CBD Bioavailability Comparison: Which Works The Fastest?

CBD Bioavailability ComparisonPin

There are plenty of ways to take CBD, from gels to creams and oils, but what about CBD bioavailability? Which type of CBD is the best? Let’s find out…


Key Takeaways:

💊 CBD absorption varies greatly depending on the delivery method

Knowing which type of CBD has the most bioavailability is crucial for effectiveness

📊 CBD Bioavailability Chart:

  • 😋 Swallowed/ingested: 4-20% uptake, 30 min-2 hrs to take effect
  • 👅 Sublingually: 35% uptake, 15-25 min to take effect
  • 🍑 Rectally: 8-50% uptake, 20-60 min to take effect
  • 💨 Inhaled or vaporized: Up to 56% uptake, 10-20 min to take effect
  • 🧴 Topically: Up to 45% uptake (localized), 25-45 min to take effect

🏆 Most Effective CBD Methods:

  • 🥇 Vaporizing CBD: 56% uptake, 10-20 min to take effect
  • 🥈 CBD oil under the tongue: 35% uptake, 15-25 min to take effect


If you’re curious about which type of CBD is the most effective, delivers the most bang for your buck, and has the most bioavailability (meaning how quickly it is metabolized by your body), you’re not alone – I have been wondering about this for years, so I decided to find out once and for all…

I use CBD pretty regularly; it helps me with my stress levels and, as an added bonus, my regular CBD usage helps me recover faster after prolonged, intense running sessions.

I’ve used gels, creams, edibles (gummies), vape juice, and CBD oil.

But which is the most effective? Which type of CBD is absorbed by your body fastest? And which delivers the desired effects quickest?

Let’s put this debate to bed once and for all…

CBD Absorption: How Fast Does It Enter Your System?

As you’re probably well aware, there are myriad different types of CBD products. You have CBD gels, CBD edibles (like these delicious CBD Chocolate Balls), CBD oil, CBD vape juice, and CBD vape pens.

Each serves its own purpose; gels and creams are great for people that don’t vape, for instance, and food-based CBD is easy to fit into any diet.

But because of the nature of your body’s metabolism, the way in which CBD is absorbed varies MASSIVELY depending on the delivery method. And if you’re after the most effective form of CBD, it pays to know which type of CBD has the most bioavailability.

CBD Bioavailability Chart: Absorption Rate & % Entering Bloodstream

Method usedUptake into your bloodstreamTime to take effect
1. Swallowed/ingested4 – 20%30 minutes – 2 hours
2. Sublingually (under the tongue)35%15 – 25 minutes
3. Rectally8 – 50%20 – 60 minutes
4. Inhaled or vaporizedUp to 56%10 – 20 minutes
5. Topically (rubbed into the skin)Can be up to 45% but stays localized (enters local tissue & small blood vessels only).25 – 45 minutes

Which Type of CBD is Most Effective?

As you can see, the most efficient type of CBD, based on uptake into your bloodstream and the time to take effect, is vaporizing CBD in a vape pen or dry herb vaporizer – this usually delivers around 56% into your bloodstream within 10-20 minutes.

The next best method is CBD oil placed under your tongue (sublingually) with 35% uptake into your bloodstream and around 15-25 minutes to take effect.

Of course, these rates, specifically the time to take effect, will be dependent on your body weight.

CBD Bioavailability ComparisonPin

The heavier you are, the slower the uptake of CBD in your bloodstream. You’ll also need a higher dose to get the same effects as someone that is lighter than you – just as it is with alcohol and other substances.

Incidentally, taking CBD the French way – or rectally (up your butt) – has close to 50% absorption rates and the CBD will take effect within 20-45 minutes. To do this, you’ll need capsules. You’ll also need to make sure that they’re designed for rectal insertion, too.

This is VERY important, so please do double-check before placing anything up your butt!

