Okay, so you are ready to purchase a CBD product and look through the options online: CBD oils, CBD capsules, CBD gummies, CBD lotions, CBD chocolate – oh my! The opinions can seem endless – which is both a good thing and a bad thing. Many people get stuck between two of the most common CBD delivery forms, CBD oil, and CBD capsules.
They are quite similar in that they are both CBD extract in a carrier oil, however, one is in liquid form, and the other is packaged into small capsules. While they do have similarities, there are some differences between these two products as well. Is one better than the other? Is there an option that is a better value? How about bioavailability, does one reign supreme?
In this blog, we will explore the differences between CBD oil and CBD capsules to understand the better option for your individual needs.
One noticeable difference between liquid CBD oil and CBD capsules is taste. With CBD capsules, the CBD is contained in a gelatin or plant fiber capsule, which usually has no taste or smell. Only once you swallow the capsules do they break down to release the CBD oil, which means your taste buds are not exposed to the CBD whatsoever.
On the other hand, CBD oils are a liquid you put directly into your mouth, which means you will experience both the CBD oil’s taste and smell. Now, CBD oil can be flavored with delicious flavors like strawberry or cookies and cream, or they can be completely unflavored.
When they are unflavored, CBD oils often have a very earthy taste due to the natural hemp plant components such as terpenes, cannabinoids, chlorophyll, and flavonoids.
This is where the divide comes in. For some, the earthy, hemp flavor of CBD oil is pleasing and a smell and taste they grow to crave. For others, it is not their cup of tea. How about flavored options? A delicious strawberry flavored CBD oil is like a little treat to look forward to. For others, flavored oil does not jive with their palate.
Taste (or lack thereof) is one of the most common deciding factors for choosing between CBD liquid and CBD capsules. This brings us to our next factor to consider: absorption.
To understand whether CBD capsules or CBD oil is a better option for you, it is important to consider what happens once you have consumed the product. Do CBD oil and CBD capsules absorb at the same rate? Do they have equal bioavailabilities? Or does one form enter your system better, faster, or more completely?
Let’s first explore how CBD is absorbed by the body when taken as a capsule and when taken as an oil sublingually.
CBD Capsule Absorption
CBD capsules are essentially a CBD oil contained within a gelatin or plant fiber capsule. These are intended to be swallowed where they are then broken down in your digestive tract and get absorbed into the bloodstream.
Researchers have looked into how much of the CBD from capsules actually gets absorbed, and their studies indicate that anywhere from 6-33% is absorbed. As you can see, this is a pretty wide range. Another interesting point researchers found is that the amount of CBD that gets absorbed increases when a person has eaten recently, specifically foods high in fat.
CBD’s time to entirely pass through the digestive tract and absorb is estimated to be anywhere from 2-4 hours. Next, the CBD enters the bloodstream and must get processed by the liver. Once the CBD enters the bloodstream, it can then affect the endocannabinoid system in our brains and bodies.
CBD Oil Absorption
CBD oil in tincture form is absorbed differently than CBD capsules. CBD oil is intended to be placed under the tongue, also known as sublingually, and held for 30 seconds.
When it is placed under the tongue, it diffuses into the blood vessels located at the bottom of your mouth. This method of absorption bypasses our digestive tract. It can enter the bloodstream without having to pass through your stomach and intestines.
This means CBD oil is absorbed quicker than CBD capsules. It takes about 20 minutes or so to fully absorb. However, the bioavailability, or percentage that gets absorbed by the body, is similar to that of CBD capsules – ranging from 12-35%.
As you can see, the bioavailability of CBD oil and CBD capsules is roughly the same (as long as CBD capsules are taken with a meal containing fat). However, the real difference is in the rate of absorption. Since CBD capsules can take a few hours to fully enter your system and CBD’s absorption is relatively rapid, the effects may be felt differently.
Each may have its place in your daily routine, depending on the time of day or your goal. For example, a dose of CBD oil can be felt fully quickly, which might be suitable in some situations. In contrast, a slower, steady release into your system may be ideal in other situations.
When you first purchase CBD, you may not know what dosage is optimal for you. This is true for most people, as every person is different, and their sensitivity to CBD may vary. Starting with a low dose and slowly working your way up is a method that many people use to determine what dosage they feel best at.
With CBD oil, this method is pretty easy to do as you can titrate your dose up drop by drop, which means you can adjust your dosage easier and in smaller increments. On the other hand, with CBD capsules, your options are either the dosage in one capsule or the dosage in two, three, or four capsules. As you can imagine, jumping from 10mg to 20mg may be a steep step for some people.
