Which CBD Method Is Right For You? A Look at Oils, Gummies, Pills, and More

POPSUGAR Photography | Dominique Astorino
POPSUGAR Photography | Dominique Astorino

Now that we've broached the ever-mysterious, immensely complex subject of how much CBD to take for your symptoms (spoiler: it depends), it's time to figure out the best form of CBD to use for your symptoms. Should you try a chocolate treat or a gummy? What about a capsule? A sublingual tincture or oil? A suppository? A topical cream? A vaporizer pen? Similarly to the dosing, the delivery totally depends on you and your symptoms.

First and foremost, know that the aforementioned deliveries could all work for you in different ways. "You can never overdose from CBD," said Dr. Shivani Amin, MD at Green Health Docs in Frederick, MD. "It's anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and 100 percent safe," she told POPSUGAR. "And it's the most anti-inflammatory compound of [all cannabinoids]." The World Health Organization (WHO) also reported that the use of CBD is completely safe and nontoxic with no adverse side effects. Now that we've got that out of the way, let's get into how each delivery could benefit a different symptom.

"It's whatever works," said Dr. Sunil Kumar Aggarwal, MD, PhD, FAAPMR, and NYU-trained physician. "They're all different methods for what dose you want to get and what method of intake is comfortable for you." So if you're not comfortable vaporizing, opt for a capsule. Have you always had trouble swallowing pills and vitamins? Try a gummy. Your comfort with the routine plays a big role in this as well.

For Pain

Dealing with chronic pain or inflammation? "I personally love tinctures for general chronic pain and people who suffer from seizures or tremors," said Dr. Amin. She roots her preference in its fast-acting capability that can provide a full-body effect and quick relief.

"For back pain, muscle spasms, I like the topicals," she said. "Sagely produces a really good cream for that. The topicals take longer to absorb into the body versus a tincture, which is why I prefer tinctures."

Need something even faster? "Vaporizers work very differently from oral ingestion — when you vaporize cannabis you get very rapid absorption," said Dr. Jordan Tishler, MD, Harvard-trained physician and president of both InhaleMD and the Association of Cannabis Specialists. "The medicine will take effect in 10 to 15 minutes. And if you have a migraine, back ache, etc. — quicker is better."

For Sleep

For this, it depends on if you're having trouble going to sleep, or if you're having trouble staying asleep. Dr. Perry Solomon, MD, chief medical officer at HelloMD and Columbia-trained anesthesiologist has different approaches for each. "If you need help going to sleep, you need something fast acting, with a short duration: a vaporizer pen and something high in CBD to help you relax," he told POPSUGAR.

Staying asleep (read: you're having night-waking issues) is a different story. For this, he says you'll want something "slow-acting with a long duration." Think edible forms of CBD like chocolate, capsules, or oil.

For Anxiety

Everyone's anxiety is different, so your needs will determine how you take CBD. Feel a panic attack creeping up? You'll want something more fast-acting like a vaporizer or sublingual tincture (aka under your tongue). Dealing with general anxiety on a daily basis? Dr. Amin suggested trying 15 milligrams morning and night in a capsule (or your preferred delivery method).

General Considerations

Tinctures and vaporizers will yield the quickest results. "Oral, under-the-tongue [CBD] does absorb faster and yield a faster effect," said Dr. Aggarwal, and he noted that anything consumed orally (in edible form) will have more delayed effects.

"Absorbing cannabinoids through the gut does take longer and depends on what's in your stomach, so that's a variable to consider," said Dr. Aggarwal. Make sure you're taking it with food in your stomach, too! "Take CBD with food for fast and more efficient absorption — more of it gets into the blood stream."

It's all going to come down to what works best for you specifically. "Keep a journal," said Dr. Solomon. Take notes of your sleep, your pain, if you had a migraine — jot down what you took, what time you took it, when you went to sleep, how you felt in the morning, etc."

Any cannabis products referenced above are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The writer is not a medical doctor, and their experience is based on personal use, the results of which may not be typical or intended. The legality of cannabis products varies by state, and readers are encouraged to check their local laws before purchasing and using cannabis products. Nothing in this article should be construed as advice regarding the legal status of cannabis products. Any views expressed in this article by a third-party sponsor are those of such sponsor, and do not necessarily represent the views of POPSUGAR.