Sublingual CBD Guide or How to Take CBD Oil Under the Tongue? – Unabis
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Sublingual CBD Guide or How to Take CBD Oil Under the Tongue?

By Jerry HuntSeptember 5, 2021February 10th, 2022CBD Blog, CBD Guide
How to Take CBD Oil Under the Tongue?


I am a cannabis and CBD advocate, researcher, and author with over 7 years of experience in consulting CBD producers and sellers on various industry matters. I graduated from OSU, majoring in biology. I live in Seattle with my dog Han and my cat Leia.

You’ve probably heard about CBD products and its many potential health benefits…

But did you know that there’s a right way and a wrong way to take CBD oil? The very best way to take CBD oil is under the tongue, as a sublingual product. Keep reading to learn more about the very best way to take CBD.

CBD Bioavailability 101

CBD is an amazing substance — assuming that the CBD you put into your body actually gets absorbed by your body.  

For a substance as beneficial as it is, most CBD products don’t get very well-absorbed. Most of the CBD a person ingests is broken down by the liver before it can really get absorbed into the bloodstream across blood vessels.

This ratio of ingestion: absorption is known as bioavailability. If you take 10 units of a substance and your body only absorbs 1 unit into the bloodstream, then that substance’s bioavailability is 1/10, or 10%. [1

Coincidentally enough, the bioavailability of most CBD products hovers in this same range: 10% or slightly higher. 

Some types of CBD products have higher bioavailability than others since they’re processed differently by your body than others. (This type of internal processing is known as pharmacokinetics.)

Here are the basics:

  • If you take Edibles CBD via a digestive system, it will kick in slowly and have lower bioavailability
  • If you take CBD via a capsule, it will kick in slowly yet have higher bioavailability
  • If you take CBD tincure under tongue, it will kick in fast and have higher bioavailability
  • If you take CBD via a transdermal, it will kick in fast and have lower bioavailability
  • If you take IV CBD, it will kick in immediately and have almost 100% bioavailability

As you can see, oral/edible CBD has the lowest bioavailability of all. Studies show that its absorption rate stays between 5-15%. Most of the CBD in a CBD edible will be processed in the liver and/or excreted before reaching the bloodstream.  [2][3][4]

Since CBD is fat-soluble, eating it via a high-fat edible or alongside a high-fat meal can boost its absorption slightly — but 15% is still the ceiling. [5

If you want to maximize your CBD’s bioavailability, there are better options than CBD edibles. 

CBD Half-Life 101

CBD’s half-life — aka the amount it takes for half of the CBD you’ve ingested to leave your bloodstream — is another important metric to keep in mind when searching for the right CBD product. 

Digestive enzymes and acids can break down the CBD you take too quickly, resulting in a shorter half-life and less time for CBD to really do its best work. Most CBD products and delivery methods follow down this path. The half-life of your average CBD product is just a few hours. One needs to take extremely high doses of CBD (1000mg or more) to have CBD stick around for 10-17 hours. [6] That’s a full bottle of CBD oil

In an ideal world, CBD would stay in your bloodstream for long periods of time, during which it could activate and balance your body’s endocannabinoid system. Is there any way to live up to this ideal? 

Thankfully, there is — and it’s found in sublingual CBD.  

Sublingual CBD kicks in fast have a high bioavailability and have a long half-life. It’s able to achieve this winning trifecta because it bypasses liver metabolism, digestive processes, and more. It begins entering the bloodstream as soon as its drops hit your tongue. 

Peak blood levels of sublingual CBD can be achieved within a few hours. And it’s bioavailability? That can go as high as 35%. [7

How to use CBD products: the basics

So…how to take CBD tincture under tongue? It’s surprisingly simple if you follow these steps:

  • Measure out 1-3 drops of CBD oil/tincture
  • Hold drops under the tongue for at least 10-15 seconds 
  • Swish drops around in the mouth (optional) before swallowing them
  • Use CBD consistently each day, slowly changing your daily dose as needed. 
Related article

How to Use CBD Oil for Anxiety?

