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CBD Edibles vs. CBD Oil: The Great Debate

It says much for the cannabidiol industry that we’re now attempting to compare products. We have known about the existence of CBD for decades. However, it is only thriving in recent times. This is despite the FDA’s insistence on making things awkward. It recently stated that retailers are no longer allowed to add CBD to food or drink.

What does this mean for the CBD edibles industry? It is potentially catastrophic IF the FDA acts upon its threats. However, it is improbable that the agency will spend the time and resources necessary to ‘clamp down.’ While some vendors will take CBD edibles off the shelves, others will defy the FDA. Online sellers will continue to make these items available, and people will buy them.

The CBD oil industry is in full swing, and even staunch anti-marijuana politicians see some merit in cannabidiol. Mitch McConnell was one of the main drivers of the 2018 Farm Bill. The bill legalized the cultivation of industrial hemp, it didn’t legalize CBD oil, but the industry has benefited.

Across the sector, there are a growing number of CBD-infused items. Aside from coffee and capsules, there are balms, vaping liquid, and bath bombs! As much fun as these items are, oils and edibles remain the biggest sellers. In this article, we look to pit CBD edibles vs. CBD oil and see if one comes out on top.

What Are CBD Edibles?

A CBD edible is something infused with cannabidiol that you can eat. Unlike hash brownies, this product doesn’t cause an intoxicating high. Edibles come in various forms, including gummies and chocolate. You also have the option of adding CBD oil to a variety of recipes to create edibles at home.

Users enjoy them because they offer a quick and convenient way to consume CBD. As they are packaged like candy, you can enjoy them discreetly. You can also fit them into your handbag or pocket.

What Is CBD Oil?

CBD oil is the most popular method of consuming the compound. In states where it is legal, it must be derived from industrial hemp. Ideally, the company will use supercritical CO2 extraction. Solvents are used but don’t necessarily provide as ‘clean’ a product.

The best way to use CBD oil is to place it beneath your tongue, where the sublingual gland resides. It makes its way through the body and into your bloodstream. You also have the option of adding CBD oil to drinks.

Now that the overview is out of the way, we can compare CBD edibles vs. CBD oil in five categories.

1 – How Long It Takes for a Potential Effect

Patience is a virtue whether you use CBD edibles or CBD oil. Don’t expect it to ‘work’ in a matter of minutes. Likewise, you shouldn’t expect noticeable results by using it occasionally. Those that report satisfaction when taking the cannabinoid use it over a reasonable period.

CBD Edibles

If you want to ‘feel’ something quickly, CBD edibles are not your best option. You consume edibles orally, and the length of time it takes to get to the bloodstream varies. Factors such as your height & weight, activity level, and general health, impact how you metabolize CBD. It often takes 30 – 120 minutes for your body to break things down and absorb the cannabinoid into the bloodstream.


The same factors affect the time it takes for the CBD from oil to reach the bloodstream. In general, you can expect oil to work faster than edibles. For the most part, it gets where it is needed in 10-30 minutes. For some users, however, it can take up to an hour.

2 – Absorption Rate

In an unregulated industry, it is essential only to purchase CBD from reputable brands. Make sure they offer third-party lab reports that outline the content of all products. If your CBD oil doesn’t have much in the way of cannabidiol, it doesn’t matter how much you absorb!

The bioavailability of CBD is the rate at which it is absorbed into the blood. Let’s say your body absorbs 10% of what you consume. It means you get the benefit of 10mg of CBD if you use 100mg. Once again, bioavailability depends on an array of factors. For instance, a 240-pound man requires more CBD than a 150-pound woman, everything else being equal.

CBD Edibles

When you use a CBD edible, you consume the compound orally. As a result, the cannabinoid must pass through our digestive and metabolic systems. This process filters a significant proportion of the CBD. Estimates vary, but oral consumption has the lowest absorption rate. One study from 1986 claimed a bioavailability of just 6%.

