Guide to CBD Capsules

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a natural chemical compound that comes from the cannabis plant. CBD is less well-known than THC, another compound found in cannabis, but it’s quickly becoming quite popular.

CBD’s newfound popularity stems from several causes. For one thing, CBD contains no psychoactive properties, so it doesn’t produce a feeling of being “high” like THC does. For another, CBD appears to provide a wide variety of significant health benefits. Moreover, the list of benefits CBD provides only continues to grow, as more research is done in this area.

Many people take CBD to relieve a specific health issue. CBD helps many cope with a chronic condition, like anxiety or arthritis pain. For others, it’s something they use occasionally to relax or sleep better.

CBD itself can be taken in several forms, from oil tinctures and vapes to gummies and topical creams. Another option is CBD capsules. Many people prefer CBD capsules as they’re a simple, no-fuss way to take CBD, without the odor or taste of other formats.

What Are CBD Capsules?

CBD capsules are pill tablets or softgels that contain CBD oil. They’ll also often include MCT oil, which is an extract of coconut oil. The MCT oil gives the pill a bit more volume and makes it easier for your digestive system to process.

Usually, CBD capsules are what’s known as “full-spectrum” CBD. This refers to other cannabinoids besides CBD being present in the capsule. These cannabinoids may include CBDV, CBDA, as well as THC.  Many people prefer full-spectrum CBD because they believe the presence of more cannabinoids enables the CBD to be more effective at engaging your endocannabinoid system (more on this in the next section). This is called the “entourage effect.”

Even though full-spectrum CBD capsules will contain THC, they still should not get you high as it will be a very small amount, 0.3% or less. You can always verify the amount of THC on the manufacturer’s website, but as an extra precaution, we recommend purchasing CBD capsules sourced from industrial hemp. Hemp is a strain of cannabis high in CBD, with only 0.3% THC or less. While less common, CBD capsules can also be sourced from marijuana, another strain of cannabis which contains significantly higher amounts of THC (usually 5% to 20%).

All of the CBD capsules we review below are sourced from hemp.

How Do CBD Pills Work?

Like all CBD oil products, CBD capsules work by engaging your endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is responsible for keeping your body in a state of balance. It’s made up of endocannabinoids (which resemble external cannabinoids like CBD but are produced by your body), cannabinoid receptors, and enzymes.

When something is out of balance, such as when you are experiencing anxiety or chronic pain, your endocannabinoid system uses these receptors to communicate with your brain or the part of your body that’s become out of balance. Endocannabinoids, as well as external cannabinoids like CBD, bind to these receptors to aid this interaction. When you take a CBD capsule, you give your endocannabinoid system a boost of extra cannabinoids, essentially enabling it to be more effective at its job.

For example, if you are living with chronic pain, the CBD will bind to pain receptors in your brain, lifting your mood and adjusting your brain’s’ perception of the brain, while also engaging receptors in the inflamed area, reducing the physical inflammation and associated pain.

Part of what makes CBD so powerful is that it appears to especially effective at targeting and relieving elements of your body that have become unbalanced, just like your endocannabinoid system does. This also explains why the list of benefits of CBD is so long, including:

  • Pain relief
  • Anxiety and depression relief
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Better skin
  • Addiction recovery
  • Nausea reduction for cancer patients
  • Improved sleep

Side Effects of CBD Capsules

The good news about CBD continues. Not only is CBD able to relieve a variety of health issues, but it does so with few to no side effects. If anything, when people take CBD capsules, they might feel a slight sense of relaxation. Tiredness is the most common side effect of CBD, and it may go away once you get a bit used to the CBD.

More serious side effects include dry mouth, nausea, diarrhea, or changes in blood pressure or body weight. If these occur, you should stop taking CBD and consult your doctor. However, they are extremely rare.

Generally, CBD is very safe for humans, even in high doses. However, there are a few people who should avoid taking CBD. These include pregnant or breastfeeding women, as well as children. Not enough research has been done to test the safety or efficacy of CBD among these populations.

If you are taking other prescription medication, you should also exercise caution when using CBD. It is possible the CBD could negatively interact with your drug and cause unpleasant side effects. If this describes your situation, speak with your doctor before taking CBD.

Are CBD Capsules Right for You?

CBD is effective, no matter which form you take it in. So, why should you take CBD capsules over other method? Here are a few of the reasons people prefer CBD capsules:

  • They’re odorless and tasteless. The natural flavor of CBD is a bit earthy, like the cannabis plant. For many, it takes some getting used to. Some manufacturers make their CBD more palatable by adding flavors to CBD oils or vaporizers. CBD gummies taste the best, but they include additional sugars and additives, which aren’t always organic. With CBD capsules, there’s no taste, no odor, and you still get all the CBD you need.
  • They’re easy to take. With CBD capsules, once you’ve found the dose that works for you, the work is done. You don’t have to worry about measuring it out just right, as you might do with an oil tincture. Your dose will stay consistent in each capsule. Further, since they look like your daily vitamin, it’s easier to remember to take your dose.
  • They’re discreet. Because CBD capsules resemble traditional pills, you can take one discreetly without someone wondering why you’re adding a drop of oil beneath your tongue (as you would do with a sublingual tincture). Also, because they look like regular pills, they’re much easier to travel with than vape pens or oil tinctures, which might spill.

If you want an easy way to remember to take your CBD, flavor-free, CBD capsules could be a great choice for you.

However, there are some downsides to CBD capsules—most notably, the length of onset. When you take a CBD capsule, it has to travel through your digestive system before it enters your bloodstream and engages your endocannabinoid system. Depending on your personal metabolism, this could take anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes. Also, during that journey, some of the CBD will get lost to the digestive process. Typically, this means you’ll have to take a higher amount of CBD when using a capsule than you would with other forms of ingestion. Ultimately, this can make CBD capsules a bit less cost-effective, comparatively.

If you need a faster-acting form of CBD, we recommend sublingual tinctures or vape oils. With either of these methods, the CBD will be absorbed by your bloodstream in a matter of minutes.

How to Take CBD Capsules

You take a CBD capsule like you would any other pill or dietary supplement. You swallow it with a glass of water.

Taking a CBD capsule is easy. Finding the right dose is less easy, but all it takes is a bit of time. The dose of CBD is expressed in milligrams, and describes how many milligrams of CBD is in each capsule. Typically, CBD capsules come in 30- or 60-count bottles with doses ranging from 5mg to 50mg.

The recommended dose for CBD is 1 to 6 mg of CBD for every 10 pounds of your body weight. It’s best to start at the lowest dose for your body weight, and gradually increase from there until you find a dose that works. Then, stick with it. Studies show people don’t develop a tolerance to CBD.

Don’t worry if you end up needing a higher dose. The best dose of CBD for you depends on your personal body chemistry and the severity of the condition you’re taking it for. Also, remember that CBD capsules already require a higher dose than other methods, due to the loss of some CBD during the digestive process.

Where Can You Buy CBD Capsules?

CBD is legal in all 50 states.  As such, you can buy it easily online, either direct from the manufacturer or from larger health retailer websites. CBD capsules are also available in many local health stores.

Additional Resources

Learn more about CBD at the links below.