August 29, 2019 9 min read

There are a lot of ways to take CBD oil, and the differences (are there any differences, you may ask?) can be confusing.

Never fear – we’re here to clear up your questions!

Let’s run through the main methods of taking CBD Oil and the differences between each so that you can make an informed decision about which option will work best for you.


fake mouth eating edibles

CBD capsules, edibles and oils can all be consumed orally. If you’re new to CBD, this can be a great place to start. CBD tablets are much like any other medication, painkillers or vitamins, so taking CBD tablets won’t feel unusual. Another benefit of tablets – even though it’s near impossible to overdose on CBD, if you follow directions on the package label, you will certainly remain within a safe boundary of CBD consumption.

Capsules and pills are usually a quick, no-fuss way to ingest CBD, but adding CBD oil to food can add some fun and creativity into your CBD experience!

There are quite a lot of brands out there that sell ready-made CBD edibles. But as with all prepackaged food, it can be difficult to tell if they’re fresh, and often they include a lot of pretty processed ingredients. Also, you can’t regulate how much CBD goes into each portion, as you can with homemade foods.

When making CBD edibles at home, your options are near endless. From traditional ‘edibles’ like cookies and brownies to more ‘upscale’ options like CBD pasta or salad dressing. Have a little fun and see what you can come up with! Because we use tinctures flavored with organic essential oils, Specktra CBD Tincture can also add a beautiful depth of flavor to dishes.

Eating CBD means that it has to pass through your digestive system before your blood can absorb its healing goodness. Whilst edibles are a very inoffensive means of consumption, they can take 2 hours to kick in, and only 20-30% of the CBD will be usable by your body.


CBD oil can also be applied topically. There are also specific CBD creams, balms, salves and patches solely for topical use.

Topical CBD involves applying CBD onto your skin and allowing it to be absorbed through your pores.

This is a useful application method for using CBD to treat localized pain and injury, such as aches, cuts, and sore muscles or joints. People with arthritis often choose a topical CBD option, to relieve aches and pains.

Topical CBD is also a great option for people with skin conditions. Full-spectrum CBD oil also contains healthy fatty acids, proteins, vitamins, and other nutrients that can help improve the health of your skin. What’s more – you’re applying CBD straight on the area where it is most needed.

We created the CBD Patch because we think it’s the most effective and easy to use of topical CBD application. We tried and tested many options before settling on the Patch. Salves were too sticky and transferred very easily. Creams didn’t last very long and constantly needed to be reapplied. Patches keep the goodness flowing for hours and hours, did not detach from the skin, and did not transfer unwanted residue onto clothing. We call that an all-round winning product! Get yours here. 


This is probably the most popular way to take CBD oil and the way that most CBD companies will suggest you use. By putting a few drops of your CBD oil under your tongue and holding it there for a minute or two, the solution will be absorbed through your sublingual tissue and into your bloodstream.

CBD oil is made by adding the extracted CBD to carrier oil. Much like essential oils, CBD needs to be diluted in oil for optimal absorption, ease of use, and general safety.

Carrier oils are not all made equally – much like cooking oils. Some are superior and more expensive, but these options often work best.

Let’s compare CBD carrier oils to cooking oils for a moment. McDonald’s uses a combination of canola oil, corn oil and soybean oil to deep fry their french fries. This combination of vegetable oils works great to crisp up a stick of potato – but would it taste delicious on a salad of fresh greens and herbs? Or in a fancy restaurant as a dipping condiment for a freshly toasted baguette? Yea, not so much. A beautiful extra virgin olive oil, on the other hand, will taste beautiful with baguette. And sesame oil would be a great addition to an Asian-style coleslaw.

All carrier oils have their uses, but not all are created equally.

When we were choosing which carrier oil to use with Specktra, we had a long hard think. Avocado oil is a popular option. Hemp seed oil is also often used, and a fitting choice considering the origins of CBD.

Ultimately, we went with unrefined, medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) coconut oil. The benefit of MCT coconut oil lies in its ability to fully maximize CBD’s potential. It increases the bioavailability of CBD, meaning that a little can go a long way. 


Inhalation is one of the fastest ways to get CBD working on your body. It’s a great option for people using CBD for anxiety, as there is an almost instantaneous ebb of stress and tension. However, inhalation is the least accurate method of CBD consumption, as it is near impossible to accurately measure your intake.

It’s also important to note the potential side effects. Of course, we don’t mix nicotine into our Specktra Vapes. But smoking CBD generally involves rolling hemp into a cigarette, along with tobacco. As I’m sure we’re all aware, tobacco has some serious adverse effects on health. Even if you buy tobacco free pre-rolled varieties or use an ‘oil rig’ (similar to a water pipe), smoking CBD still involves inhalation of smoke into your lungs, risking long term damage.

Vaping is a great alternative to smoking CBD. Even though you can’t accurately measure your dosage, it is super easy to control how much is going into your body. If you find one hit is enough to recenter your focus and calm, then maybe that’s all you need. Having an extra stressful day and one hit isn’t proving enough? You can very easily use the vape again – and you don’t have to wait an hour or more for the effects to kick in.

We also love the enjoyment that vaping brings to the CBD experience. Specktra offers four different flavors (flavored naturally with organic essential oils), each of which offers a unique experience. Try them out yourself to discover your favorite flavor!


