Sublingual CBD Has The Best Bioavailability

Have you been wondering about which form of CBD offers the greatest health benefits? If you’ve previously used CBD, you may already know that there are several ways to take it. You can smoke the cannabis plant, apply topical creams or ointments containing CBD, make a tea out of the leaves, inhale liquid CBD through a vaporizer, or even consume food that contains CBD such as cookies, chocolate bars, or crackers. What you probably didn’t know is that using CBD sublingually, which refers to placing it under the tongue, provides the best bioavailability [1, 2]. Bioavailability refers to the concentration and speed at which a substance is able to reach the bloodstream.

Why Does Sublingual Application Work Best?

There are several reasons why the sublingual application of CBD is best. First, it goes to work quickly, providing relief in as little as 5 to 20 minutes. This is because there are veins under the tongue that absorb CBD and send it directly to the bloodstream where it is rapidly broken down and transported throughout the body, especially to sites of pain and inflammation [1-3]. Another advantage of using CBD sublingually is that it bypasses the intestinal tract where it normally would be broken down by stomach acid. By avoiding the intestinal tract, this means the full concentration you take makes it into the bloodstream. This allows you to take a consistent dose, which subsequently improves the ability of CBD to quickly target your discomfort.

Why Don’t the Other Methods for Taking CBD Work As Well?

If CBD oil is taken in capsule form, it typically takes about 30 minutes for the capsules to dissolve and another 30 minutes or more for the contents of the capsule to reach the bloodstream and start to have the desired outcomes. Gel capsules take even longer to dissolve. Research even suggests that only about 20% of the CBD delivered via capsules gets absorbed into the blood after it passes through the intestinal tract [2].

When it is inhaled through a vaporizer, much of CBD’s potency is lost into the air, and smoking the cannabis plant leads to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) exposure, which is the substance that causes a variety of unwanted and harmful side effects [4]. The bioavailability that results from smoking CBD ranges from as low as 2% up to 56% [5].

Finally, eating products that contain CBD exposes it to stomach acid. This in turn causes much of it to be broken down as it moves through the intestines, and only small amounts of it actually reach the bloodstream. Research indicates that the bioavailability of CBD and the time it takes to enter the blood varies dramatically when it is consumed through food [2].

Overall, it is very difficult to properly gauge the actual amount of CBD you are consuming from using a vaporizer, smoking the plant, or eating CBD-containing foods. Similarly, applying CBD topically only penetrates the surface of the skin and it is also difficult to determine the actual concentration of CBD that is being applied to the skin.

So, if you want to get the most out of your CBD, taking it sublingually is the way to go. You will experience the full potency of the CBD, be able to determine exactly what concentration provides you with the greatest benefits, and adequately adjust the concentration to best accommodate your health needs.





  1. Guy GW, Robson P. A Phase I, double blind, three-way crossover study to assess the pharmacokinetic profile of cannabis based medicine extract (CBME) administered sublingually in variant cannabinoid ratios in normal healthy male volunteers (GWPK02125) Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics. 2003;3:121-152.
  2. Huestis MA. Human cannabinoid pharmacokinetics. Chem Biodivers. 2007;4(8):1770-804.
  3. Karschner EL, Darwin WD, et al. Plasma cannabinoid pharmacokinetics following controlled oral delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol and oromucosal cannabis extract administration. Clin Chem. 2011;57(1):66-75.
  4. Berman JS, Symonds C, Birch R. Efficacy of two cannabis based medicinal extracts for relief of central neuropathic pain from brachial plexus avulsion: results of a randomised controlled trial. Pain. 2004; 112(3):299-306.
  5. Ohlsson A, Agurell S, Londgren JE, Gillespie HK, Hollister LE. In: Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics of Psychoactive Drugs. Barnett G, Chiang CN, editors. Mosby Yearbook; St. Louis: 1985.
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