Under My Tongue: Using CBD Oil Sublingually

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New to using CBD oil? 

For starters, don’t confuse CBD oil with hemp oil. The latter contains only the oil extracted from hemp seeds. CBD oil on the other hand is extracted mostly from buds (flowers), and to a lesser extent hemp leaves and stalks. 

Now that you understand that difference, it’s time to learn what the best way to use CBD oil is. 

If you’re reading the instructions on the box of Full Spectrum CBD Drops, you’ll see it recommends placing the drops under the tongue, aka sublingually. 

Why use CBD oil sublingually? 

It’s because the phytochemicals (natural plant compounds) will travel into your bloodstream much faster. Sublingual absorption is more speedy than ingesting CBD in edible form such as gummies.

Faster absorption means that the cannabinoids and terpenes that are naturally found in hemp will interact with your internal cannabinoid receptors and promote homeostasis (balance) in your body sooner than later. 

(CBD, aka cannabidiol, is an external cannabinoid. Full Spectrum CBD Oil also contains lesser cannabinoids such as CBDV, CBG, CBC. These lesser cannabinoids make up a small percentage of the total CBD but they play an important role in the entourage effect of the oil.)

—> Suggested reading: The Entourage Effect of CBD & Terpenes

—> Suggested listening: Terpenes Matter, from the Understanding CBD podcast.

Sublingual CBD: Timing is Everything & Other Benefits

If you’re feeling off-kilter (anxious, nervous, worried, etc.), then waiting 45 minutes to an hour for gummies to kick in seems like an eternity. 

Another advantage of CBD drops under the tongue is that it’s far easier to swallow than bulky CBD capsules. 

Furthermore, CBD drops bypass the digestive system. This means that the full potential of the CBD will not become denatured as it travels through the gut. And sublingual CBD doesn’t need to be metabolized by the liver unlike gummies and capsules. The benefit of bypassing liver metabolization is that you can take a lower dose in comparison to edibles and capsules. 

Although it may seem that when you place CBD oil under your tongue it doesn’t evaporate, it is in fact being absorbed through sublingual capillaries (mini blood vessels). 

How long should I keep CBD oil under my tongue?

There is no official guideline for this. CBD oil is not regulated by the Food & Drug Administration. But in general, the longer you hold it under your tongue, the better. That being said, in reality, most people won’t want to keep CBD oil under the tongue for very long. But at the minimum, try to shoot for 30-60 seconds. 

How long does it take for CBD oil to work sublingually for joint pain?

Again, there’s no exact timeframe here. For some people, it may start working in as little as 15 minutes, while for others, if it works at all, it may take a couple hours. 

While daily sublingual application of a high quality full spectrum CBD oil can be beneficial for overall wellness, for joint pain, it may not be the best method. 

Instead, you may be better off using CBD oil topically for joint and muscle relief. You can combine a dose of CBD oil with your favorite analgesic cream, lotion, balm, gel, etc. and rub it directly onto your problem area. Doing so will likely offer quicker relief than using CBD oil under your tongue. 

But for optimal results, use CBD oil both sublingually and topically if you have joint/muscle problems. 

Do You Need To Eat Food With CBD Oil?

After you use CBD oil under the tongue, should you eat a little something for better absorption? After all, some supplements and medications have to be taken with food. Certain nutrients are fat-soluble, meaning that they can only be dissolved/uptaken in the presence of fatty acids. But with this CBD oil, you don’t need to eat anything with it because it already contains MCT oil, which comes from either coconut oil or palm oil. 

Sidenote: If you’re environmentally-conscious, you’ll be happy to know that Max & Steven’s CBD Drops uses MCT oil derived completely from coconut oil. The over-cultivation of palm oil has led to alarming levels of deforestation throughout Southeast Asia.

If you want to add CBD oil to your morning routine and aren’t concerned about the speed of absorption, you can add a dose of it to a smoothie. 


Placing CBD oil drops under the tongue (sublingually) is the most efficient and speediest way for your body to absorb the natural plant compounds that have been proven in research studies to positively influence the body’s endocannabinoid system. This means a better balanced you in less time than it takes for gummies and capsules to work.

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