Taking CBD: To Eat or Not to Eat? Should you take CBD after eating, or on an empty stomach? Does it matter at all!? I pondered this question before chowing down on my bacon, egg, & cheese Should you take CBD on an empty stomach, or is it better to have a meal first? Read to find out how to consume your CBD for maximum effectiveness and potency. An increasing body of research makes it easier for us to understand how CBD works. Providing us with answers to questions as: ‘should I consume CBD oil drops with food or does it work better on an empty stomach?’
Taking CBD: To Eat or Not to Eat?
Should you take CBD after eating, or on an empty stomach? Does it matter at all!? I pondered this question before chowing down on my bacon, egg, & cheese sandwich. So, I took to the internet to uncover the answer:
Don’t worry too much! Although CBD gets processed faster & easier when taken alongside fats, the carrier oil included in the extract (MCT, Hemp Oil, etc.) is usually all you need. Some people prefer eating or not eating before CBD, although the effects of either aren’t significant.
CBD Absorbs Better With Fats
At this point, it’s known that foods high in fats can help increase the absorption of CBD. When eating CBD/THC, you may only see 10% of the original dosage enter the bloodstream! So, a 50mg dose breaks down to only 5mg.
A 2019 study performed by the University of Minnesota observed the effect that eating high-fat foods has on CBD absorption. Usually, studies have patients take their CBD in the morning on an empty stomach to reduce variability. This time, researchers had patients eat a high-fat meal thirty minutes before taking CBD. Here’s what they found:
- When you eat before taking CBD, it will stay in your gut longer & therefore has more time to be processed/absorbed. Specifically, if the meal is higher in fats.
- After eating & taking CBD thirty minutes later, patients were found to be exposed to nearly 5x the amount of CBD.
- Peak plasma concentration of CBD was 14x higher when patients ate beforehand.
This also suggests that taking CBD after eating high-fat foods may reduce the required dosage, which could cause more drug interactions. Researchers noted that epileptic patients who take CBD should take this into consideration, especially those on a ketogenic diet.
Why You Shouldn’t Worry Much
Now, you might be thinking that you’ve been taking CBD wrong & suddenly need to eat high-fat foods every time you take CBD; but don’t stress! There are a few reasons why you don’t have to be strict about eating or not eating before CBD.
Firstly, Cannabinoids like CBD or THC are typically decarboxylated to increase absorption & bioavailability to the human body. The process of heating up these compounds makes it easier for your body to properly & effectively receive them!
Second, most CBD products contain a carrier oil that is high in fats. This helps increase absorption/bioavailability within the body! MCT/Coconut Oil or Hemp Seed Oil are the most common.
What’s ‘Carrier Oil?’
Carrier Oils are added into CBD Oil Tinctures to help increase absorption/bioavailability. Also, it reduces the paste-like & pungent nature of raw CBD extract. MCT Oil is by far the most common choice among manufacturers.
The reason is, MCT oil is essentially made up of fatty acids! In fact, it’s exactly the kind of fats that help CBD absorb better. Medium Chain Triglycerides aka MCT’s, are found in foods like Coconut Oil & are perfect for optimizing CBD for our body!
Hemp Seed Oil may also be used as a carrier oil. It too contains higher levels of fatty acids that help increase the absorption of CBD! So, it’s another common option we see among CBD brands. Although it’s certainly less common than MCT Oil.
The Exception, Not The Rule
Although for most, we recommend not overthinking your stomach’s contents before taking CBD, it could certainly be a consideration in certain cases. Such as those who take CBD in response to Epilepsy.
For these kinds of cases, maintaining a minimum level/concentration of CBD in the bloodstream is important. So, knowing when/what you’re eating & how that will affect your CBD intake is useful.
In any case, eating high-fat foods only increases absorption. So, it shouldn’t be detrimental as you will be receiving more MG of CBD, not less. In other words, you don’t have to be worried about not having enough CBD in your system. As fats increase absorption.
So, whether you’re on an empty or full stomach, your minimum dosage should be accounted for on an empty stomach. If worst comes to worst & you happen to eat before taking CBD, it likely won’t affect you negatively!
Is It Better to Take CBD Oil Before or After Meals?
According to a Gallup poll, approximately 14% of Americans stated that they use CBD products.Of that population, about 11% say they use it for sleep, 20% for anxiety, and a whopping 40% for managing various types of pain.While data for Gallup polls is all user-reported, meaning it’s anecdotal evidence, it gives us a peek inside what people are using CBD oil for and how it’s benefiting them.
With the popularity of CBD oil and other CBD products at an all-time high, estimates about its surging use are only growing.There are still a ton of unanswered questions about cannabidiol and how well it can work for a variety of issues.
The question of the day is this: How do you decide when to take CBD? Also, should you be taking CBD on an empty stomach? These answers may have a bigger impact on CBD’s benefits than you might think. We’ll tackle these questions and more in our guide on what the best time is for taking CBD oil.
