How to Maximize the Effects of CBD Softgels

Man in a green long sleeve shirt holding a handful of CBD softgels.

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CBD softgels are a type of edible product that releases CBD into the bloodstream via digestion, but their true potential lies in thoughtful decision-making.

To maximize the effects of CBD softgels, it’s best to consume foods that help CBD break down and absorb faster rather than other foods that might hinder absorption. It’s also helpful to care for your product effectively and choose a dosage that’s best for you.

Of course, the experience you’ll have with CBD softgels won’t totally mirror that of anyone else, and it’s important not to compare yourself to others. Still, there are ways to maximize the effects you’ll feel and ensure that you’re getting as much as you can from your product, and many of them are relatively easy once you have a good understanding of just how the whole process works.

How do you maximize CBD effects?

To maximize the effects of CBD products of all types, it’s beneficial to: 

When it comes to CBD, the products you choose matter. Some products produce effects more quickly for a shorter period of time and vice versa. Others are better for some goals – like treating chronic pain – than others.

To get the strongest effects possible, it’s likely that full-spectrum products are your best bet. Full-spectrum products contain cannabinoids other than CBD as well as terpenes, which can each impact the experience you have.

These sorts of products allow you to take advantage of the entourage effect, an idea that suggests that combining multiple cannabinoids/terpenes/parts of the cannabis plant produces a more powerful experience.

Aside from choosing full-spectrum options, you can also maximize the effects of your products by extending their shelf life as long as possible. Proper storage techniques – like keeping products in a secure, cool, and relatively dark environment – can go a long way in terms of keeping your products functional for as long as they’re able to, maximizing the amount of time during which you can benefit from them.

Some products and consumption methods, though, will always create a different experience no matter what. That’s why understanding bioavailability and how to work with it is so important.

Bottle of CBDistillery softgels laying on its side with a bunch of softgels pouring out.

How to Increase CBD Bioavailability

Bioavailability is a large word that describes a simple concept: the degree and rate at which a substance (CBD, in this case) gets absorbed into the bloodstream and thus the body.

Bioavailability describes how powerfully and how quickly the effects of a substance are felt. Being familiar with the bioavailability of your products can help you figure out just how much you need to consume and how often to use your products to obtain the effects you’re looking for.

This topic is especially relevant as CBD becomes a more mainstream treatment option. After all, understanding how to use it as a sort of prescription medication means being aware of what types of products absorb the fastest and work the longest.

So, what types of products have the highest bioavailability, and what can you do to influence these rates? 

Below is a list of some of the most common types of CBD products and consumption methods ranked from highest to lowest in terms of bioavailability (higher bioavailability means faster and stronger effects):

  1. Intravenous or injection
  2. Inhalation: smoking, vaping, etc.
  3. Nano-Emulsified or Liposomal
  4. Sublingual, or under the tongue, consumption (CBD oil, tinctures, etc.)
  5. Oral consumption (capsules, edibles, etc.)
  6. Transdermal and topical

While bioavailability is largely specific to the product itself, there are steps you can take to increase or maximize it. 

Eating foods that help enhance CBD rather than hindering it, discussed in more depth below, is an easy way to ensure that you’re reaping the full benefits of your product.

Foods That Enhance CBD

Because CBD is soluble in fat, meaning it breaks down and dissolves in fat, a quick and simple way to enhance it is to consume it after or with fatty foods.

Foods that are naturally high in healthy fats like nuts and nut butters, certain types of meat, avocado, oils, fish, and more can easily be incorporated into your routine and are proven to help make CBD more potent.

It makes sense: consuming fat means it’s easier for CBD and other cannabinoids to break down in the first place, and break down more quickly at that. This allows your body to metabolize the substance faster and will likely create a different experience for you than if you didn’t consume fat at all.

Not all foods are created equal, though. It’s best to avoid foods that are overly sugary or contain lots of unnecessary additives that might make digestion or absorption more challenging for the body.

While these types of food may not hinder you, they’re not as likely to be beneficial compared to those high in healthy fats. 

You can add CBD products to these foods (via oil, tincture, etc.) or simply eat them soon before you use your product, which is a better option if you’re using softgels or another edible option.

A single softgel being held up by someones thumb and pointer finger.

How long does it take CBD softgels to work?

It may take up to an hour or so to feel the full effects of your CBD softgels, but there are many factors to consider.

Because CBD softgels release CBD as the stomach breaks them down and begins digestion, they tend to take longer to work than other products, like CBD oil, for example. 

That means that, while slower-acting, CBD softgels are metabolized in a very powerful way – more CBD gets released into the bloodstream at the same time than if you were to use an oil, for instance, and it tends to take longer for the effects to wear off.

As the softgel continuously works its way through your system, it breaks down more and more. Digestion is a process that takes several hours, so as your body works to metabolize your softgel, you’ll continue to feel the effects.

Consuming your softgels on an empty stomach versus after a meal (especially a meal that was fatty) might impact how quickly and powerfully you feel results.

When should I take my CBD gel caps?

Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to take your CBD gel caps after eating a meal that has some level of fat. As for time of day, it really depends on the individual and their goals.

There really is no right or wrong way to use CBD; it really depends on you, your tolerance level, and what sort of results you’re hoping to feel. It does help to remember that gel caps can take a while to kick in, so it doesn’t hurt to take them a little ahead of the time you’d like to experience the benefits.

As mentioned, consuming gel caps in particular after a fatty meal or fatty foods is one of the best ways to maximize its efficiency. Because gel caps break down in the stomach and gut rather than entering the body through the lungs or mouth, it’s important to remember that the food you eat can make a difference.

Also, be aware of the fact that results will likely last for several hours as you make your decision. If CBD tends to make you drowsy, for instance, it may be wise to avoid taking gel caps until you’ve finished your work for the day.

Final Thoughts

As is the case with any CBD product, CBD softgels or gel caps are somewhat limited by their bioavailability, or the rate at which substances are broken down and absorbed into the body.

Compared to other products and consumption methods, edible options like softgels tend to rank on the lower end of the bioavailability spectrum, meaning that they take longer to work and may not produce as strong of effects at once.

There are still many benefits to consider, though. 

For one thing, it’s relatively simple to manipulate your product’s bioavailability simply by making some deliberate diet choices. Softgels also tend to produce effects that last much longer than other options since they continuously break down as they work through the digestive tract.

It’s also very easy to control your dosage when using products like softgels, which can help give you an idea of how much you really need to take to get the experience you’re hoping for.

As always, caring for and storing your products properly helps keep them safe and functional for as long as possible. CBD products can be a bit expensive for many, especially if you use them regularly, so it’s vital to ensure you’re doing all you can to keep them at their best.

Whether it be softgels, other edibles, tinctures, or another product entirely, choosing high-quality options is important, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. 

For more information, product recommendations, and reviews to help you make your decision, be sure to check out our directory here. Finding products that work for you shouldn’t be a hassle, and now it doesn’t have to be!

Josh Murdoch

Josh Murdoch

I was born with Cystic Fibrosis, and although it is incurable, CBD and THC have been allowing me to live my life as a healthy adult now for years. For that reason, I’ve dedicated my career to spreading the good news about cannabinoids. Currently, I work for a vertically integrated cannabis company called Unrivaled Brands that operates in California, Oregon, and Nevada. Previously, I worked on two cannabis farms in northern California, one of which was located in the famous Humboldt County. I’ve also managed a medical cannabis delivery service in Marin County, California. I created CBD Facilitator to share what I’ve learned, and to recommend the best products that I have found in this chaotic market.

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