How Long to Hold CBD Oil Under Your Tongue?
Written By Kobi Nathan, Pharm.D., M.Ed., CDP, BCGP, AGSF
Sleep Disorders
November 27, 2022

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Cannabidiol (CBD) is found in both the hemp plant and the marijuana plant – both are of the same species of the cannabis plant.

The main difference between them is that hemp contains 0.3 percent or less of THC, the psychoactive compound, while marijuana has more than 0.3% of THC.

CBD can be taken in different ways and are available in various formulations, as seen below:

  • CBD capsules
  • CBD Gummies
  • CBD tinctures
  • CBD bath bombs
  • Topical application – CBD cream, salve, massage oil


CBD oil tincture placed in the mouth should be held for 30-60 seconds and then swallowed. The onset time and desired effect of CBD may be seen in as little as 30 minutes.

Pharmaceutical scientists are constantly working on developing formulations to ensure the fastest and most efficient delivery of a product into the body, where it travels to its intended target or receptor.

The fastest and best way, of course, is through the intravenous injection of the product into the human circulatory system.

The second fastest way is through the sublingual or buccal pathway.

What is sublingual and buccal administration?

Sublingual and buccal administration are both given by mouth.

Buccal administration involves placing the product between your cheek and gums.

Sublingual administration involves placing the product under your tongue so it can dissolve and be absorbed into your circulation through the tiny capillaries present in the thin membrane of the oral mucosal tissue.

Studies show that the sublingual method yields a faster onset of action than the buccal pathway due to a thinner layer of epithelial tissue. The diagram below highlights this difference:

sublingual vs buccal absorption in the mouth

Source: Hua S. Advances in Nanoparticulate Drug Delivery Approaches for Sublingual and Buccal Administration. Front Pharmacol. 2019 Nov 5;10:1328.


This is why it is recommended that CBD tincture be taken in the mouth.

Benefits of CBD oil tincture

Placing CBD tincture in the mouth has several advantages over traditional oral soft gels.

As mentioned above, it is absorbed much faster into the circulatory system and produces a faster onset of action.

It is likely the most effective way to deliver the active ingredient to its intended receptors in the endocannabinoid system. (In my other comprehensive article, you can learn more about this system and the potential benefits of CBD in older adults).

This means that the CBD extract in the tincture can bypass the digestive system and first-pass metabolism, ensuring higher bioavailability of the product.

Many products undergo first-pass metabolism in the liver. This process means that when a product is taken through the traditional oral route, as in tablet or capsule form, it must first pass from the intestine to the liver, where it is broken down.

After this, it reaches the systemic circulation and ultimately to its intended target receptors (in our case, the endocannabinoid system) or body tissue.

According to Freitas and colleagues, the endocannabinoid system plays an important role in regulating cognitive function, immune function, mood, memories, pain sensations, sleep, appetite, and other physiological functions.

As such, CBD, through its action on the endocannabinoid system, may play an important role in the physiological functions mentioned above.

So, by bypassing the digestive tract and the liver, more of the CBD active ingredient can pass through to its receptors (increased bioavailability), ensuring maximum absorption.

The video below succinctly explains the first pass effect:


Other advantages of placing CBD in the mouth:

  • Increased stability of the CBD product due to the neutral pH of the oral mucosa
  • When ordered from a trustworthy and ethical seller, Pure CBD oil tincture comes in a highly stable carrier oil such as olive oil, coconut oil, and other MCT oil.
  • Easy for the individual to self-administer the product
  • Easy administration for people that have swallowing difficulties

Possible factors that can interfere with CBD absorption

  • Don’t smoke, drink, or eat while using CBD tincture – these actions can interfere with its absorption and how well it works.
  • Open sores, areas of inflammation, and injuries in the mouth can become irritated when using CBD tincture, and in turn, absorption of the active ingredient can be inconsistent and erratic.

How many drops of CBD oil should you take?

There is no clear definition of how much CBD you should take. Only Epidiolex, the FDA-approved CBD-based treatment for epilepsy, has dosing guidelines.

This is a good place to start, and it is always recommended that you start at the low end to see how you tolerate and respond to the product.

It is important to note that everyone is different, and you must carefully figure out what dose works best for you.

The doses below have been used in research studies for the following conditions:

So, how do you figure out how many drops to take? It depends on the product’s strength and how much oil is in the bottle.

To make dosing super-easy for you, the only CBD company I trust, Joy Organics, lists the dose in mg of CBD per serving. And, they offer CBD tinctures in various strengths: 15 mg/serving, 30 mg/serving, 45 mg/serving, and 75 mg/serving.

So, why Joy Organics? Here is why:

  • CBD is sourced from state-of-the-art USDA-certified organic farms
  • CBD oil is created strictly from Hemp flowers – no seeds, stems, or stalks! (What other companies can say this?!)
  • Proprietary USDA-certified hemp extraction process – purified to produce CBD oil free from solvents, fats, waxes, pesticides, and undesirable plant compounds
  • THC removal – Through a USDA-certified organic chromatography process, THC is removed to yield pure, broad-spectrum hemp-derived CBD oil (Be wary of other companies’ claims – this is an expensive process, and very few companies do this)
  • Product development and manufacturing – Joy Organic’s 20,000-square-foot facility is registered with the FDA, USDA-certified organic, and strictly adheres to cGMP
  • Third-party lab testing – Every batch produced by Joy Organics undergoes rigorous third-party lab testing by an ISO-certified lab. All products are tested for microbes, potency, heavy metals, pesticides (60 total), and solvents
  • Proprietary Nanoemulsion technology – this is what separates Joy Organics from other companies. Joy’s broad spectrum CBD oil undergoes a proprietary process that transforms it into water-soluble, nano-sized particles that are easily absorbed by the body (increased bioavailability)
  • Carbon-neutral shipping – CBD products are shipped in recyclable, reduced carbon-footprint packaging – the company is doing its part to save our planet!
  • The company offers all types of CBD products to satisfy all CBD users, such as CBD gummies, CBD topicals, CBD tinctures, broad-spectrum CBD products, full-spectrum CBD products, CBD pet products, etc.

Place your order for Joy Organics products here. As a bonus, you can get 20% off your order using code GA20!





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