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CBD Capsules vs. Oils: What’s the Difference?

Neither CBD capsules nor oils are a “better” administration method than the other—they’re simply different. Both contain the same potent, organic cannabidiol, but each has its own potential effects, absorption times, and dosage recommendations.

If you’re torn between choosing CBD capsules vs. oils, or if you’re simply confused at the difference, we’ve compiled this explainer to help you out. Consider these factors when shopping for your ideal CBD.

What Are CBD Capsules?

Capsules are a quick and easy way of supplementing with CBD. If you take other herbal supplements, vitamins, or pills, you have probably taken a capsule before. Capsules are either made of compressed CBD in powder form or CBD oil that is encased in a thin outer coating.

  • Dietary note: Some CBD capsules encase the oil in gelatin, which is animal-based. (At Green Gorilla™, our capsules are 100% plant-based and vegan).

Like CBD oils, capsules that contain oil will often use a carrier oil to contain the CBD. This is generally a plant oil such as olive or sunflower oil. CBD oil’s uses and benefits are best realized when the body can easily digest and absorb CBD alongside another agent. Simply put, carrier oils help your body break the CBD down and spread throughout your body more efficiently.

The Taste Factor

Taste is an important factor to consider when choosing CBD capsules vs. oils. Many people choose capsules for the simple reason that they dislike the taste of CBD oil. CBD oil comes in a variety of flavors that many people find delicious, but like any herb or plant, some people can dislike the taste. If you’re unsure if you’ll like the taste of CBD oil, we highly recommend you try a pure CBD oil single-serving pack.

By contrast, CBD capsules are entirely flavorless. Like a pill, you simply swallow the capsule. Some people choose CBD oils for a simple, similar reason: they cannot tolerate the sensation of swallowing a small solid like a pill. Whichever method you choose, you’ll still get to appreciate the benefits of CBD.

Absorption Times: CBD Capsules vs. Oils

The faster CBD is absorbed into your bloodstream, the faster it takes effect. In pharmacology, bioavailability is defined as the percentage of a substance that enters your bloodstream.

Applying CBD oil in the thin, delicate area of skin under the tongue gives the CBD a direct route into your bloodstream via your mucus membranes, allowing the CBD to be absorbed almost instantly.

Besides inhalation, sublingual application of CBD oil is the fastest way for CBD to take effect. By holding the CBD under your tongue for around a minute, you can enjoy near-instant relief, whereas with capsules, you’ll experience a slow-release effect that can take an hour or more. CBD capsules must be absorbed through the digestive system before they reach the bloodstream.

Higher bioavailability does not equal higher quality! In fact, many people prefer when the CBD has a slower and less intense effect. If you fall into the latter category, you may prefer CBD capsules over oils.

CBD Oil Allows You to Control Your Exact Dosage

CBD capsules contain a fixed dosage. If you plan on micro-dosing your CBD in precise increments, you may be better off using a CBD oil dropper for precise application.

CBD capsules generally contain a small amount of active CBD—at Green Gorilla™, our capsules contain 15mg of active CBD per capsule, which is a relatively standard dosage. However, some people wish to take even less. Taking 5mg of CBD at a time is not uncommon, and with CBD oil and an oil dropper, you can easily increment in this small dosage for precise measurements.

Additionally, CBD oil can come in a variety of potencies. Some people see this as an advantage over capsules because it allows them to further tailor the amount of CBD they administer. Not all CBD is created equal: depending on what carrier oils and additional ingredients are used, a drop of oil could contain vastly different amounts of CBD. Always read your label!

Be cautious with dosage, too—taking too much CBD is very rarely dangerous, but it’s less likely to have the effect you’re after if you take too much. We always tell our customers and readers “start low and go slow” when it comes to dosing CBD. Use our dosing guidelines for more information.

CBD Oil Uses and Benefits Can Be Highly Versatile

With CBD capsules, there is a single method of administration. With CBD oil, however, you can control exactly how and where you administer your CBD.

For example, you can use CBD oil in a variety of recipes. You can add it to a nutritious herbal salad dressing or any number of smoothies. Once you know how to work with the rich flavor, you can incorporate it into just about anything!

Additionally, you can apply your CBD oil either orally or topically. If you’re experiencing muscle soreness, for instance, you can switch your daily oral CBD oil dosage to your skin instead. This versatile potential is something you should consider when comparing CBD capsules vs. oils.

No Matter What CBD You Choose, Choose Certified Organic

The most important factors to consider when purchasing any CBD product are quality and potency. Many CBD manufacturers call their products “organic” when they have not been officially designated as such by a trusted organization. Some manufacturers also use harsh chemicals or pesticides in the growing or extraction of their CBD oil.

Clearly, harsh chemicals are something you want to avoid when choosing a natural supplement. To circumvent this issue, always ensure you choose your CBD from a retailer who has their products third-party tested.

At Green Gorilla™, we take pride in our certified organic ingredients. We undergo strict and transparent third-party lab testing for every product to ensure potency and purity. We’re entirely farm-to-shelf: we oversee the quality of our hemp products from the moment they’re planted in the ground to the moment you administer your CBD capsules or oils. Explore our premium collection online or take our CBD quiz to find options for your lifestyle.

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