It can be tough deciding the best way to take CBD.
Tinctures, topicals, oils, edibles, capsules, and so many more types of CBD products are available in online stores everywhere. It’s easy to be filled with questions before making a choice.
Which form is best for me?
How much should I take?
What’s the difference between all this stuff anyway?
In this ultimate guide on the best ways to take CBD we’re tackling all these questions and more. We’ll break down a simple way to make sense of all the varieties out there and pick the best CBD product for you.
Rest assured and read on for all you’ll need to know about CBD. By the end of this article you’ll be able to find a product that works and works well.
How to Choose the Type of CBD That is Best For You
The sheer number of choices out there can lead to some serious analysis paralysis. So, we’re going to break down step-by-step how to find the best way to take CBD for you. After that, we’ll go into a bit more detail about all the CBD forms and some recommended products in each one.
Step1: Identify the Form of CBD Preferred
Think about how you’d like CBD to enhance your life. Are you looking for relief from pain? Would you like to stabilize your mood and reduce anxiety? Depending on your answer, you’ll find that a different form of CBD will best suit your needs. Here are some quick recommendations before we go into more detail below.
Step 2: Research The Proper Dosage to Take
If you’re finding it difficult to figure out a CBD dosage that works for you, you’re not alone. There are currently no firm guidelines in place on how much you should take based on pure science. If you’re planning on using CBD to treat a serious condition or are on a regimen of medication, talk to your doctor.
Your weight, metabolism, and endocannabinoid system create a lot of variables that affect the CBD dose you should take. We can guide you with some general recommendations for CBD dosages. But ultimately the best person to decide the right CBD dosage is you! Pay attention to your own body to find what fits for you. The best advice to follow at first is start light and slowly increase until you attain the desired effect.
Step 3: Find a CBD brand that you like and properly represents their products with COAs
There are countless CBD brands out there with more emerging every week. So much so that it can be a challenge finding the one that’s right for you. A few points we like to keep in mind when looking for a new CBD product are:
- Transparent COA and 3rd-party test results. All test results should be up to date and easily accessible right on the product page. Ideally, the packaging will contain a QR with a direct link to that batch’s test results.
- A brand that speaks to your needs directly. The good thing about all this choice is that a CBD brand that has your exact needs in mind probably already exists! Need something for an active lifestyle? Check out Miralon. A fun way to add CBD to your life? Try an edible from Pucks.
- Solid reviews and brand reputation. With a lot of CBD research still in its infancy, a brand’s reputation and online reviews are an invaluable test of its worth.
Step 4: Find the best and most reliable source to obtain that brand
There are a couple of options when it comes time to buy. Buying CBD directly from the brand’s website is a surefire way to know you’re getting something from a reliable source. But this can take a lot of time and energy as you sift through brand after brand, navigating around their offerings and making comparisons. A large retailer is a good way to quickly check out a wide selection of brands and speed up the process. The best part is bigger retailers can often beat the prices of direct sales from the brand website too. A site like CBD Emporium gives the best of both worlds. You’ll find a ton of products you can browse efficiently at a wallet-friendly price.
Step 5: Find the most enjoyable and effective way of taking your newly purchased CBD
There’s no wrong way to take CBD. But you might need some experimentation to see what’s best for your lifestyle and most enjoyable. For example, try spreading different amounts of topicals each application. Adjust how often you apply them. Find the CBD dosage of a tincture that works best for you by slowly increasing the amount or frequency.
Extra Note: Don’t forget to take your CBD on a schedule every day.
CBD works best after your endocannabinoid system has time to adjust and respond to it. That means some of the most desirable effects won’t kick in until it’s part of your everyday routine. Consider adding CBD to breakfast, lunch, or dinner. We usually eat around the same time each day for reliable routine formation. Research also suggests that one of the best ways to take CBD is with food.
Types of CBD, Proper Dosages, and Best Ways to Take CBD
With all the ointments, tinctures, edibles, bath bombs, and other products out there, it can be confusing to figure out how to take CBD. So, we’ve taken out as much of the guesswork as possible by categorizing every major form of CBD below. In each category, you’ll find tips on how to take it, some advice on CBD dosages, and a few highly recommended products.
CBD oils are probably the most common way to take CBD. They typically come in a brown bottle with a dropper included on the cap. They’re also known as tinctures, which technically means the CBD has been extracted with and contains alcohol. But in reality, there are very few products out there that really do contain alcohol. So, there’s little difference between the two beyond the name.
