Taking sublingual CBD: Uses and precautions - Cannactiva

Sublingual CBD oil: what you should know before taking it

Taking sublingual CBD oil

I’m sure you’ve heard about taking CBD oil sublingually. Do you know why it is recommended and what are the benefits of this form of consumption? In this post, we explain the benefits and key aspects of using CBD drops sublingually to ensure safe and effective use.

Please note that in some European countries, including Spain, the use of cannabidiol in sublingual form is not regulated. We recommend that you inform yourself about the legality that applies in your country and the different CBD products that exist.

What does it mean to take CBD oil sublingually?

The use of cannabidiol (CBD) sublingually refers to simply placing a few drops of CBD in the mouth. drops of CBD under the tongue and holding it there for a while before swallowing.

This route of administration allows CBD to be absorbed directly through the blood vessels located under the tongue, resulting in faster absorption, greater bioavailability and more immediate action of CBD, compared to other forms of consumption.

The effects of CBD taken sublingually are experienced within minutes (approximately 30 minutes, although this may vary depending on the person and the dose used).

What is sublingual CBD used for?

Oral cannabidiol is being investigated for its potential benefits in various conditions, including chronic pain, anxiety, depression, insomnia, migraine and smoking cessation.

This way of taking CBD oil is recommended to feel effects on well-being. It is also used for therapeutic purposes, being a form of administration of certain medications, including medical cannabis.

How to take CBD oil sublingually correctly:

The way to properly take CBD sublingually is quite simple. Here are the steps to follow:

Choose a suitable CBD oil

There are different types of cannabidiol oil, which vary in CBD extract type, composition, concentration and taste. For sublingual use, it is recommended to use a full-spectrum, purified CBD oil. For internal use it is recommended to use concentrations between 5 and 10%. If high doses are needed or you know their effect, buy oils of maximum concentrations, between 20-30%.

Recommended dosage to start taking sublingual CBD

Before using CBD sublingually, you should inform yourself about the recommended dosage, which varies depending on the person and the purpose of taking cannabidiol. If you have no idea what dosage of CBD you need, seek professional advice before using the product. If you already know the amount of CBD you want to use, but this is the first time you take it, start with a lower dose than recommended and wait a few days to gradually increase it as needed. It may take about two weeks to find a suitable dose.

CBD dosage

Normally, the CBD dose is measured in milligrams (mg). The dosage of CBD oil varies according to its concentration. Check the product data sheet to see how many mg of CBD it contains per drop or pipette. Use a dropper or pipette to dose the right amount of CBD oil.

Place the oil under the tongue

Place the drops of CBD oil under the tongue with the help of the pipette. Try to prevent the dropper from directly touching your tongue, teeth or lips to maintain hygiene and product quality.

Keep the oil under the tongue

Hold the CBD oil drops under the tongue for at least 60 seconds. This will allow the cannabidiol contained in the oil to be absorbed through the blood vessels in the sublingual area before swallowing.

Swallow the oil

After having kept the oil under the tongue for a while, you can swallow it. The remaining CBD will be assimilated during the digestive process and will take effect later, thus prolonging the effect of sublingual CBD.

Effects and duration of CBD taken sublingually

How long does it take for sublingual CBD to take effect?

When taken sublingually, CBD produces moderate effects approximately 30 to 45 minutes after use [1].

How long do the effects of sublingual CBD last?

The duration of the effects may vary depending on the person and the dose used, but on average these effects reach their maximum after about 3-4 hours (or even 6 or more, depending on the person and the dose) [1,2,3].

Advantages of sublingual CBD drops

Rapid absorption, high bioavailability and more immediate effects

One of the main advantages of taking CBD sublingually is its rapid absorption. The mucosa under the tongue is composed of a network of highly permeable blood vessels. Sublingual absorption allows cannabidiol to pass directly into the bloodstream and be distributed throughout the body, where it will exert its effects.

Sublingual absorption has a double benefit: on the one hand, it avoids passage through the digestive system and therefore first-pass hepatic metabolism. That means that the CBD reaches the systemic circulation before passing through the liver (which partially inactivates the CBD before releasing it into the bloodstream). This results in a higher bioavailability of cannabidiol compared to traditional oral administration, such as cannabis capsules or gummies. CBD in sublingual use is estimated to have a bioavailability of 116% compared to ingestion [1].