A study by Huestis, published in Chemistry & biodiversity in August 2007, was more optimistic. However, the broad range of 4-20% still isn’t encouraging. In a best-case scenario, that 100mg gummy provides 20mg of ‘useful’ CBD. On the plus side, the effects of edibles tend to last the longest.


When you place CBD oil beneath your tongue before swallowing, you are consuming it sublingually. There is a vein called the sublingual gland beneath our tongues. When a substance is administered to it, it goes directly to the bloodstream. It is a more direct form of consumption, which is why it acts faster than CBD edibles.

Once again, the absorption rate is not mind-blowing. A study by Schoedel and Harrison, published in Current Pharmaceutical Design in 2012, analyzed oromucosal sprays. It found a bioavailability of between 12% and 35%. Its best-case scenario is effectively the same as the worst-case scenario for vaporization. The bioavailability of vaping is between 34% and 56%.

3 – Administration & Dosage

The easier it is to take, the better! If you inject something directly into the veins, you get a bioavailability of close to 100%. However, stabbing yourself with a needle regularly is best avoided if possible! Researchers have found that a large number of CBD products don’t contain the stated level of cannabinoids.

Don’t buy any product unless you can see third-party lab reports. It is only then that you can rely on the apparent dosage on the package.

CBD Edibles

Using CBD edibles is as easy as popping a gummy or piece of chocolate into your mouth. It is a convenient method of measuring how much you take. If a gummy has 20mg of CBD, you know the precise dose when you eat a full one. You also have the option to take half or even a quarter.


CBD oil bottles come with a dropper that tells you how much liquid it can handle. For example, you may see a container with a 1ml dropper. In a 30ml bottle with 1,000mg of CBD, you know there is 33.33mg in each full dropper. Even so, it’s not easy to get a precise dose from a CBD oil bottle.

4 – Variety  

It is always nice to have options and not get bored with the same old products. In most cases, CBD sellers have you covered with new products regularly entering the marketplace.

CBD Edibles

The FDA statement comes at a time when the CBD edibles market is getting into its stride. There is a wide range of products to choose from, including:

  • CBD Gummies: These come in different fruit flavors, and taste like candy.
  • CBD Chocolate: You will find it hard to distinguish from ‘regular’ chocolate.
  • Protein Bars: Take your love of CBD to the gym.
  • CBD Dried Fruit: Why not add it to your oatmeal in the morning?


Manufacturers have created CBD oil in different flavors. The most popular is arguably peppermint. However, it doesn’t match CBD edibles in terms of variety.

5 – Cost

Growing hemp isn’t cheap, nor is extracting CBD. As a result, high-quality cannabidiol is expensive. If the price seems ‘too good to be true’, perform a deep dive into the brand.

CBD Edibles

It may taste like candy, but you will pay a LOT more! For example, top brands usually charge up to $40 for 25 x 20mg CBD gummies. That equates to $80 per 1,000mg of CBD. We have seen CBD chocolates cost $30 for 30 x 5mg! It is the equivalent of paying $200 for 1,000mg of cannabidiol!


CBD oil used to be less expensive than edibles. However, the landscape has changed. You will now pay around $120-150 for 1,000mg of premium-grade CBD oil. It still arguably offers better value for money due to the higher bioavailability, however.

Final Verdict on CBD Edibles vs. CBD Oil

If we look through our categories, it seems as if CBD edibles come out slightly on top. Initially, their high cost was a significant drawback. However, manufacturers know how popular they are, and have cut the price accordingly to account for competition. You get a greater variety with edibles, and it is easier to measure the dosage. They also taste a lot better than oil!

However, CBD oil has several advantages of its own. It affects faster than its rivals. It also provides more ‘bang for your buck’ in terms of better absorption. On the other hand, the effects of CBD edibles last longer, according to most users.

Ultimately, it is impossible to choose a ‘winner.’ The one you pick should depend on your needs and desires. If you want something that lasts longer and tastes good, CBD edibles are a good option. If you prefer ‘more’ CBD that works faster, CBD oil is a better bet. The only way to know which one is best for you is to try them both!

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