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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 45-60 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 tinctures to increase its absorption rate or bioavailability. The goal is to maximize the amount of CBD that actually enters your bloodstream to help ensure the best results.

But what if some CBD oil remains under your tongue after the 45-60 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 just 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 45-60 seconds. But there will still likely be some small amounts left behind. It’s 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 absorption rate 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.

7 Responses

  1. I am having trouble with putting the right amount of drops under my tongue. Is it okay if I put my drops in a gelatin capsule and swallow? Will I get the same effect?

    1. Yes, you can. The downside is that you will likely have to use more of the liquid in capsules to get the same effect. That’s because the body will absorb less of the CBD since the oil has to go through the digestive system before entering the bloodstream when swallowed. If your issue is counting drops instead of taste, a better alternative would be measuring your dose by milliliters instead of drops. Most droppers have milliliter markings that allow you to more easily measure how many milligrams of CBD you are pulling into the dropper.

  2. Hello, thank you for the informative article. I’ve just started trying CBD a few days ago to help with depression, sudden panic and sleeping problems. Also hopefully to help me get off of nicotine once and for all. I’m trying nearly all methods including occasionally vaping CBD to replace nicotine as well as sublingual oil. Soon I’ll try a gel capsule in the morning. Is there any concerns about swallowing the MCT oil as a far as liver or stomach damage. Also is the bioavailability about as good if I mix it with a full fat dairy beverage rather than trying to use sublingually. Seems difficult for me to hold it and it also made my stomach mildly upset. I do have IBS that could be why I felt some stomach cramps and was gassy after swallowing some of the oil. Thank you.

    1. Those who have a coconut allergy are most likely to experience some issues with MCT-based sublingual drops based on user feedback. They typically address this by switching to a product with a different carrier oil such as hemp seed or grapeseed oil. You should discuss more significant concerns with your doctor. In terms of bioavailability, holding the drops under your tongue is best so that it absorbs into your bloodstream directly. Mixing it with a high-fat beverage can still be effective but you may find that you need to use more product to achieve similar results. Best of luck in your CBD journey!

      1. Eating or drinking something after taking your sublingual drops is not an issue. By holding the drops under your tongue for 60-90 seconds, most of the CBD will absorb into your bloodstream and bypass the digestive system.

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