To take CBD oil, simply measure out the desired serving size according to the bottle in the dropper and place it under your tongue. Swish the oil all around the base of your gums for the most efficient absorption method. After about a minute to a minute and a half, swallow the oil.
If you’d prefer, you can mix CBD oil into any food or drink for a more convenient way to consume it, too. CBD oil can have a pretty potent flavor. So make sure you don’t mind the flavor profile of the oil in whatever you add it to. That said, natural hemp has an earthy, wheaty taste that can be a treat all by itself for some.
CBD Dosages for Oils and Tinctures
- Light: 7mg-15mg per day
- Medium: 20-35mg per day
- Heavy: 45-55+mg per day
- Best CBD Oil for Beginners: Populum Full Spectrum Hemp Oil. This oil passed our lab tests with flying colors with impeccable consistency. They come in 250mg bottles (8mg of CBD per serving) which is perfect for a beginner.
- Most Potent CBD Oil: Kurativ Premium CBD Oil. Besides containing a whopping 3300mg of CBD per bottle, this formula is loaded with other healing cannabinoids like CBG, CBN, CBC, and CBDA.
- Best CBD Oil for Pain: Dr. Burns’ ReLeaf. This oil relieved post-workout aches in just a few minutes in one of our testers! Each bottle contains 1200mg of CBD as proven by our lab results. Its blend of hemp extract and natural botanicals is a great choice for pain.
- Most Versatile CBD Oil: CBD Emporium Full Spectrum Extract. CBD Emporium is the go-to spot to find and try CBD products you can trust. Now, they’ve crafted their own proprietary CBD oil to boot. Their oil comes in a wide range of CBD dosages from 750mg to bottle all the way up to 6,000mg per bottle. That makes this an effective oil for any kind of user.
CBD edibles are one of the most fun ways to get your daily CBD dosage in. You can find the same high-quality hemp extracts in popular extracts in so many kinds of delicious treats. Think gummies, cake pops, matcha tea powder, and even chocolate bars! If you’re not a fan of hemp flavor, all these goodies make a tasty alternative.
CBD edibles do come with one sacrifice. They have a lower bioavailability compared to other ways to take CBD. When swishing CBD oil around in your mouth, it’s getting absorbed in a highly efficient, sublingual way. After you swallow it, a lot of the CBD is broken down by the liver and digestive enzymes. This is a process called “first-pass metabolism.”
Edibles pass all of the product’s CBD contents through this process until it’s all absorbed in your digestive system. Because of this, oils will give you a bit more bang for your buck. And we also recommend a slightly higher CBD dosage for this category. That said, if you’re less concerned with potency and more interested in an enjoyable way to add CBD to your life, there’s no better choice than an edible.
CBD Dosages for Edibles
- Light: 20-25mg per day
- Medium: 25-40mg per day
- Heavy: 40-60+mg per day
Recommended CBD Edibles
- Best CBD Edible for Beginners: Hemptotally Vegan CBD Gummies. These fully organic and vegan gummies are perfect for a beginner thanks to their relatively low CBD dosage. Each gummy contains just 20mg of CBD. It’s a great baseline to start. Not to mention gummies are kind of the classic edible of the CBD world.
- Most Versatile CBD Edible: Raw Relief Colorado Hemp Honey. Here’s an all-natural wildflower honey combined with rich, full-spectrum CBD extract. This makes an amazing spread on toast, a delicious addition to vanilla ice cream, or a mild sweetener for your favorite tea blend.
- Best CBD Edible for Sleep: Nuriv CBD Extract Sleep / Nighttime. This decadent nighttime sleep aid contains 20mg of broad spectrum CBD along with melatonin to help you rest easily. It uses a liposomal delivery system that works to absorb more CBD in your mouth and lose less during first-pass metabolism.
Topicals are one of the best ways to take CBD for local pain, inflammation, and skin conditions. Topicals don’t enter your body via the digestive system and CBD never makes it into your bloodstream. Instead, CBD topicals interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) present in our skin.
Here’s a basic primer on how the ECS works.
Our bodies all naturally produce cannabinoids. These cannabinoids interact with receptors in our skin in a few different systems. The central nervous system, immune response, sweat glands, and even hair follicles are all partially regulated by our ECS. There’s still a lot left to discover about how each person’s unique ECS works. Researchers believe the ECS’ biggest role is maintaining homeostasis for healthy bodily function.
