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Life Force Blog

Why we take CBD under the tongue?

Published on 24th May 2018

The other day, I was asked such a question that became the topic for this post: just why do we take certain CBD sublingually (under the tongue)?

It’s not something we think about all that often. But yes, we DO take certain supplements under our tongue. And one obvious answer off the top of my head is “because then the supplement gets absorbed by the body faster”, but then that brought up more questions like “why?” (they hit the bloodstream faster?) And is the medicine then more effective? So we decided this would make an interesting topic to discuss here.

Indeed, almost everyone knows the surface answer — “the supplement is absorbed by the body faster.” But why is that? Well, essentially, when a substance is placed under your tongue, it diffuses through the mucous membranes beneath your tongue. And because of the plethora of capillaries there, the substance has a fairly direct route into your bloodstream. This results in the substance or medicine working faster, and often, better (which you’ll see very shortly.)

Ok, you say, but WHY does it work faster?

Good question — here’s the answer: When you swallow a pill, it must go through your entire gastrointestinal tract. This means the stomach (with acid and bile), the intestines (where most absorption takes place) and then off to the liver, for some more filtering. And THEN it’s delivered to where it’s needed.

Truthfully, that is a long way, when you think about it. Going under the tongue bypasses this entire route, and delivers the medication right to the bloodstream. No waiting, no roadblocks — just right into the blood and off to do its job.

In addition to the speed, the substance delivered sublingually is usually more potent, and (in general terms) needs less of the substance to do the job it’s intended to do (you may have heard stories about people cutting pills in half, then taking them under the tongue, to produce the same effect as swallowing one pill). The reason for this increased efficiency is the digestive tract is incredibly harsh. And it’s meant to be — it’s how food is broken down, and the nutrients get stripped out, while the waste literally does goes the toilet.


This process, without question, will weaken most medication. So that’s why some people will “cut” pills or otherwise take them under the tongue (however, we do not recommend you do this on your own without professional guidance — in other words, ask your doctor before you start cutting your pills in half, no matter what anyone else has told you).

That said, sublingual delivery is actually preferred for certain medications (like cardiovascular drugs, steroids, etc), and recently, vitamins and minerals and indeed CBD.

So far, it seems sublingual is very advantageous — it’s faster, the substance is usually more potent, so it brings up another question: Why don’t more (or all) medicines go this route? Well, the first answer is a pill is WAY easier to take then putting something under your tongue and holding it there for 1-10 minutes or so.

But the “medical” answer is that absorption by your body is far more controlled in solid pill form. With sublingual delivery, you may accidentally swallow some, leading to a somewhat erratic absorption rate. In medication, “dosage” is typically very important (that goes without saying, really). And with a solid pill, there’s little to no question in terms of how much is in the pill, and how much is meant to be absorbed.

When it comes to CBD which is a food supplement, it is in our best interests to get the maximum absorption and as quickly as possible.

This is why we suggest you hold the oil under the tongue 60 seconds before swallowing. In truth the longer you can hold it there the better the absorption will be. 

Next time you take a dose of Spirit of Hemp, experiment and let us know if you feel the difference when you resist an early swallow and simply hold the CBD under your tongue. We would love to hear your personal results, which you can post in the reviews section, community section or on our facebook page.

We at Spirit of Hemp believe the sublingual administration is the most effective way to enjoy this wonderful gift from nature.