Different Routes of CBD Administration

Written by Mell Green

There are many different ways to consume CBD; however, the method you choose will influence the effect it has on you, as well as how long it takes to work.

In order for CBD to work, it must first be absorbed by your body. This means that it must travel from its point of entry into the bloodstream, from where it can move throughout the body to interact with cannabinoid receptors. Because the body absorbs CBD in different ways, the consumption method you choose will determine how effective the compound will ultimately be in addressing your condition. Below are several options for CBD administration.


CBD inhalation, by way of vaping or smoking, allows the alveoli in the lungs to absorb the cannabinoid very quickly. This causes the lungs to offer a larger surface area for the absorption of CBD in higher amounts when it has entered the bloodstream, as opposed to other methods. Effects are near immediate, which makes it an ideal delivery system option for anyone needing fast relief instead of potentially waiting hours; though, this is only recommended if you’re familiar with vaping and CBD.


 Administering CBD topically can be a great option for targeted relief to specific areas of the body, such as achy joints, stiff or sore muscles, and others. Typically, topical CBD comes in the form of creams, lotions, and salves, though even soaps and shampoos are also available. Via this method, cannabinoids never enter the bloodstream. Instead, they work only on the uppermost layer of cells and are absorbed by the skin directly to begin interacting with cannabinoid receptors in the area.


Yes, you read that correctly: CBD can be administered orally via the mouth; however, it must first go through the digestive system. To do so, just place a few drops of any CBD tincture or concentrate under your tongue and hold for up to a minute so that your mucous membranes can absorb the cannabinoids. And as for the remainder? That gets swallowed and passes through the digestive system and liver, allowing the cannabinoids to enter the bloodstream immediately.


One of the most popular CBD consumption methods is by way of oral ingestibles, commonly referred to as “edibles.” They come as infused foods and beverage, oils, capsules, and more. Although a lengthy process similar to sublingual administration, orally ingesting CBD allows cannabinoids to pass through the digestive system and metabolize in the liver, entering into your bloodstream.

As we’ve learned, CBD comes in a variety of forms, which can make dosing a little tricky. If you’re a newbie, start low and slow.

Image Credit: KP Pure Essentials

About the author

Mell Green

Mell is a published writer and advocate of the legal cannabis movement who’s dedicated to all things wellness. You can catch her work in a number of publications including Plant People, Cannabis.info, and the Weed Blog. She’s a proud volunteer of the National Hemp Association and enjoys consuming cannabis medicinally and recreationally.

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