CBD 101

Sublingual CBD - A Complete Guide

Do you know what sublingual CBD is? It’s a term used to describe a particular way of taking this cannabis-derived chemical compound. There are many different ways of administering CBD and sublingual administration is just one of them. Not all administration methods are equal and that’s something that we are going to explore in this article.

More people are embracing CBD than ever before. In the last few years, the CBD industry has experienced a mighty wave of new interest from wellness consumers across the globe. This has come after many clinical studies have shown the potential therapeutic benefits of CBD. There is still much more research to be done to explore the use of CBD for specific ailments.

The growing appetite for CBD has led to a wide range of different products entering the market. From edibles to topicals to tinctures, consumers are spoilt for choice when it comes down to picking CBD products. The CBD market is now saturated with products. In turn, this has forced CBD companies to innovate and up their game.

There’s nothing like a little bit of healthy competition. This is great for consumers on the lookout for high-quality CBD products because it forces companies to deliver the best products at the best prices. At Spero CBD, we are committed to innovation and are always exploring ways to improve our products.

In this article, we are going to be exploring the following questions:

  • How is sublingual CBD administered?
  • How does CBD oil work under the tongue?
  • How much CBD is absorbed sublingually?
  • Is sublingual faster than oral?
  • What drugs are administered sublingually?
  • Can CBD be absorbed through skin?
  • Does topical CBD actually work?

How is sublingual CBD administered?

CBD can be administered in many different ways. One of the most common and effective ways to take CBD is through sublingual administration. This involves placing a few drops of CBD oil under your tongue, letting the compound dissolve and diffuse into your bloodstream through the tissues in your tongue. If you are looking to get the most out of your CBD oil, sublingual administration is the way to go. We will discuss why this is later in the article.

Sublingual administration is actually rather similar to buccal administration. This is where you play a substance between your gums and cheek. By doing this, you let the substance dissolve and allow it to be diffused into your bloodstream. Buccal administration can be used when consuming products like CBD spray. Both sublingual and buccal substances can come in the form of oils, sprays, tablets, and films.

There are lots of different ways to take CBD but if you are looking to quickly get this compound circulating your bloodstream, sublingual administration is by far the most effective. CBD can only be put to good use in the body when it enters the bloodstream. Taking products that force the compound to go on a long-winded journey through the body is rarely effective.

The longer the journey, the more chance the compound has to get lost in the body before it can be utilized in the bloodstream. As we’ve said before in other educational content on our blog, you need to think of CBD products as being like a vessel carrying the compound to the desired destination: the bloodstream.

It is the product’s job to ensure as much of the compound enters the bloodstream as possible and some of these products are better at doing this than others. For instance, CBD gummies are taken orally. The CBD in these gummies has to travel all the way to the stomach before it gets the chance to enter the bloodstream. This is highly inefficient.

Although, a CBD product cannot just act as a vessel for the compound. The product has to offer an enjoyable experience as well. People like to take CBD gummies because they offer a subtle introduction to the therapeutic benefits of this compound. Those who take CBD oil are usually more interested in utilizing the therapeutic potential of the compound.

How does CBD oil work under the tongue?

The best way to take CBD oil is through sublingual administration. Rather than place a few drops of the oil under the tongue, some people like to incorporate this oil into food recipes and beverages. This can be done by adding a few drops of the oil into a mixing bowl. By doing this, you would be consuming CBD oil orally, altering its overall effectiveness.

Sublingual and intranasal administration are often pitted against each other. If you haven’t heard of intranasal administration before, this is when a substance is insufflated through the nose. The substance is then absorbed into the bloodstream through the lining of the nose, which is home to many blood vessels.

CBD vape and CBD nasal spray are to be taken through intranasal administration. Like sublingual administration, intranasal administration gives the compound a quick route into the bloodstream. The question is, which one is better? There have been several studies comparing the two forms of administration and the results have certainly been interesting. We will be exploring these later in the article.

