The difference between topical and oral CBD

The difference between topical and oral CBD

Nowadays, CBD is available in many forms. This means there will be a CBD product available that meets all your requirements. For instance, you can use a CBD oil tincture to help you relax. Or take CBD in the form of capsules for a discreet and consistent dose of CBD.

The most common ways of using CBD are through oral application and topicals. With oral CBD, the CBD is ingested into the body, while topical CBD is applied to the body.

Let’s cover some frequently asked questions about topicals and oral CBD, so you can decide what the most suitable way to utilize CBD for you is.

What are CBD topicals? 

CBD topicals are products, which are infused with CBD, that are used on the outside of the body. CBD topicals come in many forms, which we will discuss later on.  

CBD topicals are often used to moisturize and offer your skin soothing relief. The infused CBD from the topical will be absorbed into the skin. Once absorbed into the skin, it will begin to work with the cannabinoid receptors to create the desired effects. 

Besides CBD, the hemp-based CBD topicals also contain essential oils to moisturize the skin and a range of beneficial nutrients that can help protect your skin against elements, such as sun, wind, or cold.

Topicals provide a quick and easy way of applying CBD directly onto the affected area. This results in an immediate soothing effect that is more centralized onto a specific area than when using oral CBD. CBD topicals have a low bioavailability; this means that the CBD will not be absorbed into the bloodstream. 

What types of CBD topicals are there? 

As mentioned before there are many types of CBD topicals

Creams – They are used to moisturize and soothe the skin. Creams, such as this one, provide a deep absorption that works for skin problems soon after it has been in contact with the skin.

Lotions – They combine CBD with moisturizing ingredients, which are used for dry and fatigued skin.  

Balms – They are great for fighting cracked and dry skin. Similar to lotions, balms contain moisturizing ingredients, such as beeswax, coconut oil, and shea butter.

Topicals are available in the form of bath bombs, which create a revitalizing or relaxing effect. You can also buy sprays and roll-on applicators for easy, rub-free applications.

What is oral CBD?

Another way to say oral CBD is saying taking CBD orally. This means you consume the CBD through your mouth. There are two methods to consume CBD orally; these are sublingually and ingestion.


Sublingually is also known as “under-the-tongue.” In this method, you place drops of CBD oil tinctures under your tongue and leave it there for 30-60 seconds, and then you swallow it. The CBD will then quickly get absorbed into the bloodstream. 

Taking CBD sublingually has one of the highest bioavailability percentages in comparison to, for example, topicals because the CBD gets absorbed straight into the bloodstream. This way, they avoid being metabolized.


Ingesting CBD means that you directly swallow a CBD substance. This can, for example, be in the form of capsules or edibles

Ingesting CBD has, similar to topicals, a low bioavailability. This is because after ingesting a capsule or edible, the molecules travel through your digestive system into the liver. Here, the CBD gets metabolized (broken down). After this process, the remaining compounds are sent into the bloodstream. 

You would think that the effects of CBD through ingesting are lower or last shorter. However, the opposite is the case. Research showed that using ingestion to take CBD has longer-lasting effects than other methods.

What types of oral CBD are there? 

There are many oral CBD products on the market. I will go over a few.

Oil tinctures - CBD tinctures are easy to use and get absorbed quickly into the bloodstream. You use oil tinctures sublingually. 

Capsules and softgels - CBD capsules and softgels are easy to use. They are great for discreetly taking CBD for long-lasting effects. You take these by ingestion. 

Gummies and drinkables - CBD gummies and drinkables are also easy and discreet to use. The gummies and drinks come in many delicious flavors, which makes it a feast to take your CBD. You also take these by ingestion.  

CBD topical vs. Oral CBD – Which is better?

So, which one is better? Well, it depends on your needs. 

If you have skin problems and you are in need of relief for your discomfort, CBD topicals are the best choice. The effects of the topicals are more concentrated because it is applied directly onto the affected area.

If you want your body to relax your mind and body and improve daily activities, then oral CBD is the best choice for you. The CBD gets absorbed into the bloodstream and binds with cannabinoid receptors, giving you the much-needed effects on your body and mind. 

Let’s say you decided on oral CBD. What way of taking it will be best for you? Sublingually or ingestion? The biggest difference is that the sublingual method’s effects are faster, while the ingestion method's effects last longer. 

It’s up to you to decide what way of taking CBD fits your needs. When doing so, think about what effects you are looking to achieve by taking CBD and choose a product that contains your favorite flavor and smell to make it an even more pleasant experience.