December 31, 2022

Ingesting CBD vs Inhaling

There is no other way of saying it; cannabis is here with us, and its popularity continues to soar, legally! 

As research on the “plant of a thousand compounds” expands, its numerous potential health benefits have become more apparent. That’s due to the myriad of chemical compounds it contains.

Top on this list of compounds are cannabinoids – a unique class of chemicals capable of interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system, causing drug-like effects. Their exact number is unknown, but researchers have identified at least 100, and they suppose that many more are yet to be discovered.

Two of the most abundant and well-studied cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC and CBD are isomers – they share the same molecular formula.

However, they differ in their atomic structures, and this accounts for the different physiological effects they produce. In effect, THC is psychoactive, while CBD is not.

We continue to learn more about these phytocannabinoids and how they affect us. Similarly, we always look for different ways to consume them to derive the most benefits. Traditionally, inhaling has been the most popular way of taking cannabis. However, with time, other more effective and safer ways have come to the fore.

Here, we explore ingesting CBD vs inhaling it.

Key takeaways 

  • CBD can be ingested or inhaled.
  • The bioavailability of oral CBD is very low compared to that of inhaled CBD.
  • Ingesting CBD is more beneficial because it preserves vital nutrients, enabling a more intimate interaction with the endocannabinoid system.
  • Sublingual administration is the best way of ingesting CBD.
  • Pregnant mothers are advised to keep off CBD as its effects on developing fetuses are unknown.

Breaking Down the Many Ways to Take CBD

Just like you have different ways of preparing your favorite meal, there are different ways to enjoy CBD. Of course, the intensity of the effects varies depending on the administration method.

There are two ways of inhaling CBD – vaping or smoking. This method is suitable for specific forms of CBD like aerosols, flowers, concentrated oils, and tinctures.

Similarly, you can ingest CBD by drinking or eating. This method suits CBD forms like edibles, oils, capsules, pills, and tinctures. 

You can also use CBD topically by applying it on your skin in the form of creams, lotions, balms, or salves.

Naturally, each method has its pros and cons. Every cannabis user has their preferred method(s) of taking CBD, mostly guided by factors such as:

  • How fast the effects kick in
  • The longevity of the effects, i.e., how long the effects persist
  • The potential health implications – both negative and positive
  • Convenience

You can experience CBD in different ways, plus it is always a good idea to try different methods to identify the one that gives the best results according to your needs.

Fortunately, CBD is highly versatile and comes in different forms. So, whether you prefer ingestion, inhalation, or topical application, there is a wide range of CBD products that will suit your preference.

The benefits of inhaling CBD

One of the most popular ways of taking CBD is inhalation. This can be done either by vaping or smoking. Today, tools like vape cartridges, aerosol sprays, bongs, and bowls, among others, have made this method even more popular.

The whole idea behind their development has to do with eradicating smoke. Yes, smoke contains tar, resin, and other toxic chemicals that can irritate the lungs and even cause respiratory diseases. 

So, if you are taking CBD to improve your health, it is ironic to use a method that exposes you to other dangers. While equipment like bongs are considered safer than joints and blunts, experts argue that they may not be effective in reducing toxins.

As such, the best way to inhale CBD is by vaping. This method employs a vape pen or drag rig to heat the CBD to produce vapor which is then inhaled. One of the top advantages of vaping is that it does not produce smoke. Opinion is still divided on whether vaping is better than smoking, but since it eliminates smoke, it is likely safer.

With the right method, inhaling CBD has numerous benefits. 

For starters, it delivers CBD directly to the lungs and into the bloodstream. From here, the CBD goes to the brain and other parts where it exerts its beneficial effects. Generally, the bioavailability of CBD via inhalation ranges between 11% and 45%, with a mean of 31%.

The implication is that the effects kick in fastest compared to other methods, typically within seconds to a few minutes. Moreover, peak effects can be realized within 30 minutes. As a result, inhaling CBD is ideal for users seeking immediate benefits such as relief from pain, inflammation, and stress.

Furthermore, the effects are also short-lived. Now, this can either be an advantage or a disadvantage. If you are new to CBD, you may experience some adverse effects like dry mouth, nausea, dizziness, or headache. So, you may recover faster from such side effects if you inhale CBD.

However, the downside of the short life span of this effect is that the benefits don’t last long. As a result, you may need to increase the frequency of your doses. 

Inhaling CBD may also improve your lung function. Research shows that cannabis smokers tend to have larger lung volumes and airflow rates. The way many users inhale cannabis could be a reason for this puzzling finding.

Usually, cannabis users take long, deep inhales and hold for a while before exhaling. Researchers contend that this technique stretches the lungs, expands their volumes, and strengthens the chest wall muscles.

This effect may be more pronounced if you take full-spectrum CBD due to THC. This psychoactive cannabinoid has bronchodilatory effects and may help the airways dilate. However, this effect is thought to be dose-dependent.

