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CBD Oil vs. CBD Capsules—Which One Has the Most Health Benefits?



Contents

1. The Disclaimer
2. The Advantages of CBD Oil
     1. It's Faster Working
     2. It's Available in Different Flavors
     3. It's Convenient and Easy to Take
3. The Advantages of CBD Capsules
     A. No Issues with Taste
     B. Dosing Can Be Better Controlled
     C. Optimized Absorption is Possible
4. Health Benefits of CBD Oil and CBD Capsules
     1. Anxiety Disorders
     2. Inflammation
     3. Pain
5. In Conclusion

The Disclaimer

So, perhaps you're wondering which to take: cannabidiol (CBD) oil or CBD capsules?

Well, that is and isn't easily answered. 

If you wonder which will give you the best health benefits, the answer is easy—if it's a good product, both will have the same health benefits for nearly everyone. The way you take it shouldn't influence CBD's efficacy, because the most important ingredient is the same in both oil and capsules.

Did you notice the "nearly everyone?" This is a justified disclaimer (of sorts) because no matter which CBD product is used, bodies react to it differently. This is true of not only CBD, but of everything we ingest.

No matter which CBD product is used, bodies react to it differently.

Our bodies absorb and metabolize substances differently because of our unique physical makeup. For this reason, we have diverse experiences with drugs, food, and supplements. What works well for some might not work for others, or not in the same way.

Factors that can influence your response to CBD hemp oil include your weight, the speed of your metabolism in general, whether and what you've ingested before taking CBD, and so forth. 

Also, the pharmacokinetics of products will vary depending on the other ingredients, which could affect factors like absorption, etc. [1]

However, these two methods of administration do have different characteristics that could influence your choice when shopping.

Advantages of CBD Oil

1. It's Faster Working

If you need CBD to kick in quickly, then taking CBD hemp oil in a few drops under the tongue is probably the better option.

Usually, new users want to know which of the products works the fastest. That's a good question! It pertains to what is probably the key difference between the two products—absorption.

If you need CBD to kick in quickly, then taking CBD hemp oil in a few drops under the tongue is probably the better option. Your sublingual glands will absorb the compound much faster into your bloodstream than via the gastrointestinal tract. 

Another benefit to taking CBD oil drops sublingually is that the product constituents won't degrade in the stomach in what is called the "first-pass metabolism." Degradation would mean lower serum levels of the cannabinoid. First-pass metabolism is also a slow process.

Users claim that you will feel the effects within 20–40 minutes when taking a few drops under the tongue, compared to 1–2 hours after swallowing a CBD capsule. Vaping CBD is the fastest way to feel its effects. You will feel that within minutes.

2. It's Available in Different Flavors

Manufacturers made the CBD oil more palatable with added flavors like cinnamon and mint or orange.

The main complaint about taking the oil is almost always its taste. A good quality, full-spectrum oil usually retains the slightly wild taste of cannabis, which not everyone can tolerate. Most users claim they get used to the taste after a while, but manufacturers devised a clever solution—they made the oil more palatable with added flavors like cinnamon and mint or orange.

Ideally, the oil should be held under the tongue for about 30 seconds for the best effect, so this is a big deal. 

3. It's Convenient and Easy to Take

Especially for people unable to swallow capsules, taking the liposomal CBD oil is very convenient.

Especially for people unable to swallow capsules, such as babies and the elderly, taking the oil is very convenient.

It can be packaged in different containers, but small droppers and squeeze-top bottles are popular. The small size allows for easy transport in a handbag or coat pocket, a definite advantage over bulkier CBD capsule containers.

Administration is super easy, and dose control is better than with an oil packaged in a jar, for instance.

Advantages of CBD Capsules

Capsules have a few important advantages over the drops. It takes longer before you'll feel the effects, but users consistently testify that these last longer. As mentioned, the health benefits remain the same.

A. No Issues with Taste

The softgel CBD capsules are easily swallowed and don't have a taste.

Especially for those who cannot stand the taste of the oil, this is an advantage. The softgel capsules are easily swallowed and don't have a taste.