Even if intranasal administration is slightly more effective than sublingual administration, this doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily going to be right for you. Introducing food supplements like CBD into your wellness routine is an incredibly personal experience. You need to find products that are right for you and meet your unique needs.

Some people might like vaping CBD, others won’t at all. It’s always good to consider different forms of administration until you land on your favorite. As the CBD market continues to grow and become saturated with exceptional products, there’s no reason why you can’t try a range of different products to see what works best for you.

How much CBD is absorbed sublingually?

We can tell you that sublingual administration is one of the most effective ways to take CBD but do we have any evidence to back these claims up? We sure do! Scientists have spent time conducting numerous clinical studies to compare the different administration methods. They have been looking specifically at the amount of CBD that ends up being used by the body.

As an example, if you take a CBD product and your body only ends up using less than 5% of the compound, this is a tremendous waste of money. On the product packaging, it may say the product contains a certain amount of CBD but rarely will you find a product that can utilize almost all of the compound in the product.

Bioavailability is the proportion of a compound that enters circulation after being introduced to the body. The higher the bioavailability, the more efficient and cost-effective the product is. Imagine paying money for a CBD product containing 100 milligrams of the compound, only to find that 5% of the compound will actually end up in your bloodstream.

If the compound doesn’t end up in your bloodstream, it’s of very little use to you. This is why we use the analogy of CBD products acting as vessels, carrying the compound to the desired destination. Over the years, as CBD products of all shapes and sizes have emerged onto the market, there have been several studies into the bioavailability of these products.

To understand and measure the effectiveness of sublingual administration, we need to look at the absorption rates for several different CBD products. This will give us a clear picture of how sublingual administration shapes up against other types of administration. The bioavailability of CBD when consumed orally is 10-20%. This can sometimes be as low as 6%.

When CBD is inhaled, using products like vape pens, the absorption rate is much higher. The absorption rate of CBD through intranasal administration can range from 34-46%. This means the effectiveness of products like CBD vape pens can vary considerably. Some studies have reported rates as high as 56%. So, how does sublingual CBD shape up against other products on the market?

When administered sublingually, with a few small drops under the tongue, CBD oil has an absorption rate of 13-19%. In some cases, CBD oil has been found to have a sublingual bioavailability of up to 35%. While this is much lower than the bioavailability you could expect from intranasal administration, vaping CBD isn’t for everyone and absorption rates of sublingual CBD are still much better than those of orally consumed CBD products.

In other words, if you really want to get the most out of CBD, you need to choose products like CBD vape pens for intranasal administration (with absorption rates of 34-46%). For those who aren’t fans of vaping, sublingual CBD is your best bet for getting the most out of each product, with absorption rates of 13-19%. If you are using CBD for general wellness, we recommend trying sublingual CBD products, like CBD oil, over oral CBD products, like CBD gummies.

Is sublingual faster than oral?

According to the International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, peak blood levels of most products administered sublingually are usually achieved within 10-15 minutes. After this point, the amount of the substance in your bloodstream gradually starts to decrease. Sometimes, CBD can present more therapeutic benefits if you incorporate the compound into your daily routine, taking it regularly and allowing it to build up in your bloodstream.

Sublingual administration is useful when consumers need rapid onset action. You are unlikely to experience instant therapeutic effects after taking CBD oil. However, the speed at which you do experience therapeutic benefits is likely to be faster than if you were to take orally ingested CBD products like CBD edibles.

Sublingual CBD is more direct than orally ingested CBD. Therefore, the benefits of sublingual CBD are likely to come much faster because it has had more time to circulate in the bloodstream. When traveling into the body sublingually, CBD risks degradation only by salivary enzymes before entering the bloodstream.

With oral administration, the compound must survive the challenging conditions of the gastrointestinal tract. This is likely to break down the compound and result in a smaller percentage of CBD entering your bloodstream. When compared to sublingual administration, oral administration travels a considerably longer route.

What drugs are administered sublingually?

