Understanding Different Types Of CBD Oil: Top Ways To Take CBD

There’s a lot of options when it comes to buying CBD products. We thought it might help to make a brief guide to understanding the different types of CBD oil products available today.

There’s a ton of new brands popping up everyday to offer the latest version of CBD oil. All these brands are offering a lot of different types of CBD products. To make it even more confusing, all their products come in different concentrations.

There’s some hype out there and even fake products. For example, you should never buy CBD on Amazon because of the profusion of fake products on the site.

Even when you find a reputable brand of CBD, it can be confusing to figure out which type of CBD is right for you.

How to choose the right CBD oil product

If you’re unsure which brand to go with, you can always check our Top CBD Brands review page to see which brand would be the best fit for you. You’ll also find guides to different types of products in the menus of our website. (Hint: Whatever brand you choose, make sure they provide 3rd party results and that they use U.S.-grown hemp)

Even after you choose a brand that you like, it’s easy to get confused by what type of CBD to buy. Many brands are now offering a wide range of products, including capsules, lotions, tinctures, and more. The Paradox of Choice can easily cause more stress.

So, to make it easier for everyone, we broke it down and created a list of the top ways to take CBD. Our analysis describes what each type of product is, when it’s most effective (or noneffective), and how to properly use it.

Some of the most popular different types of CBD oil products include tinctures, capsules or softgels, vapes, and CBD gummies and other edibles. A four-part composite image showing a person taking a tincture, a woman holding a CBD capsule, a woman leaning against a wall exhaling vapor, and another woman holding a gummy.
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Some of the most popular different types of CBD products include CBD oil or tinctures, CBD capsules or softgels, CBD vapes, and CBD gummies and other edibles.

Table of contents: Which type of CBD oil is right for you?

Overall, the top ways to take and use CBD oil are (listed in no particular order):

When buying any of these products, we highly recommend that you do your own research on CBD and hemp extracts with reputable publications before making a decision on which product and concentration to buy. You can click on each product type above to get more information about how and why you might take it.

Some factors to consider when choosing products include flavor, strength, and how easy or convenient it is for you to take it. Different forms of CBD also have different bioavailability, meaning it’s a bit easier for your body to absorb CBD in products like CBD oil or vapes than it is in forms such as capsules or gummies.

Download a PDF version of ‘What is CBD?’

Tinctures

Tinctures or oils (the term is used interchangeably) are the most common form of CBD on the market.

CBD tinctures are the most common type of CBD product. Photo: A person in a suit jacket and button down formal shirt takes a CBD tincture from a dropper.
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CBD oil is the most common type of CBD product.

Compared to any other products, tinctures and concentrates are probably the most pure applications of CBD, as manufacturers don’t need to do any additional processing of the CBD oil. Some brands do add a little flavor to their tinctures, which makes it easier (and more enjoyable) for customers to take.

Tinctures are taken by dropping a couple drops on or under your tongue. A bottle of CBD can range from 250mg to 1000mg or more. That means doses vary widely, so it’s important that you do your own research on what strength you choose.

The main downside of tinctures is it could get a bit messy if you happen to spill drops while using it. For some, using tinctures to drop a CBD extract on/under their tongue could seem a bit awkward, especially if you use it everyday. In addition, some people might find the taste unpleasant. However, this form of CBD oil is relatively fast acting, and convenient for people to take almost any time.

How To Use Tinctures

A tincture is known to be most effective by not swallowing the liquid right away. You want to ingest as much as you can sub-lingually. Place the drops under your tongue, and use your tongue to rub the oil along the cheeks. Then, hold it in your mouth for as long as you can (at least 30 to 60 seconds).

A closeup of a woman's face as she ingests a softgel capsule. Ministry of Hemp selected the 14 best CBD capsules and softgels available online, and helps you select the right one for your needs.
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CBD can be packaged into a softgel or capsule, making it convenient to take alongside other pills or supplements.

Capsules

Using capsules is probably the easiest way to add CBD to your life as a daily supplement. If you already take vitamins, medicines, or any other supplements, you can just add CBD capsules or softgels to your daily regimen.

Capsules typically offer 10-25mg of CBD, but some are stronger. Once you figure out your preferred dose, you can even combine CBD capsules with different types of CBD. For example, you might start your day with a CBD capsule, then supplement as needed with oil or a vape.

How To Use Capsules

Capsules are great as it’s the easiest type of CBD to add to your daily regimen. Just take one capsule (or as needed) daily with water.

