Different Types of CBD - Effectiveness & Product Types

Undoubtedly, you have heard of CBD and likely know at least a few things about the numerous benefits it can provide. From reducing anxiety to improving sleep, decreasing pain, and improving mood, CBD products can boost wellbeing across the board.

However, not all CBD is on equal footing. Nor do all types of products offer the same kind of results. 

The key is to not only find high-quality CBD—sourced from organically grown hemp and backed by third-party testing—but to also find the ideal type for your intended use. 

Three Main Types of CBD 


Easily considered the most popular of the CBD types, full-spectrum CBD contains the complete cannabinoid profile of the hemp plant, including CBD, CBG, CBN, and trace amounts of THC. Containing 0.3% or less THC, rest assured that full-spectrum CBD does not have intoxicating effects, but there is an important reason THC is kept as one of the integral components. 

When the cannabinoids in full-spectrum CBD are combined, including elements like terpenes, flavonoids, and THC, all the components work together in what’s called the “entourage effect,” enhancing each other’s therapeutic benefits. Strip away these various components, and CBD products become noticeably less effective.  


Another type called "broad-spectrum CBD" undergoes an additional filtering process compared to full-spectrum CBD, removing all trace amounts of THC. This type of CBD retains the same beneficial components of the cannabis plant, such as cannabinoids and terpenes, and can potentially still offer the entourage effect. However, without THC, the benefits may be somewhat reduced. While it may not be as potent as full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD can still provide significant therapeutic effects, making it an excellent THC-free option. 


CBD isolate has all other compounds from the hemp plant removed, such as cannabinoids, terpenes, and essential oils. CBD isolate does not elicit the entourage effect, making it less impactful than the other two types listed. 

Sublingual and Edible Types of CBD Products

CBD oil is easily absorbed through the mucous membranes and capillaries underneath the tongue when taken sublingually. Holding CBD drops under your tongue for at least 60 seconds before swallowing allows it to quickly absorb directly into the bloodstream. 

This, in turn, increases bioavailability, which is the rate at which a substance is absorbed into the bloodstream. Since taking CBD oil in this way bypasses your digestive system, it may take 15 to 20 minutes to deliver effects and can last for up to eight hours. Please note, the specific durations may vary from one person to the next. 

Oral ingestion of CBD can impact the bioavailability of the active ingredients because the CBD must pass through the digestive system before it reaches the bloodstream, losing some of the nutrients along the way. It can typically take one to two hours before you feel the effects of CBD taken in this manner. 


 CBD oil 

CBD oil is a type of CBD that is extracted from the hemp plant, including a variety of cannabinoids and plant compounds, depending on which type of CBD you choose. Well known for its many health benefits, CBD oil has become a go-to product for oral ingestion because it is absorbed directly into the capillaries under your tongue for maximum effectiveness. In addition, CBD oil can also be used as a topical treatment for your face and body, making it an all-around essential natural product to have on hand. Check out our Elite Elixir for one of the most potent CBD oils on the market. 

CBD spray 

CBD sprays use a spray top to administer CBD, most commonly under the tongue or inside the cheek. CBD sprays generally contain additional ingredients; for example Botanika Life’s CBD sleep spray combines CBD with melatonin, magnesium, and GABA to further serve this product’s use. 

CBD gummies

CBD Gummies are edible candies that contain cannabidiol oil. Available in a wide array of flavors, colors, and concentrations, gummies offer a discreet and easy way to ingest CBD, often used for general relaxation, pain reduction, and sleep. While they offer a “fun” way to use CBD, the ingestion of the product makes it less effective than product types applied sublingual.  

CBD tablets

Taking CBD in a tablet or soft gel form allows CBD to travel through your digestive system before entering the bloodstream, after which it circulates throughout your body. This is a more subtle way to ingest CBD, and you likely will not feel the effects as strongly as when using CBD in other ways. 

Topical CBD Products for Pain

To better understand how CBD works for topical pain relief, let's first review how this 

The human body has an endocannabinoid system (ECS), a cell-signaling system involved in regulating the immune system, pain, metabolism, and sleep. This system includes CB1 and CB2 receptors throughout the body, many of which are located in the layers of the skin, aiding in the breakdown and utilization of CBD. 

CBD affects the endocannabinoid system by modulating its receptors and boosting natural compounds like anandamide. Normally, an enzyme breaks down anandamide, but CBD blocks this enzyme, allowing anandamide levels to rise, which can help reduce pain and inflammation. Additionally, CBD interacts with other parts of the body, such as serotonin receptors, further contributing to its pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects.