The second advantage of sublingual absorption and bypassing the digestive route is that cannabidiol passes directly into the systemic circulation, resulting in a more immediate effect of CBD, compared to direct ingestion. This may be beneficial for those seeking quick symptom relief or for situations where a quick CBD effect is needed.

Taking CBD sublingually allows for faster absorption, greater bioavailability of the compound and more immediate effects, which can be an advantage for people looking for faster CBD action.

More precise dosing and ease of use

Having a relatively faster effect, taking cannabidiol sublingually allows a better dosage according to the desired effects and the needs of each moment of the day. The effects of sublingual CBD can appear within 45 minutes after ingestion, and last up to 3-4 hours or even slightly longer. Keep these times in mind when planning your dosage.

It is important to keep in mind that the sensations or effects produced by CBD can vary from person to person, and that the dosage needed depends on many individual factors, including the purpose for which CBD is taken.

It is recommended to start with low doses and wait at least a week or ten days before increasing the amount of CBD (only if necessary), in order to observe the real effects of CBD on the body. This precaution allows for a safer and more effective experience.

In general, taking CBD sublingually is convenient, simple and practical. Many people prefer this format to capsules or gummies.

One of the weaknesses of sublingual administration is the taste: raw hemp extract has a strong and somewhat bitter taste, due to the compounds in the natural hemp extract. Therefore, if you opt for the sublingual route, the use of purified CBD oil, which has a more neutral taste, is recommended.

Comparison of sublingual CBD and other forms of CBD oil use

There are several cannabidiol products on the market, each with specific applications. In case of doubt about the most appropriate way to use CBD, it is advisable to seek professional advice to obtain personalized advice.

Differences between oral CBD and sublingual CBD

Although it may seem almost the same, there are differences between taking CBD orally (capsules, food or swallowing the oil directly) and keeping the CBD in contact with the sublingual mucosa for a period of time before swallowing. The main difference is that one involves the digestive tract and the other only partially uses it. This results in faster absorption, higher bioavailability and faster effects of sublingual CBD compared to ingestion [1].

Differences between CBD and sublingual CBD vaping

As for CBD vaping (in devices such as the CBD Vape Pen) and vaporizing cannabis The pulmonary route has an almost immediate effect (minutes), although it lasts a short time. The maximum effect occurs after 30 minutes and decreases progressively. Another disadvantage is that vaporization involves a less discreet or even annoying process for some users, who find it more comfortable to use cannabidiol via sublingual [1,3]. Therapeutically, some people use CBD oil orally and only when acute worsening occurs do they resort to vaporization (e.g., people with chronic pain or anxiety) [4].

In addition, inhaled CBD is also highly bioavailable. When cannabidiol is inhaled, it passes directly into the bloodstream (as with the sublingual route, it does not pass through the liver first). However, its effects are less potent than the oral route [1,3].

Differences between CBD and sublingual CBD creams

As for the topical route, by means of creams with CBD for massages This has a localized effect of pain relief or discomfort, but it is practically not absorbed and what is absorbed is slowly [1,3]. In general, topical CBD is not considered to exert effects on the rest of the body. In case of using CBD for pain relief, both topical and sublingual routes may be indicated. Consult your doctor before using CBD for pain.

Recommendations for taking sublingual CBD

When taking CBD sublingually, it is important to keep in mind some precautions and recommendations:

  • In general, CBD is a safe substance. Follow the recommended dosage instructions, observe the effects and adjust the dose gradually. Note other factors that can also contribute to relaxation and wellness effects, such as a calm and pleasant environment, soft lighting, music, nature and healthy foods. In case of medical conditions, professional advice is essential.
  • Consult with your physician before using CBD, especially if you are taking other medications. There are interactions between CBD and certain medications, so make sure there are no contraindications in your particular case. Only the treating physician will be able to answer these questions.
  • Avoid taking CBD if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Consult your doctor if you have any doubts.
  • We recommend a legal and responsible use of CBD. Find out about the regulations and laws surrounding the use of sublingual CBD in your country.

Legality and limitations of sublingual consumption of CBD

The legal status of CBD oil for oral or sublingual consumption is controversial: its regulation varies depending on the country you are in and its specific legislation. Some European countries, including Spain, do not allow the sale of CBD products for oral use, so most European customers can only buy CBD oil for external use (topical use). Other countries, such as Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States do allow and regulate the sale of CBD products for oral consumption. From Cannactiva, we recommend an informed and responsible use of sublingual CBD.

