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CBD Capsules vs CBD Oil: Which One is Better and for What?

Written by Green Shoppers
Updated on December 1, 2018

With the CBD market having exploded in the UK, there are too many products to choose between now. People wanting to get into CBD oil for their health are often faced with a difficult question: How are they supposed to take it? It’s pretty much undisputed now that CBD is good for you in some way or another, and that’s why people are eager to up their intake.

Two of the most common options for getting CBD into your daily routine are CBD oils and CBD capsules. These two have some strong similarities and some key differences, which is why people often struggle to choose between the two. If you have been deliberating over this decision, we are here to tell you what aspects of CBD oil and CBD capsules are the best bits, so that you can make an informed decision about where to invest your money.

What is CBD Oil (Cannabidiol)?

CBD oil is the OG of CBD consumption. As the tried and tested gold standard, CBD oil is probably the most popular option for newcomers to the CBD world.

In order to make CBD oil, manufacturers extract the CBD from the hemp plant – usually via CO2 extraction – and then suspend the extract in an inert oil such as coconut oil or hempseed oil. The result is a handy oil substance packed full of cannabinoids that you can make use of in several ways.

The recommended way to take CBD oil is to place a few drops or sprays (this depends on the bottle the manufacturer puts it in) beneath your tongue, hold the oil there for up to 90 seconds, and then swallow. The CBD is absorbed into your bloodstream from beneath your tongue this way.

Alternatively, many people mix their CBD oil into their food, meaning you can make your own CBD edibles at home using whichever CBD oil you so choose.

What are CBD Capsules (Edibles)?

These are pretty much exactly what they say on the tin – capsules that contain CBD. Usually, this means CBD suspended within a gel capsule.

They are produced in a similar way to CBD oil, by extracting the CBD and other cannabinoids from hemp and suspending them inside the gel capsule. The method of consumption is different, however, because you take them just as you would any other pill. Simply swallow a capsule or two with water.

Now that we know what each of them are, what are the differences between them?


Anybody who has tried CBD oil already will likely know about its infamous, distinct taste. It’s an acquired taste, to say the least! As it just consists of cannabinoid extracts within oil, the flavour of CBD oil is very earthy and raw, and many people complain that it makes them feel sick. This might be, in part, due to the slimy texture of the oil, too. Since you have to hold the CBD oil in your mouth for a period of time, some consumers find the taste and texture of CBD oil too much to handle.

Although the taste can be bypassed with breath mints, drinks, or by making edibles, some people would prefer a more handy, tasteless option. This is where CBD capsules are here to shine. Since they consist of a gel capsule that’s washed away instantly, you won’t taste it at all. If you find that you really can’t bear the taste of CBD oil, CBD capsules could well be the better option for you.


Both CBD capsules and CBD oils are pretty convenient. Neither of them take very long to administer, but capsules probably just pip oils to the post when you’re in a rush. You do, after all, have to hold CBD oil under your tongue for a minute and a half, which is not ideal if you’ve got somewhere to be.

Moreover, CBD capsules are much handier for travelling, as you can take them pretty much anywhere on the go. Once again, CBD capsules win out on this one.

Another thing to note is dosage, but this is more or less the same between CBD oil and CBD capsules. Oils come in a dropper or spray bottle, usually with the milligrams of CBD per spray/drop marked on the label. This makes it easy to calculate how much CBD you’re getting with each dose. With CBD capsules, the dose is already premeasured for you, containing a specific amount of CBD per capsule. Neither of these is particularly easier than the other, so CBD oils and capsules are on a pretty even keel when it comes to dosage.


Although CBD is rapidly growing in popularity, some people are still uncertain about it due to it originating in cannabis. The usage of CBD is a bit of a legal grey area, and that’s why some people would prefer to keep their CBD consumption on the down-low. Whether it’s because of judgemental co-workers or simply anxiety about using supplements in public, some people want to be discrete.

CBD capsules are definitely the subtlest way to take CBD. While a bottle of CBD oil being dropped under your tongue is quite obvious, taking a pill is rather inconspicuous in this day and age. You’re unlikely to attract any attention for doing do, and therefore you’ll be on the safe side when it comes to staying out of the limelight.


Whenever you consume any substance, it is broken down by the body through various means. This all depends on how you take it. If you want to get the most out of your CBD, it’s important to know exactly how much of it is making it into your system for use by your body.

When you take capsules, it is the same as eating a CBD edible. Since you have ingested it orally, it has to make its way through your digestive system to be broken down. Many studies have been conducted on CBD’s bioavailability when taken this way, and the results are not entirely conclusive. A study conducted in 2009 by Marilyn Huestis found that there is a bioavailability rate of between 4% and 20%, which 20% being an optimistic estimate in any study on the matter. This is a pretty poor rate of bioavailability, sadly.

When you take CBD oil sublingually, the CBD is absorbed directly into the bloodstream via a vein called the sublingual gland. A 2012 study by Schoedel and Harrison found that bioavailability through this method ranges between 12% and 35%, meaning it is much higher than oral consumption.

Furthermore, many manufacturers use coconut oil as the inert medium to suspend the CBD. Coconut oil is high in saturated fats, meaning that it is not digested well by the body. When you swallow the CBD oil, these fats can get stuck in the walls of your intestines for a while, allowing for even more of the CBD to be absorbed into your system. This sounds a bit disgusting, but the fat globules are moved along eventually as long as you don’t eat too much fatty food.

Basically, CBD oil allows for much higher bioavailability, meaning you get a lot more for your money when you use an oil compared to a capsule.

CBD oil vs CBD Capsules: The Final Verdict

Really, it is not for us to say whether CBD oil or CBD capsules are the better of the two. It all depends on what you are looking for in particular. If you’re concerned about subtlety and convenience, then CBD capsules might be your best option, whereas versatility or potency would send you in the direction of CBD oils.

We hope that this information has made it a little easier for you to decide between the two. If you have tried both of these methods, let us know whether you prefer CBD oils or CBD capsules in the comments!