Which Type of CBD Should I Use? Top 4 Delivery Methods Explained

Table of Contents

Which Type of CBD Should I Use? Top 4 Delivery Methods Explained

With so many types of CBD products on the market, it can be hard to know which delivery method will work best for you. In this article, we’ll be dissecting the 4 most popular CBD delivery methods, including which ones work best for different symptoms!

Boy, those CBD gummies sure do look nice. But will they help ease your anxiety? What about a topical cream or lotion—will that do any good?

Look no further: we’ve got your ultimate guide to CBD delivery methods right here!

Author’s note: Our articles are not a substitute for medical advice. Please consult your GP or pharmacist with any questions about CBD use. This article is for informational purposes only.

What is a CBD delivery method?

CBD doesn’t enter the body in just one way—it can have different effects depending on how you take it. This means that a CBD vape, for example, may not affect you in the same way that a topical cream or salve might. 

Delivery methods are exactly what they sound like: the way in which you deliver the CBD to your system. And depending on what symptoms, if any, you’re trying to alleviate, your delivery method could mean the difference between relief and a non-effect. 

CBD delivery methods vary in a plethora of ways, from which organs the CBD interacts with to how much CBD actually enters the bloodstream. Delivery methods can also affect the time it takes for your CBD to “kick in,” as it were, and can impact how long the CBD stays active in your system.

What are the different CBD delivery methods?

Now that you understand the importance of delivery methods, let’s break down the top 4 types and discuss each of their unique effects on the body.

CBD Delivery Methods Overview

Inhalation (Vapour)

Inhalation—via a CBD vape—is one of the most popular delivery methods. This is because inhaling CBD is the swiftest delivery method available. With that being said, it’s also the method with the shortest duration—meaning that inhaled CBD will wear off more quickly than it would with other delivery methods.

When you inhale CBD in the form of vapour, it enters the lungs and the bloodstream much faster than with other delivery methods—between 5 to 15 minutes. For this reason, CBD vapes are popular among university students and working professionals, who can simply step outside for a few quick puffs to feel the effects of the CBD on their stress, anxiety, and general well-being. 

CBD vapes are an excellent choice for those who need acute (short-term) stress or anxiety relief, relief from PMS symptoms, and for those who don’t want the effects of the CBD to linger for too long. CBD administered using this delivery method tends to wear off within 1 to 3 hours.

You can get high-strength CBD E-Liquid and CBD disposables that’ll provide you with a decent-sized dose in just a few puffs, which means less time devoted to your CBD regimen.

So, if you’re looking for fast relief from a panic attack or a quick CBD fix during your lunch break, the inhalation delivery method is an excellent choice for you. However, if you’re looking for more long-term relief that’ll last throughout the day, you may want to choose another method.

CBD Delivery Methods: Inhalation

Oral (Edibles & Drinks)

Taking your CBD orally via CBD edibles, drinks, or CBD supplements has the longest onset time of any delivery method, but also lasts the longest in the body. For this reason, oral CBD is one of the most popular delivery methods among regular CBD users aspiring for the cumulative effect of CBD.

Because CBD builds up in your system over time, taking it every day may help to alleviate chronic or long-term symptoms of many conditions, especially those relating to mental health and chronic pain. Generally speaking, these types of conditions respond well to daily, longer-acting doses of CBD, so if you’re looking to relieve symptoms of a chronic problem, oral CBD might be your best bet.

While CBD in this form has a longer onset time—around 90 minutes—it can stay in your body for around 4 to 6 hours, which is helpful to those who need help sleeping and for those seeking relief for the above-mentioned symptoms. 

CBD Delivery Methods: Oral

Sublingual (Oils, Tinctures, and Oral Drops)

Sublingual CBD, in the form of a CBD oil or tincture, works faster than the oral route. It’s a very popular delivery method among CBD users because of its moderate onset time and moderate duration—it’s a good middle ground. 

Sublingual CBD oil goes under the tongue, and should be held there for at least 30 seconds (or a full minute, for best results). This delivery method allows the CBD to enter the bloodstream through the mucous membranes in your mouth. After holding the CBD under your tongue, the rest of the CBD is swallowed and makes it to the digestive tract, then the liver, where it’s distributed throughout the body. 

This method is generally suitable for most conditions you’re hoping to treat, from pain and inflammation to insomnia or even anxiety. This is because the CBD will start to take effect within 20 minutes to an hour, and can last between 2 to 4 hours, making it helpful in both the long- and short-term.

CBD Delivery Methods: Sublingual

Topical (Creams, Balms, and Salves)

Topical CBD creams, salves, and lotions are popular among athletes and those with localised pain. This is because CBD, when applied to the skin, has shown to help lower inflammation and ease pain and soreness in as little as 20 to 40 minutes.

In addition, these products often contain other added ingredients to help promote the healing process, such as warming or cooling agents, and essential oils with proven analgesic properties (like lavender or peppermint oil).

When CBD is applied to the skin, it’s not absorbed into the bloodstream. So, if you’re hoping to relieve anything internal—be it psychological or physical—these products likely won’t help. 

However, if you have chronic pain in your joints or muscles, or if you regularly exercise and find yourself sore afterward, topical CBD could be an excellent delivery method for you. For best results, apply directly after a warm or hot shower. If you’re using it to help ease soreness from workouts, you can apply it either before or after exercise.

CBD Delivery Methods: Topical


Hopefully, you should now have a better understanding of the different CBD delivery methods, including onset times and duration, as well as which symptoms they work best for.

You should consult a medical professional, such as your GP or pharmacist, with any questions regarding CBD—particularly if you’re taking any prescribed medications. While CBD is generally safe to use, is well-tolerated by most, and does not lead to overdose, you should still be careful when implementing it into your routine as you would with any chemical compound. 

As for me, I’ll keep taking my CBD oil at night to help me get a good night’s sleep, while vaping CBD E-Liquid throughout the day to keep my focus sharp and alleviate any stress that crops up.

Looking to add more CBD to your daily routine? Check out our other article, 5 Ingenious Ways to Use CBD Products in Your Everyday Life for some helpful tips!

Written by:
Rachel Domanchich
Rachel Domanchich
A self-proclaimed American Weird Girl in London, Rachel is a 26 year-old content writer who uses CBD on a daily basis to help with mood, stress, and sleep. She loves researching the science behind CBD and translating the jargon into digestible articles for everyone to read. Outside of her writing, Rachel is a multi-instrumental musician, singer, wife, and mother of two black cats.

Table of Contents