CBD Gummies vs. Softgels: Which Is Better?

December 06, 2023
CBD Gummies vs. Softgels: Which Is Better?
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When it comes to selecting a CBD edible, most consumers gravitate towards a soft and chewy gummy. In fact, a recent study concluded that 58% consumers opted for gummies while 55% chose softgels/capsules as their preferred method of consuming CBD. It’s a close call on what consumers prefer, but does that also reflect on which edible is better? In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at some of the similarities and differences between gummies and edibles, as well as which one may be better for you.

What to Choose: CBD Capsules or CBD Gummies?

It’s really not fair to label a product as being “better” than another one; a product may be “better” for your lifestyle and preferences, but ultimately, it all comes down to what you like and why. Additionally, certain products have “better” bioavailability, depending on the process your body uses to break down and absorb the CBD within. We’ve talked about bioavailability in a previous article, which you can check out here. But for right now, let’s learn a bit on how both CBD gummies and capsules are made, and how long each takes to start working naturally with your body’s endocannabinoid system.

CBD Gummies

CBD-infused gummies are crafted with four main ingredients: cannabidiol, sugar, flavoring, and a thickener. Vegan gummies will use fruit pectin, while non-vegan gummies will use gelatin (an animal byproduct). Once the gummy is consumed, it must pass through your digestive system to be broken down (called a first-pass metabolism). While gummies don’t necessarily need to be chewed, it's easier for your body to break down a chewed-up gummy versus swallowing a whole gummy. Additionally, trying to swallow a large gummy may pose a choking hazard. As you chew the gummy, a small amount of cannabidiol is released into your mouth and can be absorbed by your mucous membrane; the remaining CBD is released throughout the digestion process. The majority of this CBD is metabolized by the liver but a small amount of the non-metabolized cannabidiol will be absorbed into your bloodstream.

CBD Capsules/Softgels

Capsules and Softgels that contain CBD are fairly similar in that they are a clear pill-shaped product type, but there are a few noticeable differences. Capsules have a hard shell composed of two pieces that house dry CBD and botanical extracts while softgels a single-unit soft shell that houses a clear (often slightly yellow) oil filled with cannabidiol and a carrier oil (hempseed, coconut, macadamia nut oil, etc.). The shell of softgels, much like gummies, can be made from either vegan or non-vegan material. Softgels offer a more attractive yet discreet way to consume CBD in that they are odorless and flavorless; simply swallow and down the hatch! Due to the protection from the capsule/softshell body, there won’t be any CBD that enters through your mucous membrane as with gummies. The outer shell of softgels and capsules also slows the metabolization process and may deliver faster effects due to the CBD arriving directly into the stomach and dissolving slowly to allow the contents to release.

Similarities of Both Gummies and Softgels/Capsules

Both gummies and softgels have several advantages. First and foremost, they’re edibles! Quick and easy to consume, fairly discrete, and come in a variety of strengths. Depending on your preference, you’ll be able to get either gummies or softgels/capsules in full-spectrum or broad-spectrum, or CBD isolate. Both are available in either vegan or non-vegan options and the amount of CBD in each gummy, capsule, or softgel will be listed on the product’s packaging. Lastly, both must pass through your digestive system in order for the CBD to be processed and absorbed into your bloodstream. Additionally, both gummies and softgels/capsules tend to work more efficiently when consumed with a meal (preferably one with fat) for better absorption.

Differences of Both Gummies and Softgels/Capsules

Gummies have the unique ability to halve or quarter depending on the dosage you wish to consume. For example, a 50mg gummy can be cut in half for roughly a 25mg dose, whereas capsules must be consumed as one whole piece. Cutting a capsule or softgel in half will result in a sticky mess which ultimately results in a wasted product. Capsules and softgels will also take longer for the CBD to reach your bloodstream, as the capsule or softgel shell must dissolve to release the contents, whereas chewed gummies are already being processed once they reach your stomach.

Other Things To Consider With Gummies vs Capsules/Softgels

Your decision to consume CBD gummies or capsules/softgels will depend on several personal preferences. However, there are a few other things to consider when choosing between the two.

One primary difference is that gummies are typically easier to consume and digest. Those who consume capsules and softgels may not be able to easily digest the carrier oil within due to something called fat malabsorption, also known as low fat absorption in the small intestine. To combat this, it’s highly recommended to consume a high-fat meal to help the digestion process go more smoothly and maximize the overall absorption of the carrier oil and CBD.

You should also consider the ingredients list when selecting either gummies or softgels/capsules. Certain gummies use fruits and vegetables (i.e., pineapples, berries, sweet potatoes, carrots, and dragonfruit) for coloring and flavor. If you have an allergy or aversion to any of these ingredients, capsules may be a safer choice as they are flavorless and odorless. Gummies also contain sugar, which may be detrimental if you’re looking to cut back on your intake of sweets. If you’re a vegetarian/vegan, you’ll need to confirm that fruit pectin and plant bases were used as the hardening agent in either the gummies or capsules/softgels. Lastly, there may be additional cannabinoids, terpenes, minerals, vitamins, and oils that you may not even have realized were incorporated into the final product. The ingredients list is a great way to know exactly what you’re consuming and how much!

If you’re still trying to find your ideal dosage, you may want to experiment with gummy portions. For example, if you’ve been trying 25mg gummies and haven’t noticed any improvement, you may want to start adding additional dosages (i.e., half or quarter of a second gummy). Softgels and capsules are rigid in their dosage; unless two meet your preferred dose, it can be difficult to get to your exact dose requirements with them.

Lastly, you’ll want to consider the time it takes for the CBD to start working within your endocannabinoid system. This time frame will depend on various personal factors, such as metabolism, weight, product potency, any food already in your stomach, and the solubility (water- or oil-based) of the product. In addition to these factors, gummies and softgels/capsules have differing bioavailability. It’s been estimated the gummies have only a 6% bioavailability while capsules have a whopping 13-19%. The higher rate of bioavailability for capsules is due to the type of carrier oil used (either fat- or water-soluble) as well as the time it takes for the soft- or hard-shell of the softgels/capsules to be broken down to release the contents within.

Final Thoughts

The question of are CBD gummies or softgels better isn’t one that’s easily answered; rather, it’s a matter of which one is better for you. If you prefer a sweet treat that’s fun yet discrete, gummies might be the better option. If you’re looking for a predetermined dose that is easy to incorporate into your morning vitamin routine, capsules might be easier for you and your daily habits. Both are available in vegan or non-vegan options, both come in a variety of strengths and full- or broad-spectrum options, and both are edibles that must pass through your digestive system prior to being absorbed into your bloodstream. Softgels tend to have a higher bioavailability, while gummies tend to deliver the CBD and ensuing effects faster. Regardless of which product type you’re more comfortable with, it’s important to get that daily dose of CBD in somehow!

Here at ERTH Wellness, we’re excited to offer you a stunning collection of gummies and softgels options. We also carry CBD vape juice, pre-rolls, topicals, tinctures and even Pet CBD for your beloved furry friend. All of our products have been subjected to testing by third-party independent labs to ensure purity and potency. The results of these tests are available in each product’s description, as well as via a scannable QR code stamped on each product’s packaging. Should you have any questions regarding anything in this article or regarding cannabis and hemp in general, feel free to reach out to us. Our team of experts would be happy to guide you as you explore the vast and fascinating world of hemp-derived cannabinoids and products. We hope you’ll join us in our next article, where we’ll continue to tackle some frequently asked questions regarding CBD, CBN, CBG, and much more; until we meet again!

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