How much CBD is actually absorbed by your body? Here are the best ways to increase CBD absorption to get the biggest bang for your buck. Not all CBD is the same. Discover the differences between CBD delivery forms and the pros and cons of each. Learn how to choose the best CBD form for you. U of M researchers compared CBD absorption in patients on an empty stomach v. a standardized fatty breakfast.
your Guide To Increase CBD Absorption – Luce Farm Wellness
As simple as CBD may seem, there’s some distinctive science behind the inner-workings of the cannabinoid that can maximize its results. While we know what CBD is capable of once it’s absorbed – it’s how much is actually absorbed that could affect your experience overall. Not to mention, actual CBD absorption will affect how much you use and how much you spend on your all-natural health and wellness routines.
That means, it’s crucial for everyday consumers to understand the best CBD routes of administration for bioavailability, and the best CBD absorption methods and tips. But don’t worry – as complicated as it might sound, we’ll break it all down in an easy-to-understand manner (that even includes adding chocolate to your CBD routines!).
So, without further ado – let’s address how to increase CBD absorption to get the biggest bang for your buck.
What Is CBD Bioavailability?
Before we learn how to increase CBD absorption let’s first better understand the bioavailability of CBD. Bioavailability is a term that references the percentage of any medication that’s actually absorbed into the bloodstream. Meaning, when you ingest any form of medication, herb, or supplement, although the dose may contain 50mg, far less is actually absorbed. That means there’s lots of room for improvement when it comes to your body making full use of your CBD dose.
CBD absorption rates depend on a couple different factors. One being, the type of product you’re consuming. For instance, edibles or CBD products you swallow will have a lower CBD absorption rate in comparison to the sublingual method. Why? Because your body metabolizes CBD through the digestive system which is chock-full of enzymes and acids that can degrade and deteriorate the cannabinoid’s delicate structure.
In comparison, CBD oil sublingual bioavailability is much higher. When you hold CBD oil under your tongue for 30-60 seconds, the compounds are absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the sublingual artery. Meaning, there’s less time and probability for your body’s natural enzymes and compounds to break down and reduce the amount of CBD actually absorbed.
The second factor that’ll affect CBD oil bioavailability specifically is the type of carrier oil that’s used. Because our bodies are made of 60% water the best CBD absorption rates come from water-soluble product types. Hence, why Medium-chain triglycerides or MCT oil is one of the best ways to absorb CBD. MCT has a lighter molecular weight than other carriers and is soluble in water which allows for maximum CBD absorption when combined.
Of course, just like some medications or vitamins are recommended only after a meal – there are some steps you can take to maximize your CBD absorption rates. So, next we’ll cover the best ways to absorb CBD with a few tips and tricks.
Top 4 Ways to Maximize CBD Absorption
Put simply – when you maximize your CBD absorption, you maximize the efficacy of its benefits. So, if you’re looking to get the most out of each dose here are 4 simple ways you can increase CBD absorption.
Consume with fatty snacks
The smaller the molecule, the better it will be absorbed by the body. That’s the simple principle behind the method of consuming CBD with snacks, or meals high in fat. CBD’s molecule structure is highly soluble into fats, and fatty oils are successful at dissolving large CBD compounds into smaller sizes. Another reason why MCT oil is so popular, is it’s a “smaller” fat than most others you’d digest, and easier to absorb too.
When you combine CBD with the following fatty foods and snacks, the fat helps CBD molecules stay in-tact and allows more to be absorbed.
- Dark Chocolate – Nearly 65% of dark chocolate’s calories are fat, and the rich treat is chock-full of antioxidants for extra benefits, too.
- Fatty fish – Salmon, mackerel, trout or herring and other fatty fish help preserve CBD molecules, with the help of its omega-3 fatty acids, protein levels, and nutrients.
- Avocados – One of the most popular ‘healthy fats’, adding an avocado to your CBD routine can maximize bioavailability.
- Nuts – A handful of fatty nuts like almonds, and walnuts can work wonders for increasing CBD absorption, especially on the go.
- Eggs – Consume your CBD every morning? Add a side of eggs that contain healthy fats, vitamins, protein, and nutrients to increase CBD’s bioavailability.
- Cheese – Packed with healthy fats, cheese is another ideal pairing to maximize CBD absorption.
Supplement with herbs
Similar to foods, certain herbs can also increase the bioavailability of CBD. So, if you’re interested in increasing your personal CBD absorption rate, consider adding the following herbal compounds to your CBD routine.
- Piperine – Piperine is an alkaloid that’s primarily found in black pepper. It has the ability to enhance CBD’s bioavailability metabolic effects of the liver by inhibiting the liver’s metabolic effects.
- Turmeric – Turmeric also contains piperine and improves bioavailability similarly to pepper. However, turmeric also contains the curcumin which helps magnify the effects of both. Recent studies prove that piperine enhances the absorption of curcumin. So all in all, when consuming piperine, turmeric and CBD together – the compounds all have greater absorption than when consumed alone.