We remind you that this article is informative and is not intended to prevent, diagnose or treat any disease or symptom. Its content can complement, but never replace, the diagnosis or treatment of any disease or symptom. Cannactiva products are not medicines. Consult your doctor before using CBD.

Doubts and frequently asked questions about taking sublingual CBD

What happens if I leave the CBD drops under my tongue longer?

Leaving CBD drops under the tongue for longer than recommended does not necessarily increase their effectiveness. Generally, it is suggested to keep them under the tongue for 1 minute or 1 minute and a half. Note that it is the CBD that is absorbed, not the carrier oil, so there will always be oil left in the mouth. We recommend that you follow the recommended instructions for use and consult a professional before use if you have any doubts.

Are there any possible side effects when using sublingual CBD?

Yes, there are possible side effects when using sublingual CBD, although in most cases they are infrequent and mild. Based on data from clinical trials in healthy volunteers, it has been observed that these side effects may include diarrhea, nausea, decreased appetite or tiredness. However, it is important to note that these problems usually appear when high doses are administered or in people who are particularly susceptible to the effects of CBD (5,6).

How often are sublingual CBD drops taken?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer. It depends on individual tolerance to CBD and the desired effects. Some people spread the intake of sublingual CBD drops over 2 or 3 times a day [4], and others use them only once, or even on an ad hoc basis, rather than daily. It is best to observe your own sensations with the product and consult a professional.

Why does sublingual CBD have higher bioavailability than orally ingested CBD?

Ingestion and the sublingual route are two slightly different forms of oral consumption of CBD. First, when a CBD product is ingested (e.g. capsules or gummies), the CBD passes into the digestive tract and from there directly to the liver. This means that before reaching the systemic circulation, CBD is metabolized by liver enzymes. As a result, part of the CBD is inactivated or eliminated before reaching the bloodstream and exerting its effects, which reduces its concentration and bioavailability in the body. In contrast, with the sublingual route, part of the CBD is absorbed directly in the mouth, where it goes directly into the bloodstream, bypassing the liver, which avoids first-pass hepatic metabolism and increases the bioavailability of CBD. This means that sublingual CBD has a higher bioavailability than ingestion, as it reaches the bloodstream faster and in a more active form. In the end, this CBD absorbed sublingually will also reach the liver (later), where it will follow the same process as CBD absorbed orally. Obviously, when you take sublingual CBD, you also end up ingesting CBD, which goes through the digestive tract. The latter will have delayed effects, which may complement the faster effects of sublingual CBD.

  1. Grotenhermen F. Cannabinoids for Therapeutic Use. Am J Drug Deliv. 2004;2(4):229-240. DOI: 10.2165/00137696-200402040-00003.
  2. Hosseini A, McLachlan AJ, Lickliter JD. A phase I trial of the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of cannabidiol administered as a single-dose oil solution and single and multiple doses of a sublingual wafer in healthy volunteers. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2021 Apr;87(4):2070-2077. doi: 10.1111/bcp.14617. Epub 2020 Nov 18. PMID: 33075170.
  3. Garcia de Palau, M. Characteristics of the routes of administration of cannabis – Update. CANNA Foundation. Available at: https://fundacion-canna.es/caracteristicas-de-las-vias-de-administracion-de-cannabis-actualizacion
  4. Bouso, J.C. Report on CBD. CANNA Foundation. Available at: https://www.fundacion-canna.es/sites/default/files/pdf/es/fundacion-canna-report-on-cbd-es.pdf
  5. Cunha JM, Carlini EA, Pereira AE, Ramos OL, Pimentel C, Gagliardi R, Sanvito WL, Lander N, Mechoulam R. Chronic administration of cannabidiol to healthy volunteers and epileptic patients. . Pharmacology. 1980;21(3):175-85. doi: 10.1159/000137430.
  6. Taylor L, Gidal B, Blakey G, Tayo B, Morrison G. A Phase I, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Single Ascending Dose, Multiple Dose, and Food Effect Trial of the Safety, Tolerability and Pharmacokinetics of Highly Purified Cannabidiol in Healthy Subjects. . CNS Drugs. 2018 32:1053-1067. doi: 10.1007/s40263-018-0578-5.

Andrea Rezes Esmeraldino
Cannabis researcher and trainer : Expert in CBD products of Cannactiva. With extensive experience in the cannabis world, Andrea is an expert in Cannactiva's CBD products. He deals every day [...]

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