A wide range of drugs and food supplements are administered sublingually. Nitroglycerin and Loratadine are examples of commonly prescribed tablets that are to be placed under the tongue, with the substance being absorbed through the tongue tissues into the bloodstream. These tablets are to be consumed sublingually for the same reason that CBD oil requires this method of delivery: it’s highly effective.

When it comes to getting a substance into your bloodstream quickly, sublingual administration is often the perfect method to do so. Not all food supplements and medicines can be taken this way, but if they can, it is likely to be the recommended method of administration. Sublingual administration is the ultimate shortcut into the bloodstream, enabling compounds like CBD to reach the bloodstream without too much being lost along the way.

Can CBD be absorbed through skin?

In wellness communities, many people have been embracing the rise of CBD topical products. From skincare to sports injury treatment, topical CBD products can have a variety of different uses and are being utilized by people from all walks of life. After all, every single human has an endocannabinoid system. Therefore, through the cannabinoid receptors located across the body, CBD can be beneficial to everyone in some shape or form.

The tongue isn’t the only place that can absorb CBD. The skin can too! The diverse nature of this compound is part of what makes it so exciting. It can be administered in so many different ways and still be of tremendous benefit. CBD lotions, balms, and creams can be directly applied to the skin.

Through being absorbed by the skin, CBD can bind to cannabinoid receptors and potentially provide you with therapeutic relief from pain and inflammation. There is still much we need to learn about how topical CBD products can provide localized and targeted relief. From anecdotal evidence, many people have found that topical CBD products can help to relax their muscles and provide them with a sense of therapeutic relief.

Does topical CBD actually work?

Consumers across the globe have had great experiences with topical CBD products. There have been many clinical studies exploring the potential for the use of CBD in reducing inflammation and pain in localized areas. In a particular study, looking at pain-related behaviors in a rat model of arthritis, transdermal gel managed to successfully reduce joint swelling. From the data collected, it was concluded that topical CBD has the potential to relieve some people of arthritis pain-related behaviors and inflammation without any side effects.

It’s rare for the consumption of CBD products to result in negative side effects. Although, these mild side effects can occasionally rear their head for CBD beginners. The negative side effects commonly associated with CBD include fatigue and drowsiness. Regardless of what type of CBD product you are using, if you are experiencing these symptoms you should stop using the product for some time, before gradually using it again at a reduced dosage.

The amount of CBD you use at any given time is a key part of the therapeutic experience. If you take too little, the therapeutic benefits may fail to materialize. If you take too much, you could end up experiencing the unwanted side effects of drowsiness and fatigue. You should aim to find a balance.

This can be achieved by experimenting with the amount of CBD you are taking. For guidance on this, you should look at the product-specific dosage guidelines. Typically, these guidelines will clearly state a minimum dosage and a maximum dosage. You can then find the sweet spot somewhere in between these two numbers.

Final Thoughts on Sublingual CBD

We hope you enjoyed learning more about sublingual CBD. This cannabis-derived chemical compound contains a treasure trove of exciting science and it’s always fun to share this with our customers. After all, when you are equipped with knowledge, this can often make you feel more confident in the buying decisions you make.

The key to unlocking the therapeutic potential of CBD is information. If you have a good understanding of how CBD works in the body, you will be able to pick the right products to support your wellness journey. Far too many wellness consumers start taking CBD without having the foundational knowledge they need to get the most out of the compound.

If you have any questions about CBD, we are more than happy to answer them. There’s nothing we love more than talking about this compound. Please feel free to get in touch with your questions. For those who are ready to start exploring sublingual CBD, we highly recommend that you check out our CBD oil products available to order today.

Dr. Jordan Talley

Dr. Talley is a Physician Anesthesiologist who completed his medical residency at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Prior to medical school, he obtained a Master’s Degree in Physiology & Biophysics from Georgetown University. He completed his medical school at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM - Bradenton Campus). During his Anesthesiology training at Johns Hopkins he completed rotations in Chronic Pain Management and continues to manage acute and peri-operative pain for his patient as a private practice anesthesiologist in Virginia.