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If you’re interested in CBD, you’ve likely noticed that there is no shortage of ways to use this popular cannabinoid. With CBD oils, drinks, skincare products, smoking blends, and more all available to you, picking your product may feel like a daunting task. 

Not sure which method of consumption you should try? Don’t worry, The Brothers Apothecary is here to break them all down!

What Is the Most Effective Way To Take CBD?

The good news is that there is no wrong answer when it comes to choosing a method of consumption. Once you know the benefits and drawbacks of each option, choosing the most effective CBD for you is all about what you are looking to get out of your CBD product.

If you are looking for fast-acting and full-body relief, for instance, a CBD oil or smoking blend may be your best bet, whereas an edible could be better for providing long-lasting relief. 

But first, let’s go over all of the options available to you.

How Can CBD Be Used?


CBD edibles refer to any type of CBD that you can consume, such as CBD gummies and CBD-infused honey. Edibles include a number of ingredients alongside CBD that can provide their own wellness benefits or nutritional value.

Because CBD from edibles must go through the digestive tract before they are absorbed into the bloodstream, it can take up to 45 minutes to an hour for edibles to kick in.   

Oils and Tinctures

CBD oils and tinctures are a tried and true method of CBD intake. Found within the small, tinted bottles with an eyedropper cap, CBD oils pair CBD extract with a carrier oil such as hemp or coconut oil, as the fatty acids in the oil help the body better absorb the CBD. 

Oils are great when starting out with CBD, as the dropper makes it easy to measure and adjust your dose as needed.

CBD oils can be taken sublingually by placing a few drops directly under the tongue and holding there for 90 seconds before swallowing. Oil taken sublingually is absorbed through the small blood vessels in the mouth, allowing the CBD to bypass the digestive tract. 

Oil taken this way typically kicks in within 15 to 30 minutes and can last for around four to six hours. 

Some people also prefer to mix CBD oil into a favorite food or drink if they aren’t a fan of its naturally earthy taste. When taken this way, the oil is digested and acts similarly to an edible.  


CBD concentrates encompass any CBD product that contains high levels of CBD, making them extremely potent. Concentrates often kick in within minutes, and can come in a number of forms.

Creams and Lotions

CBD creams and lotions are nourishing skincare products that can help hold moisture in the skin and combat dryness. Some studies show that CBD may also help improve visible signs of scarring.

Infused with nurturing cannabinoids and other healthy vitamin or antioxidant-rich plant compounds, CBD skincare products can soothe tension. When massaged into the skin, CBD is absorbed through the pores and can reach cannabinoid receptors in nearby muscles, providing relief for physical discomfort along with skin support. 

Because CBD topicals aren’t absorbed into the bloodstream, they get to work fast, often kicking in within ten minutes. 


Like creams and lotions, CBD gels are topicals that can provide relief when applied directly to the skin.

CBD gels often pair full-spectrum CBD with menthol, a plant compound from mint leaves known for its cooling properties. When applied directly to the skin, menthol releases a cooling sensation that can shift the brain’s focus away from the feeling of discomfort. 

At the same time, the CBD works with cannabinoid receptors through the body’s endocannabinoid system–an internal networking system used to maintain homeostasis–to bring added relief right to the source of discomfort.

Bath Soaks and Salts

Bath soaks and salts are ultra-relaxing topicals that can transform your bathtub into a spa. By combining CBD with other soothing ingredients such as aloe or vitamin E, CBD bath soaks can fill your tub with calming properties that benefit your skin and beyond as you soak in them, while bath salts can help you scrub off even the lousiest of days, allowing you to recenter as the CBD nourishes your skin.

Smoking Blends

CBD smoking blends use dried hemp flowers, along with other beneficial herbs and botanicals to provide a variety of wellness benefits. Because smoking blends are inhaled directly into the lungs rather than ingested, this method of intake often kicks within minutes.

Who Can Benefit From Edibles?

Edibles are great for anyone who wants long-lasting and full body support. Edibles like gummies are a convenient way to take CBD on the go and ensure you are getting a consistent dose each time, while CBD honey can be added to teas or used creatively in cooking. 

Who Can Benefit From CBD Beverages?

CBD beverages such as hot cocoa or tea are versatile options that can benefit anyone. A caffeinated CBD beverage can help provide focus and motivation, while an herbal CBD beverage can promote relaxation and sleepiness before bed. 

Who Can Benefit From Topicals?

Topicals are great for responding to localized discomfort such as a sore muscle, tense neck, or swollen joints. Topicals kick in fast and can be reapplied as needed throughout the day, since they don’t enter the bloodstream. 

CBD topicals can also soothe dry or irritated skin, and help reduce scars and blemishes if used overtime.

How Long Does It Take For CBD To Work?

CBD typically begins to work within ten minutes to an hour, depending on the method of intake.

Topicals vs. Edibles

Topicals work quickly, as they connect directly to CB receptors under the skin where they are applied without needing to go into the bloodstream. You’ll often feel the soothing effects of a topical within ten minutes after applying it to the skin. 

CBD edibles take longer to kick in, as they need to move through the digestive system before entering the bloodstream. Edibles often take 45 minutes to an hour before you feel the effects, but those effects can last up to eight hours. 

How Long Do the Effects of CBD Last?

The effects of CBD typically last between two to eight hours, depending on how you take it and how much you use. CBD can also build within the body, so the more consistently you use CBD, the longer you’ll feel the effects. 

We recommend taking a consistent amount of CBD each day. 

How Much CBD Should I Use?

For CBD products that enter the bloodstream, you should start off with around 10 milligrams of CBD and work your way up. Most people feel the desired effects of CBD with a dose of 20 to 50 milligrams, and we recommend staying within 150 mg of CBD per day.

Topicals, on the other hand, can be applied throughout the day as needed! 

The Bottom Line

There are so many ways to enjoy the benefits of CBD! Ready to find the best method for you? Check out our wide array of organic and ethically sourced CBD products at The Brothers Apothecary shop!


Cannabinoid Receptors and the Endocannabinoid System: Signaling and Function in the Central Nervous System | International Journal of Molecular Sciences

Topical menthol—a human model for cold pain by activation and sensitization of C nociceptors | Oxford Academic

A therapeutic effect of cbd-enriched ointment in inflammatory skin diseases and cutaneous scars | NIH 

Jesse Richardson, Health & Wellness Advocate
Ambassador of Teas, CEO

Jesse Richardson is the co-founder of The Brothers Apothecary. He's an avid tea drinker and the primary creator behind The Brothers' products. An undergraduate of UCLA for Political Science, Jesse currently studies Medicinal Plants at Cornell University and The International School of Herbal Arts & Sciences.

Meet the Brothers.

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