amounts have been found in different parts of the brain than cb1 receptors. they play an integral role in the function of white blood cells, which are responsible for fighting infection, and initial research has been conducted to look at the role that cb2 receptors play on functions such as suppression of the immune system and induction of both cell migration and cell death .
the other primary function of cb2 receptors is to help mediate pain and inflammation. when activated, cb2 receptors stimulate a response in the body that can fight inflammation and reduce tissue damage. along with the presence of cb2 receptors in the gi tract, this may also explain why people experience relief from inflammatory bowel diseases such as crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis with cbd use.
putting it all together
when you take cbd under your tongue it enters your bloodstream soon thereafter, and effects can be felt within minutes. this may take longer in some people, and different effects may be felt quicker or more slowly than others. when cbd enters your body, your cb1 and cb2 receptors utilize it based on your body’s current environment and state. the body is always trying to maintain homeostasis, and the ecs is only one part of that process. it communicates with, and thus needs feedback from, other systems to know where it needs to focus its attention.
let’s take pain as an example. if you are feeling pain, that is a symptom. pain can manifest in a number of ways and stem from various sources. it can also vary in location and severity, and pain from a tooth infection should be addressed much differently than pain from arthritis or pain from banging your knee so hard it bruises.
the reason why these should all be treated uniquely seems obvious: you’re feeling the pain for different reasons in each example! even though all three instances hurt, separate processes are causing the pain. because of this, the body is communicating in distinct ways and eliciting responses such as pain and inflammation in particular places as a result, and that’s how it knows where to focus its attention.
because the ecs plays such an integral role in achieving internal balance, cannabinoids can help facilitate processes that cause your body’s symptoms to fight the source of the issue, not the symptom. this is different from many other medications, over-the-counter or prescribed, that alleviate only the symptoms of an issue.
(and for those who need the obvious disclaimer: if you think you might have a tooth infection, please see a dentist or another qualified medical professional – we are not doctors and in no way should this information be taken as a recommendation for cbd to treat an infection, or any other kind of medical condition)
are there any reasons i shouldn’t take cbd sublingually?
in terms of health or safety concerns, there are no reasons why you shouldn’t use cbd by means of putting it under your tongue. however, some people really dislike this method of administration due to feeling uncomfortable with holding liquid under your tongue for a sustained period of time. much the same, others may find the taste too unbearable (anybody up for a sweet treat? ) to keep in their mouths for a minute.
if for any reason you find yourself unable to do the whole sublingual thing, you can still take drops orally by swallowing them. just know that if you do, it may take longer for you to feel the effects as the body will need to digest them first before they are absorbed into the bloodstream. it also means less cbd may ultimately be absorbed, however your body will definitely still receive some benefits, if not all.
you may also have seen or heard of reports of cbd tinctures burning underneath the tongue. if you experience this, it is almost certainly due to impurities in your tincture. pure carrier oils in cbd tinctures such as mct oil and olive oil will never burn or irritate your body, nor will pure cbd itself. to avoid this, always make sure you purchase cbd from a reputable source that can show you independently tested lab results to prove their products are as advertised.
how cbd works in other ways
it stands to reason that if you’re interested in how cbd works sublingually, you may also want to know more about other ways of consuming it. two other main forms of cbd products are vapes and topicals.
when vaping cbd, you inhale it into your lungs, which are chock-full of tiny blood vessels known as capillaries that can absorb the cbd (or whatever else you inhale). these connect to veins, which are another type of blood vessel. all of this, as you may remember, links to the circulatory system that we discussed earlier.
vaping is another way for the body to rapidly absorb cbd, though it has some drawbacks. firstly, there is still not 100% conclusive evidence that vaping is completely safe. furthermore, vaping requires purchasing additional hardware such as a battery in order to be able to utilize the product. lastly, there are additional risks to vaping cbd oil that contains other ingredients such as propylene glycol or vitamin e acetate. again, seeing third party lab results can help you here, but taking cbd in the form of a tincture can remove a lot of the unnecessary moving pieces that come with vaping cbd.
as for topicals, they can be effective to the localized area where they are applied. however, topical cbd products do not enter the bloodstream, and thus do not act on the body’s cannabinoid receptors in the same way. they will not exhibit the same long-term effects that ingesting cbd will bring about, but could still be worth using for a variety of reasons such as pain, relaxation, or for a myriad of skin issues.
much like cbd is interconnected with your internal systems, it plays well with others topically! cbd can have a synergistic effect when combined with other homeopathic remedies to help with the aforementioned uses. all of this means that there can certainly be a place in your life for cbd topicals – just make sure you know the differences between topical administration and any form of ingestion into your body.
there are sure to be even further advancements as we continue to learn more about all things related to cbd in the coming years. science continues to raise new questions as to cbd’s possible benefits, and rightfully so given the vital role it plays within our body and its interconnectedness to so many other systems integral to our function. the sky truly is the limit on the cannabis frontier.
in the meantime, we have access to so much information which allows us to utilize cannabis to optimize and enhance the endocannabinoid system that is inside each and every one of us. hopefully this article brought you value; and hopefully cbd can bring even more value to your life.