CBD oils and other tinctures differ from most cannabis products because they’re absorbed under your tongue. Known as sublingual delivery, this method of consuming cannabis has been growing in popularity.
When should this method be used? What should your customers know? Read on for a science-backed look at sublingual cannabis products.
Sublingual quite literally means “under the tongue.” This method allows the active ingredients to be absorbed directly into the blood vessels under your tongue, bypassing the digestive system.1
As a result, sublingual products work faster and have higher absorption than edibles and other oral products.2
The best example of a sublingual product is CBD oil. CBD products are derived from hemp, the low-THC (<0.3%) variety of cannabis. You can also find THC-rich tinctures which contain an alcohol-based cannabis extract, such as Rick Simpson Oil (RSO).
Additionally, some companies offer sublingual cannabis strips and pills. You can also use pure CBD isolate powder sublingually, but this isn’t popular because cannabinoids are best absorbed in the presence of fats.3
The main advantage of taking cannabis sublingually is that you bypass the digestive tract and the liver. That’s why its effects kick in faster than edibles — typically 15-40 minutes,4 although it may take a few hours for full effects.
The sublingual route is also a great alternative for those who don’t want to smoke or vape cannabis. Sublingual products are discreet and don’t produce a smell. Besides, their effects last longer than smoking or vaping, with an average duration of 4-6 hours.
Another advantage is that it’s easy to control the dosage by changing how many drops you take. Oils and tinctures are also versatile because you can drink them or add them to beverages and foods but then you’d be experiencing an edible effect.
Lastly, tinctures and oils can be stored for a relatively long time without going bad and contain few calories in comparison to edibles.
The main downside of sublingual administration is that it’s not as easy as other methods.
You need to know how much cannabinoids are in each drop and measure accordingly, hold the liquid under the tongue for at least a minute, and wait for some time before you feel the effects.
It’s also difficult to take large doses since you can only put so much liquid under your tongue.
Additionally, tinctures can have a strong earthy taste or produce a burning sensation if they contain alcohol, although you can lessen this by using flavoured or oil-based products.
Another potential downside, depending on the experience your customer is looking for, is that the effects last shorter than edibles.
Are Sublingual Cannabis Products Right for Your Customers?
The sublingual route is a great middle-ground between smoking cannabis and using edibles or capsules
Compared to smoking and vaping, it’s safer and more discreet. Tinctures and oils can also be used instead of edibles if a customer is concerned about taking too much since their effects kick in faster and last a similar (albeit shorter) amount of time.
Looking to find the right sublingual product for your customers? Our Producer Connect platform makes it easy to search and compare dozens of sublingual oils and tinctures.
3 Zgair, Atheer, et al. “Oral administration of cannabis with lipids leads to high levels of cannabinoids in the intestinal lymphatic system and prominent immunomodulation.” Scientific reports 7.1 (2017): 1-12.