Another common method is to simply swallow CBD oil. When you swallow CBD oil, it will go through your digestive system before being metabolized by the liver and eventually passing through the wall of the gut and into your bloodstream.

This is a great option if you’re not a fan of swallowing pills, and don’t want to apply CBD topically. Also, it cuts out the need to buy multiple types of CBD. Buying CBD oil tincture gives you many uses in one product!

However, CBD oil can have a pretty bad natural taste. If you buy a variety that doesn’t have an added flavor, swallowing CBD is not going to be a pleasant experience.

That’s why we flavored our oil with delicious, natural ingredients. Trust us, it makes a big difference to your experience!

One downside of ingesting CBD oil is that it is not the most efficient method. Like edibles, not all of the active ingredients may make it into your blood due to the long journey through your digestive system.


Suppositories are supposedly one of the next big things when it comes to cannabis, of both the CBD and THC varieties.

People who experience chronic pain or illness are being administered cannabis to ease the pain on a more regular basis. For people who want to continue with some sense of normalcy in their lives, getting high every day is not a viable option. Suppositories offer a solution – you receive all the benefits from the cannabis to aid with pain relief, but when taken rectally, you bypass the high.

If you’re looking for a way to maximize your body’s absorption of CBD, and don’t mind taking a ‘back-door’ approach, you might want to consider using a suppository. The lungs aren’t great at absorbing things. Our stomach is full of acid which can break down compounds, and reduce their effectiveness. We are able to absorb a lot more usable product through a suppository than a tablet, tincture or other oral method.

There are some people who rave about CBD suppositories, and others who found the discomfort of feeling pressure when one does not normally feel pressure, outweighed any potential benefits. We’ll leave the final verdict up to you.

How Long Does CBD Last?

man checking the time on his watch

CBD oil is simply an oil solution that contains CBD. It is made by extracting the CBD from a cannabis plant (often hemp plants are used, which has very low levels of THC). Hence, CBD is NOT psychoactive as it contains less than 0.3% of THC.

Once the CBD has been extracted, it is mixed with a carrier oil. The carrier oil allows for optimal absorption, as CBD is fat-soluble.

Many healthy people also make use of CBD oil to improve their general health, reduces stress, and help with post-workout recovery.

A lot of people who use CBD report that they don’t really feel anything. They wait for the effects to kick in -but often, the feeling never comes.

You probably won’t feel it kick in. In fact, you might not feel anything at all.

Which can make it tricky to figure out how long CBD lasts – especially once we start considering different physiological factors like age, weight, height, body mass, metabolism, and more.

For argument’s sake, let’s generalize how long each method of consumption is likely to take and how long the effects will last…

Vaping and Smoking

When CBD is vaped or smoked, it is almost immediately absorbed into the bloodstream via the lungs. Its quick absorption makes it fast-acting. CBD can get to receptors in the brain and body quickly.

However, the effects of vaped or smoked CBD may not last much longer than 1-3 hours. For many conditions, this means constant ‘topping up’ is required throughout the day.


Using the dropper, place a few drops of CBD tincture under your tongue. Leaving CBD oil to rest for about 30 seconds means that it can be absorbed into the delicate skin under your tongue. Rather than having to pass through your digestive system as it would if swallowed, holding CBD under your tongue acts as a shortcut – straight into the bloodstream.

The effects should start within 5-20 minutes and can last for 3-4 hours, depending on the dose.

This rapid method makes the sublingual method one of the most popular ways to consume CBD.


woman applying topical cream on hands

Usually used to treat pains and skin problems, topical CBD can be pretty slow to take effect. CBD from the cream, salve or patch must first pass through the skin before treating the source of pain, meaning effects can take an hour or more to be felt. However, once they do kick in, the effects of CBD can last for up to five hours or more.

This makes the Spectra topical CBD Patch great for people suffering from chronic pain. Applying cream or popping on a patch at the start of the day or before you go to sleep should carry you through for several hours.


CBD edibles are widely used and can come in almost any edible form including chocolate, smoothies, and candy.

This method is a pretty slow way of feeling the effects of CBD. The digestive system absorbs CBD via the gut lining. It can take anywhere between 20 minutes and two hours for the effects to take hold. Of course, this depends largely on how much you have had to eat and how recently. 

This time frame is similar for CBD ingested on its own and not mixed in with foods. Although – you take CBD on an empty stomach, it will be faster acting than if you take CBD after eating.


CBD suppositories are remarkably efficient. They have a high absorption rate and effects generally take around 10-20 minutes to work. The effects are also pretty long-lasting. The CBD can last for five hours or more, depending on the dose.

BUTT, it does involve some … shall we say … putting things in where they usually come out. If you’re cool with that, by all means, go for it.

The Takeaway…

  • There are many methods of taking CBD, all of which work in different ways.
  • Some methods such as vaping are quick to take effect but do not last more than a couple of hours.
  • Other methods like a topical patch won’t start working straight away – but the effects will last all day.
  • We recommend trialing a few options, before settling on a favorite. CBD is such a unique and versatile compound, and the ways of taking it are seemingly endless. Depending on your reasons for taking CBD can have a bearing on which is the best option for you.



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