29 May What is CBD Bioavailability? A Guide to Getting the Most Out of Your CBD Products
CBD is everywhere, and you can find it as a tincture, packed into delicious edibles, loaded into creams and lotions, and so much more. The benefits of CBD are apparent to anyone who uses it, although it works differently for every person. Most people who use CBD have one thing in common: they’re buying a lot of it! For many, CBD is an integral part of their wellness routine that they can’t live without! Whether you’re just considering adding CBD to your wellness routine or already enjoy the benefits of CBD every day, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the most out of your products! There are a few different factors that come into play when considering CBD efficacy and efficiency, like your weight, gender, and health condition, how much you take, and CBD bioavailability. What is CBD bioavailability? Possibly the most important factor to consider when designing an effective, efficient CBD wellness routine.
What is CBD Bioavailability?
The term “bioavailability” is often used when discussing pharmaceuticals but can refer to any herbal remedy or other drugs. Bioavailability refers to the fraction of a substance that actually enters the body and bloodstream after use, whether via injection, ingestion, inhalation, or topical application. An intravenous dose is considered to have a bioavailability of 100%, and its absorption rate is used as a reference when comparing other methods. For cannabis and CBD products, the bioavailability varies both by product and by distribution method, which is why it’s important to consider the bioavailability of your CBD products before you buy. Bioavailability is the single most important factor to help you decide what dose to take and will help determine what type of effects you get out of CBD.
Tinctures, edibles, topicals, and all CBD products have a different absorption rate (bioavailability) based on the quality of the product and how the body reacts during a dose. For instance, when cannabis is digested, it’s processed much differently than when it’s applied topically. In both instances, the bioavailability of the consumption method, the quality of the product, and your body’s health and natural ability to process CBD come into play to determine what type of reaction you will have, and how much of the CBD you take is actually utilized.
CBD Absorption Rate of Cannabinoids
Where cannabis is concerned, their evidence available is usually on the lighter side. This is even more true for CBD than whole-plant, medical cannabis, or even THC-based studies. Research regarding the bioavailability of cannabinoids is limited, and existing research focuses more on THC than other cannabinoids. Still, absorption rates are presumably similar for other cannabinoids (as some evidence has presented) mostly because bioavailability has a lot to do with the body and the way that each substance is absorbed.
One study suggests that the bioavailability of cannabinoids varies greatly based on consumption method and many other factors, some of which are unknown. The study shows that THC has an average bioavailability of 30%, but it can range as low as 4%. Of any THC that is ingested, inhaled, or otherwise applied, only about 1% reaches the brain. Because this number is low, it is important to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your cannabis products, which will help increase the number of cannabinoids that your body can put to use.
In many cases, the lower bioavailability is linked to cannabis edibles. This study gives edibles a potential bioavailability range of 4-12%. The reason that the bioavailability of some edible products is so low is due to what has been named the “first pass effect” and has to do with the way the body filters and metabolized cannabis edibles during digestion.
What’s the ‘First Pass Effect’?
The first pass effect refers to a phenomenon common in the metabolization of drugs in which a percentage of the drug is lost before it is absorbed into the bloodstream. Any substance intended to be absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract will first be filtered by inactive compounds in the liver and gut lining. These compounds react with the substance and filter out a portion, and only what’s left passes through to systemic circulation.
Cannabis and CBD edibles are subject to the first pass effect and lose some of their potency during digestion. This means that slightly higher doses may be tolerated when using edibles vs smoking, vaping, or another consumption method. Still, the amount of the drug that is absorbed during the first pass effect is generally considered to be low, which is why many medications are taken orally today.
Still, many people report stronger, longer lasting effects when taking cannabis edibles. Research has yet to validate the increased effects or identify any reason for these effects, and they are odd in spite of the lowered bioavailability. Still, many who have experience with edibles will attest to their increased potency.
When considering CBD, the same can be said. CBD is still subject to the first pass effect and CBD edibles have lower bioavailability than many other products. However, many people experience relief from cannabidiol edibles that is longer lasting than other CBD products. This may have to do with the rate at which the CBD is metabolized during digestion, versus when it is consumed via other methods, like smoking or vaping.
Many non-oral products give greater bioavailability simply because they avoid the first pass effect. Still, one oral CBD product is designed to bypass much of this “first pass effect,” giving users an oral cannabis option that is more bioavailable than most edibles: CBD tinctures.
What’s The Best Way to Absorb CBD?
With your newfound understanding of bioavailability and first-pass metabolism, you may be wondering “What’s the best way to take CBD?” Unfortunately, that question isn’t as straightforward as it may seem. Fortunately, however, there are many ways to consume CBD, which makes it easy to find the best product for you. The most effective form of CBD will carry for everybody, and choosing a great product means considering a variety of your personal factors and needs.
However, CBD tinctures are often considered a “one-stop-shop” and are often called the best bioavailable CBD option. Of course, there’s no side by side evidence to back this claim, but many people are confident in a CBD tincture’s power due to its ability to surpass some of the first pass effect. Tinctures, which are designed to be taken sublingually, are absorbed by the mucous membrane under the tongue.
Then, the Cannabidiol is diffused by capillaries and enters the bloodstream quickly. Although there is more evidence needed to confirm that tinctures are the best bioavailable CBD product, CBD oil sublingual bioavailability is thought to be high, assuming the tincture is of high-quality. There is sufficient data that shows that sublingual administration of most substances offers a greater bioavailability than oral consumption, which is why many prescription medications are taken sublingually today.
It would take much more evidence on the bioavailability of CBD as a whole, as well as thorough documentation of the bioavailability of each consumption method to get a true comparison. Still, the amount of CBD absorbed and utilized will be different for every person based on a variety of biological factors, and especially the person’s unique endocannabinoid system balance.
How Important is CBD Bioavailability to Using CBD Products Efficiently?
If you understand bioavailability and it’s defining details, you understand that it’s an important factor to cannabis dosing, determining how much of each Cannabidiol product you should take and how it should affect you. However, it isn’t the only factor, and definitely shouldn’t be considered the most important dosing factor in designing a cannabidiol routine that is effective and suited to fit your needs.
In fact, regardless of bioavailability, choosing the incorrect product to fit your symptoms and health profile can result in the product having very little result. For instance, CBD tinctures may be a great bioavailable option for managing anxiety or internal ailments, but a CBD topical may interact more directly with the endocannabinoid system in the skin to provide more targeted relief for sore muscles or an injured joint.
In addition, your lifestyle and needs are an important factor. Choosing the best CBD product for you requires careful consideration of how you’ll want to dose, how frequently you need to dose, how portable the product is that you choose, how it tastes, and how well you tolerate it. Plus, you’ll need to consider how to dose each product, and the difference between dosing for edibles, topicals, and other ingestible CBD product. Luckily, there are products to fit every needs and lifestyle, including long-lasting edibles, discreet and portable products for dosing on the go, and products that kick in quickly.
If you’re stumped at how to start using CBD, talk to your doctor for help choosing a product. While bioavailability is important to determine the results you’ll get from each product, it’s more important that you find a high-quality product that meets all of your individual needs.