Ways of intake

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The growing popularity of CBD has caused it to be available in nearly every shape and form that you can think of. Oil is still the best-selling form, but in addition to that there are mouthwashes, chewing gums, balsams, gel caps, suppositories, oil for e-cigarettes, sprays, sun creams, drinks and foods, all containing CBD.

Taste may be a reason to opt for an alternative form of ingestion. CBD oil is reasonably well tolerated by most people, but some have a problem with the way CBD tastes. This is probably why there are also CBD oils that have special flavors, such as chocolate or vanilla.

The different methods of administration all have their advantages and disadvantages, and which method is most appropriate depends per individual. Suppositories for example, may not seem to be the most ideal option at first, but they can provide a practical solution to people who have difficulty swallowing or become nauseous quickly as a consequence of their disease. For some complaints it is particularly important that CBD works fast. For most people however, ease of dosing will be a reason to give preference to a particular way of ingestion.

When in doubt, the methods described below may assist you in making your choice.


Oral use

Oral medication is generally the easiest and safest. This also applies to the use of CBD. Ingestion by dropping CBD-oil in the mouth (which is mostly done under the tongue) is the most widely used method. With oral administration the absorption usually begins in the small intestine (but sometimes already in the mouth and in the stomach). Before medication reaches the small intestine it must first pass through the gut wall and the liver. The consequence of this may be that less of a drug ends up in the bloodstream than if it would have been administered intravenously (directly into the bloodstream). Oral use may therefore require a relatively higher dosage. In addition, the absorption is slower, so it takes longer for CBD to fully take effect. Also, the presence of other drugs or nutrients can affect the speed with which CBD is absorbed.


Dripping medication under the tongue

In medical terms, this is called sublingual administration. There are small blood vessels located under the tongue that can directly absorb CBD. This way CBD can be immediately absorbed in the bloodstream without first having to pass through the intestinal wall and liver.


Rectal use

CBD can be used rectally in the form of a suppository. CBD has to be solved in this case, in a wax-like substance which is liquid or dissolves as soon as it is administered. Because of the thin wall and the rich blood supply of the rectum, the drug is quickly absorbed. A suppository can provide a solution to people who have complaints of nausea, difficulty swallowing or a dietary restriction (often after surgery).


On the skin

In medical terms this is called cutaneous administration. CBD is applied to the skin, for example in the form of a cream, lotion, or oil. This method generally works best for peripheral and local skin problems such as psoriasis and skin infections.



When a medicine is inhaled it goes through the trachea into the lungs. Then through the lungs the medicine is absorbed into the bloodstream. Absorption through inhalation is quick, especially when you compare it to oral administration. When cannabis is used recreationally, smoking is the most common way of intake. Because of the potential harm associated with smoking people are increasingly switching to vaporizers. These are devices that do not burn cannabis, but heat it to a high temperature instead. This creates a vapor that can be inhaled. The advantage is that this vapor does contain the desired substances (such as THC and CBD), yet fewer of the harmful substances. E-cigarettes (electronic cigarettes) are vaporizers as well. There are even cartridges for e-cigarettes that contain CBD. A disadvantage of this way of administration is that dosing can be tricky.


Finally, whichever way of ingestion you choose, if you want to use CBD it is important that you know how much you are actually taking. Therefore, always make sure that the CBD you buy comes from a reputable seller. If you choose CBD in oil form, there are laboratories that can test what this oil actually contains.

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