Also, popping a capsule is more discreet than taking drops—important for those who don't want to advertise that they're taking CBD. It's a pity that this is a consideration for many people, especially at work and in public places.

Unfortunately, there's still a lot of misinformation regarding this wonderful cannabinoid going around. One of the most common misconceptions is that it's the same as marijuana cannabis, which is still highly stigmatized.

Most CBD is extracted from hemp, which is the cannabis plant without high levels of the chemical that causes the mind-altering effects marijuana is known for. That would be tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. 

A good full-spectrum CBD product will (and can legally) contain a small amount of THC—up to 0.3 percent. "Full spectrum" means that THC and other healthful compounds in cannabis were not separated from CBD during the extraction process. All of these work much better together than on their own in what is referred to as the "entourage effect."

RELATED: Understanding the Entourage Effect of Cannabinoids

B. Dosing Can Be Better Controlled 

CBD capsules are easier to manage because you know exactly how much of the product you're ingesting.

Currently, there are no formal dosage guidelines for CBD products. This is mainly because research is ongoing, and market regulation is still relatively poor in the U.S.

This means that it's up to the user to figure out how much CBD works for you. In this sense, capsules are easier to manage because you know exactly how much of the product you're ingesting. Dosing is a bit more difficult when you're taking drops.

Consult with a CBD-friendly health practitioner for advice if you feel intimidated by this aspect of taking cannabidiol. While we're waiting for research and the FDA to catch up, many doctors are already recommending CBD to their patients. They will probably have valuable dosage suggestions. (This is advisable especially if you're planning on taking the CBD with other prescription medicine.)

RELATED: Doctors Speak out on the Benefits of CBD (Cannabidiol)

C. Optimized Absorption is Possible

Optimized Absorption is Possible with CBD Capsules

Unfortunately, during the previously mentioned first-pass metabolism that occurs in the gut or liver, some of the CBD is destroyed before it reaches the circulatory system. This means that cannabidiol has very low bioavailability when taken orally in capsule form—some research suggests as little as six percent.

However, there is a way to increase the absorption rate of CBD, which will result in more of the compound in your bloodstream.

You may want to have a nice, fatty meal before taking your CBD capsule, as high-fat foods seem to increase cannabidiol absorption.

High-fat foods seem to increase cannabidiol absorption.

This was demonstrated in a recent study by the University of Minnesota. [2]

From the university's media release:

  • CBD exposure is vastly increased when CBD is taken with high fatty foods.
  • When compared to fasting, taking CBD with food increased the amount of CBD in the body by four-times and the maximum amount recorded in the participants’ blood by 14-times;
  • No cognitive differences were identified, which is consistent with previous studies.

If you don't like fatty foods, swallowing a spoonful of coconut butter or olive oil before taking the capsule should do the trick, too. Make this oil more palatable by adding a few drops of fresh or bottled lemon juice.

Health Benefits of CBD Oil and CBD Capsules

Cannabis has been used for thousands of years in rituals, as a recreational drug, and to address a great number of health issues. Early in the previous century, however, the plant was deliberately demonized and classified as a dangerous drug in the U.S. 

Fortunately, this has stopped neither research nor people's love for it, which is why hemp cannabis was reclassified in December 2018 as a non-controlled substance. 

Health Benefits of CBD Oil and CBD Capsules

RELATED: 8 CBD Benefits That You Should Consider

Cannabidiol as a cannabis compound was isolated only late in the 20th century by different groups of researchers. Drs. Mechoulam et al from Israel are popularly credited for reisolating and reporting its correct structure and stereochemistry. [3]

Also in 2018, the first CBD epilepsy drug was registered and FDA approved in the U.S., undoubtedly paving the way for more research and other CBD medicines. [4]

Apart from CBD's already-mentioned antiepileptic effects, here are its other proven and most popular uses.

1. Anxiety Disorders

CBD hemp oil is claimed to have a very calming effect.

Anxiety disorders are a collection of specific mental disorders characterized by anxiety and fear. Anecdotally, CBD hemp oil is claimed to have a very calming effect. Research agrees. 

