CBD Capsules vs. CBD Oil: What’s the Difference?
Revised July 2022
Since the federal legalization of industrial hemp in late 2018, the cannabidiol (CBD) industry is seeing explosive growth. CBD is now used by millions of Americans to help relieve a number of ailments, including inflammation, chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia, depression, and more — and demand appears to be increasing every year. In fact, a recent Forbes Health survey of 2,000 U.S. adults found that 60 percent of respondents have tried a CBD product. While there are many types of CBD supplements available today — from vapes to gummies to lotions — two of the most popular are CBD oil and CBD capsules. So, which is best for you? Let’s find out by taking a closer look at CBD capsules vs. oil.
CBD Capsules vs. Oil
What Is CBD Oil?
CBD oils are arguably the most common and recognizable product on the market today. CBD oil can be extracted from either marijuana or hemp as both are subspecies of cannabis sativa. However, hemp contains much higher levels of CBD compared to marijuana, as well as much lower levels of THC (0.3 percent or less), making it the most likely source.
There are different methods used to extract CBD from the plant — including the golden standard, CO2 extraction, a “cold” method that doesn’t use harsh chemicals or solvents and avoids the degradation of the extract that can occur with high temperature extraction methods. The result is a thick substance that is full of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other phytonutrients.
Here are several types of CBD oils available on the market:
- Full spectrum CBD oil is a CBD preparation that contains the majority of cannabis plant compounds, including some THC. The extract is combined with a carrier oil such as MCT, coconut, avocado, olive, or hemp seed oil. Due to the synergistic influence of other cannabis plant compounds, full-spectrum oil carries greater potential for physical or psychological benefits, a phenomenon known as the “entourage effect.”
- Whole plant CBD oil is less refined than full spectrum CBD oil. It contains (you guessed it) an extract from the whole cannabis plant, including fats, waxes, and other fibrous plant material in a carrier oil. (Note: It can be bitter and thus less pleasant in taste compared to full spectrum CBD.)
- Broad spectrum CBD oil is very similar to its full spectrum cousin, with the primary difference being its THC content. It still includes a range of cannabinoids in a carrier oil, but no THC at all.
- CBD isolate is CBD that has been refined to a powder. It contains no other cannabinoids or phytonutrients. It is pure CBD and sometimes added to a carrier oil to make CBD isolate oil. (Note: Because there are no other cannabis compounds present, the entourage effect won’t come into play with the use of CBD isolates alone.)
Pros of CBD Oil
The key advantages to using CBD oil are more controlled dosing and its quick absorption into the body.
- Taking one dose under the tongue (sublingually) ensures a fast delivery of cannabinoids to the bloodstream via the small blood vessels in the mouth. Typically consumers feel the effects within about 20–30 minutes.
- After swallowing the CBD, the remaining cannabinoids pass through the digestive tract (a slower path to the bloodstream), causing a second wave of benefits within two hours.
- CBD oil droppers allow you to decide how much you want to take with each dose. This is especially useful when you’re beginning your CBD regimen, as you can tweak your dose based on the effects you experience, ultimately finding the amount that’s right for you.
- CBD oils are the most versatile as they can be taken sublingually (as suggested), added to food or drinks, or even applied topically.
- Effects should last between 4 and 6 hours.
Cons of CBD Oil
- It may come with a “wood-like” or “earthy” taste, which isn’t appealing to some people. This can make it difficult for them to maintain a daily regimen.
- While the effects of CBD oil will be felt sooner than CBD capsules, they won’t last as long.
- Since it’s an oil preparation, there’s a risk of spills during travel, but this can be avoided if the bottle is packed properly.
What Are CBD Capsules?
CBD capsules were created to make taking CBD oil a convenient and flavorless experience. You may be wondering, “Do CBD capsules contain oil?” Actually, yes. They contain the same oil preparation found in CBD oil supplements, only it’s portioned out in softgel capsules. These can be made from a variety of ingredients, but are often composed of animal bi-products — such as gelatin. For those enjoying a plant based lifestyle, NuLeaf Naturals offers a uniquely plant based softgel made with three simple ingredients: cassava root, vegetable glycerine, and water.
Pros of CBD Capsules
CBD capsules are a great option for those with sensitive palates or who are not quite ready to fully customize their dosing experience.
- Each capsule contains a precise dose of CBD, which can easily be swallowed without any unpleasant flavors or textures.
- Capsules easily fit into a daily vitamin or medicine routine, making it a simple addition to your wellness regimen.
- They are easy to travel with as a bottle of capsules won’t leak like a bottle of oil might.
- When swallowed, the CBD is partially metabolized by the liver before entering the bloodstream (more on that in the cons section). On the pro side, however, the liver will continue to gradually release CBD into your system, allowing effects to continue for up to 10 hours.
So, do CBD pills work as well as oil? Yes, CBD capsules contain the same CBD found in oil preparations. However, they don’t work as quickly because they have to pass through the stomach and liver before reaching the bloodstream.
Cons of CBD Capsules
- CBD capsules take longer to go into effect as they must first pass through the digestive tract before entering the bloodstream.
- The liver metabolizes a portion of the CBD compounds, reducing its concentration and bioavailability (how much of a substance is able to enter circulation and reach the target site).
- It may take as little as 20 to 30 minutes for you to start feeling effects (albeit, weaker effects), and it will likely take as long as one to two hours to really experience the full benefits.
CBD Oil or Capsules: Which Is Best?
You see, when pitting CBD capsules against CBD oil, the key differences are simple:
- How quickly effects are felt and for how long.
The best option is always going to be the one that allows you to keep a consistent and effective supplement regimen so that you can experience the full benefits CBD has to offer. In some cases, that might mean using both CBD capsules and oil (depending on your travel schedule and needs). Just be sure to maintain a consistent dose between the two.
Find the Best CBD Capsules and CBD Oil
Since 2014, NuLeaf Naturals has been committed to creating the world’s highest-quality cannabinoid products. We offer full spectrum CBD capsules and oils with no additives. The only ingredients are organic hemp extract (via CO2 extraction) and organic hemp seed oil — resulting in the purest and most effective products on the market. Visit the NuLeaf Naturals site now to shop CBD oil and CBD capsules.
Do you have questions about our products, or are wondering which one is right for you?
Our Expert Team is here to help via phone, email, or online chat:
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Online chat: nuleafnaturals.com
Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us between 9am and 5pm MT, Monday – Friday.