ultimate guide to CBD formats: how do you take your CBD?

Taking CBD has come a long way in recent years. Instead of just smoking or eating edibles, now you can choose from tinctures, vaporizers, capsules, topicals, and more. With so many CBD formats, choosing the one that’s right for you can be overwhelming. Let’s break it down.

With so many CBD formats, choosing the one that’s right for you can be overwhelming.


CBD tinctures are oils you take by placing a few drops under the tongue. You allow them to absorb for up to a minute in the hope that the CBD molecules are absorbed under your tongue (rather than swallowing). Dosing, usually measured by the milliliter, can be tricky since it relies on your own measurement within a small dropper.

While tinctures will fit easily into a purse or pocket, the liquid can get messy if the bottle leaks. Moreover, once a bottle is opened, the product begins to oxidize and can quickly become rancid. Bioavailability of CBD in tinctures goes up to a maximum of 35 percent, meaning that even if you measure correctly, your body may not be getting as much CBD as you think.


CBD can also be taken as a capsule, just like your daily vitamin. Because CBD capsules are broken down in your stomach, they have a disappointingly low bioavailability of less than 19 percent. But on the plus side, the capsules have a consistent dosing system, with an exact amount of CBD per each pill.

Capsules are more portable than tinctures and you won’t have to worry about your CBD leaking, but they aren’t nearly as effective as other formats. Additionally, you might worry about the suspicious-sounding rattle of the bottle and the stigma of “popping pills” in a public place.


For better or for worse, vaping is all the rage. Vaporizers are highly portable, thanks to their small size, and are socially acceptable to smoke in most outdoor spaces.

Each cartridge has a specific dose of CBD. The dose is customizable depending on how many puffs you take. Vaping has a higher bioavailability than tinctures and capsules, but it’s still less than 50 percent. Plus there’s the whole issue of smoking, which doesn’t exactly jibe with a wellness lifestyle. Anyone with respiratory issues should look for a different format of CBD.


CBD gummies, bars, and even chocolate make CBD look tasty. Of course, looks can be deceiving. Many edibles carry the distinctively earthy flavor of hemp, which comes through even when masked with the high volume of corn syrup and/or sugar found in edibles. Some people don’t mind hemp’s flavor, while others can’t stand it.

Keep in mind that the concentration of CBD can vary throughout the product. So one gummy may have more CBD than another from the same package. With a low bioavailability of less than 19 percent, edibles make for a delicious snack but may not be the most efficient option. The most challenging aspect of edibles is their short shelf life — you need to eat them fast!


Modern topicals are a relatively new CBD format. They’ve become a popular way to treat pain from arthritis, muscle strain, and minor injuries. Unfortunately, reviews have been mixed.

The dosage is difficult to get right. It varies depending on how much you rub on and the consistency of the product. All in all, topicals might be good for pain and muscle soreness, but their effects are too targeted for overall wellness.


Ready-to-drink products pre-mixed with a specific concentration of CBD. Just like your favorite Iced Tea, but with a kick. The dose of CBD provided by these products varies by brand and product. The biggest weakness of ready-to-drink products is the prevalence of separation — often the CBD will separate from the liquid and stick to the interior of the can or bottle, making it difficult to know whether you’ve gotten your intended dose (and more often than not, you haven’t).

They’re fairly easy to transport. Place one in a side pocket of your bag, carry it like your Starbucks coffee, or put it in the cupholder of your car. But juggling two or more gets a little dicey. And forget going through airport security.

Mixie Sticks

Now, we might be biased, but we think Zolt’s Mixie Sticks are the ultimate CBD format. We have multiple flavors to choose from, based on your personal CBD needs and flavor profile.

Each mixie stick contains one 20mg dose of CBD and is third-party tested so you know that you’re getting a safe, consistently dosed, and high-quality product. On top of all that, many Zolt products contain organic power ingredients like ashwagandha, astragalus, reishi mushroom, and guarana.

The packaging is thoughtfully designed and easy to carry. Stick one in your pocket, carry a handful in your bag, or stash a whole box in your desk.

Choosing a form of CBD is a personal decision. It may take some trial and error before you figure out what form of CBD works best for you and your body. To find out if Zolt is right for you, we suggest starting with our Variety Pack. A comprehensive package of CBD isolate and full-spectrum hemp options, designed to help support mind-body wellness.

Many Zolt products contain organic power ingredients like ashwagandha, astragalus, reishi mushroom, and guarana.