For those who use CBD regularly, you may find that you use different doses depending on the time of day, what’s going on in your day, or some other factor. Therefore, having a CBD oil that you can easily modify the dosage of can really come in handy.
At this point, you may be getting the impression that CBD oil is definitely better for dosing than CBD capsules. Well, there is another side to the coin. CBD oil is dispensed with a dropper top directly into the mouth.
For some, seeing the lines on the dropper top and accurately extracting the exact amount of liquid each and every time can be a bit of a challenge. For people familiar with what dose of CBD works best for them, a CBD capsule can be a reliable way to get the same amount each and every time, without worrying about fiddling with a dropper lid.
In summary, both CBD oils and CBD capsules can be beneficial in their dosing capabilities, depending on your individual needs. If the ability to change doses slightly is important to you, CBD oil is your match.
If staying consistent on a specific dose without having to worry about measuring in a dropper lid sounds like music to your ears, CBD capsules are your go-to.
An essential aspect of your decision-making process regarding CBD is, you guessed it, price. If you are like most, ensuring you are getting the most for your hard-earned dollars is a must.
And in the case of CBD, this is no exception. To compare CBD oil and CBD capsules’ price, the most accurate way to approach this is to assess CBD’s price per mg. This is because comparing the cost of 30 capsules to 1 oz is like comparing apples to oranges. Plus, the amount of CBD contained in the product is really what is important.
CBD oils typically come in a 1 oz (30ml) bottle. However, they are available in various potencies. For example, Penguin’s CBD oil is offered in 250mg of CBD per bottle, 600mg of CBD per bottle, and 1000mg per bottle. Penguin’s CBD capsules have 10mg of CBD each and come in a 30-count bottle, for a total of 300mg of CBD per bottle.
Now, the price of the 250mg CBD oil and the 30-count CBD capsules is the same, and they both have a similar amount of CBD. This means that CBD’s price per mg is comparable at $0.15/mg of CBD in the capsules and $0.18/mg of CBD in the 250mg CBD oil. However, the capsules are a slightly better deal.
Now, when we get to the higher potencies, this is where we see the value change. For the 600mg CBD oil, the price per mg of CBD is $0.13, and for the 1000mg CBD oil, the price per mg of CBD is $0.11. What’s clear here is the more potent a product is, the better value it tends to be. CBD’s price per mg is a bit better for CBD capsules than the lower potency CBD oil.
Now, aside from price, having multiple uses for one product is a huge bonus. Our next discussion point is about versatility.
When choosing between CBD capsules and CBD oils, versatility may come into consideration. With CBD capsules, versatility is limited in that there is simply one way to use the capsule – swallow by mouth. With CBD oil, it is a bit of a different story.
CBD oil is much more versatile than CBD capsules. CBD oil can be used sublingually (placed under the tongue) as well as in many other ways. CBD oil is in a liquid form, which means it can easily be mixed into other liquids such as beverages, added to foods, used in cooking, or even applied topically.
With so much versatility, CBD oil is typically a good place to start when purchasing just one CBD product.
Now, suppose you often travel or like to bring your CBD products along with you to places you go to. In that case, portability is another factor to consider – let’s explore.
People who use CBD typically like to use it consistently. This means if you travel, or even head on a day trip to hike, go over to a friend’s house, or hit the mall to do some shopping, you may want to have your CBD along with you. Having a CBD product that is portable can be an important aspect to take into account.
With CBD oil, your options are basically limited to bringing the entire bottle with you. If you carry a large purse and have space, this may be no problem for you. If you have a large bottle, things can become a tad more challenging. Plus, if you are headed onto a plane, you have a limited amount of liquid you can bring on board with you. In contrast, you can very effortlessly slip a couple CBD capsules into your pocket.
In terms of portability, CBD capsules take home the prize. They are small and can be removed one by one and slipped into pockets, purses (even small clutches), and be carried with you wherever you go.
So, What’s the Better Option?
So, the question remains: CBD oil or CBD capsules: What is the better option? Well, we can’t answer this question for you because it truly does depend on your preference.
There are pros and cons to both CBD capsules and CBD oils, and each of these pros and cons holds different weights for each person. The truth is, there is no bad choice here. Both CBD capsules and CBD oils are easy to use and have similar absorption rates.
CBD oil can be titrated to different doses while CBD capsules come in a standard dose, however, CBD capsules are easily transportable. Both options are affordable in terms of price, but CBD oils at high potencies are typically the best deal.
As you can see, there are perks of both CBD capsules and CBD oils and the choice truly depends on your lifestyle and your needs. Both options can be seamlessly added to your daily lifestyle.