People use CBD topicals to help ease a variety of everyday aches, inflammation and pains. Photo: Two people apply Populum Cold Therapy Hemp Rub, a CBD-infused cream.
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People use CBD topicals to help ease a variety of everyday aches, inflammation and pains. (Photo: Populum)

Topicals

Most major CBD brands now offer CBD in a topical form, such as lotions, salve, and creams and even lip balms. Many consumers report that CBD topicals help with chronic pain, inflammation, acne, psoriasis, and more. Right now, the research is limited, but the products are very popular both for health and CBD-infused skin care.

Using CBD-infused topicals helps more with localized pain or a specific part of your body you want to help with cannabidiol. Most people wouldn’t take a topical for anxiety, to help with sleep, and so on, but would choose another form. Many people use topicals alongside other forms of CBD.

Today, CBD topicals come in a variety of formulas. Some include just CBD and a few other ingredients to create the lotion, while others feature additional botanicals and natural compounds like menthol or arnica which could offer their own benefits.

How To Use Topicals

CBD infused topicals are recommended to be used as other similar body care products – use it when you deem necessary or when you have certain skin conditions. Apply generously to body areas that could benefit from the topical solution.

A woman in a tank top and sunglasses, reclining on an outdoor chair, exhales vapor from a CBD vape. Pure Relief Disposable CBD Vapes tasted great and left our reviewer feeling great too.
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Some consumers report CBD vaping offers fast-acting relief of symptoms of anxiety and other issues like pain.

Vapes

Based on reviews and anecdotal consumer reports, the effects of smoking or vaporizing CBD vape oil might not be as long lasting as using tinctures, concentrates, and capsules. On the flip side, some consumers report immediate relief of troubling symptoms of anxiety or pain when they vape.

Seems like it’s working for fighter Nate Diaz, who told reporters he was vaping CBD to recover when asked at a post-fight press conference. His public use of CBD actually helped push the sporting industry to become more lenient towards these products.

There were health concerns around vaping recently, especially caused by some serious health effects and even deaths suffered by users of black market psychoactive cannabis (“marijuana”) vapes. Most or all of these vape health problems were traced to vitamin E oil, used as a thickener in some cartridges or e-liquids. Vitamin E is sometimes safely used as a preservative in edible or topical products, but is not safe to inhale in any form. Reputable CBD brands never used this in vapes, and certainly know to avoid it now.

How To Use Vapes

In order to use CBD vape oil, you will need an e-cigarette, vape pen, or vaporizer. Add, heat and inhale the appropriate amount of vape oil to your choice of device. See our CBD Vaping 101 guide for more on getting started with this type of CBD.

Assorted rainbow gummy bears spill from a plastic bottle. When it comes to CBD dosing, start small and increase gradually after you feel the supplement's effects. CBD gummies come in a variety of dosages, typically offering between 5mg and 25mg per candy.
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CBD gummies come in a variety of dosages, typically offering between 5mg and 25mg per candy.

CBD gummies & other edibles

We’ve got a soft spot in our heart (or maybe our stomachs) for CBD gummies.

These sweet treats are just too easy to take, which is probably why a variety of vitamins and supplements like cannabidiol can now be found in gummy form. Who wouldn’t want to get benefits from eating candy?

Of course, the sugar content of many gummies can be a concern for some people. In addition, it’s always important to check the ingredients list for any concerns like allergens or animal-based products, more so than with some other types of CBD oil products. For example, the vast majority of CBD oils are gluten free and vegan, but some gummies and edibles could contain wheat, animal glycerin, and so on.

The bioavailability of CBD gummies can vary a lot. The lowest quality gummies are just candy with CBD solution sprayed on the outside. Good brands use more care in formulating gummies which will be more effective for their consumers. In addition, it can be a little harder to find a full spectrum CBD gummy, and these tend to taste a little bit more “hempy” than gummies made with CBD isolate.

How to use edibles

Similar to a CBD capsule, it’s easy to take a CBD gummy almost anytime and anywhere. Be careful: though they seem like candy, CBD can have side effects and some people report feeling a bit sleepy, spacey or lethargic when they consume too much CBD, especially in edible form.

A jar full of hemp flower "nugs" ready to be smoked.
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An increasing number of consumers enjoy smoking hemp flower or pre-rolled hemp “joints.” (Photo: Mr. Hemp Flower)

Hemp flower or hemp joints

Now that hemp is legal in the U.S., people all over the country enjoy smoking hemp flower.