The benefits of ingesting CBD

If you appreciate the potential health benefits of CBD but feel inhaling isn’t right for you, ingest it. This is another popular option with a lot of benefits.

The obvious advantage of ingesting CBD is that it is less harmful than inhalation. Whatever form you take the CBD in, it first travels to your digestive system, where it is processed and absorbed into the systemic circulation. 

Naturally, this is a time-intensive process, so it often takes a while before the effects kick in. As a result, you can wait 30 minutes to two hours before feeling the effects. But there are apparent advantages.

Because CBD is processed naturally by the digestive system, vital nutrients and other ingredients remain largely intact. This enables a more intimate interaction with the endocannabinoid system, thus, more holistic effects.

Further, with full-spectrum CBD, the effects may be more intense. That’s because the liver metabolizes the THC into a more potent form called 11-hydroxy-THC. This explains why the effects of cannabis edibles are generally more intense.

Moreover, studies have shown that the first-pass process produces way more 11-hydroxy-THC via oral administration. As a result, the same dose of THC can be more potent when ingested than inhaled.

Although inhalation might be more popular than ingestion, the latter method is much more reliable for getting the most out of cannabis' healing potential. The full effects can be experienced within 4 hours (which is longer compared to inhalation) and last up to 12 hours. In some cases, the residual effects have been noted to last up to 24 hours.

What’s more, CBD edibles like gummies can be ingested discreetly. This makes them convenient for users who prefer to take their CBD on the move. Indeed, you can easily pop a CBD capsule anywhere, anytime, without minding about the people around you. No smoke or vapor is involved.

Finally, CBD ingestibles like pills and gummies are much easier to microdose. Microdosing is a relatively new method that involves taking a drug in tiny doses to minimize the unwanted side effects while benefiting from the beneficial effects.

It is a common method for taking psychedelic substances but can equally be used by people who experience adverse effects with CBD. 

Overall, ingesting CBD is a safer, healthier, and more efficient way to harvest the health benefits of this cannabinoid. However, people have different health needs and are free to choose the method they feel best addresses these needs. In any case, nothing stops you from using both methods. Just be sure to check your dosing criteria to avoid taking too much CBD.

Best way to ingest CBD

CBD edibles come in innumerable forms – gummies, pills, capsules, treats, homemade edibles, oils, tinctures, etc. The list is endless.

However, some methods of ingesting CBD are more efficient than others, which has everything to do with bioavailability. In pharmacokinetics, bioavailability refers to the final fraction of a drug that reaches the intended target(s).

The more bioavailable a drug is the more effective it is, and vice versa.

Generally, oral CBD has a low bioavailability of around 13 – 19% in humans. This essentially means that you get only 2.6mg to 3.8mg of bioavailable CBD from a gummy with 20mg of CBD. The effective CBD dose starts from 25mg upwards for conditions like insomnia and anxiety.

This means you may need to take many CBD gummies before getting enough quantities of CBD to induce a pharmacological effect. While there are ways to enhance CBD’s bioavailability, e.g., by taking it with a fatty meal or on an empty stomach, their efficacy is indeterminate.

So the best way to ingest CBD is via sublingual administration. This entails placing a few drops of CBD oil or tincture beneath the tongue and holding it for a few minutes before swallowing. 

The area beneath the tongue has a rich network of capillaries and thin skin. This is perfect for absorbing CBD directly into the bloodstream and increasing its bioavailability. 

How to ingest CBD oil

Naturally, the best way to ingest CBD oil is sublingual administration. CBD oils and tinctures come with calibrated droppers that enable users to measure a precise dose.

This is then placed under the tongue and held there for about 60 seconds before swallowing. This allows as much CBD as possible to absorb into the capillaries supplying that area with blood.

Moreover, the effects kick in much faster because the CBD is directly absorbed into the bloodstream. Typically, you should feel the effects within 10 to 15 minutes.

Do you ingest CBD oil or rub it on

How you use CBD is a matter of preference, depending on your health needs. You can inhale, ingest or apply it on the skin. As we have pointed out, each method has its merits and drawbacks.

Be that as it may, ingesting CBD confers more holistic effects because it enters the bloodstream and interacts much better with the endocannabinoid system. 

On the other hand, CBD topicals have a limited impact size. They are ideal for localized symptoms like muscle pain and inflammation. But then, you can use both methods to reap the full range of benefits CBD offers.

For example, CBD topicals may help alleviate muscle pain and inflammation. However, CBD oil taken sublingually can address other typical comorbidities like anxiety and sleeplessness.

Is it safe to ingest CBD while pregnant

No, it is not safe to take CBD while pregnant.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) strongly advises pregnant women to avoid CBD. That’s because there is little research on its effects (and other cannabinoids) on an unborn baby. So, it is essentially a precautionary warning.

