CBD Pills, Capsules & Softgels: What Are The Main Differences?

CBD oil is not only a popular supplement these days, which offers potent healing properties and various health benefits, but it also comes in many forms with different methods of intake. But what is the best way to take CBD oil? Each application method offers unique pros and cons, so there is no clear answer to this question.

When it comes to convenience, CBD capsules are considered the best option. From tablets and pills to soft gels, CBD capsules also offer users a big selection to choose from. Understanding the difference between each type of product can help to find the best one to meet individual preferences and needs. So, what are CBD capsules, pills and soft gels and how they differ from each other?

CBD Pills

This is probably the format of CBD oil that is closest to most traditional pills, such as over-the-counter painkillers and other medications. It is usually manufactured in the form of a compacted, concentrated powder packed in a round, solid pill and is available in a variety of shapes and sizes. CBD pills are more concentrated and don’t have an outer shell, unlike their fellow capsule counterparts. Therefore, when consumers take the pill, they are directly exposed to the CBD contents. Also, if you need a smaller dosage, typically, CBD pill can be cut into two halves.

The pill itself dissolves and breaks down in the stomach, releasing CBD. Once in the bloodstream, the active compounds of CBD pill can interact with special receptors of the body’s endocannabinoid system to provide needed relief and support your overall wellness.

CBD Capsules

CBD capsules, usually cylindrical or round, is simply a container that consists of two parts. The first part contains CBD in powder or liquid form, while the second one is the capsule itself, which is made from either sugar, propylene glycol or other components to create a hard, brittle shell.

You can typically open the container to access the CBD inside, but capsules are created to be swallowed whole and digested as a whole, usually for a specific purpose. By allowing CBD capsules to break down in the stomach, you receive a controlled release of CBD, which is specifically designed by the manufacturer.

CBD Soft Gels

CBD soft gels are very similar to CBD capsules as they also consist of two parts. However, CBD soft gels are a special type of CBD capsule whose outer shell is made of animal gelatin; therefore, they are soft and also called gel caps. Furthermore, some CBD companies offer vegan options and vegetarian-friendly capsules produced from plant-based ingredients.

For those people who have trouble swallowing pills, CBD soft gels are perhaps the best way to receive benefits of CBD oil. They often are smaller and have a smoother shape than basic capsules, making them easy to swallow.

Main Differences Between CBD Capsules, Softgels & Pills


The main difference between CBD pills and CBD capsules or CBD soft gels is that they do not contain an outer shell. CBD pills are simply medicine that consists of CBD powder that has been compressed into a small, solid form.

Method Of Intake

While capsules generally need to be swallowed, this does not necessarily apply to all CBD pills. The CBD market also offers chewable CBD tablets, which makes this type of product suitable for those consumers who do not prefer or have difficulty swallowing.


Unlike CBD capsules and soft gels, CBD pills have a higher tendency to leave a slight aftertaste in the mouth, which can be unpleasant for some people. It is because the core medicine part of CBD pills is exposed to the consumer’s tongue, whereas CBD capsules are encapsulated in an outer shell or soft gel shell in the case of CBD soft gels. This makes CBD capsules and soft gels mostly tasteless.


In general, the human digestive system is more resistant to CBD capsules than CBD pills. Due to the structure of the pills, the ingredients are directly exposed right from the start of the intake, which increases the likelihood that they will cause some irritation in the stomach.

Absorption Rate

CBD capsules and soft gels also tend to absorb into the body faster than CBD pills. The reason behind this is that the inner part of the capsules is already broken down into smaller particles and sometimes is even produced in the form of a liquid. Now all your body has to do is break down the outer shell and then absorb the active components into the bloodstream.

Since CBD pills are manufactured in solid form, they first have to be gradually broken down by the body into smaller pieces and then into a liquid form so that they can be absorbed and enter your bloodstream. Therefore, the digestion of capsules is considered faster than consuming CBD pills.

