CBD & Bioavailability

CBD & Bioavailability

The market for CBD products is continuously on the rise driven by consumer demand. As additional health benefits are discovered, inquiries about the best dose and product begin to develop. Consumers want to know they are getting the best and most effective product for themselves. Loose regulation makes labeling easy and exact dosing difficult. Best dose and efficient products both bring into account the bioavailability of CBD. 



Bioavailability of CBD


The term bioavailability is not limited to CBD consumption. It actually refers to how any substance is absorbed into the bloodstream based on the amount and rate that it is absorbed. In short, knowing the bioavailability helps identify how much and what form of the substance will give you the effect that best suits you.

Understanding the bioavailability of CBD oil is important for more than one reason. The human body is 60% water. Oil does not mix with water. All cannabinoids are categorized as lipophilic molecules defined as oil-based compounds not soluble in water. Bioavailability is crucial when dealing with CBD oil products. It allows the consumer to have a better idea of how much is getting into their bloodstream.



Methods of CBD consumption


One of the greatest attributes of CBD oil is the multiple forms of products it comes in. Consuming CBD can be done four basic ways: inhalation, sublingual, oral ingestion, or application. There are multiple product types in each category that have different bioavailability rates. 



Inhalation Bioavailability of CBD


Inhalation through a vape pen or vaporizer is the quickest way to get CBD into the bloodstream. The CBD inhaled is absorbed almost immediately by the lungs, allowing it to travel into the bloodstream.

Studies of the bioavailability of CBD vape products has a relatively wide rate. A commonly found rate includes 34% to 46%, with the highest rate being 56%. This depends completely on the consumer and their familiarity with vaping. Seasoned smokers who have a long history of smoking have the ability to inhale deeper and hold longer in comparison to new and novice smokers. 



Sublingual Bioavailability of CBD


CBD tinctures and sprays are often administered sublingually. Coming in as a close second to inhalation, sublingual bioavailability of CBD is commonly found at 13% to 19%, up to 35%. The effectiveness of sublingual administration comes from the CBD product being placed under the tongue. When it is placed under the tongue, the body’s sublingual gland absorbs it and it goes into the bloodstream. Again, the effectiveness depends on the ability of the consumer. The CBD needs to be placed beneath the tongue and then held there for 30-60 seconds. If the product is not placed under the tongue or it is swallowed too quickly, the effects will be similar to orally ingesting CBD. 



CBD Oral Ingestion Bioavailability


While this method seems to be the most popular due to its familiarity with everyday tasks such as eating food and drinking, it is not the most effective. Orally ingested CBD products include edibles, concentrates added to food or water, capsules, and gummies. Studied bioavailability rate is 6% to 20%. Also the overall wait time for effects is often 30 to 120 minutes. 

The low bioavailability results from the process oral ingested CBD has to take to get to the bloodstream. Anything ingested passes through the digestive system first. Along this process, the liver and digestive track tend to lose some of the CBD, making the dose less effective. 



Topical Bioavailability of CBD


Topical applications of CBD include slaves, creams and lotions, serum, lip balms, and transdermal patches. These methods tend to have lower bioavailability but the percentage has not yet been determined. Since our skin is a physical barrier between our environment and our internal organs, topically applying something needs to be done liberally and vigorously. Topicals are best used on targeted pain areas that ensures you can apply enough to absorb through the skin. 

Simply because topicals have a lower bioavailability does not mean they are not effective. Consumers who use topicals do have the control to apply and reapply for effectiveness. Some CBD companies have begun to find ways to increase the low topical availability. Transdermal patches have shown positive results. 


Take Away


Bioavailability percentage ranges come from researchers in the CBD field. The range is derived from scientific studies, often done in controlled settings. When it comes to finding the right dose for you, it is important to remember the bioavailability percentage will vary. 

A good rule of thumb for dosing is to multiply the serving size by the bioavailability. For example, a serving size for a 1 ml dropper is 50 mg of CBD, the actual dose, according to the bioavailability percentage, may only be 6 mg to 17 mg of CBD. 

Finding your optimal dose using bioavailability may take some experimenting at home. Keeping a log or journal of product, method, and dose can help you identify when you feel the most effective dose. As with introducing anything new to your body, taking it in small and slow doses will allow your body time to adjust. It is always recommended that you speak to your healthcare provider before starting CBD because some health conditions and/or certain medications can be adversely affected by CBD. 

This article is based on personal opinion derived from scientific research and reviews. At no point does this article offer medical advice or suggestion. If you have additional questions about beginning a CBD method, talk with your healthcare provider. 






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