difference between cbd capsules and oil

CBD Oil vs CBD Capsules: Which is Best for Your Needs?

Updated May 5, 2020

Written By
Table of contents
  • Comparison Chart
  • What Is CBD?
  • Why Take CBD Supplements?
  • CBD Oil
  • CBD Capsules
  • Conclusion
  • Community
    • Product Contests
    • Featured Sleep Product Coupons
    • Scholarship
  • Sleep Problems
    • Neck
      • Pillows For Neck Pain
      • Mattresses for Neck Pain
    • Side
      • Pillows For Side Sleepers
      • Mattresses for Side Sleepers
      • Toppers for Side Sleepers
    • Back
      • Pillows For Back Pain
      • Pillows For Back Sleepers
      • Mattress for Back Sleepers
      • Toppers for Back Pain
  • See our Process
    • Our Process
Get In Touch

Even if you aren’t new to CBD use, you might be a bit confused as to the many products available that contain CBD and how it can be used. You might even wonder what is best for you and your reasons for considering the supplement. Short of buying up a plethora of products, which can get quite pricey, you can always discuss your options with a healthcare provider or begin a bit of research on your own.

This article helps explain the use of CBD, why you might consider it, and the difference between CBD oil vs capsule form. Although the effects are not different, how you take the supplement can be interchangeable based on certain preferences.

Comparison Chart

What is CBD?

CBD is short for cannabinoid and is an active ingredient in the cannabis family. Found in high amounts in both marijuana and hemp, CBD is a non-psychoactive chemical, and thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill- is legal in all 50 United States. CBD is different than its THC chemical cousin which creates the psychoactive ‘high’ and altered state of mind that is still federally illegal.

Despite the fact that both chemicals are used for medicinal purposes, CBD is a very active ingredient on its own and is used to treat a wide variety of ailments ranging from severe epileptic disorders to anxiety and insomnia. Found in a wide variety of products, it can be used topically, internally, or even inhaled – and is sold as a supplement. Care should be taken, however, to buy quality products that are the third party checked to ensure the label matches the product.

Why Take CBD Supplements?

As mentioned, CBD can work as a supplemental aid for a wide variety of needs. The benefits it provides are still growing as further studies continue to take place, but its most popular use surrounds pain and sleeps support, with anxiety, stress, and depression-related issues a common use as well.

These aren’t the only reasons to begin using it on a regular basis though, especially since it has anti-inflammatory and soothing properties. Studies into improved focus and concentration are also being reflected upon, as is the support of asthma relief.


CBD oil is the extracted oil from the hemp and marijuana plants. It is separated from THC when taken from a marijuana plant to make it a legal, consumable substance. This oil is then suspended in a carrier oil, such as fractionated coconut or hempseed oil, and sometimes blended with essential oil for both taste and added benefits. Most oils are sold in a dropper or as a spray.


Bioavailability is defined as the active portion of the product that is available for circulation into the bloodstream of the body. How you use CBD determines how much of it you may be getting. Although you can mix oils with foodstuffs, it is suggested that you take it under your tongue in order to take advantage of the sublingual gland.

This gland is located on the floor of your mouth and quickly absorbs into the bloodstream the available ingredients it comes into contact with. This allows you to immediately get a decent percentage of the oil into your system for quicker results, with the rest made available through the digestive process.


CBD has an earthy flavor and the oil is a bit ‘slick’ overall. This may be an issue for some people who are not used to taking oil directly into their mouths, especially if they are holding it for the required 30 to 60 seconds that is suggested for maximum body absorption.

Since it is mixed with coconut oil, and often essential oils, this flavor can be masked somewhat due to the strong scents and subtle flavors of the EO’s being used. Popular flavors include orange, peppermint, and lime. Some companies flavor the oil more strongly and may add a sweetener to make the experience more pleasant.

