Are You Supposed to Swallow CBD Oil?

Tinctures or drops are the most popular way of taking CBD. For the best results, gently squeeze the dropper bulb and place the drops under your tongue. Then hold the oil under your tongue for at least 60-90 seconds.

Holding it under your tongue allows the CBD oil to absorb sublingually through the mucous membranes in your mouth. This is the recommended way to taking CBD oil drops to maximize its bioavailability, or amount of CBD that actually enters your bloodstream.

But what if some CBD oil remains under your tongue after the 60-90 seconds? Should you swallow the rest or spit it out? What if you have trouble holding the drops under your tongue? Can you just swallow them from the start? This article discusses why you should minimize the amount of CBD oil that you swallow.

Swallowing the Extra CBD Oil is Better Than Spitting it Out

Most of the CBD oil will be absorbed if you keep it under your tongue for at least 60-90 seconds. But there will still likely be some small amounts left behind. It is better to swallow any remaining liquid rather than spitting it out. By swallowing it, some of the residual CBD oil will still be absorbed into your bloodstream via the digestive tract.

The bioavailability of the CBD oil that you swallow will be lower than what was absorbed sublingually. But it’s preferable to just spitting it out if you don’t want to waste any of your product. Having said that, you can certainly just spit out any remainder if you just can’t stand the taste. 

Can I Swallow the CBD Oil From the Start?

You can just swallow the oil from the start, but the bioavailability will be much lower. So it’s not recommended. Based on our research, the amount of CBD that actually enters your bloodstream is between 20-30% if you take the drops sublingually. And it’s only around 5% if you swallow it. So if swallowed, you’ll likely find that you have to use more product to get comparable effects.

A better alternative to just swallowing it is to add it to a milk-based smoothie or coffee with heavy cream. The fat molecules in dairy products will help increase the bioavailability versus swallowing it. 

Other Options

If you are having trouble keeping the oil under your tongue or swallowing it because of taste, you have some other options.

  • You can mask the taste of your current product. Adding a flavored mint, a few drops of peppermint extract or a couple drops of honey are a few of the ideas that others have shared with us.
  • If the “earthy” taste of the natural drops isn’t to your liking, you can try flavored CBD oils that are increasingly becoming available. When switching brands, just be aware that dosing requirements and effects can change. This is especially true if you’re switching from a full spectrum product to a broad spectrum or isolate.
  • You may find that tinctures just aren’t your thing. If so, you can consider other ways of taking CBD such as gummies or capsules. The bioavailability will be lower than the sublingual drops but they are easier and more convenient to consume.
  • You can switch to a higher potency product. By doing so, you can take fewer drops to get the same dosage. For example, you would take half the amount of a product with 1000mg of CBD in a 30ml bottle than one with 500mg in a bottle of the same size.
Sarah Jorczyk

Sarah Jorczyk is an advocate for CBD products and one of the Administrators of the CBD Oil Users Group on Facebook. She strives to educate the public, and promotes the use of safe products while helping others throughout their CBD journey. You can also find a variety of her content, including reviews and educational videos, on the group's youtube page.

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