CBD OIL INSTRUCTIONS
On most CBD oil bottles, the label has directions for how to use the oil. Most say to take the oil with food but never specify when to take CBD, whether it should be taken before, during, or after the meal. Some labels, including that of our CBD tinctures, suggest taking the oil sublingually, or under the tongue, and holding it in the mouth for up to 60 seconds before swallowing.
Despite the conflicting instructions, we want to clear the confusion about whether or not to take CBD on an empty stomach once and for all.
Remember how we’ve mentioned the bioavailability of CBD and how it varies depending on the delivery method? Here’s a summary:
Unlike what you may think, we don’t absorb the full amount of CBD in each serving. Rather, we can only absorb as much CBD as is possible according to the bioavailability of the product.
When it comes to ingesting CBD products, edible products such as our gummies must first pass through the digestive system then on to the liver in what is called “first-pass metabolism.” This is why sublingual application reigns supreme. By dropping CBD oil under the tongue and holding it in your mouth for up to 60 seconds, your sublingual glands can effectively absorb cannabidiol and completely bypass the first-pass metabolism.
WHEN TO TAKE CBD?
So when exactly is the optimal time to take CBD oil? First of all, you should never take CBD on an empty stomach. CBD oil should always be taken with food in your system, but there’s not just one reason behind this fact. While you can take it immediately before or after your meal, we strongly recommend taking it after.
Taking CBD oil after eating optimizes your chances of it having the highest bioavailability. With food in your stomach already digesting, the CBD oil that is swallowed has a greater chance to be absorbed by the liver without losing too much of its efficacy seeing that MOST of its effects were already absorbed sublingually.
In short, taking CBD on an empty stomach is a waste of valuable product. You’re not optimizing the opportunity you have by taking CBD on an empty stomach; instead, you are degrading the potency of the oil. This is what can cause users to have to use more CBD for the same effect, or even think that their product is ineffective. Knowing when to take CBD can optimize its effect for maximum potency.
FEEDING YOUR CBD APPETITE
Did you know that the food you eat before you dose up with CBD oil may further impact how well it absorbs into your body? CBD as a compound cannot be absorbed by the body without a carrier oil. For Envy CBD’s tinctures, we use a combination of MCT oil, hemp seed oil, and ActivAloe, all of which the CBD can bind to as these oils are fat-rich.
Eating foods that contain medium-chain and long-chain fatty acids serves as the best binding agent for CBD and other cannabinoids, which are then more easily and directly metabolized through the liver. First pass metabolism may still be present, but it’s limited with the right factors, thereby increasing bioavailability.
A team of researchers conducted a study published in 2013 that assessed the effect that food has on the bioavailabilities of both CBD and THC. The study concludes that the bioavailability tends to be four times higher in CBD products if they were taken after a meal instead of before, or on an empty stomach.
WHAT FOODS WORK BEST WITH CBD OIL?
Now that we know not to take CBD on an empty stomach, what is the best way to feed your CBD appetite? As we mentioned above, foods that are high in medium and long-chain fatty acids help to bolster the bioavailability of CBD oil. While we already mentioned that MCT oil, hemp seed oil, and ActivAloe all play a large part in the synthesis of our CBD tinctures, we also recommend coconut, olive, soybean, and sesame oils.
Other foods rich in fat include eggs, meat, fish, avocados, and nuts. These healthy fats that do the body good are an excellent suggestion for what to eat before you take your serving of CBD oil. As a bonus, these types of fats are well-known for having other health-centric benefits, so you put your well-being first when you try to optimize CBD’s bioavailability like this.
THE BEST METHOD FOR TAKING CBD OIL
Under the tongue, also known as sublingual dosing, is the best way to take your CBD oil.This increases the bioavailability of that product to its full potential, so you don’t have to worry that you’re wasting product or not getting the most out of it.Even though it doesn’t go through your digestive system, you still shouldn’t take CBD on an empty stomach when dosing sublingually. Retain almost all the potency that CBD oil has to offer by eating foods rich in fatty acids, then sublingual dosing before you swallow.
Non-psychoactive CBD oil is an excellent way to get the benefits of cannabinoids without the high from THC. Stick with a trustworthy brand, such as Envy CBD, that has standard lab reports to demonstrate that each batch of CBD oil is THC-free as well as free of heavy metals, pesticides, and other pollutants.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU JUST SWALLOW CBD OIL?
Technically, CBD oil is an ingestible product that can be swallowed directly or even added to food or a beverage. Although we know you shouldn’t take CBD on an empty stomach, if you just swallow CBD oil after eating without sublingually dosing, the effects will not be experienced as quickly or last as long. While you can swallow CBD oil if you don’t like the taste, it becomes as effective as an edible or capsule when you do this, thus ushering in the first-pass metabolism process that effectively digests the CBD before distributing its total potential benefit to the rest of the body.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Should you take CBD on an empty stomach? No, studies show that it should be taken after eating. Maximize your CBD appetite by having a meal or snack rich in medium-chain and long-chain fatty acids before you take your CBD oil. Take your CBD oil by placing it under your tongue for 60 to 90 seconds, then swallow – this sublingual serving shows the highest bioavailability, saving you on product, time, and effort.