You may want to read: Top CBD Oil Companies


Taking oil is very convenient. Since they are often sold as a spray or in a dropper bottle it only takes seconds to administer. Of course, you should hold it for 30 to 60 seconds, but that is not considered problematic for too many people.


If you have a sensitive gag reflex or find you cannot handle the taste of the oil blend, this might not be the best option for you. Of course, you also can easily mix it into foodstuffs as well, but you won’t get as much into your bloodstream initially without holding it against the sublingual glands.

Oil can also spill, which might not make it the best option for travel, or if you like to carry it around with you in a purse or bag. It also isn’t incredibly discreet if you are in public and want to administer a dose.

CBD Capsules

Just like the CBD oil products described above, the capsule is the CBD extract suspended in a capsule, usually in gel form. The only true obvious difference between the two is what they look like and how you take them. There are some more important differences to consider that you cannot see, however, as explained below.


Just like oil, you take a capsule orally, but the difference in your body response is a bit more specific. With the oil, you are taking advantage of the sublingual gland that allows your body to more quickly process the CBD into your bloodstream.

With the capsule, it has to make its way through your digestive system to be broken down before it can make its way into your bloodstream. This process also makes it not quite as available overall. The potency of the oil is reflected in both the gland and digestive system processes, whereas the capsule only has the chance to release through digestion. This makes an oil a favorable choice when you want to take advantage of as much of the CBD benefits as possible.


Obviously, there is no flavor to a capsule that you swallow. For anyone who struggles with taking oil directly, this is a great option to consider.


A capsule is very easy to travel with, you don’t have to worry about spilling and waste, plus it is very discreet overall. They also are very specific with their dosage, and you don’t have to measure out a dropper to ensure you are getting the proper amount.


The biggest downside of a capsule is simply the fact that you may not be taking advantage of its full potential due to any loss that might occur through the digestive system. It also does not enter into your bloodstream as quickly as oil, making it less readily available.

You may want to read: Best CBD Oils


Obviously, how you choose to ingest your CBD is entirely personal and dependent upon your own preferences. CBD oil is more readily available, enters into your bloodstream more quickly, and does allow your body to uptake more of its full potency than a capsule. However, it may have a flavor or texture that is not preferred by the consumer, making the capsule a better option.

This article helps explain the use of CBD, why you might consider it, and the difference between CBD oil vs capsule form.

CBD Capsules vs CBD Oil: Ask a Pharmacist

Posted by Dr. Leslie Mudd, PharmD on Jun 30th 2020

What’s the best way to take cannabidiol (CBD)? The answer depends upon your specific needs. As you decide to add CBD to your daily wellness routine, you may ask yourself: Which is better in the battle of CBD capsules vs CBD oil?

Many people prefer to take their daily dose of cannabidiol as CBD capsules. It’s a quick, convenient way to get the benefits of using CBD without the taste of the sublingual CBD oil. But the informed CBD consumer also knows that taking CBD oil sublingually can be more effective.

If you’re interested in learning more about why some people choose CBD capsules and why others choose CBD oil, you came to the right place. We wrote this helpful blog post to tell you the difference between CBD capsules and CBD oils, and which might be a better choice for you.

At Cornbread Hemp, we offer a 25 mg CBD capsule in a 30-count amber glass bottle. Our customers love them. We also offer the strongest USDA certified organic CBD oil allowed by law. We offer our organic CBD oil in two formulas: Whole Flower and Distilled. Our customers tell us that our Whole Flower oil works best for evening use, and our Distilled works best for daytime.

What is CBD?

CBD is an abbreviation for cannabidiol, a compound found in hemp. Scientists call these compounds “phytocannabinoids” because they are cannabinoids found in plants. As opposed to “endocannabinoids,” which are cannabinoids produced inside the body.

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a recently discovered network in your body. The ECS acts as a master regulator for many different functions, including aches & pains and stress. CBD can interact with the ECS and work to keep the body in balance.