So, where do CBD topicals come in? Well, topicals all interact with your ECS just like our bodies naturally-produced cannabinoids to give us a host of wellness-promoting effects. In clinical studies, researchers found reduced unnecessary immune response to fight inflammation, and promising results in the treatment of skin conditions like acne and eczema.
When you’re thinking about how to take CBD, know that topicals come in a few different forms. There are creams, ointments, salves and balms. Salves and balms are much thicker and contain no water. Think of a typical chapstick that adheres to skin strongly. Meanwhile, creams and ointments contain water and oil respectively. They spread thin and apply a bit more smoothly.
CBD Dosages for Topicals
NOTE: The skin is a protective barrier that tries to keep out all foreign substances, including CBD! So in the case of topicals we recommend slightly higher dosages than other forms, even to start.
- Light: 400mg per jar
- Medium: 1000mg per jar
- Heavy: 3000mg+ per jar
Recommended CBD Topicals
- Best for Beginners: DrBurns’ ReLeaf CBD Muscle & Joint Ointment. This CBD ointment is geared towards active lifestyles, but it can be a great addition to any skincare regimen. It has a low CBD dosage at just 400mg per jar. The lighter cannabinoid content and affordable price point make this a perfect choice for someone curious about how to take CBD.
- Most Versatile Option: Hemptotally THC-Free Organic CBD Balm. This balm is made from a broad spectrum extract that contains no THC. It’s loaded with a ton of natural botanicals which is a major plus for any CBD topical. The best thing here is all of our recommended CBD dosages are covered in one product. If you find the 1000mg jar isn’t cutting it, you can step up to the 2000mg version next time.
- Most Potent Topical: Kurativ Full Spectrum CBG Cream. This cream from Kurativ is one of our favorites. It’s packed with 3300mg of potent CBD extract, natural botanicals, and CBG. CBG is a cannabinoid used to fight inflammation, pain, and even to counteract cancerous cell proliferation.
If you want a method without a hint of fuss when thinking about how to take CBD, capsules are the way to go. CBD capsules are one of the best ways to take CBD that can fit into any daily schedule. This is great to quickly form a reliable routine that’s so important for CBD to be effective. Take a capsule after a meal at your desired CBD dosage and you’re good to go in seconds.
CBD extract is usually suspended in a softgel form with a carrier agent like glycerin, gelatin, and/or MCT oil. Know that CBD capsules work through your digestive system. So, they’re also subject to first-pass metabolism and the bioavailability loss that comes with it.
CBD Dosages for Capsules
- Light: 20-25mg per day
- Medium: 25-40mg per day
- Heavy: 40-60+mg per day
Recommended CBD Capsules
- Best CBD Capsules for Beginners: CBDfx Full Spectrum CBD Gel Caps. CBDfx are one of the most reliable brands in the market. They lab test every batch of products 8 times to make sure you’re getting quality. These gel caps are 25mg each which is perfect for a beginner.
- Best CBD Capsules for Restful Sleep: Irwin Naturals Full Spectrum CBD + Power to Sleep. Besides containing an effective full spectrum hemp extract, these soft-gels have got melatonin and L-theanine to lull you into a deep sleep. Try these as you’re getting ready to go to bed and experience the difference you’ll feel in the morning.
- Most Potent CBD Capsules: Endoca Full Spectrum CBD Capsules. These capsules are a strong formula of 50mg of full spectrum hemp extract per soft-gel. They’re a huge value for the other natural cannabinoids they contain like CBG, CBN, and CBC. You’ll also find omega 3 and 6 to promote overall wellness.
There are a few ways to enjoy CBD with your morning coffee for another way to seamlessly integrate CBD into your routine. Of course, you can go ahead and sprinkle a few drops of tincture into your cup and call it a day. But, this isn’t the best way to take CBD in terms of efficiency and flavor. Oils don’t mix well in water, so you’ll find floating tincture droplets that might ruin your favorite brew’s taste with an uneven consistency. That’s where some creative CBD brands come in.
The best CBD coffees out there use coffee beans’ natural oils to work as the CBD’s delivery agent. This makes a delicious coffee that you’d hardly believe contained anything extra. Alternatively, you could try a CBD-infused creamer. Fat in creamer is a great carrier agent for CBD and makes your cup of joe even tastier.
