October 15, 2021

The Many Forms Of CBD Products Explained

The cannabis compound cannabidiol (CBD) has many beneficial properties and isn’t intoxicating, making it a versatile tool for wellness. Pain relief, stress reduction, and sleep improvement are some of the commonly reported wins associated with CBD.

CBD also takes many forms, giving you loads of choices for customizing your CBD regimen. Depending on your goals and preferences, some CBD product formulations may be more ideal for your situation.

In this article, we’re getting to know each form of CBD, including their general price ranges and when you might want to use one over the other.

Let’s get acquainted with the many forms of this cool cannabinoid.

CBD Drops

CBD drops, which includes CBD oil drops and CBD tinctures for people and pets, are one of the most popular forms of CBD. They come in a bottle with a dropper in various potency levels.

CBD drops can be taken sublingually (under the tongue) or added to food and drinks. Certain formulations of CBD drops are better for certain applications.

However they’re consumed, each drop of CBD delivers hemp-based benefits.

Price Range:  $-$$


  • Drops can be great for getting the perfect amount of CBD.
  • They’re easy to find.
  • Formulations usually contain minimal ingredients.
  • CBD drops can be very fast-acting.
  • They’re often the best deal per dose.


  • Taking a CBD tincture isn’t always the most discreet option.
  • Some drops have an unpleasant flavor.
  • You’ve gotta keep the various types of drops straight.
  • They can get messy if you’re not careful.

Alcohol-Based CBD Tinctures

Alcohol-based CBD tinctures are technically the only true tinctures in the CBD drops family because they meet the definition for a tincture: They’re made by steeping a substance in a solvent. In the case of CBD tinctures, hemp is soaked in alcohol.

This CBD extraction method brings a lot of compounds into the mix other than CBD. As a result, alcohol-based CBD tinctures can have a stronger flavor than other types of CBD drops.If you’re particular about taste, this may not be the best option for you.

It’s generally recommended to take CBD tincture drops sublingually, but they can be added to food and bevvies.

CBD Oil Drops (aka CBD Tinctures)

CBD extract is mixed with a carrier oil to make CBD oil drops. While not a tincture by definition, CBD oil drops are often called tinctures — and just might be what surfaces when you search for “CBD tinctures” on the interwebz. (And, yes, that CBD drops, CBD oil drops, CBD tinctures, and CBD oil tinctures are frequently all used interchangeably can be confusing as heck!)

Since they aren’t made via the solvent extraction method, the flavor of CBD oil drops is usually milder than alcohol-based tinctures. Flavored CBD oil drops can further mask the natural hemp notes.

For fast results, take CBD oil sublingually. Otherwise, feel free to send the drops straight down the hatch or add them to food. Since oil and water don’t mix, you probably wouldn’t wanna add them to cold drinks.

Water-Soluble CBD Oil Drops

As the name suggests, water-soluble CBD drops fully dissolve in liquid. You can add these drops to your drink or take them sublingually.

Water-soluble CBD works faster than other CBD drops and edibles, making it a go-to for acute issues like headaches or when you need results ASAP.

Need help sleeping? Try taking water-soluble CBD with melatonin in a cup of chamomile tea in the evening.

CBD Oil Drops For Pets

Pets have specific needs when it comes to their CBD products. Pet CBD drops are made without ingredients that can be toxic to animals. And since they don’t need as much CBD as their owners, pet CBD oil is lower potency than CBD made for people.

Add CBD drops to your pet’s food or water. Water-soluble CBD drops are easier to give pets because the drops completely dissolve.

CBD Pills

CBD capsules and softgels give you a pre-measured dose of CBD in each pill.

Price Range:  $$-$$$


  • It’s ultra-clear how much CBD you’re taking.
  • They’re easy to add to your routine.
  • Pre-measured doses are ideal when you’re on the go.
  • The ingredient list is typically very short.


  • You’ll probably pay more per dose compared to some CBD products.
  • Pre-measured doses could be a downside if you need an in-between-sized dose.
  • Not a great choice for people who have trouble swallowing pills.

CBD Softgels

CBD softgels can be loaded with CBD oil or water-soluble CBD. It’s like CBD drops, but wrapped up in a tiny, easy-to-swallow package.

CBD Capsules

Capsules packed with herbs and supplements may contain CBD. Although these are less common than CBD softgels, they’re out there.

CBD Edibles & Drinkables

Candy, snacks, and drinks infused with CBD give you a certain amount of CBD in each serving.

Price Range:  $-$$


  • It’s a surefire way to enjoy taking your CBD.
  • You know exactly how much CBD you’re getting in each treat.
  • Effects may roll out slower and keep going longer.


  • It might take a little longer for the CBD to kick in because it’s absorbed through digestion.
  • CBD-infused food and drinks aren’t legal in all states. (Exception: CBD gummies are legal coast-to-coast!)
  • Each dose can cost you more than other products.
  • They may contain added sugar, fat, salt, or other ingredients you might not want.
  • Not all CBD edibles are vegan-friendly.
  • The shelf life of fresh/perishable CBD edibles (like baked goods or milk) is much shorter than other formulations.