Many people associate cannabis with getting “high” from the phytocannabinoid known as THC. In 2018 Congress passed the Farm Bill, which allowed cannabis containing less than 0.3% THC (defined as “hemp”) to be grown and cultivated in the United States. This opened the door for CBD products made from legal full spectrum hemp extract containing trace amounts of THC — not more than 0.3%. This is not enough THC to make you feel high.

Some people are afraid of THC, and they worry about trying full spectrum CBD products as a result. Despite those concerns, Cornbread Hemp keeps a legal amount of THC in our CBD products. Many studies show that full spectrum works better than CBD isolate or “THC-free” broad spectrum.

Why Are You Taking CBD?

People from all walks of life come to cannabidiol (often abbreviated as “CBD”) 1 because of news reports that reveal the potential efficacy of CBD in many different problems and conditions. 2 These reports range from skincare to prescription medications approved by the FDA. 3, 4

However, the research into other uses for CBD is considerably less advanced and often pre-clinical in nature. That means the studies involve animal test subjects instead of humans. This is changing because CBD may have many valuable uses for people. CBD has been used anecdotally for acne, arthritis issues, muscle spasticity, nausea and vomiting, trouble sleeping, substance abuse disorders, stress related conditions, and others.

What does “anecdotally” mean? Anecdotal evidence lacks scientific certainty because it is collected in a casual manner and relies heavily on personal interpretation. With CBD oil products, this means that claims of positive outcomes in these situations depends mainly upon personal experiences.

Why Choose CBD Capsules vs CBD Oil?

The decision of whether to take CBD oil or a CBD capsule has a lot to do with why you are taking the CBD in the first place. Sublingual CBD oil is more bioavailable than CBD capsules. But there are still many reasons that people choose CBD capsules as the best wellness option for them. Here is a partial list:

1. Convenience

Many customers find CBD capsules are the most convenient way to take CBD. Their portability makes them perfect for people who are on-the-go. You don’t have to worry about a leaky bottle while traveling with capsules. Capsules are easy to take discreetly, much more so than taking a sublingual CBD oil.

A single CBD softgel is easy to add to your daily regimen of supplements by including it in your pill organizer! Capsules are also great for people who don’t like the feeling or the hempy taste of CBD oil in their mouth. CBD capsules are easy to take quickly anywhere, so it can do what it needs to do for your body while you go about your day.

2. Digestive Inflammation

Taking CBD orally as a capsule allows the CBD to travel farther down the digestive tract to address tissues deeper in the system. Many people believe that CBD capsules can help with their digestive inflammation without the side effects associated with some pharmaceutical medicines.

3. Stress

Researchers looking into CBD’s effects on stress often use CBD capsules as the delivery method in their clinical trials. Although more studies need to be done, many people claim that CBD has helped with their anxieties.

4. Aches & Pains

CBD capsule users also claim, anecdotally, to experience less aches and pains when using CBD capsules consistently. While you absorb the CBD from capsules differently than how you absorb the CBD from sublingual oil, this has little difference to the overall positive effects CBD has on the body.

How to Choose CBD Capsules and CBD Oil

With so many CBD companies saturating the market, it can be difficult to find a safe and reliable CBD product that works. The Food and Drug Administration has yet to issue regulations for CBD, allowing for unsafe products to be produced and sold.

Therefore, to ensure your CBD products are made to the highest standard of safety, always look for a QR code on the packaging. This QR code should link to a lab report from a third-party to ensure the results are not altered or biased.

Some brands take a short-cut on lab testing and only test for cannabinoid potency. But that’s not good enough. A reputable CBD brand like Cornbread Hemp also tests for heavy metals, residual solvents, pesticides, bacteria, mold, and fungus.

If you see CBD products without a QR code that links to a robust lab report, then be very wary of that brand! Only trust CBD brands that conduct lab reports with QR codes.

When Can You Expect to Feel Results?

