The Different Ways to Consume CBD - Which One Is Right for You?

CBD Paul Barach 1/24/2019
cannabis products
Which CBD product is best for you?

As CBD grows in popularity, you may be curious about trying it out yourself.

Whether you’re seeking its non-impairing effects on inflammation relief, stress relief, sleep, or its other emerging benefits, there’s no time like the present to give it a shot.    

With the variety of CBD products on the market, it can be difficult to know which is right for you, and what is the best way to consume CBD for maximum benefit.

Should you ingest it in a tincture or consume an edible?

Is it better to vape CBD oil or smoke hemp flower?

Should you use a topical lotion or apply a transdermal patch? 

Below is a quick guide to the different options and how they differ.


CBD tinctures come in different varieties, including alcohol, oil, or vegetable-glycerine based extracts. You can typically find them packaged in a small eye dropper bottle.

Many people choose to use tinctures because they are an easy way to consume CBD throughout the day in small, measured doses. You can add it to food, beverages, or apply directly in the mouth.

Alcohol-based tinctures can also be applied and absorbed under the tongue for quicker onset of effects.

Whichever approach you take, be sure to read dosing instructions for optimal benefits.

  • Main Benefits:
    • Dosage control
    • Easy to use
    • Discreet
  • Onset Time: Up to 2 hours
  • Average Duration: Up to 8 hours


cannabis edibles
More people are enjoying CBD edibles for longer-lasting effects.

You can find a vast selection of CBD edibles for sale with different dosage levels.

Ingesting CBD rather than inhaling it provides a longer-term, more holistic effect since the cannabinoid is broken down slowly through the digestive tract before entering the bloodstream.

For this same reason, it may take longer to feel the beneficial effects of CBD when eating it.

For those concerned with sensitive medical issues, this is one of the healthiest ways of consuming CBD.

  • Main Benefits:
    • Longer-acting
    • Most consumption options
    • Healthiest method
  • Onset Time: Up to 2 hours
  • Average Duration: Up to 8 hours


Inhalation is the fastest-acting delivery method in cannabis, and that includes CBD as well. When you smoke or vape CBD, the compound enters the bloodstream through the lungs. Although these effects don't last long, wearing off after a couple of hours.

With vaping you can go a few different ways: vaping CBD oil, CBD concentrates or vaping dried CBD-rich flower.

Vape pens are one possible route which many people enjoy, although these products often include additives which can be potentially harmful, so be sure to do your research.

If you're interested in CBD concentrates, there are plenty of options to explore: wax, shatter, oil, and more. These products typically contain greater amounts of CBD although require special equipment to consume such as a dab rig.

Vaping dried CBD flower, on the other hand, is a method that a lot of people love. Although it requires a dried herb vaporizer, this is a great way to consume the full spectrum of beneficial compounds in the plant without combustion.

You can find these same full spectrum benefits in many CBD oils and concentrates, however as with any cannabis product it really helps to see a lab analysis if you want to know exactly what you're consuming. 

The best CBD companies will be transparent about their processes, and the more you learn about this plant, the more questions you'll know to ask.

  • Main Benefits:
    • Quick onset of effects.
    • Healthiest inhalation method.
    • Variety of concentrates, terpene profiles, and CBD levels to choose from.
  • Onset Time: 5-10 minutes.
  • Average Duration: 2-4 hours.


Because of cannabinoid receptors found in the skin, topical application of CBD and cannabis products can also bring therapeutic results. 

Additionally, applying CBD in a lotion, oil, or gel form is the most effective way to spot-treat localized pain and inflammation. This can bring fast relief to specific areas of muscle ache or joint pain without the CBD entering your bloodstream.

Topical CBD treatment can be effective on more lasting issues, such as chronic pain and arthritis.

It can also be applied for skin-care conditions such as acne.

  • Main Benefits:
    • Treats localized aches and pains
    • Effective on chronic pain issues
  • Onset Time: 20-40 minutes
  • Average Duration: 2-4 hours

Transdermal Patch:

cannabis pain patch
CBD patches are worth a try when traveling or when dealing with chronic issues.

A transdermal patch is a medicated adhesive patch placed on the body, supplying CBD into the bloodstream through the skin.

Transdermal patches are a great method for long-term pain management or other conditions that require consistent dosages throughout the day.

They are the best option for those who want holistic CBD treatment without consuming edibles.

  • Main Benefits:
    • Holistic CBD treatment
    • Consistent dosage throughout the day
    • Long-term pain management
  • Onset Time: 20-40 minutes
  • Average Duration: 4-6 hours

Which Method Is Right For You?

With the many methods of consuming CBD now available, it can take some experimentation to discover which one is right for you.

Be sure to do your research. It is always worth the time to investigate which CBD companies and products have the best reputation and reviews. This way, you’ll save money and get the most out of your purchase.

Finally, every person’s body chemistry and needs are different. With any product, start with a low dose of CBD and work your way up to find the right amount for you.

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