CBD Candy & Edibles

Between the CBD-infused chocolate bars, fruit chews, and hard candy in some cannabis-friendly states, you might think Willy Wonka was in the CBD business. But nope — these products are simply one tasty form of CBD products.

CBD Gummies

CBD gummies are the most accessible type of CBD edible. They’re permitted in all 50 states as long as they’re made from industrial hemp and don’t exceed 0.3% THC. Plus, it’s more low-key to pop a gummy than it is to fumble with a bag of CBD candy.

Plant-based eaters rejoice — vegan CBD gummies let you get in on this delicious form of CBD.

CBD Drinks

CBD can be added to ready-to-drink coffees and teas, juices, waters, milk, and sodas. If you’re having a hard time finding CBD drinks in bottles and cans, they may not be permitted in your state. Sowwy! You’ll just have to DIY it if you want some sippable CBD.


Transdermal & Topical CBD

Any form of CBD that’s put on the body externally (think: hair, skin, nails) is a topical CBD product. Topical products typically affect just the targeted area they’re applied to.

Transdermal CBD is also applied to the skin in the form of a patch, but it sends the CBD into the bloodstream.

Price Range:  $-$$$


  • Topical CBD is a great choice for people who don’t want to ingest CBD.
  • You can get the same benefit of ingesting CBD with transdermal CBD patches.
  • CBD can be found in products you already use, like CBD-infused shampoos and skincare products.
  • They’re discreet and easy to use.


  • Topical CBD products tend to be less potent.
  • Some CBD skincare products can be pricey.
  • Application can be a little messy.
  • Some people find wearing a CBD patch for an extended period of time to be uncomfortable.

CBD Topicals

Topical CBD products could be in the form of:

  • CBD creams
  • CBD massage oil
  • CBD lotion
  • CBD skincare products
  • CBD topical sprays

All of these products can be rubbed into the skin. These incarnations of CBD provide localized, rather than systemic, relief.

If you’re after a specific result — like reducing muscle and joint pain — seek out a product made for that use specifically for best results.

CBD-Infused Personal Care Products

Not all topical CBD products are rubbed into the skin. Enter CBD bath bombs, CBD-infused shampoos, and other beauty and hygiene products with CBD. Personal care products that are enhanced with CBD could be a fun and handy way to bring the benefits of CBD to your self-care routine.

Transdermal CBD

Transdermal CBD patches are left on the skin, which allows the CBD to permeate the dermal layers. The CBD in the patches is combined with ingredients that enable time-released diffusion of the CBD into your bloodstream. You can think of transdermal CBD as a combo of topical CBD and the slower-release benefits of ingestible CBD products.

CBD patches may be a good fit for those wanting an all-day reprieve from persistent issues — like chronic back pain.

CBD Sprays

There are two types of CBD sprays: Oral sprays and topical sprays.

Price Range:  $$-$$$


  • You can choose from oral or topical sprays, or go for both.

  • Each spritz has a specific amount of CBD.

  • Sprays can be tough to find.

  • Some products are expensive.

  • If bottle spray caps are clogged or inconsistent, it can be tough to track how much CBD you’re getting.

Oral CBD Sprays

Oral CBD sprays are sprayed under the tongue or swallowed immediately. They’re usually flavored.

Topical CBD Sprays

Topical CBD sprays are spritzed directly onto the skin and rubbed in.

CBD Smokables & Vapeables

Hemp flower, CBD vape juice, and CBD wax made from hemp are forms of CBD you can smoke or vaporize.

Price Range:  $-$$$


  • You can expect to feel results instantly or within minutes.
  • Flower, wax, and vape juice are unprocessed or minimally processed and contain the full range of cannabis compounds.
  • Smoking or vaping CBD may help with nicotine cessation.


  • CBD flower, vapes, and smokeables aren’t legal in many states.
  • Smoking is smoking — aka, there are health risks.
  • It’s tough to control dosage.
  • For vaping and wax, you’ll need some special equipment, which can be costly.
  • Some products may contain high levels of THC.
  • Secondhand smoke can negatively affect those around you.

CBD Flower

High-CBD strains of marijuana or hemp flower can be harvested, dried, and smoked. CBD flower is smoked with a pipe or water pipe or rolled into a cigarette.

CBD Vape Cartridges

CBD extract is mixed with a viscous liquid (such as vegetable glycerine or propylene glycol) to make CBD vape juice for vape cartridges. Vape cartridges are designed for use with vape pens or other vaping devices.


Wax is the most concentrated form of CBD. Because you’ll need a dab rig (a special bong-like filtration device), it’s the most involved method of consuming CBD.

The World Of CBD Products Is Your Oyster

There’s a world of CBD product formulations out there. Different preparations are better suited to certain needs and preferences. And, you may need to read up on CBD laws in your area for some products.

But, now that you’re in the know when it comes to the various forms of CBD, you’ll likely be a savvier CBD consumer. Chances are, you’re better equipped to choose effective products — ones you’ll actually use!

Put your CBD smarts to the test when shopping for CBD so you can get the most out of every purchase.


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