The increased popularity of CBD in recent years has resulted in many new products containing compounds available on the market today. While having access to such a wide variety to choose from is great news, it can be overwhelming for many. Anyone with limited knowledge of CBD products will have difficult questions about what format to obtain and how to use it.
People often struggle to decide between two of the more common choices, because CBD oils and CBD capsules are often thought to be more or less the same thing. For many years CBD oil was the original method of consumption of CBD that helps explain why it remains a popular choice.
Because CBD oil was the original format, it became the base ingredient for many CBD products that came after it, including CBD capsules. So even though CBD capsules are technically a consumer method for CBD oil, and have many other similarities, there are still some key differences between them that should make the decision easier.
But first, let’s cover some basic concepts…
What is CBD?
CBD or cannabidiol is 1 of more than 100 known chemical compounds called cannabinoids, which occur naturally in hemp plants. THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is another cannabinoid infamous for causing the high psychoactive.
Both CBD and THC interact directly with receptors in the endocannabinoid system. These cannabinoids help positively with the regulation of many different processes throughout the body including sleep, pain, and the immune system.
Depending on your country and state, CBD products are often legally required to contain less than an established maximum level of THC, most commonly between 0.2 and 0.3. So because CBD does not contain the psychoactive properties of the THC compound, you are guaranteed not to experience any high sensation of being stoned after consumption.
What is CBD oil?
CBD oil manufacturers initially obtain CBD from hemp plants using a CO2 extraction method. The CBD extract is suspended in an inert type of oil, most commonly coconut or hemp.
The most common method of consuming CBD oil requires a liquid dropper to apply a few drops under the tongue. The CBD oil should be held there for 60 to 90 seconds before swallowing, allowing time for the compound to be absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the sublingual gland.
Another popular method of consuming CBD oil is as a food additive or ingredient during cooking or baking. The only real limitations to making your own CBD foods are your imagination and cooking skills.
What are CBD capsules?
The production method is almost the same as CBD oil, except that CBD capsules use a full-spectrum extract from hemp plants. The full-spectrum extract is placed in soft gel capsules and suspended in MCT oil, which is added to increase volume to aid the digestive process. CBD capsules are consumed exactly as you would any other medication in the tablet, simply swallowed with water.
Why is CBD oil better than CBD capsules?
Bioavailability is the scientific term for the amount of CBD used by the body compared to the amount of CBD initially ingested. And it is important to realize that bioavailability will be different for each possible combination of CBD product format and consumption method, with some varying wildly from one another.
Studies show that sublingual application of absorbed CBD oil directly into the bloodstream has a bioavailability of 12 to 35. CBD capsules on the other hand have a very low bioavailability rate of 4 to 20, and this maximum is thought by most to be an overly optimistic estimate. This is probably caused by the separate outer layer of the capsule as well as the use of coconut oil to suspend the CBD as it is not well digested. When both bioavailability rates are compared to each other, the CBD oil is the big winner here.