Learn more about how long to keep hemp CBD oil under your tongue and 15 sensible recommendations for what to do during tincture time. Some experts claim that for best results, you should take CBD oil under tongue—but is that true? Here's what science has to say.
How Long to Keep Hemp Oil Under Your Tongue
To our longtime partners, good friends, followers and anybody new to Green Lotus Hemp, “Welcome!” It’s a fine day, and the coffee smells fresh. We deal today with the often-discussed question, How long before swallowing? That is, more precisely, before swallowing Green Lotus Premium Hemp Oil Tinctures?
Under the Tongue: Green Lotus Hemp Responds
Sublingual, or under-the-tongue, administration is the second fastest and efficient method to deliver a substance, including the cannabinoids in hemp oil tinctures, into the human circulatory system. (Only injection via hypodermic needle is faster.)  Sublingual pathways are part of a larger discussion of bioavailability, and we’ll be releasing a deep-dive blog post into bioavailability soon. There will be a lot of biochemistry and pharmacology. Keep checking in. For now, we’ll stick to good old, real-life advice.
Like most practices related to hemp oil, ordinary people have hashed out their own approaches to dosing and administration. It’s a personal thing. Yesterday, we ambushed virtually every member of the Green Lotus Hemp team and asked the same question, “How long do you keep hemp oil tinctures under your tongue before you swallow?” Each member agreed to go on the record. These are their responses:
Carlos, CEO, Co-Founder : “15 to 45 seconds”
Kassie , Sales Advocate : “30 seconds!”
Adam , VP of Sales: “I try for…15 to 30 seconds.”
Brandon, Sales Advocate : “30 seconds or more. I try to forget about it. The longer the better. I usually have to talk at some point.”
Tim, Customer Advocate: “Five seconds. I swallow it, but because of the oil’s viscosity, there is still a coating under my tongue, on my tongue and even in the back of my throat.”
Alayna, Customer Advocate: “Basically until I can’t stand it. 45 seconds? Until I have talk to someone.”
Brad, Sales Advocate : “I try for 30 seconds. That’s what I read.”
Alex Frias, Co-Founder: “I hold it for 30 seconds. If I have a bad headache, I’ll hold it in for 30 minutes. As long as I can.”
Clay , Brand Manager : “3 to 4 seconds.”
Joel , Marketing Director : “At least 30 seconds. I figure, the longer the better. Then you get to the point where the saliva starts building up.”
Myles , Operations : “As long as possible. Sometimes shorter, because if someone calls.”
Warren, Account Advocate : “I give mine away,” he said. “to my grandmother.” (He gives his free full spectrum hemp oil to his grandmother. What a saint!) “If you call me a saint in that article,” whispered Warren as he moved closer, his two pupils dark as obsidian, “You’d better expect a bolt of lighting.” To reinforce his point, Mr. Warren gestured in a way to mimic the explosive effect of a single bolt of lightning. “Pffshaaww!” he shouted, in triumph.
True or False: the Most Effective Way to Take CBD Is Under Your Tongue
A s a wellness journalist who lives in hemp-obsessed California, I’ve had the opportunity to taste-test a lot of CBD products. Throughout my time test-driving tinctures and oils, I’ve been told (both from reading the label and from having face-time with creators of these products) that going “sublingual”—aka putting some drops under my tongue and letting them sit for a few seconds before swallowing—is the most effective way to take CBD. But is that advice actually legit?
To find out—because there’s been relatively little rigorous research on CBD to date and I’m a skeptic by nature—I reached out to a doctor and a scientist for the 411. As I suspected, this isn’t a topic that has been studied in depth. Yet there is some reason to believe that certain CBD products may truly be more bioavailable when absorbed under the tongue than if taken through food or drink.
According to Timothy Birdsall, ND—a member of hemp education platform Prima’s medial advisory group—when you take certain substances sublingually, they can enter directly into your bloodstream, where they’re immediately shuttled to your tissues. Think of it as a shortcut to digestion, which is a longer process in which the substance needs to be ingested, broken down by the stomach, absorbed by the small intestine, and metabolized by the liver. “Not only do many compounds lose potential bioavailability during [the digestion] process, but the time to onset is delayed,” adds chemist Jessie Kater, senior vice president of manufacturing for Curaleaf and Curaleaf Hemp.
Sublingual delivery isn’t always a better option for all substances, points out Dr. Birdsall—some B vitamins, for instance, need to be “activated” by the liver in order to do their jobs—but for certain vitamins and medications, it can be a super effective delivery method.
How does this apply to CBD? Surprise, surprise: It’s hard to say. “There has been very little scientific research on the sublingual absorption of CBD,” says Dr. Birdsall. The research that does exist has some inconsistencies, adds Kater, since there are so many factors that affect absorption—such as the quality of the CBD or the pH and consistency of the formulation. Plus, many of these studies focus on formulas that contain both CBD and THC—a psychoactive compound found in cannabis that’s supposed to be absent from CBD-only products—so it’s unclear whether their findings would also apply to a product that contains predominantly CBD.
Even so, Kater says that “most of the literature supports the notion that CBD has better bioavailability when consumed sublingually versus orally. [and] MCT oil-based tinctures are thought to provide better uptake than a traditional oil.” But, again, there’s no evidence that this applies to the exact CBD oil or tincture that you, specifically, have in your cabinet. As mentioned before, every formulation is different, and those small differences matter when it comes to bioavailabilty.
Long story short: You may as well try holding your CBD oil or tincture under your tongue before swallowing it—you could find that you feel it working slightly faster. Anecdotally, says Dr. Birdsall, experts recommended that you hold it there for at least 60 seconds. (A word of warning: There will be drool.) Your other option is to try a product that’s specifically created to be absorbed sublingually, like Kin Slips, which are kind of like those breath-freshening films that dissolve in your mouth.
After all, if there’s one thing that can be said about the wild west of CBD, it’s that experimentation is key—whether you’re looking for your perfect dose or your perfect delivery method.
Here are 6 products that CBD experts use themselves—including a tonic you can put under your tongue. No matter which CBD option you choose, make sure it doesn’t *just* contain hemp seed oil.