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Natural Awakenings Richmond

CBD OIL: Different Forms for Different Folks

Jun 30, 2020 09:40AM ● By Emily Gicewicz, PharmD; Catherine Cary, PharmD; Tana Kaefer, PharmD; Ronald Knighton, PharmD

Photo by RR Medicinals from Pexels, Photo by Laryssa Suaid from Pexels, Photo by Binoid CBD from Pexels

Cannabidiol (CBD) oil has been making headline news for a while. Ever since the 2018 Farm Bill became law, hemp-based CBD oil has become readily available at many stores. People are trying it for a variety of reasons, including supporting restful sleep, pain relief and mood. With CBD increasing in popularity, it can be overwhelming to figure out which product to try.

Sublingual Oils

Sublingual oils are placed under the tongue. They are one of the more common hemp-based CBD products and a great option for people that have a harder time swallowing capsules. Taken sublingually, the oil gets into the bloodstream faster than oral capsules and gummies. The dosage of sublingual oil is easy to increase or decrease since it comes in dropper or spray form and has a lower risk for drug interactions than oral CBD. Sublingual oils are not for everyone; the earthy taste can be a strong deterrent for some. Fortunately, it comes in different flavors such as lemon, orange, mint and chocolate.

Creams, Salves & Gels

Topical formulations are those applied directly to the skin, such as creams, salves and roll-on/gel products. Topical formulations provide targeted, fast relief and are most helpful in supporting pain reduction. They have a very low risk of side effects and a very low risk of interactions with other medications. Some find that adding a topical product along with a whole-body formulation (like sublingual oils or oral capsules and gummies) can provide added benefits.

A cream is best when looking for a smooth moisturizing product without an oily feeling. Roll-on products provide easy application, are not oily or moisturizing and typically offer heating or cooling options. Salves are similar to ointments and leave the skin with an oily feel that can be an added benefit in colder months. Salves generally have other active ingredients such as menthol and some salves absorb more slowly than creams.

Oral: Capsules and Gummies

Like sublingual oils, oral products are taken to obtain relief from conditions that affect the entire body or for an ailment topical formulations cannot help. Many find the capsules and gummies to be more convenient than sublingual oils and they come in a variety of flavors. Be sure to keep gummies out of the reach of children; they resemble candy and may be tempting for them to consume.

CBD capsule and gummy products may take longer to take effect than sublingual oil, and oral CBD products have an increased potential for drug interactions. Both capsules and gummies should be kept at room temperature and away from direct sunlight.


The inhalable form of CBD comes in either oil or dried hemp plants to be smoked or vaped. There are liquid formulations of CBD oil that are specifically designed for use in vaporizers or “vapes/e-cigarettes”; it is not recommended that sublingual oil be used to vape or inhale. An advantage of an inhalable is that there is a quick effect; more of the product can be absorbed since it is taken directly into the lungs. Inhalables should be used with caution due to the possible risk for lung damage, especially for those with asthma or other lung-related illnesses. Potential issues with vaping include the contaminants present in the liquid, variable quality of the product and concern with certain vaping devices.

There are many forms of hemp-based CBD products available and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. As with any medication, talk with your doctor and pharmacist before using any CBD products. Hemp-based CBD products are not approved or regulated by the FDA, so it is important to be extra diligent in choosing a high-quality product from a reliable source. No matter where you buy your CBD, ask questions and read the labels carefully.


The authors of this article are all associated with Bremo Pharmacy, a locally owned compounding pharmacy located at 2024 Staples Mill Rd. 804-288-8361.

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Bremo Pharmacy - Richmond, VA

Bremo Pharmacy is a full-service, nationally accredited compounding pharmacy offering prescriptions (including customized medications for both humans and pets) and a wide range of health ... Read More »