A 2015 review of the literature explains that CBD has been shown to have: [5]

 ...considerable potential as a treatment for multiple anxiety disorders, with need for further study of chronic and therapeutic effects in relevant clinical populations.

  1. Generalized anxiety disorder
  2. Social anxiety disorder
  3. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  4. Insomnia due to anxiety
  5. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  6. Panic disorder

One study noted that it also affected stress indicators positively, like blood pressure and heart rate.

RELATED: Is CBD the Next All-Natural High-Blood Pressure Medicine?

2. Inflammation

Another popular use for CBD is for inflammatory conditions.

Another popular use for CBD is for inflammatory conditions. 

The HSS defines inflammation as: [6]

... a biological response to stimuli interpreted by the body to have a potentially harmful effect. While after injury or in certain conditions inflammation is a normal, healthy response, inflammatory disorders that result in the immune system attacking the body’s own cells or tissues may cause abnormal inflammation, which results in chronic pain, redness, swelling, stiffness, and damage to normal tissues. 

Acute inflammatory conditions are caused by bacteria and physical injuries, are sudden in onset, and usually resolve quickly. If the immune system is compromised or an injury is not seen to appropriately, it can turn into chronic inflammation or an abscess. 

Acute inflammatory conditions include: [7]

  • acute bronchitis
  • infected ingrown toenail
  • a sore throat from a cold or flu
  • a scratch or cut on the skin
  • high-intensity exercise
  • acute appendicitis
  • dermatitis
  • tonsillitis
  • infective meningitis
  • sinusitis
  • physical trauma

Chronic inflammation is slow in onset and is caused by invaders the body cannot break down, an overactive immune system, and certain types of viruses. It can take very long to resolve—even years. 

These conditions include all autoimmune diseases like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis/psoriatic arthritis, Type I diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Graves' disease, Sjögren’s syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, etc. Other conditions include tuberculosis, sinusitis, periodontitis, asthma, active hepatitis, etc. [8]

CBD is known to attenuate the body's inflammatory response. It's a common alternative to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), also popular for its superior safety and side effect profile.

3. Pain

Research indicates a place for CBD among treatments for chronic pain.

Research seems to indicate a place for CBD among treatments for chronic pain in all the conditions mentioned previously under “Inflammation.” 

The public loves CBD for this, too.

For instance, an increasing number of professional athletes are depending on CBD to alleviate post-exercise and/or injury pain—and they prefer it to the mentioned NSAIDs, which are traditionally prescribed for these. CBD-infused balms are also very popular for sore-muscle relief.

Writing for the Rheumatoid Arthritis Support Network, Jennifer Freeman, MD, mentions the research: [9]

A study published in the journal Pain in December 2017 analyzed whether CBD could prevent osteoarthritis pain and joint neuropathy. Based on their findings, researchers affirmed that it did both because it decreased joint inflammation and served as a protectant to the nerves.

She also notes that research demonstrated efficacy against pain in MS, fibromyalgia, and cancer.

In Conclusion

Whatever you decide to use CBD for—it's up to you to decide which product suits your needs the best. If you're battling to find the right one or you’re struggling with dosing, it might be helpful to talk to a health professional for advice and support. Never attempt to replace prescription medicine with CBD on your own. It's best to do this with the consent of your prescribing doctor.

Sources:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5576600/
  2. https://twin-cities.umn.edu/research-brief-high-fat-foods-can-increase-cbd-absorption-body
  3. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/263899667_Cannabinoid_chemistry_an_overview
  4. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-first-drug-comprised-active-ingredient-derived-marijuana-treat-rare-severe-forms
  5. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13311-015-0387-1?handl_url=https://successtms.com/blog/new-treatments-for-depression&handl_ip=66.249.69.37
  6. https://www.hss.edu/condition-list_inflammatory-disorders.asp
  7. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/248423.php#acute-inflammation
  8. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/248423.php#chronic-vs-acute
  9. https://www.rheumatoidarthritis.org/cbd-oil/

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