CBD: Eat It or Vape It?

CBD: Eat It or Vape It?

As CBD becomes ever more popular and widely available, the ways to consume it become more sophisticated and complex. Oils, pills, candies, concentrates, salves—it seems like there’s a new form of cannabidiol on the market every day.

For some folks, especially those new to hemp and cannabis, this can feel overwhelming. That’s understandable, since most people are drawn to CBD because they’re already dealing with a difficult condition, whether it’s chronic pain, acne or the effects of cancer treatment.

The good news is that you’re in the right place to figure it all out. After all, one of the reported benefits of using CBD is reduced stress! Studies also strongly suggest that CBD can help alleviate symptoms associated with depression and anxiety and provide anti-inflammatory effects against arthritis and Alzheimer’s.

The first thing you need to do is find what form of CBD works best for you. This can take a bit of experimentation and a willingness to explore the options. Fortunately, there are few side effects from using CBD and it is generally well-tolerated by a majority of the population. (However, it can affect some adversely as well as interfere with certain medications.)  

CBD can be separated into products that are used internally, like edibles and concentrates that are inhaled, and externally, which includes salves and lotions that absorb cannabidiol through the skin.

For the purposes of this article, we’re concentrating on ways to take CBD internally. This is the most effective way for the compound to reach the bloodstream and interact with the body’s cannabinoid system. The most common and effective way to absorb CBD into the body is through the mouth, which invites two different methods: Ingestion and inhalation.

Here’s the scoop on both:


Ingesting CBD

The easiest and most delicious way to administer CBD is through infused gummy bears, chocolate and other treats. The digestive system begins to absorb the compounds through the stomach and then through the hepatic portal system, where they travel to the liver. The liver metabolizes the molecules further and delivers CBD to the bloodstream.

However, eating CBD isn’t the most efficient way to absorb CBD because of the thorough nature of the digestive process. It can take up to 30-45 minutes to feel the effects, though certain fatty acids have been found to help bypass the metabolic breakdown of the molecules before it hits the bloodstream.

This leads some people to take CBD oils sublingually, which means holding it under the tongue for 60 to 120 seconds before swallowing. This allows the mouth’s mucus membranes to absorb the CBD before its broken down by the stomach and liver enzymes and can reach the bloodstream more quickly and in greater concentrations.


Inhaling CBD

To receive the highest concentration of CBD and its benefits, many people have adopted inhalation methods that use concentrated forms of the compound in oil or wax form. These methods are delivered using a vaporizer or vape pen that heat up and deliver CBD as a fine mist into the lungs. The lungs are covered with small, fine filters called alveoli that immediately transfer CBD molecules into the bloodstream.

Some have begun to use a flash vaporization process called dabbing to inhale CBD. This involves using a glass water pipe or rig and a torch to heat up the concentrates and form a plume of vapor. Many prefer dabbing CBD because of its immediate effects as well as complex flavor profiles that add another dimension to the experience.

Compared to ingesting CBD, inhaling a vapor version of the compounds offers more much faster absorption, bringing swift relief.

Finding the right way to take CBD requires paying attention on its effects on your symptoms and health; many people utilize a combination of ingestion and inhalation get their dosages right. BE patient and don’t be afraid to experiment!


Ingestion vs. Inhalation

Ingestion Pros

  • Tasty
  • Wide variety of products
  • Effective, especially sublingually

Ingestion Cons

  • Can take up 45 minutes for relief
  • Diluted concentration

Inhalation Pros

  • Immediate effects
  • Calorie-free

Inhalation Cons

  • Requires special equipment such as vaporizer or dab rig
  • Many are not comfortable with the method
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