- Apigenin – Apigenin is a compound that’s found in abundance in chamomile flowers, but also other consumables like oregano, parsley, celery, and dark chocolate (bonus!). It has the power to prevent CBD from breaking down, by binding to enzymes and strengthening its overall bioavailability.
- Capsaicin – Primarily found in spicy, hot, peppers, Capsaicin shares a similar molecular structure to CBD which helps its efficacy for increasing its bioavailability. Early studies prove that the compound has the ability to enhance cannabinoid’s responses including CBD, CBG, and THC.
Seek out CBD chock-full of terpenes
Terpenes may be well-known as the aromatic centers of hemp and cannabis plants, but in actuality are so much more. As a quick refresher, terpenes are compounds found in the essential oils of plants and produce their signature scents. But emerging research is showing that terpenes are also capable of producing their own effects, similar to that of cannabinoids.
Even more, when combined – terpenes and cannabinoids create what’s known and proven as “the entourage effect”. Like piperine and curcumin enhancing one another’s bioavailability and effects, terpenes and cannabinoids act in the same fashion. Together, they amplify one another’s efficacy and overall strength.
That means, seeking out products that are chock-full of terpenes can increase CBD’s efficacy, like maximizing its’ absorption would too. CBD products rich in terpenes are classified as “full-spectrum”. Which means the extraction process captures the entire profile of plant cannabinoids, terpenes, and phytonutrients. In comparison to “isolate” products which references the extraction of just one cannabinoid, like CBD and no terpenes whatsoever.
Last but not least – when learning how to increase CBD absorption you must know CBD oil sublingual bioavailability is the most effective overall. Even though the tips we’ve shared will help boost CBD absorption rates no matter the consumption method – CBD sublingual bioavailability will always reign supreme.
The sublingual CBD route of administration is the most direct into the bloodstream, increasing its overall bioavailability and in turn, the CBD absorption rate, too. But still, many shy away from sublingually consuming due to the raw, pure, and all-natural flavor of some CBD oils and extracts. In that case, you can always seek out a flavored CBD oil like Peppermint to enhance the taste, experience and absorption – all in one!
High Quality CBD for Highly Effective Results
Now that you know more on the unique inner mechanisms of CBD, you can better understand how CBD consumption methods and products affect CBD absorption. As a more informed consumer, it may just be time to enhance your overall health and wellness routines for maximum efficacy and benefits.
With the information you gained today, it’s also easy to see that higher quality CBD = better results. Even more, not every CBD brand or product can be treated equally. From the type of carrier oil that’s used, to the quality of plant material and level of terpenes and cannabinoids – you now know what to look for when seeking the products with the highest efficacy.
At Luce Farm Wellness, we pride ourselves on producing the highest quality CBD for the highest level of holistic, plant-powered effects and benefits. Learn more about our hands-on approach to ensuring each batch is crafted with intention, and care, for the most effective experience available on the market today.
CBD Bioavailability: What Does it Mean Why is it so Important?
Not all CBD is the same. Discover the differences between CBD delivery forms and the pros and cons of each. Learn how to choose the best CBD form for you.
In this article, we explore the various delivery methods for CBD (cannabidiol), including oral, inhaled, mucosal, transdermal, and intravenous routes.
We’ll discuss what the current science tells us about each method and their relative advantages and disadvantages in practical use.
We’ll also survey some of the important factors that affect CBD absorption and metabolism. And you’ll learn how you can best manage these factors so you can choose the ideal delivery form and dosage depending on what you’re looking to get out of the use of CBD.
This is a big topic, so let’s get straight into it.
Table of Contents
- Oral CBD: Capsules, Oils, and Edibles
- 1. Health Conditions
CBD offers great benefits for health and healing. Its high safety profile and non-addictive nature make it an appealing alternative to many conventional drugs.
But, in order to be effective, CBD has to reach your endocannabinoid system. This means it first needs to be absorbed into your bloodstream, a concept known as bioavailability.
Once there, it has to stay in circulation long enough to be delivered to the organs and tissues where it is needed.
So, how much of the CBD you take actually gets absorbed and used?
That depends on a process known as pharmacokinetics (how compounds are processed by the body).
In short, pharmacokinetics refers to the sum of your body’s mechanisms for absorption and elimination, the characteristics of CBD itself, and numerous external factors that can either help or hinder the way you assimilate and use CBD.
Additionally, the route of entry, or delivery method, has a lot to do with how much and how quickly CBD enters the bloodstream.
Oral CBD: Capsules, Oils, and Edibles
Oral CBD formulations, such as CBD oils and tinctures, capsules, gummies, chocolates, other edibles, and beverages are among the most popular ways to consume CBD.
However, oral CBD has the lowest bioavailability of all delivery forms.
On average, ingested CBD has a bioavailability of between 6-19% [2, 3, 4].
One reason for this is that CBD is not readily absorbed when ingested and as a result, most of it is excreted without exerting any effects.
This is due to the fact that CBD is fat-soluble (as opposed to water-soluble), which makes it a challenge for the body to absorb.
