CBD oil is different from most supplements people use. Most supplements come in gummies, capsules, tablets, or powders to blend into protein shakes or smoothies. 

Most don’t come in an oil form with a little glass dropper, so it may not be obvious how to use CBD oil.

CBD oil delivers its benefits in two ways. The first is by holding the oil under your tongue, and the second is by swallowing the CBD oil. Here’s what you need to know about how both of these methods work.

What Is CBD Oil?

CBD oil is a blend of CBD and some kind of carrier oil. The oil doesn’t usually come from the hemp plant itself. Hemp extract is diluted and mixed into oil to create an appropriate serving size for daily use.

It Starts With Hemp Extract

In most cases, CBD comes from hemp plants. The flowers and leaves of a hemp plant go into a special extractor machine that separates the cannabinoids, fats, and nutrients from the plant material with a solvent. The solvent evaporates, and the plant parts are discarded, leaving behind extremely potent hemp extract.

Hemp Extract Is Diluted With Oil

The hemp extract that comes directly from the plant is too strong to use. It’s like an essential oil. You only need a tiny drop or two. 

Also, like essential oils, hemp extract must be diluted with a carrier oil before you can use it. Many CBD companies use medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil from coconuts, which can support the absorption of CBD. 

MCT fats are very small. They go directly to the liver, while other fats must be thoroughly processed before they complete that journey. The CBD you ingest must reach your liver to be metabolized and circulated, and CBD bonds to fat. Theoretically, MCT oil can make CBD’s journey a lot shorter. 

Some companies use hemp seed oil or extra virgin olive oil as a base for their CBD. They’re more suitable for people allergic to or intolerant to MCT oil, although MCT intolerance isn’t common.


The hemp extract and oil are combined to create a serving size of CBD. A serving of CBD oil is one dropper or 1 mL, and there are 30 full droppers or 30 mL in a standard one-ounce bottle of CBD oil. 

The bottle will state the total CBD content of the entire container on the front. Divide that by 30, and that’s how much CBD is in each serving. Higher doses of CBD are less diluted, and lower doses of CBD are more diluted. 

How Does CBD Oil Work?

CBD oil can provide holistic wellness support by interacting with your body’s endocannabinoid system. It delivers its benefits through two paths. First, it enters your body through the soft tissue under your tongue. The remaining CBD is processed through your digestive system when you swallow it.

CBD Oil Interacts With Your Endocannabinoid System

Your body has cannabinoid receptors nearly everywhere. They’re in your skin, brain, and within the cells of your immune system. These receptors make up the endocannabinoid system.

Your endocannabinoid system supports a whole host of important functions within your body, including a healthy sleep-wake cycle and your body’s stress management system. Your body naturally makes cannabinoids to support this system.

The endocannabinoid system also responds to cannabinoids from other sources, like the cannabinoids in CBD oil. Each cannabinoid affects the body differently. Some bind to the receptors, latching on and modifying how they work. Others, like CBD, interact with the system and encourage it to fulfill its natural functions.

CBD Oil Reaches Your Endocannabinoid System in Two Ways

People use CBD oil because it reaches your endocannabinoid system in two ways. The first way is by absorption under the tongue, which allows it to bypass the digestive system. The second way is through the digestive system.

The biggest advantage of CBD oil over other forms of CBD is its ability to be absorbed under your tongue. That’s why people gravitate towards oil products instead of CBD edibles. The CBD processed through your digestive system will work the same way as other forms of CBD. 

What Happens When You Put CBD Oil Under Your Tongue?

The tissue underneath your tongue is very soft, wet, and pillowy. It’s also very absorbent. When you hold something against this tissue for a very long time, it will eventually begin to absorb it. 

This is called sublingual administration. “Sub” means below, and “lingual” means relating to the tongue. It’s a scientific way of saying, “put something under your tongue.”

You place CBD oil drops under your tongue and hold them for about a minute. The CBD gets a head start in your bloodstream as the tissue of your mouth absorbs it. 