Moreover, a study in the journal of Clinical Epigenetics on rodent models found that CBD affected cognition and mood. These effects persisted even after exposure had stopped.

It also showed that CBD could affect brain development by affecting neuron and synapse formation. This could lead to neurodegenerative disorders such as epilepsy, autism, and substance use disorders.

Even though CBD could help pregnant women with common pregnancy-related symptoms like nausea and vomiting, the risks to the developing fetus are unknown. So, in such situations, it is better to err on the side of caution.

Where to buy trusted CBD online 

As the use of CBD products continues to grow, it is imperative that you seek out high-quality, genuine hemp-derived CBD products. So, forget Smoke shops and gas stations. Instead, buy CBD from online companies like Dragon Hemp. We are transparent about our manufacturing practices and test results.

Moreover, our products are tailored to address various health needs. So, if your idea of ending a hectic work day is relaxing at your favorite place, these Delta-9 THC gummies can help. They contain hemp-derived Delta-9 blended with natural cannabinoids like CBD, CBDV, CBC, and CBG, plus terpenes to deliver a relaxing buzz.

For an effortless transition into dreamland, try these Sleep Gummies. They are infused with premium-grade CBD and CBN to help calm the mind, relax the body, and gently usher you into slumberland.

And saving the best for last! Our Love Gummies are what you need to ignite your passions. Made with Maca root—nature’s own aphrodisiac—and CBD, these cosmopolitan-flavored edibles are designed to get your blood flowing in all the right places, enhance mood, and power your exploits in the bedroom!

Explore community favorites

Warming Balm
No. 28 Mobility

A comforting remedy to long-term, chronic pain.

  • A soothing blend of camphor, clove, capsicum, and aconite to provide warmth, and frankincense, myrrh, corydalis to increase blood circulation and disperse stagnation, and Angelica root to drain dampness.

  • For chronic pain conditions including arthritiis, joint pain (neck, shoulders, elbows, & knees), lower back pain due to stiffness, herniations, and injury.

  • Calming licorice root to moderate and harmonize fellow herbs, and Full Spectrum CBD Hemp Extract to reduce inflammation and guide the medicinal herbs.

No. 28 Mobility
Warming Balm
Cooling Balm
No. 82 Acuity

Get relief from acute pain conditions with this refreshing and aromatic topical balm.

  • An aromatic, cooling blend of menthol, gardenia, Chinese rhubarb, and red peony root for dispersing heat in inflammed tissue, and frankincense, myrrh, and corydalis to stimulate blood flow, enhance recovery and healing of tissue.

  • An invigorating source of immediate topical relief. For sudden injuries, accidental ailments, or any unplanned physical pain.

  • Licorice root to moderate and harmonize fellow herbs, and Full Spectrum CBD Hemp Extract to reduce inflammation and guide the medicinal herbs.

No. 82 Acuity
Cooling Balm
Wellness Tincture
No. 2 Symmetry

Boost your immune support and calm your nervous system.

  • A preventative measure for all occasions. For proactive protection from daily stressors.

  • Full spectrum CBD hemp extract to support recovery, ease the mind, and bring balance to the soul.

No. 2 Symmetry
Wellness Tincture
Sleep Tincture
No. 6 Tranquility

Indulge in a deeper, more fulfilling level of rest with this gentle tincture

  • A daily dose of peace & quiet at a more fulfilling level.

    For troubled dreams, anxious minds, & other obstacles to a good night's sleep.

  • A calming blend of schisandra fruit and jujube seeds to calm the mind and promote blood circulation.

  • Nourishing Anemarrhena rhizome & szechuan lovage to clarify mental clutter, licorice root to harmonize and guide herbs, poria to reduce inflammation, and Full Spectrum CBD Hemp Extracts & CBN to promote uninterrupted rest.

No. 6 Tranquility
Sleep Tincture
Leisure Gummies
No. 7 Levity

Take your enjoyment to the next level with this lively dose of elevated bliss.

  • A lively dose of elevated bliss. For delightful celebrations, momentous occasions, and all other situations that require a little more happiness.

  • Uplifting hemp-derived ∆-9 THC to provide an elevated sense of euphoria.

  • A concentrated blend of naturally occurring cannabinoids to amplify the cheer without the risk of hangover.

No. 7 Levity
Leisure Gummies
Calming Gummies
No. 5 Serenity

A relaxing dose of peace of mind when you need it the most.

  • A relaxing dose of peace of mind. For nervous conditions, anxious states, and any other situations that require recentering.

  • Full spectrum CBD hemp extract to ease the mind, bring balance, and provide clarity through the stress.

No. 5 Serenity
Calming Gummies

Feel like yourself again.

Peruse our collection of plant-based therapeutics blending time-honored herbal remedies with next-generation cannabinoid extracts.