Type & Concentration Of CBD

Another aspect that makes CBD capsules different from CBD pills and CBD soft gels is the type of cannabidiol used in the product. You can find different products containing either full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD or CBD isolate. Full-spectrum CBD is loaded with all substances found in the cannabis plants, including minor cannabinoids, flavonoids, terpenes and trace amounts of THC compounds. Broad-spectrum includes all components of full-spectrum CBD, excluding THC. CBD isolate contains only pure CBD oil without any other compounds. And just like any other CBD product, capsules, pills and soft gels also have differences in the dosages.

Added Ingredients

Alongside the CBD extract, carrier oil like MCT oil or olive oil and outer shell, some companies add additional components in capsules compositions. Depending on particular CBD capsules/pills/soft gels, it can be melatonin to help you fall asleep at night, curcumin for some added health benefits or extra vitamins and minerals to boost the health content of the pill.


Compared to regular capsules and pills, CBD soft gels start at a higher cost as the process of manufacturing is more complex and time-consuming.


Because of its plant origin, CBD is referred to as a vegan compound, and many well-known CBD brands like VAAY also obtain CBD oil from ethically grown hemp that is free from potentially dangerous compounds, such as pesticides, heavy metals and herbicides. Hence, this CBD oil is not only vegan but also safe and organic.

While CBD is naturally vegan, it is important to keep an eye on any additional components that may come in your product, especially when it comes to CBD capsules. As we already mentioned, capsules can have a gelatin shell which makes them non-vegan. This meas that if you maintain a vegan or vegetarian diet or just want to avoid animal-based ingredients, you need to always read the product’s label and look for those vegan and vegetarian options with shells or soft gels produced from gelatine alternatives.

Shelf l

Since CBD pills are sealed, they are airtight and have a longer shelf life compared to soft gels and capsules.

How To Take CBD Capsules

It is recommended to consume CBD capsules orally by placing 1-2 capsules on the tip of the tongue and swallowing them with a glass of water. You can also take them on an empty stomach, although it is best to try CBD capsules with food to start off.

For the best results, it is highly advised to take your serving of CBD every day on the same day. This will ensure that your body gets into a routine and is ready to take full advantage of the potential health benefits that CBD has to offer.

Five Benefits Of Using CBD In A Capsule Form

Controlled Dosage & Easy Intake

When taking CBD tinctures orally or vaping CBD, it might be hard to track the exact consumed doses due to liquid form of CBD. Capsules contain pre-measured CBD dosage that is easy to count and trace during treatment.

Also, with CBD capsules, getting your daily dosage of CBD has never been easier. CBD infused capsules offer a hassle-free alternative to other methods of CBD intake. You don’t need to use an oil dropper, apply the product or fill the vape cartridge to get positive effects of CBD. You just swallow a CBD capsule and wait for CBD to kick in – quick and straightforward.

Furthermore, capsules can be easily incorporated into your usual routine without the need to slow down your active lifestyle. Simply add a few capsules infused with CBD to your daily vitamin intake.

Tasteless & Odorless

For some CBD users, the natural taste of cannabidiol may be too strong and unpleasant, preventing them from using such a supplement. CBD capsules are usually tasteless and have no specific flavour, which makes them a common choice for people who prefer to avoid the grassy taste of CBD.

Long-Lasting Effects

Oral ingestion of CBD capsules means that consumed products first need to pass the digestive tract and liver before entering the bloodstream and providing beneficial effects. Digestion process can take up to 2 hours, depending on individual body chemistry and metabolism. At the same time, a slow release of CBD brings long-lasting effects, which is great for people that need relief over a longer period of time.

Discreet & Portable

If placing a pipette with oil under your tongue is leaving many people wondering, CBD capsules can help to call a little less attention to yourself. They are discreet as they look like regular supplements or medications and easy to consume whenever you need CBD boost.

Plus, you can easily consume your CBD capsules wherever you want and take them with you when you travel or commute to work, as they are often produced in small bottles that can fit into any bag.

Easy Storage

While some CBD tinctures and creams need to be refrigerated, CBD capsules are shelf-stable, providing not only easy use but also simple storage. Therefore, CBD capsules don’t need to be kept in a refrigerator to keep them fresh.

Whether it is capsules, pills or soft gels, the right CBD product that can fulfil the needs of each particular user will largely depend on your individual preferences. Therefore, make sure to do your homework and try out various CBD products to find the one that can meet your requirements.