Contrary to what you might think, CBD oil will actually kick in faster the longer you hold it under your tongue. Talk about a paradox, right? If you want your CBD oil to kick in super-fast, don’t just down it right away. So, how long to hold CBD oil under tongue? 

Hold it under your tongue for at least 10-15 seconds — you can go up to a minute if you want — before fully ingesting the remaining oil. Waiting this long gives the sensitive mucous membranes in your mouth more time to absorb CBD. The longer you hold CBD oil under your tongue the better. More CBD will go into the bloodstream and the less it will get ‘caught’ in your digestive tract.

How Does It Work?

As you probably know by now, taking CBD oil sublingually is the best way to take it. (Unless you have access to IV CBD and a personal team of medical professionals…but that’s a topic for some other time.)

But how does taking CBD oil under tongue actually work? Why CBD under tongue is so effective?

The answer to these questions depends on your understanding of a very important physiological system: the human endocannabinoid system. This system is built into each and every part of our bodies. Its receptors can ‘sense’ both CBD and endocannabinoids with ease. 

And when your endocannabinoid system is being well-nourished, the rest of your body can stay in balance and truly run on all cylinders. Leading researchers have found that a healthy endocannabinoid system (ECS) supports healthy sleep, emotions, cognition, mobility, inflammation levels, immune function, and much, much more. [8

CBD Oil Under Tongue = Healthier ECS 

Why mention the endocannabinoid system so much? Because understanding it allows you to understand exactly why taking CBD drops under tongue is so effective and what are CBD oil under tongue benefits

Taking CBD oil under the tongue provides direct access to endocannabinoid receptors located throughout the mouth! 

It also provides direct access to those membranes mentioned above. The moment CBD oil touches your mouth’s mucous membranes, its CBD molecules begin to travel into the bloodstream. From this point, they can begin to bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors located throughout the rest of the body. [9


CBD Oil Sublingual Method

Are you ready to try CBD under tongue? If so…great! In this section, we’ll provide a few more details. 

Step 1

The first step is simple: you’ll need to open up your bottle of CBD oil. Untwist its dropper top, yet leave the end of the dropper above the open bottle — you don’t want to spill any precious CBD oil outside the bottle!  

Step 2

Squeeze all the CBD out of the dropper top. Then squeeze the air out of it. The top itself should be completely pinched before you stick the end of the dropper back into the CBD oil.

Step 3

Stick the dropper into the CBD oil, and slowly unpinch the top of the dropper. This process will use suction to fill the dropper with CBD. When the right amount of CBD oil is in the dropper (some people like to fill it up all the way), proceed to step 4. 

Step 4

Carefully bring the dropper to your mouth. Hold it over your mouth, tilt your head back slightly, and squeeze out the CBD oil by squeezing the dropper top together. Be careful not to let the dropper itself touch your mouth! If it does touch accidentally, sterilize the dropper with rubbing alcohol and let it dry before returning it to the bottle. 

How Long to Hold CBD Oil Under Your Tongue?

There’s another thing you should know about how long to keep CBD oil under tongue: the optimal timeframe depends on your goals. 

If you’re late for a meeting and just need to sneak in a little CBD to get you through the day, then feel free to down your CBD oil without worrying about how long you hold it under the tongue. Taking CBD oil is still beneficial, even if you aren’t able to use it as a true sublingual. 

The ideal timeframe for holding CBD under the tongue

That being said…hold your CBD oil under the tongue for longer if you can. We recommend at least 10 to 15 seconds. 

If you want to hold it under your tongue for even longer, say 30 seconds to a minute, that may be even better! Remember what we said earlier: the longer you hold CBD oil sublingually, the faster it absorbs.

