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What Is Sublingual CBD and What Makes It the Best Delivery Method?

By Michelle Lievense

There are a number of CBD delivery methods. Some fall in and out of popularity as CBD gains traction in the wake of mounting scientific evidence about its effectiveness. But what is the best delivery method and why? Find out why the sublingual CBDs can be a reliable and effective way to optimize your cannabinoid experience. 

Not All Delivery Methods Are Equal

Why do you need a guide to the sublingual administration of CBD? Because it’s a fast absorption method that reliably delivers consistent doses of CBD.

Sublingual Administration

The sublingual delivery method is a common way many drugs, supplements and remedies are administered to ensure maximum and fast absorption. It can take the form of a liquid, fast-dissolving tablet, or a very thin paper-like strip. When placed under the tongue, they quickly dissolve, permeate the mucosal lining under the tongue, and are absorbed by the sublingual vein — directly into the bloodstream. 

The main benefit is that the remedy bypasses the first-pass digestive system. Other delivery methods, such as edibles, have to pass through the gut and liver, which significantly limits absorption. That means doses are less reliable, and what does make it to the bloodstream can take time. 

The sublingual method is also painless and doesn’t require a trained professional, unlike injections with a needle — one of the other ways drugs and supplements are delivered directly to the bloodstream. 

This method may be more effective than vaping or smoking because even though there is a high absorption rate, more research is still required to determine whether vaping, in particular, is safe. In addition, vaping requires the purchase of additional hardware in order to take CBD. 

Similarly, creams and lotions, while the next best CBD delivery method, can also lead to unreliable doses. However, this method is more reliable because CBD interacts directly with the endocannabinoid system, the body’s natural ability to break down and disperse cannabinoids. 

When CBD is delivered via the sublingual method, an exact dose is dissolved and absorbed, whether as a measured liquid with an eyedropper, a spray, a precise strip or a tablet. 

Sublingual Absorption

What happens next when an exact dose is absorbed via the sublingual method? CB1 and CB2 receptors, located throughout the body, are activated. The receptors bind with the CBD molecules, signaling the endocannabinoid system to take action, whether it is meant to boost energy, calm the nervous system, help you focus, aid in a restful night’s sleep, or any number of reasons cannabinoids are used. 

Taking CBD under the tongue means the effects are felt within minutes. On average, sublingual results take 10–15 minutes. This rapid onset without the risk of degradation from the digestive system is why sublingual administration is so reliable and effective. Other methods, particularly those that have to pass through the digestive system, can take much longer on top of running the risk of significant interference from the gut and liver. In some cases, edibles can take a few hours to take full effect, depending upon the metabolic health of the recipient and the type of edible.  

Compared to other methods of administration, sublingual has an impressively high absorption rate. Some claims place the absorption rate at 10% to 15%, while other studies found that CBD absorbs at a rate as high as 35%. The remaining CBD is metabolized, meaning it isn’t available for use by the body. When CBD is orally ingested, it is less bioavailable, and the absorption rate drops to as low as 3% to 6%. Vaping CBD boasts a 30% absorption rate, making it competitive with sublingual dosing; however, keep in mind that there are concerns about safety and long-term health impacts, that additional vaping equipment is required, and that vaping isn’t for everyone. 

Final Thoughts

When equipped with a better understanding of sublingual CBD delivery and an understanding of the comparative methods of dosing, it becomes easy to see just how effective and potent the cannabinoid experience can be. Many uncertainties, such as dosage and absorption, drop away. 

For those who want a custom experience that takes all the guesswork out of the best CBD dose for your body, the best method, and the best timing for the intake of CBD, consider KOR Medical’s personalized approach. We have partnered with Leaf411, a non-profit organization with trained cannabis RN’s to answer any of your clinical questions via a simple phone call or online chat.