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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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This article was co-authored by Aimée Shunney, ND. Dr. Aimée Gould Shunney is a Licensed Naturopathic Doctor at Santa Cruz Integrative Medicine in Santa Cruz, California where she specializes in women’s health and hormone balancing. She also consults with various companies in the natural products industry including CV Sciences, makers of PlusCBD Oil. Dr. Aimée educates consumers, retailers, and healthcare providers about CBD oil through written articles, webinars, podcasts, and conferences nationwide. Her work has been featured at the American Academy for Anti-Aging Medicine, the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians Conference, and on Fox News. She earned her ND from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in 2001.
There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a natural compound found in hemp and marijuana plants. Unlike THC, the other active component in marijuana, CBD oil doesn’t cause a high. However, early research shows that it may have a variety of health benefits, such as reducing pain, anxiety, nausea, and insomnia.  X Trustworthy Source Harvard Medical School Harvard Medical School’s Educational Site for the Public Go to source While there are several ways to take CBD oil, one of the safest and most effective is to use a tincture that goes under your tongue.  X Trustworthy Source Consumer Reports Nonprofit organization dedicated to consumer advocacy and product testing Go to source Before using a CBD tincture, talk to your doctor about the best dosage and whether you can use it safely.
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.
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.
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?
Why does CBD oil burn under my tongue?
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.
The beauty of taking CBD in this way is that once you’ve tried it, it couldn’t be easier.
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.
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.