Because topical CBD products are absorbed through the skin, users will not only receive these benefits but be able to target some of the relief to the source of the pain. 

Pain cream and serum

CBD can come in numerous creams and serums that absorb quickly into the skin, bypassing the digestive system like when you take CBD orally. Endocannabinoid receptors naturally found within the skin easily absorb the pain-relieving qualities of CBD for fast-acting relief. 

Unlike with CBD oils, these types of products will combine multiple active ingredients. For instance, Botanika Life’s pain cream and roll-on serum deploys CBD with fast-acting lidocaine and menthol, delivering a balance of near-instant relief with lingerie anti-inflammatory benefits.   

Muscle balm

CBD muscle balm works in the same way as a topical CBD cream, being absorbed through the skin to provide pain relief. CBD muscle balm is an effective pain and inflammation reliever because it interacts with the high concentration of cannabinoid receptors in the skin. The main difference is the consistency itself, as the waxy texture is ideal for deep massages. To learn more, read CBD Muscle Balms: How They Work & Best Uses

Topical CBD Products for Skincare

When applied topically, CBD interacts with endocannabinoid receptors found in skin tissue just as it does throughout the rest of your body. CBD skin care products have soared in popularity, offering benefits such as reducing oil production and redness, hydrating the skin, and providing antioxidant protection from environmental stressors.

CBD oil with a carrier oil 

Carrier oils like hemp seed oil enhance the bioavailability, or the rate of absorption, of CBD. Adding a carrier oil like hemp seed oil to your topical CBD can help your body utilize all the beneficial compounds. Carrier oils also offer other benefits; for example, hemp seed oil comprises 23% essential fatty acids, including omega 6 and omega 3 vitamins. These vital nutrients help regulate oil production, protect from environmental stressors, and moisturize the skin. 

CBD oil added to skincare serum with other ingredients 

CBD can be one of many ingredients added to a serum to further diversify its benefits. Its naturally hydrating and anti-inflammatory properties complement other powerhouse ingredients—like Vitamin C, squalane, plant-stem oil, and marula—all the while remaining gentle enough for even the most sensitive of complexions. 

CBD facial cleansers and toners

CBD’s antimicrobial and sebum-balancing benefits also make it an excellent addition to face cleansing and toning products. Depending on the specific formula, it can serve as a soothing, moisturizing counterpoint to drying ingredients so a well-rounded face wash. 

CBD Bathing Products

CBD bath bombs combine natural ingredients that release moisturizing, relaxing, and pain-relieving elements into the bath when dissolved in hot water.


If you add CBD oil directly to your bath, it won't dissolve in water, so you'll miss out on many of its benefits. However, high-quality CBD bath bombs are formulated with other essential ingredients to make the CBD water-soluble, allowing your skin to absorb the healing compounds effectively. Thanks to endocannabinoid receptors in your skin, the beneficial elements in CBD bath bombs can penetrate deeply, helping to relieve stress and anxiety while moisturizing and soothing your skin.

FAQ About Different CBD Product Types

What type of CBD is most effective?

The most effective type of CBD depends on the issue you're trying to address and how your body responds to CBD. Generally, full-spectrum CBD offers the most potent blend of essential hemp plant compounds, making it an excellent choice for managing pain, improving sleep, and addressing various health concerns. Sublingual CBD is ideal for whole-body relaxation, while topical products work well for targeting acute pain.

What’s the best type of CBD for anxiety?

Although everyone metabolizes CBD differently, a common and effective way to take CBD for anxiety is to ingest it sublingually, under the tongue. This method allows CBD to be absorbed through the capillaries in your mouth, avoiding the digestive tract and entering straight into your bloodstream for immediate relief. 

Which type of CBD is best for joint pain?

CBD is an effective pain reliever for joint pain. The best CBD for this issue depends on preference in terms of application, but topical full-spectrum CBD products are some of the most well-liked options. 

What is the best type of CBD for sleep?

Popular CBD sleep products include sublingual oil, gummies, and capsules. Taking CBD under the tongue avoids it traveling through your digestive system, making it the best way to absorb CBD quickly and reap the most benefits.


By Emily Wegener

With a unique background as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Masters Degree in Teaching and experience in Psychology, Emily spends much of her time researching and trying out new holistic healing modalities.