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CBD Oil vs. Capsules: Two Methods, Same Results?

Janet Miller

Janet Miller

Last updated: December 20, 2019

Shutterstock / Aedka Studio

CBD oil has two main methods of ingestion: liquid or capsule form.

Each method has its advantages, as well as disadvantages. These products also both widely available and share the same popularity.

A 2018 survey of cannabidiol users put sublingual (under the tongue) ingestion of oil drops as the most common way to take the supplement.

Still, a CBD capsule is a discreet and convenient way to take hemp extract. So which is the best?

Oil Drops vs. CBD Capsule: How To Choose Between Them

Choosing between oil and capsules comes down to many factors.


  • The reason a person is using the compound
  • The cost of each
  • The availability of each

Users who take the extract for medical reasons, on the advice or recommendation of a doctor, might be more comfortable using capsules, like any other medicine in 2019.

Only, when taken products orally, the CBD capsule, as well as the cannabidiol, pass through the digestive tract. First-pass digestion – as it is referred to – breaks down the hemp extract, minimizing its absorption into the body.

The loss of hemp extract to the digestive tract does not happen with sublingual administration.

Producers take the base oil extracted from hemp plants and fill gelatin capsules, like any other popular supplement (fish oil, Omega-3, etc.).

In CBD capsule form, users have:

  • An exact, measured dose of the extract
  • A tasteless, easy-to-swallow CBD capsule
  • A convenient, take-it-anywhere ingestion method

In oil form, users have:

  • The freedom to measure out their dose
  • The ability to mix it in with other foods or beverages
  • Better bioavailability and quicker absorption

Oil vs. Capsules: What are the Benefits?

Shutterstock / Wut.ti.kit

CBD product is short for cannabidiol. Cannabidiol is one of the hundreds of phytocannabinoids present in the Cannabis Sativa plant.

Unlike its cousin cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol is not intoxicating.

Research has shown, however, that cannabidiol has potential as a remedy for several common, but serious quality-of-life problems.

These purported benefits match up with the reasons people give for taking the supplement. One study of hemp extract users listed the following conditions as the top three ailments for which people take the extract.

Potential Medicinal PropertiesTop Three Conditions Treated with Hemp Extract
Anti-inflammatoryChronic pain
Analgesic (pain reliever) Joint/muscle pain or arthritis
Anti-anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) Anxiety

How To Use Oil or a CBD Capsule?

Hemp extract has many ingestion methods. The survey mentioned in the introduction listed the most popular ways for using these products as (the top three, listed from most popular to least):

There are other methods that you can check out here.

Taking CBD sublingually is different from taking a CBD capsule.

How To Take Oil SublinguallyHow To Take A CBD Capsule
  • Measure an appropriate dose from their bottle
  • Expose the sublingual gland under their tongue
  • Let the drops fall onto the gland

  • Hold it there for around thirty seconds
  • Then swallow
  • Take a single CBD capsule and swallow with water

Holding the liquid under the tongue for a few seconds increases absorption.

The sublingual gland under the tongue absorbs the oil drops, and so it goes directly into the bloodstream. This method is different from swallowing an oil-filled, CBD capsule.

CBD Capsules: What are the Benefits?

A CBD capsule offers users many benefits. The main advantage is their familiarity.

With a CBD capsule, you have a recognizable way to take the product, which is similar to other popular health and wellness remedies.

There are other advantages, besides familiarity.

Benefits of Taking CBD Capsules Benefits of Taking CBD Oil Drops
Lack of taste: Refined, purified, natural hemp oil has a pungent, earthy flavor that can, for some, be off-putting. A CBD capsule removes that unwelcome taste and make it easier for people to swallow.
Dosage control: Users can take as much or as little of the compound as they desire. With oil, the usual dosage is between 0.5 and 1ml, as the oil often comes in 30ml bottles
Precise dosage: A CBD capsule contains an exact amount of cannabidiol, so users do not have to wonder about how much of the compound to take.Versatility: The oil can be mixed in with other consumables, or added to foods and beverages; users can even take a piece of chocolate to mellow out the bitterness of the oil.
Discreetness: A CBD capsule looks and feels like any other popular supplement so it won’t raise eyebrows whenever a person takes them, in public or not.Better Bioavailability: The sublingual gland under the tongue delivers cannabidiol directly to the bloodstream without having to pass through the liver or digestive tract, allowing for better absorption into the body.

How Do I Take a CBD Capsule?

Users can take CBD capsules like they would any other medication or supplement in pill or capsule form.

They should:

  • Take one CBD capsule from its container
  • Place the capsule on their tongue
  • Take a drink of water and swallow the capsule

Who Should Take Capsules and Who Should Take Oil Drops?

The way that people take hemp products is important for many reasons. If they want to take CBD products as a pain reliever, then a fast-acting method is best. If they are using it for anxiety, then something that releases the extract throughout the day can also work.

Before anyone starts using hemp products to self-medicate, they should first clear it with their doctor. Despite the compound’s purported “safety,” the FDA cautions that the supplement could:

  • Cause liver damage
  • Interact adversely with other drugs/medications
  • Lead to increased sedation/depression if mixed with alcohol

If you get permission from your doctor to try best hemp extract as a supplement to a diagnosed medical condition, oil drops may be the best bet. Oil drops enter the bloodstream directly.

The loss of cannabidiol is minimal. Especially when compared to how much of the compound is lost to digestion when taken in capsule form.

With that said, hemp oil-capsules should be a perfect fit for those who are casually experimenting with the compound. Those who already take natural supplements to boost their overall well-being would be well-served by the capsules.

The amount of cannabidiol that enters the system via capsules would be less, but it would also negate any possible adverse effects.

FAQ about CBD Oil vs. Capsules

Is CBD Better in Oil or Capsules?

It depends on what you are taking the best hemp extract for. Medical users could benefit more from the direct absorption via the sublingual gland to experience any medicating effects.

Non-medical users can take one or two capsules a day, over a prolonged period to boost their vitality or energy gradually, as they do not have an urgent need to get the purported benefits of the compound. Cannabidiol is highly lipophilic (fat-friendly), so it accumulates in fatty tissue, where it slowly gets released.

How Long Does It Take for the Effects from a Capsule or Oil to Kick In?

Absorption Time and Duration of Capsules Absorption Time and Duration of Oil

Final Thoughts about CBD Oil vs. Capsules

Best CBD oil drops and capsules are both popular ways to take hemp extract in 2019. The former may be better suited for people who want to treat a specific ailment or condition. The oil is more bioavailable and goes directly into the bloodstream.

Users could even mix it with their food, as the oil can absorb into fatty acids, making it more soluble, easier to digest, and even more bioavailable.

Capsules have their advantages as well. They are more comfortable and more convenient to take. But, still, they are perhaps better suited as a supplement to a health and wellness regime to improve overall well-being rather than to treat a particular condition.

Which ingestion method do you prefer, oil drops or capsules? Have you ever tasted CBD oil? Do you have any tricks to make it go down smoother? Let us know in the comments section below.


Janet Miller

Janet Miller

Janet is a medical specialist with 10 years of experience as a physician and writing passion. She aims to help people and expand humans mindset. Chat with Janet on Twitter @Janet_Miller_MD or via our contact page.


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