Whatever your reason for taking cannabidiol, you want it to act fast. Drug commercials are full of products that promise to “act quickly” or “go to work in minutes” and fix the problem right away. This is what we expect and often take for granted.

Unfortunately, medicines taken by mouth must dissolve, travel through the GI tract, and enter the bloodstream. This takes time. Natural products like cannabidiol do not come with a “time release formula” meant to start acting in your system right away. Not only does CBD need to enter your bloodstream in a natural way, it might also need to build up in your system over a few weeks before you realize it’s working.

CBD Oil Bioavailability

The effects of hemp-derived CBD oil depend upon its bioavailability. “Bioavailability” means the amount of cannabidiol that you absorb into your bloodstream. 5 The dosage and whether you choose the oil or the capsule form of CBD can greatly affect its bioavailability.

Many folks take cannabidiol as an oil under the tongue, or sublingually. We call this “sublingual” because in Latin, “sub-“ means “under.” and “lingual” means “tongue.” When ingested in this way, capillaries in the mucus membrane absorb the cannabinoids directly into the bloodstream.

In this manner, the bioavailability should be between 20 to 30 percent, which means that 20 percent of the amount of cannabidiol in the dose actually absorbs into the bloodstream. 6 In a 25 mg dose, you can expect at least 5 mg of actual CBD to enter your system.

CBD Capsule Bioavailability

The biggest difference between CBD oil and capsules is the bioavailability.

This is because CBD capsules taken orally are partially digested by the stomach and liver. Sublingual CBD oil bypasses this process by absorbing directly through the mucus membrane.

Therefore, the bioavailability of a swallowed CBD capsule 7 is anywhere from 13% to 19%. 8 That means from a 25 mg capsule, you can expect to receive between 3.25 mg and 4.75 mg of cannabidiol into your system.

Onset of Action

Whether you take CBD oil or capsules, you want to keep track of the onset of action, or the time it takes for it to start working. The onset of action for sublingual CBD oil can be anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. 9 For capsules, the onset of action usually takes a full hour. 10

Whether taken orally or sublingually, the effects of cannabidiol usually last about 6 hours. 11 After that, most of the CBD has been metabolized or eliminated from the body.

How to Make Your CBD Oil More Bioavailable

As more people come to cannabidiol usage as a wellness option to treat certain conditions and symptoms, they want to ensure they are getting the most out of their CBD oil. And if not, what can they do to improve their response.

First, be mindful. The best way to ensure you get the most out of cannabidiol is to be mindful of a few things. CBD takes a while to begin working, maybe even a few weeks depending on the person.

Therefore, keep a journal of your CBD oil or CBD capsule usage. That journal should include: the issues you are looking to help with the CBD, the dosage of CBD, the frequency of the dose, whether or not the CBD product contains THC, and what time of day you’re taking it. It may be difficult to tell when the cannabidiol starts working, so you will have to evaluate your symptoms over time.

If using it regularly, try to find a good oral regimen and take it consistently at the same time of day. Consistency is good, 12 but sometimes you might also need to shake things up to get things moving.

Bio-hacking Your CBD

Here are eight tips for improving the bioavailability of cannabidiol to make it more effective. Please keep in mind that these tips are anecdotal, so your mileage may vary.

  1. Break-through dosing — In addition to your daily dose, you can give yourself an additional dose when experiencing an acute episode. This is called a break-through dose.
  2. Smaller doses — Instead of taking a full dropper in the morning, try taking half a dropper twice a day.
  3. Clean your mouth — Brushing your teeth before taking a sublingual dose may improve the bioavailability.
  4. A longer resting period — You may decide to hold a sublingual CBD oil dose in your mouth for a longer period of time — as much as 60 to 90 seconds. Try swishing it all through your mouth to increase surface contact with the mucus membrane. The more surface contact, the more capillaries to absorb the CBD into your system.
  5. Buccal dosing — You can choose to hold the dose between your cheek and lower gums. This is called a “buccal” dose. This may be an easier method for some people whose gag reflex might be triggered by trying to hold oil under the tongue for too long.
  6. Fats are good — Take CBD with a high fat meal or snack. One study demonstrated that the bioavailability was increased 14 times by taking the dose this way. 13
  7. Be consistent — Keep your choice of snack or meal consistent so the absorption will be similar with each dose. Choose healthy fats and complex carbohydrates.
  8. A spoonful of oil — Some people say that taking your dose with an added spoonful of coconut MCT can actually help the CBD bypass metabolism in the liver. Therefore the amount of cannabidiol is not reduced by liver metabolism.

