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difference between CBD capsules and CBD oils

What is the difference between CBD capsules and CBD oils?

We look at the difference between CBD capsules and CBD oils to learn what is the best choice for both experienced and novice CBD consumers.
Hayley Smith
Some links in this article may be affiliate links that pay us a small commission on qualifying purchases. Read our review process for more information on how we vet brands and products to ensure their safety and efficacy.

In This Article

What’s the difference between CBD capsules and CBD oils and how does each consumption method change the experience for the consumer? When weighing up the pros and cons of a CBD tincture vs CBD softgels, it really comes down to personal preference.

Even so, this article will help highlight some of the basic differences and similarities to help you make the right purchase.


What is CBD oil?

The first thing you need to know about CBD oils is that they are often referred to as CBD tinctures and can be made from all plants belonging to the cannabis family, including hemp, which is particularly rich in CBD.

The plants are first harvested and then subjected to an extraction process, which can vary in a number of ways, but which are all designed to separate and collect the exact number and combination of plant compounds desired.

Whatever is extracted from the plants – cannabinoids, terpenes, essential oils – is then suspended in an inert oil, usually MCT or coconut oil, and packaged in an easy-to-use dropper bottle, so that the consumer can place the product directly under the tongue.

When a CBD oil is dropped under the tongue, the recommendation is to hold it there for around 90 seconds. This pause gives the body the time it needs to transfer all the wellness benefits from the cannabinoids, terpenes and other plant compounds into the bloodstream.

Once absorbed, they can begin to quickly and effectively inteact with the endocannabinoid system and, after 90 seconds has passed, the consumer swallows the oil and moves on with his or her day. CBD oils are that simple.


What are CBD capsules?

CBD capsules, also referred to as CBD softgels, are easy-to-take gel caps, filled with CBD oil.

The oil inside a softgel passes through the same kind of extraction process as a CBD oil or tincture, before then being molded into its capsule form.

As is the case with CBD oils, CBD softgels are manufactured using a variety of plant components extracted from all members of the cannabis family, including hemp. The outer shell of a CBD softgel, which holds the CBD oil neatly inside, is usually made from gelatin.

As such, most, if not all, softgels are organic and vegetarian-friendly.

CBD capsules are also particularly easy to consume. Simply place the softgel on the tip of your tongue and swallow with a little water. They can be consumed with food, after food, or even on an empty stomach, without causing bodily discomfort in any way.

Top Scoring CBD Capsules

We’ve tested countless CBD products and capsules are perhaps the 3rd most common product we review (after tinctures and gummies).

Though there are many great CBD capsules (soft gels) on the market, these are our 3 top scoring alternatives at the moment.

MedTerra Good Morning Capsules


MedTerra’s CBD Good Morning Capsules contain a proprietary blend of energizing ingredients to help kick start your day.

We always encourage you to try CBD products that contain more than just CBD! These CBD capsules contain 25mg of CBD that provide mental clarity throughout your day, along with a blend of Caffeine, B6, B12, L-Tyrosine, and L-Theanine, for energy and extra motivation.

Helps you kick-off the day correctly and the large pack (60 units) helps if you are a frequent traveller (hello COVID-19) since you can pop 10 capsules into a travel bag so you don’t run the risk of a leaking tincture bottle.

Nano Craft Sleep Capsules


Nanocraft’s Sleep Capsules are designed for your ultimate night’s sleep and will not only help you drift off to sleep, but also improve the quality and length of your sleep.

They get to work quickly and effectively, thanks to their nanoemulsion-based delivery system and have added melatonin, which also helps to regulate your sleep/wake cycle.

The sleep capsules are a great complement to the Good Morning Capsules above and will help you feel balanced both in your waking and sleeping hours.

It is recommended that you take one or two capsules, around 30 minutes before going to bed.

How do you choose between CBD oils and CBD softgels?

Before taking a look at the differences between these two product types, it’s important to remember that both can help you to achieve overall balance, improve wellness and reestablish inner stability.

While CBD e-liquids, which are simply oils designed to be inhaled using a vape, definitely offer the fastest uptake, they’re not a consumer-friendly product for non-smokers. This is what makes both oils and softgels so popular and, in particular, the hemp-derived, low-THC product lines.

But which product type is the right one for you? Let’s start looking at the details and weighing up those scales…

The pros of CBD softgels

CBD softgels are all about convenience and discretion. They’re the kind of product you can enjoy as easily as a piece of candy, you can carry them around with you without worrying if they’ll leak over the contents of your bag, and you can keep tabs on your dose.

Whether you’re at work, in the car, traveling on public transport, in a meeting, at a concert, or spending time with family, taking in a CBD softgel is quick and easy. It’s much quicker and much more discreet than administering a dropper’s worth of CBD oil under your tongue and holding it there for over a minute.

  • Quick and easy to take
  • Best for travel
  • Easy to dose
  • Discrete
  • Safe to carry (no leakage)
is cbd a nootropic

The pros of CBD oils

While CBD oils may be a little more time-consuming to administer and far less discreet than CBD softgels, oils come out on top in terms of variety.

There are whole plant extracts, full spectrum oils, broad spectrum oils, distillates, isolates, scented oils, flavored oils, oils rich in CBD, or mixed with CBG, or packed to the brim with the exact terpene profile to induce sleep and find that long lost body balance.

While new oils pop up on the market every day, CBD softgel options are by no means as varied.

CBD oils also tend to vary in terms of potency. Some tinctures are super rich in CBD, heavy and highly charged. Others are far less potent and offer a great starting point for those new to CBD, trying to find the exact dosage that works for their body and needs.

Availability is another factor that gives CBD oils the edge. In general, most CBD brands offer tinctures, but not all offer softgels.

So, on top of the added variety, the consumer is simply more likely to come across a range of CBD oils to choose from at different price points. It may seem like a small point to focus on, but it really can make all the difference.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that CBD oils can also be lots of fun, especially when using them as an extra ingredient to add to homemade CBD cocktails and juices.

A few drops of CBD oil in a breakfast smoothie not only helps to diminish the odd taste of CBD oil, but it also helps to incorporate it into your daily routine.

  • A lot of potency variations
  • A lot of flavor variations
  • Quick acting
  • Exact dosing
  • Easy to swallow
  • Can be blended with almost anything

Top Scoring CBD Oils

So let’s take a look at the best CBD oils that we have reviewed so far on CBD Incubator.

*The review process is rigorous — We have a team of testers who come from different walks-of-life (senior citizen, entrepreneur, athlete, yoga teacher, dogs, cats, etc) who all view the products from different angles and share their particular point of view.

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