Happy dosing and good luck in finding the ultimate experience of relief with CBD.
Is it better to take CBD oil with food or on an empty stomach?
There is still a lot to be discovered about CBD and the way it works in the body. Although each person reacts differently to the substance, there’s always some science applicable to all consumers. And while we long had to rely on anecdotal proof of how CBD actually works; an increasing body of scientific research makes it easier for us to understand the plant’s substance now. Providing us with answers to questions as: ‘should I consume CBD oil drops with food or does it work better on an empty stomach?’
As you might know, most CBD products are best consumed multiple times a day. In the morning, around lunchtime and at night before you go to bed – for example. Though something you might not’ve considered, is that your body processes your CBD oil drops differently on those various occasions. Mostly because of the biological variables we provide the Cannabidiol (CBD) to work with.
For instance, you might take your CBD drops on an empty stomach when you wake up; on top of a light lunch during the afternoon and after a serious meal at night. Even though it might look like this won’t make a big difference, nothing could be further from the truth. As science proves, the food you might or might not have eaten does impact the way CBD is processed by the body. And consequently, the way it affects the body.
How CBD works in the body
To understand why that is, we have to look at the way the body absorbs Cannabidiol. More specifically, we focus on CBD’s bioavailability and how that might be influenced by the ‘first-pass-effect’. Bioavailability means the ratio in which a substance becomes actively available where it’s needed, after consumption. Or in other words, how much and how fast CBD actually reaches the bloodstream after you take the oil.
And as you might’ve learned in one of our other blogs – about the water-soluble CBDactive+ for example – Cannabidiol in itself generally has a very low bioavailability. Even when it’s diluted with a carrier oil, like hemp seed oil or olive oil.
In fact, regular CBD oils provide a bioavailability of just 6-12% of the consumed Cannabidiol. Which means that much of the consumed cannabinoid is actually broken down by the body before it can make a difference; in something we call the ‘first-pass-effect’. Considering the fatty molecules have a hard time traveling through the mouth’s tissue; regular CBD oils need to pass through the digestive system before they can be processed by the liver.
There, the body breaks the consumed cannabinoids down into over 100 different metabolites. All with the help of the so-called P450 cytochrome enzymes. Though unfortunately, the body breaks down and excretes much of these metabolites before they reach the bloodstream. With a low bioavailability of the product as a result. Meaning you might need more CBD oil to reach the desired effect; compared to CBD products with a higher bioavailability; like CBDactive+.
Taking CBD oil drops with food
Though as science shows, there is an easy and cheap way to make the substance more effective; and that is to take your CBD oil combined with food. Proven by researchers of the University of Minnesota, consuming CBD with food could possibly avoid the first-pass-effect and increase the efficacy of the drops you take.
This research was performed on eight adult participants with therapy-resistant epilepsy; and focussed on exploring the impact food has on CBD’s effects. For the experiment, participants received ‘one dose of 99% pure CBD capsules’. In other words, capsules filled with CBD isolate crystals. And they were instructed to consume it on an empty stomach, as well as after a fatty meal (840-860 calories). Blood plasma levels were noted immediately after taking the CBD and again several days later.
As the results show, the body absorbs four times more Cannabidiol – and much faster too – when consumed with fatty food than it does on an empty stomach. And despite of the relatively small size of the study, it does in fact confirm what we know about the absorption-rate of fats and oils.
Fatty acids and CBD
This study’s results are backed by a review done by the Harvard Medical School – which focused on the bioavailability of fatty acids in the body. Which showed that conventional fats and oils act as energy-rich and quick-acting fuel.
Accordingly, the body absorbs fatty food faster and so avoids that part of it is broken down by the ‘first-pass-effect’. In most cases, CBD is diluted with a carrier oil consisting of organic fats or fatty acids. However, this is often not enough to protect the CBD from the P450 enzymes. Thus it might be advisable to start taking your CBD after you’ve eaten; or combine it with fat foods as fish, avocado, nuts, red meats and coconut oil to name a few.
More effective CBD
On the other hand, there are products available, especially developed to reach maximum bioavailability. Take our CBDactive+ for example, a water-soluble CBD extract with all cannabinoids and terpenes needed for the best entourage effect. Due to the chemical make-up of the active ingredients in this product, it completely avoids being ‘attacked’ by the P450 enzymes; and is absorbed for the full 100 percent. Accordingly, this means that a CBDactive+ product with 4% CBD is comparable to a regular CBD oil of 40% in terms of effects.
Summarizing, it might be advisable to increase the number of healthy fatty acids you consume daily to increase the effects from regular CBD oils. Another possibility, is switching to a hemp product with a high bioavailability like CBDactive+. All depending on what you’d like to achieve with the use of the cannabinoid supplement, of course.
Need help finding the right product for your personal needs? Get in touch – we love to help!