Additionally, digestive acids and enzymes destroy a large percentage of CBD before it has a chance to be absorbed. And the small amount that gets through the intestinal wall is subject to being metabolized by the liver before it reaches the rest of the body.
The half-life of oral CBD, i.e. the amount of time it takes for half of the CBD to leave the bloodstream, may be faster than other delivery methods. Half-lives from 10 to 17 hours have been reported for high dosages between 750 mg and 1500 mg .
Peak levels of oral CBD tend to be lower than other delivery forms.
In one experiment, cookies infused with 40 mg of CBD produced peak blood CBD levels between 1.5 and 3 hours after ingestion .
However, the low absorption of oral CBD may be offset by certain advantages — such as a longer duration. A laboratory animal study found the average amount of time an orally consumed CBD molecule stays in the body, known as the “mean residence time”, was 4.2 hours.
By contrast, the mean residence time for injected CBD, in the same study, was 3.3 hours .
Oral CBD has also been found to lead to higher brain levels when compared to inhalation methods in animal studies .
Bioavailability of CBD: Vaping vs Oral Consumption
Inhaled CBD: Vaping and Smoking
Inhalation is an efficient way to consume CBD because it bypasses the digestive tract and liver allowing CBD to be readily absorbed through the thin membranes that line the air sacs of the lungs (alveoli) where it enters directly into the bloodstream.
There are several ways to inhale CBD:
The most basic inhalation form is smoking.
In this case, the hemp cigarette contains unprocessed CBD-rich hemp buds (as opposed to high-THC cannabis). Smoking has a bioavailability of 31% and a single CBD cigarette containing about 19 mg of CBD can produce peak blood levels within 3 minutes .
The half-life of smoked CBD averages 31 hours.
The downside to smoking is that it produces combustion by-products which can irritate and, in some instances damage the lungs. These include fluorene, pyrene, acrylonitrile, and acrylamide .
High fat foods can increase CBD absorption into the body
While oral cannabidiol (CBD) capsules were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in patients with seizures in 2018, very little was known about the effect of food on CBD absorption.
A University of Minnesota study, published in Epilepsia , examined whether eating high-fat foods after taking CBD increased the body’s absorption of CBD. The study tested whether fasting or a high fat meal has an effect when cannabidiol oral capsules were taken by patients.
To find out what effect a fatty meal would have on CBD absorption, the research group measured CBD concentrations in epilepsy patients at the MINCEP Epilepsy Care clinic who were taking 99 percent pure CBD capsules. Concentrations from patients who took CBD on an empty stomach and a standardized fatty breakfast (i.e. breakfast burrito) were compared.
“The type of food can make a large difference in the amount of CBD that gets absorbed into the body. Although fatty foods can increase the absorption of CBD, it can also increase the variability as not all meals contain the same amount of fat,” said Angela Birnbaum , a professor in the College of Pharmacy and study co-author.
“Increases in the amount of the CBD dose being absorbed into the body can also lead to lower medication costs,” said Ilo Leppik , study co-author, a professor in the College of Pharmacy and an adjunct professor at the Medical School.
The study found:
- CBD exposure is vastly increased when CBD is taken with high fatty foods;
- when compared to fasting, taking CBD with food increased the amount of CBD in the body by four-times and the maximum amount recorded in the participants’ blood by 14-times;
- no cognitive differences were identified, which is consistent with previous studies.
“For epilepsy patients, a goal is to maintain consistent blood concentrations of drug,” said Birnbaum. “This study shows that CBD concentrations could vary significantly if patients take it differently, sometimes with or without food. Variations in blood concentrations could leave a patient more susceptible to seizures.”
This research was funded by the Epilepsy Foundation of America, the Patricia L. Nangle Fund, and a gift from a grateful family. Additional U of M study authors include Susan Marino, College of Pharmacy, Masonic Cancer Center; Christopher Barkley, College of Pharmacy; Rory Remmel, College of Pharmacy, Masonic Cancer Center; Michaela Roslawski, College of Pharmacy; U of M Twin Cities student Ashwin Karanam; and Aden Gramling, University of Minnesota Physicians.
Angela Birnbaum , PhD, FAES, is a professor in the College of Pharmacy. Her research focuses on the variability of drug concentrations and response in topics related to the elderly, pregnant women, children, and drug addiction. Dr. Birnbaum’s research includes investigation of epilepsy medications including medical cannabis.
Ilo Leppik , MD, is a professor in the College of Pharmacy and an epilepsy specialist at the University of Minnesota Physicians Epilepsy Care. His research focus includes neurology and epilepsy — specifically around epilepsy in older adults, canine status epilepticus, and treating epilepsy with cannabis.
About the College of Pharmacy
Founded in 1892, the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy is the only pharmacy school in Minnesota, with campuses in the Twin Cities and in Duluth. The College of Pharmacy improves health through innovative education, pioneering research and interdisciplinary practice development that attends to the diverse needs of the people of Minnesota and the world.