Recommended CBD Coffee Dosages
Most CBD drinks, including coffee, come in a low-dose single serving (around 25-30mg). Coffees will be a bit more difficult than other methods to measure out how much CBD you’re taking. So we recommend trying another way to take CBD if precision or heavier servings are a high priority.
Recommend CBD Coffees
- Best CBD Coffee: GreenTree Naturals CBD Infused Coffee. This blend of Brazilian, Central American, and Indonesian bean varieties is a delicious way to start the day. It uses an infusion process that seamlessly blends CBD into your daily brew.
- Best CBD Creamer: Brio Broad Spectrum CBD Creamer. This low-calorie creamer (just 80 calories per serving) blends well with all of your favorite coffees. It comes in vanilla or hazelnut flavor with 310mg of CBD in a 16 ounce bottle.
Vapes are one variety of CBD inhalant. Inhaling CBD offers one of the highest levels of bioavailability and immediacy of effects. CBD is delivered through the lungs via an agent like MCT oil that’s heated into vapor.
CBD vapes come in both disposable, one-time-use pens and cartridges to swap in and out of a rechargeable unit. CBD vapes are typically built in a small, sleek packaging and leave very little vapor and smell behind. That makes them the most discreet way to inhale CBD products.
Though CBD vapes offer immediate effects they also impart CBD with a shorter half-life. They actively affect you for about 2 hours while edibles and oils can last over 4 or 5. The good thing is you can always quickly take more CBD anytime since you can store a vape pen just about anywhere. They’re sized somewhere between a cigarette or ballpoint pen.
Recommended CBD Vape Dosages
A lot of variables affect how much CBD you’ll be taking per puff. Remember that these are just rough guidelines. For the best results, take a few puffs, wait a few minutes and repeat as necessary.
- Light: 200mg per pen / cartridge
- Medium: 500mg per pen / cartridge
- Heavy: 1000mg per pen / cartridge
Recommended CBD Vapes
- Best CBD Vape for Sleep: Lift CBD + CBN Disposable Vape. This disposable pen contains 200mg of broad spectrum hemp extract with melatonin and CBN. CBN and melatonin work as sleep aids to help give you a full night’s rest. Try this peppermint flavored vape just as you’re about to lay down to sleep.
Best Tobacco Alternative: CBD Luxe Be Alert. This 200mg full spectrum hemp extraction was made to stimulate and energize you through the day. The terpene profile (the organic compounds in plants) was carefully curated to make you more alert any time you need a little boost.
Hemp flowers are one of the most natural ways to take CBD. Other methods often involve some complex extraction processes. Female hemp flowers on the other hand are grown specifically to contain high levels of CBD with very little THC. This means what you’re getting and smoking hasn’t been tampered with much since the harvest straight from the farm.
Like CBD vapes, you’ll get the benefits of immediate effects and one of the highest levels of bioavailability possible. Flowers come in pre-rolled packages, or in raw form for you to use as you please. That makes it one of the most versatile options for taking CBD. You can roll your own joints, stick some in a pipe, or even make your own CBD oil.
Plus, smoking hemp flowers is just plain fun. Enjoy the slow, meditative ritual of rolling your own. Savor warm, sweet smoke in a deliberately pleasant way to add CBD to your life.
Recommended Hemp Flower Dosages
Like CBD vapes, setting some guidelines for a proper dosage is difficult. Instead, try to take a few puffs, wait a few minutes and repeat until achieving the desired effect. Like any other CBD product, start slow and work your way up.
Recommended Hemp Flower
- Best Hemp Flower for Beginners: Blaz CBD Cigarettes. These hemp cigarettes come pre-rolled with 20 smokes per package. If you’re curious about hemp flowers without worrying about rolling them yourself, give these a try. Their ultra affordable price is a great point of entry.
- Best Raw Hemp Flower: H-Hemp CBD + CBG Flower Jar. For raw flower to use as you please, H-Hemp’s flower jar is an excellent choice. Each batch contains CBD and CBG in several available strains. We recommend a popular strain called Lifter to start with.
You’re armed with all the knowledge you need to make an informed choice. We’re confident if you follow this guide, you’ll be satisfied with any CBD product you decide to try. Remember to buy according to your expectations and needs, start with a low CBD dosage, and work your way up as needed.
Want to learn more about CBD? Check out our full spectrum vs. broad spectrum vs. isolate guide or the differences between cannabis and hemp.
Remember that there are no firm guidelines for CBD dosages. But here are some baselines by strength desired.