This type of CBD or hemp can be made into a “joint” or hand-rolled cigarette, or smoked in a pipe. You can even use it to make your own CBD oil. It might be one of the fastest growing types of CBD around today, in terms of popularity.

While hemp flower looks (and smells) like psychoactive cannabis (“marijuana”), it still doesn’t make you feel high, just like the other types of CBD oil product on this list. People who smoke hemp flower report feeling very relaxed afterwards, and some may find temporary relief of pain, anxiety, or other troubling conditions. Effects are similar in many ways to vaping. While inhaling any kind of smoke has health risks, some people may prefer smoking hemp flower to worrying about the additives in vape products.

Of course, even though CBD and hemp are legal, it’s still possible you could get in trouble, at least temporarily, because this product looks and smells like psychoactive cannabis. Use discretion about when and where you light up, or where you carry this product, especially if you’re in an area where police or other law enforcement are especially vigilant about enforcing the war on drugs.

How to use flower or joints

For hemp flower, you’ll need a lighter and a pipe or other smoking device. Break up the hemp bud into very small pieces using an herb grinder, a small pair of scissors or just your hands. Use care to remove any stem pieces (you probably won’t find seeds in high-quality hemp flower, but remove those too). Place the broken up material in your pipe, light and inhale, drawing the smoke into your lungs.

Another convenient option are pre-rolled hemp cigarettes or joints. While these can be more expensive or less efficient than smoking flower, they are easy to smoke and easy to share. Just light and smoke them as you would any other rolled cigarette.

Other types of CBD oil product

  • CBD inhalers
  • CBD gums
  • CBD drinks and tea
  • CBD coconut oil
  • CBD sweeteners (infused sugar or agave)

There’s a vast number of different types of CBD oil products on the market today. So many that we made a list of dozens of different CBD products and still couldn’t list them all. Beware: CBD is overhyped right now, and some products (like CBD pillows?!) probably don’t offer many real benefits, especially for the price. At the same time, new, convenient and fun forms of CBD are appearing regularly too.

So what type of CBD should I use?

Honestly, from the research we’ve done, there doesn’t seem to be one right answer or one superior option. It’s just a matter of preference. Here’s our advice on how to find the best product for you:

  • Do as much research about CBD as possible. Check out other articles on our website or even the CBD subbreddit.
  • Next, figure out what brand you trust. You can see side-by-side comparisons on our Top CBD Brands page. Be aware of what you should look out for when when shopping for a brand. Here’s a list of features to look for in a quality CBD brand.
  • After you’ve decided on a brand, make sure to try out a couple different types of their products. It might be easier to try out CBD oil or capsules first. Then, gradually try other types, such as edibles or vapes, to see if it’s more effective for you and to see if it’s a good fit for your daily lifestyle.
  • Remember, we’re not doctors and can’t offer you medical advice! Be sure to consult with a medical professional before starting any supplement, modifying your medical treatment in any way, or if you’re worried about drug interactions with CBD — though rare, some do exist.

We wish you the best of luck as you search for the CBD product that suits you best! With any questions or feedback, feel free to reach out to us at [email protected] .

Kit O’Connell contributed to this guide.

Some of the most popular different types of CBD products include CBD oil or tinctures, CBD capsules or softgels, CBD vapes, and CBD gummies and other edibles. A four-part composite image showing a person taking a tincture, a woman holding a CBD capsule, a woman leaning against a wall exhaling vapor, and another woman holding a gummy.
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Ministry of Hemp

Ministry of Hemp is America's leading hemp advocate.

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Latest Comments

  • Avatar Barb says:

    I recently purchased a tincture, and I was told that a good way to use is to mix the drops in a beverage (i.e. juice). Is this a correct way to take this, or should this method be avoided? Along similar lines, would it be efficient to mix the drops in food (i.e. hot food)? Thank you.

  • Avatar MB says:

    Hey Andy;

    I hope you didn’t “pop” anything as doing so could cause serious infection. Instead, you should definitely see a dermatologist about your condition to find out what exactly is your condition. CBD oil like a tincture can certainly help for your pain but it will not reduce the infection of inflammation. Hope this helps.

  • Avatar Andy says:

    Hi , i have lumps/boils under my arms which are sometimes painful, what do you suggest i take for these? thanks Andy

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