Taking it sublingually allows some of the CBD to begin working right away. It doesn’t need to be processed first. It can go directly from point A to point B.

While this method is helpful, it isn’t perfect. Only some of the CBD will be effectively absorbed this way. Much of it gets left behind in the oil you hold in your mouth.

Do You Swallow CBD Oil?

After you hold the oil under your tongue for a minute, you swallow it. That oil still has a lot of CBD, and you don’t want to waste it. 

While the CBD that absorbs underneath your tongue is working, your body gets to work digesting the CBD oil you swallow. This small sip of CBD will produce the same effects, but it will work differently. 

How Does Your Body Digest CBD Oil?

CBD oil blends with the food in your digestive system. CBD absorbs into fat, so it’s more effective if you consume it after eating food rich in healthy fats. A handful of nuts, a scoop of nut or seed butter in a protein shake, or a slice of avocado toast are all perfect contenders.

Your body digests the CBD oil, and your liver metabolizes the CBD. It sends the CBD metabolites throughout your body, interacting with your endocannabinoid system as they circulate. 

What if I Don’t Like the Taste of CBD Oil?

Some people enjoy the natural flavor of CBD oil. Some people don’t like the idea of swallowing CBD oil because they don’t like the way it tastes. 

If you’re not big on the flavor of things like black coffee or green juice, you’re probably not going to like CBD oil. It has a very earthy, natural taste. Let’s just say it doesn’t quite taste like our strawberries and cream CBD gummies

If you don’t like the taste of CBD oil, you don’t have to suffer through it. There are plenty of other ways you can enjoy the benefits of CBD — without the flavor you’d prefer to avoid. Both methods eliminate the bonus of absorbing CBD beneath your tongue, but it’s a small tradeoff for a much better experience.

Try Flavored CBD Oil

Some brands use food-grade essential oils to mask the flavor of CBD. Strong essential oils do an excellent job of overpowering CBD’s flavor and will taste almost exactly like the flavor listed on the label.

The only problem is that very few flavors stifle CBD’s natural taste right from the bottle. Most companies use very strong mint or citrus oils. It hides the CBD but replaces it with another overwhelming flavor that you might not be too crazy about. Try another method if you don’t like the taste of lemon zest or medicinal peppermint. 

Mix It Into a Drink

Sweet flavors tend to disguise the earthy bitterness of CBD oil. People add CBD oil to fruit smoothies, protein shakes, and frozen coffee drinks to hide the flavor. A few drops of CBD combined with drinks containing fruit, honey, creamy protein, or a little mocha drizzle will go completely unnoticed. 

You can stir CBD oil into food if you don’t make blended drinks. You can add CBD into any food, but most people take their morning dose of CBD with breakfast. 

Add a dropper to a bowl of apple cinnamon oatmeal, cacao yogurt, or an acai bowl. The earthy taste will blend perfectly into warm spices or sweet fruit.

Use a Different Form of CBD

You don’t need to use CBD oil at all if you don’t want to. There are so many other forms of CBD, and every type of CBD you swallow will work the same way. 

If you can’t stand the oil, you can use CBD softgels. The CBD is inside, so you can swallow it without tasting it. 

Don’t like swallowing pills? No problem. Eat a CBD-infused gummy. CBD gummies disguise the flavor of CBD with fruity sweet flavors. You don’t have to taste hemp — you can taste tangy pineapple or juicy watermelon

CBD Tastes Good With Pure Relief 

Pure Relief’s CBD gummies are yummy! Our vegan CBD gummies contain 25 mg of CBD per piece. CBD gummies work exactly like CBD oil that you swallow — they’re just a lot easier to use. 

They come in an assortment of tasty fruit flavors to help you avoid the flavor of CBD oil. Don’t miss out on the benefits of CBD just because you don’t like how it tastes. Pure Relief has your taste buds covered. 

Sources:

3 Health Benefits of MCT Oil | Cleveland Clinic

An introduction to the endogenous cannabinoid system - National Library of Medicine

Sublingual Administration - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics

August 24, 2022