So, What is the Best Way to Take CBD?

Whether you’re taking cannabidiol as an oil or capsule, these two simple steps can help you determine the best way to take CBD for you:

  1. Monitor — Keep track of your reason for taking cannabidiol. Consider keeping a journal of your daily dosage, including time of day, amount of CBD taken, and how you feel. Evaluate your symptoms over time.
  2. Adjust — If you are not seeing the results you expect, change the dose, how often you take the dose, and/or the time of day of your dose. If you doubt that CBD is helping, stop taking it for a few days to see if symptoms return.

Final Thoughts on Taking CBD the Best Way

Choose wisely. Buy a reputable brand. Some of the cheaper brands are contaminated with solvents, heavy metals, and pesticides. Where the hemp is grown is important: American-grown hemp is good; Kentucky-grown hemp is considered better by many. Always make sure that there is a third party lab report on the product proving its safety.

Also, the consensus is that full spectrum CBD products are more effective than THC-free CBD, as long as you don’t have a drug test hanging over your head.

Furthermore, off-brand CBD products might be diluted or filled with synthetic cannabinoids. To avoid this, look for a CBD brand that offers USDA certified organic CBD products.

Why Choose Cornbread Hemp?

Cornbread Hemp represents the finest in Kentucky hemp traditions. Kentucky has the best hemp growing conditions in the world, with hemp farming traditions spanning the past 250 years. Cornbread Hemp works with Kentucky farmers to produce high quality hemp-derived CBD oil with an emphasis on choosing strains that could help best with aches, pains, and stress.

This family-owned business listens to their customers’ feedback to provide optimum customer service along with making the highest quality CBD oils, CBD capsules, and CBD topicals possible. Cornbread Hemp guarantees every product’s safety and potency with third-party lab testing. Full reports are available and easy to access on the company’s website and via QR codes on every bottle of Cornbread Hemp! We even teach you how to read our COA!

Each Cornbread Hemp full spectrum CBD capsule has the same 25 mg dose of CBD as one full dropper of CBD oil. One gelatin softgel contains full spectrum hemp extract and premium MCT oil. Cornbread Hemp packages all of their products in a recyclable dark amber glass bottle to protect the oil from UV light damage and preserving its quality for so our customers can enjoy its maximum potency.


CBD is rapidly becoming a staple in American medicine cabinets. It is important to know that there are many different ways to supplement with CBD, and to discover which way is best for you!

CBD capsules are a super convenient option for people to incorporate into their busy lives and can be taken anywhere privately without the awkwardness of using a dropper. Easy to swallow and tasteless, CBD capsules have been said to help you sleep better, relieve aches & pains, stress, and help with gastrointestinal issues. Cornbread Hemp’s CBD capsules are filled with full spectrum Kentucky-sourced hemp-derived CBD oil that fully lab-tested by a third party for safety and purity.

Each bottle of Cornbread Hemp CBD capsules has 30 softgels with 25 mg of full spectrum CBD oil per capsule. Our subscription service makes it easy to stay stocked with your monthly supply of CBD capsules, and at a discount! Check out our website to learn more.

The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. Please consult your health care professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product.

Struggling to choose? We discuss the differences between CBD capsules and CBD oil to help you decide what will be the best choice for you.