Different Types of CBD Compared

  • CBD Drinks & Edibles – Only around 4% of the CBD inside edibles and drinks is bioavailable, making edibles and drinks one of the least effective ways to consume CBD
  • CBD Oil – CBD oil dropped under the tongue is one of the most effective ways to ingest CBD. On average, around 35% to 40% of CBD is bioavailable, making CBD oil the optimum way to consume CBD safely.
  • CBD Suppositories – CBD suppository products have an efficacy of around 50%, making them one of the most efficient ways to get CBD into your system. The downside? Most people don’t like shoving stuff up their butts.
  • CBD Vape Juice – CBD vape juice, used either inside a vape tank or via a CBD vape pen, has around 56% bioavailability, placing it alongside CBD oil under the tongue as one of the most effective delivery systems for CBD.
  • Vaporized CBD Bud – Vaporizing CBD inside a vaporizer mod achieves similar results to vaping CBD vape juice, around 56% bioavailability.
  • CBD Creams & Topicals – Topical CBD, where you use a cream and rub it into a specific area on your body, is very a very effective delivery mechanism for CBD (around 45% bioavailability). However, the effects are localized to where it is applied, making it a great option for things like sprains and tweaked muscles, as well as things like neuralgia.

How To Increase Absorption of CBD

If you want to ensure the maximum amount of absorption, take your CBD with some high-quality fat. MCT oil or avocado, for instance, are popular sources of healthy fats that people use to compound the bioavailability of CBD.

How it works is simple: if you’re taking CBD oil, say, in your coffee in the morning, simply add a few drops of MCT oil to it. The fat in the MCT oil will compound the effects of CBD by as much as FOUR FOLD. Impressive, right?

Another alternative method for making CBD more bioavailable is to use water-soluble CBD.

The reason this type of CBD is more potent, and has more bioavailability in your system, is that it can quickly bypass your gut wall and avoid the first stage of digestion (which can blunt CBD’s compounds).

What’s The Optimal Way To Take CBD?

If you want to get the absolute most bang for your buck from CBD, my advice – based on everything we’ve discussed – is to shove it up your butt.

I’m joking. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

The best way to take CBD, for the vast majority of people, is via oil, where you drop some CBD oil under your tongue. With this approach, you don’t need to vape or inhale anything, anyone can do it, and it will ensure you get the maximum effects from your CBD.

CBD oil has a high level of bioavailability, can be added to food and drinks, is relatively cheap, and it lasts longer than most edible and drink-based forms of CBD.

CBD oil is also available in far higher strengths too, though most people will be just fine with 1000mg CBD. If you’re an athlete and you’re looking to use CBD to help with recovery, we’d recommend Why So CBD’s 6000mg CBD oil – it is fantastic for recovery.

For everybody else, you’ll be more than fine with CBD strengths of 1000mg or less. I don’t tend to go any lower than 500mg with CBD oil, though – you just end up taking more to get the same effect you would from a single dropper of higher strength CBD.

Top-Rated CBD Brands

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Little Rick CBD Drinks

Delightfully refreshing sparkling CBD water in three tantalizing flavors, crafted with premium U.S. grown hemp extract for a balanced and uplifting experience.

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Veritas Farms

High-potency CBD drops in invigorating flavors, harnessing the power of pure, premium hemp extract to promote calm, focus, and overall well-being.

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Celtic Wind Crops

Multi-complex hemp oils featuring synergistic blends of CBD and other beneficial compounds, carefully crafted by Irish artisans for optimal wellness support.

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LVWell

Premium CBD oils, gummies, and topicals made with top-quality hemp extracts in a range of potencies, designed to elevate your daily wellness routine.

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Dr Watson

Delectable CBD gummies and honey drops formulated by expert herbalists, offering a tasty and convenient way to enjoy the benefits of hemp.

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TRIP

Sophisticated CBD-infused drinks and oils, crafted with natural ingredients and innovative flavor profiles to help you unwind and find balance.

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Access CBD

Broad-spectrum CBD oils in various strengths, rigorously tested for purity and potency to ensure a consistent, effective, and enjoyable CBD experience.

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Hempthy

Delicious, full-spectrum CBD gummies, oils, and topicals made with organic, non-GMO hemp grown in the USA for a potent and pure CBD experience.

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Cheerful Buddha

Premium, full-spectrum CBD drops crafted with organic hemp and infused with natural ingredients for a balanced, serene, and uplifting experience.

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Why So CBD?

Premium, broad-spectrum CBD oils and vegan gummies in various potencies and flavors, crafted with care and creativity.

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