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CBD: Inhaling vs. Ingesting vs. Topically

Posted by David on

It’s understandable that a lot of people who have an interest in taking CBD as part of their daily routine don’t know where to start, with so many unique types of products out there that all promise to deliver the best CBD experience possible. The delivery method in general is what makes it possible. This refers to the manner in which the compound is actually delivered into the body.

CBD can be ingested, inhaled, or applied topically to the skin. Hence, each method determines how and when you’ll feel the effects of the cannabinoid, coupled with how long they will last.

Why are There So Many Ways to Take CBD?

Simple answer: It’s because every method offers something unique to the user. CBD is a plant compound derived from the hemp plant, and it is a cannabinoid, which is a type of compound considered to be quite unique from other compounds that exist in nature.

Cannabinoids have the important job of binding to cannabinoid receptors in the body to regulate specific bodily actions, ranging from inflammation to mood and everything in between. Cannabinoid receptors are located in every system of the body, and how we consume cannabidiol determines how the compound ultimately interacts with these receptors.

Which Method is Better?

Before we begin, we got to clear one thing up: there is no objectively superior delivery method. It’s not like one is going to give you a better experience than the others, overall. It really is about personal preference and what you are trying to get out of your CBD routine, along with which method just happens to work with your unique body.

Now, let’s cover the three main delivery methods, explaining what each one has to offer. This way, you will have an easier time picking out a product for your specific goals with cannabidiol.


Inhaling CBD is the fastest-acting and most potent method. This is because the tissue of the lungs is highly absorbent, and therefore absorbs the compound efficiently so that it’s released into the bloodstream within minutes. When we inhale the compound, we can feel the effects almost right away, and because of how easily it absorbs in this manner, the effects are felt the most strongly. The effects are also relatively short-lived, typically wearing off in about an hour or so, depending on how much actual cannabidiol you inhaled into the body.

Products for Inhaling CBD

There are a few different ways to inhale CBD.

  • CBD flower, which is the raw buds of the hemp plant that naturally contain a high level of cannabidiol along with many other desirable compounds. Flower comes in a rich array of strains and can be smoked or vaporized. You can buy the loose buds or purchase pre-rolls that do the hard work for you.
  • Inhaling concentrates such as wax, shatter, rosin, and slab. These are concentrated forms of hemp which are extremely potent compared to flower and vape oils.
  • Vaping is the most popular, which turns the compound into a smooth vapor. Vaping consists of a vaporizer device and a cartridge or tank containing e-liquid, and you can find all kinds of vaping products on the market.
  • -Bottled vape oils allow you to manually pour the e-liquid into a tank.
  • -Pre-filled cartridges are carts already filled with e-juice, which are disposable in nature and attach to a CBD vape pen.
  • -Disposable vape pens are the easiest to operate, as they come fully charged and filled with vape juice, and are totally assembled.


Another popular option is ingesting, which involves digesting the cannabidiol in various forms. This process takes up to two hours to be effective in the body, because the compound must travel along the digestive tract and get processed by the liver before being released into the bloodstream. Once it is then released, the effects can last for 8 or so hours, meaning that a dose in the morning could give you what you are looking for during most of the day.

Most people say that ingesting CBD creates a milder experience, but one that offers more systemic properties, meaning that the effects are felt more widely throughout the body.

Products for Ingesting CBD

Ingesting CBD can be done in a number of ways, as long as the product is made for that.

  • Gummy candies are edibles infused with the perfect amount of hemp extract. Gummies contain an identical amount of CBD per piece, making dosing easy, and it cannot be denied that they are absolutely sensational.
  • Other popular edibles exist, too, including chocolate, savory snacks, beverages on the market such as coffee and tea, as well as energy drinks, that may work more quickly due to their water-soluble nature that absorbs into the body’s cells more efficiently.
  • CBD capsules, which are simply encapsulated hemp extract and taken just like your daily supplements. These are good for those who want a quick and easy way to incorporate hemp into their daily routine.
  • CBD oil can be used as a food additive, by mixing it into your favorite dish or adding it to a morning smoothie. CBD oils are usually absorbed sublingually as a tincture, but it’s just as effective when added to food or drink.

Topical Application

Topical application means that the CBD is somehow applied to the skin, where it absorbs through the skin’s layers and reaches the muscles and joints beneath the surface. This method is actually effective, because cannabidiol has a great transdermal absorption rate. Topical application is used by those looking to provide relief to a specific area of the body, as the effects stay localized to where the product was applied.

There is also a growing number of CBD skincare products on the market, which are meant for the skin of the face, and use the compounds in hemp to offer antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties for the purpose of beautification and skin wellness.

Typically, topical administration becomes effective within 15 to 30 minutes, and can last for up to 6 or so hours.

Products for Applying CBD Topically

CBD topicals come in a wide range of forms, and the form does not determine the effectiveness or onset time, as it really comes down to personal preference. You can find topicals in the form of:

  • Creams
  • Salves
  • Balms
  • Lotions
  • Gels
  • Roll-Ons
  • Massage Oils
  • Adhesive Patches
  • Bath Bombs (allow you to soak in CBD-infused water)

Choose an Option That Meets Your Needs

CBD can be experienced in all kinds of ways, and it’s a good idea to experiment with different methods to see which one gives you the results you’re looking for. Whether you are using hemp topically, inhaling it, or ingesting it, you can find a wide range of products that are able to deliver.

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