Sublingual CBD Dosing

How many drops of CBD oil under tongue? That’s a very good question. Your optimal sublingual CBD dosage will likely rely on many factors, including:

  • Your age
  • Your weight
  • Your health status
  • Your endocannabinoid levels
  • Your sensitivity to CBD
  • Your sensitivity to THC
  • Your sensitivity to terpenes

Because CBD dosage is such a complex, understudied topic, experimentation is the best way to find your ideal dose. We recommend starting with a low dose and slowly titrating up until you find what works best for you. Sublingual CBD is more bioavailable than other methods, so you may not need as much as you think! 

How many drops of CBD oil under tongue? Getting started. 

Consider starting off by taking 1-3 drops (not droppers) of CBD oil sublingually. If you’re new to CBD, the effects may be more subtle than you’re expecting. Be on the lookout for an absence of anxiety or an increased sense of calm. 

How to increase your dosing?

If 1-3 drops per day isn’t cutting it, then feel free to ramp up your dosage slowly by adding another couple of drops each day. There are 16 individual drops in each full 1mL dropper, so you should be taking a dropper/day soon enough. Most people find that this dosage is their sweet spot. Plus it’s super easy to measure.

There’s another thing to consider when talking about CBD dosage: dosing frequency. 

How often can you take CBD oil under the tongue?

Like the above questions, this one depends on multiple factors. One of the biggest of these factors is a personal preference. Do you enjoy the relaxation that comes with large doses of sublingual CBD…or the mental sharpness that comes with small doses/microdoses? 

  • If you like large doses, then you’ll probably want to take CBD less frequently. Once a day works well for many people. 
  • If you like small doses, on the other hand, then you can feel free to take CBD several times throughout the day. 
  • Regardless of what dosing frequency you use, the most important factor is consistency!

CBD oil under tongue benefits list

Why put CBD under tongue? Here are two more of sublingual CBD’s top benefits:

  • It’s fast
  • It’s easy

CBD oil works fast!

According to the International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, sublingual products like CBD have reached their highest blood levels within just 10-15 minutes. In other words, sublingual CBD works faster than topical CBD products, vaping CBD, or CBD gummies. Dr. Bob Melamede and other CBD experts believe that sublingual CBD provides the fastest, most efficacious way to nourish your body’s endocannabinoid system.

After this point, the amount of the substance in your bloodstream gradually starts to decrease. Sometimes, CBD can present more therapeutic benefits if you incorporate the compound into your daily routine, taking it regularly and allowing it to build up in your bloodstream. [10

CBD oil is easy to take under the tongue 

Taking CBD as a sublingual is also easy. There are no fancy products or devices to carry around. No packaged CBD edibles…no vape pens or batters…no vape pen chargers. All you need to stay plant-powered throughout the day is a small bottle of CBD oil. And all you need to do to feel better is hold a few drops of it under your tongue!

If you’d like to try premium CBD products, feel free to try any of our four different CBD Oil Drops. Each and every one of them is designed to be taken sublingually, so it can be an option of CBD under tongue for sleep, as well as other health challenges. 


What Is Sublingual CBD Oil?

As noted above, sublingual CBD oil is a potent liquid form of cannabidiol administered under the tongue and directly into the bloodstream.

What is the difference between taking CBD Oil sublingual or capsules?

The sublingual route has been demonstrated to provide up to 6 times faster absorption than orally ingested CBD capsules. Taking sublingual CBD also gives you high bioavailability, meaning that more of the CBD that you ingest gets into your bloodstream and does what it is supposed to do, compared to CBD capsules.

How fast is CBD Oil absorbed if I take it under the tongue?

CBD is absorbed into the bloodstream immediately, compared to other methods of consumption where there is a delay before it can be taken up by your system.

Is it better to vape CBD Oil or put it under the tongue?

Sublingual CBD oil provides a deeper level of relief than any other ingestion method because it allows cannabinoids to be absorbed sublingually (under the tongue) and directly into the bloodstream.

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