Cannabidiol’s (CBD) versatile profile has different delivery forms. These delivery techniques come with their pros and cons, and that’s why some are popular for managing specific conditions. CBD edibles, for instance, are ideal for treating chronic pain since their effects last longer in the body, even though they don’t long to kickstart. CBD tinctures are ideal for anxiety and headaches since their effects take a few minutes to kickstart. Well, CBD’s absorption rate determines when a person will experience the effects, and this boils down to what is known as CBD’s bioavailability.
It should be noted that this term isn’t specific to CBD. Bioavailability is a scientific term that refers to the ratio of absorbed substances into the bloodstream. Substances with high bioavailability are more absorbed into the bloodstream without taking higher doses.
Factors that May Affect the Absorption and Elimination of CBD
CBD’s bioavailability is subject to several internal and external factors. While you can control some of these factors, it’s impossible to control others. Some of the factors that may affect CBD bioavailability include:
Underlying Health Conditions
Your state of health determines the absorption rate of CBD, and this means that you might need to adjust your CBD dosage or the method of delivery. Health conditions that may affect the absorption rate include:
The liver is important in removing CBD from the body’s circulatory system and preparing it for elimination. This means that an impaired liver function could significantly impact CBD’s effectiveness and longevity in the body.
One research study found that patients with moderate to severe liver functions had higher CBD concentrations in blood. Additionally, they also had longer CBD clearance times than those with healthy livers.
From this, it’s clear that liver impairment releases more CBD to the general circulatory system and allows it to stay for longer.
Neurological health issues might also affect bioavailability. One study established that patients with Huntington’s disease who took oral CBD supplements showed lower peak absorption levels of CBD with no beneficial effects of CBD. On the other hand, healthy individuals had better CBD absorption and higher CBD blood levels.
Fed vs. Fasted States
Generally, the rate of CBD absorption seems to be 3x – 5x better when taken with food, unlike on an empty stomach. A lot of people thought that the vice-versa was true. This happens due to CBD’s fat-soluble nature. This means that taking a CBD product alongside seeds, nuts, avocado, or omega-3 fish could enhance its absorption into the bloodstream even more.
The effectiveness of CBD is enhanced when it’s dissolved into dietary fats that disperse this compound into smaller particles. It should be noted that small particles are generally easier to absorb.
Meanwhile, food also allows CBD to stay longer in the circulatory system, which slows down the rate of elimination of this compound. It’s been found that CBD’s clearance rate is almost 9x higher when you are in a fasted state.
Heating is sometimes used during the extraction of cannabinoids. This is a lower quality method of processing CBD since it makes some of the cannabinoids less effective by destroying them. One research study has found that unheated cannabis extraction methods produced CBD products with 4x higher bioavailability.
Of course, the dosage has a direct impact on CBD’s absorption. The chances of your body absorbing more CBD are higher when you take higher doses, which means that increasing an oral spray’s dose from 10 mg to 20 mg could double the absorption rate.
Note: However, the dosage limits how it influences the absorption rate. If you take a higher CBD dose, say 500 mg and 700 mg, chances are that your body will attain a ceiling effect; hence there will be no change in the absorption rate of either dose. This mainly occurs because of tissue saturation.
Presence of Piperine Supplements
Piperine is a compound found in black pepper, and it’s known for its powerful effects in boosting absorption. It stimulates the transporter molecules found in the intestinal molecules. As a result, this compound can help bring more CBD across the intestinal membrane, leading to the absorption of more CBD into the bloodstream.
Besides that, piperine also inhibits the effectiveness of enzymes that can degrade CBD. This makes it possible for cannabidiol to reach more tissues to utilize wellness effectively.
So, CBD products with piperine could have an improved absorption process. It has been established that oral supplements made with piperine have 6x more absorption rate and blood concentration, unlike CBD products without it.
The Bioavailability of Different CBD Products
CBD is quite versatile, and it exists in multiple forms, which means that these products have different bioavailability. Below is an overview of different types of CBD products and how they fair.
- CBD Vape Oil: it’s also known as inhaled CBD, and it has the highest rate of absorption. However, you should exercise caution when using CBD vape oil since it can damage the lungs over time.
- Intravenous CBD(IV): it’s another effective method of administration with a high absorption rate. This is because the IV technique ensures CBD goes directly into the bloodstream. Additionally, IV also allows CBD to leave the body the fastest. This method of administration should be reserved for medical professionals only since its sensitive and could easily result in serious health concerns.
- Sublingual CBD is a highly effective method with a high absorption rate, higher than ingested CBD. Sublingual CBD is normally available in CBD tincture drops and oral sprays. It’s considered the best alternative to CBD vape oil since it doesn’t interfere with the lung’s health.
- Topical CBD: this product is also known as transdermal CBD. It normally provides slow and steady CBD delivery. As a result, it is ideal for those who need to maintain consistently moderate or high levels of CBD in the body.
- Oral CBD: the oral ingestion technique of CBD has the lowest bioavailability. It takes hours for CBD to reach the bloodstream and longer to leave the system eventually. Oral CBD products are sometimes made with supplements such as piperine to enhance their effectiveness.
Scientific Studies and CBD’s Bioavailability
Currently, there’s very little information regarding CBD’s bioavailability. However, one research study established that inhaling CBD via smoking can produce a bioavailability of up to 31%. This is probably one of the few comprehensive studies on CBD’s bioavailability in humans.
But on average, it’s estimated that ingested CBD has a 6-19% bioavailability. This could be one of the reasons why ingested CBD products take longer to produce effects on the body. CBD is fat-soluble and not water-soluble, which creates a huge challenge for the body to absorb.
Besides that, CBD’s bioavailability is normally reduced by the digestive enzymes and acids. This, oral intake of CBD has the lowest absorption rate since only a small amount of the ingested product gets to pass through the intestinal wall. Even so, it must be first metabolized by the liver before it can finally reach the rest of the body.
Coconut Oil and CBD Bioavailability
Coconut oil is sometimes used to improve the bioavailability of CBD products. The inert oil produces the best results since it contains high amounts of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT), which the human body finds easier to digest. MCT coconut oil makes it easier for the body to break down CBD faster and facilitates the retrieval of the other cannabinoids.
So, if you are looking for a product with high bioavailability, it’s important to consider CBD oil products made with coconut oil due to the presence of MCT.
What’s the Best CBD for Bioavailability?
Every CBD user should know that CBD has an inherently low water solubility level, and this means that any consumption method with high bioavailability must, therefore, be oil-based. So, this means that the best CBD product for bioavailability must be a simplistic solution.
But even with that, the human body can only process CBD oil at once up to a certain limit. This is because the body has a natural inefficiency in absorbing oils effectively.
So, if you are looking for CBD with the highest bioavailability, you should consider using intranasal products. However, this isn’t even a popular method of CBD intake, and it’s widely disliked since it’s uncomfortable. Instead, you can use vape oil or sublingual CBD.
There are numerous endless questions regarding the best forms of CBD products and their bioavailability. The truth is that CBD is fat-soluble and not water-soluble, and this means that ingesting will lead to a slow absorption rate. That’s why other methods such as vaping and sublingual intake produce faster effects.
If you are concerned with using a CBD product with high bioavailability, buy a vape oil or a CBD tincture. The vice-versa is true for CBD edibles, whose absorption and elimination rates are quite slow. However, edibles made with carrier oils such as MCT coconut oil seem to have a high bioavailability; hence you might experience the effects quickly.