A recent study by researchers affiliated with Colorado State University has found that water-soluble cannabidiol products provide the best absorption of CBD, shedding new light on best practices for consumers seeking the benefits of the popular cannabinoid. Bioavailability refers to the degree and rate at which a substance is absorbed into your bloodstream. Read more on how dosage and consumption method can affect how much cannabis your body uses. 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.
New Study Suggests Water-Soluble Cannabidiol Products Provide Best CBD Absorption
A recent study by researchers affiliated with Colorado State University has found that water-soluble cannabidiol products provide the best absorption of CBD, shedding new light on best practices for consumers seeking the benefits of the popular cannabinoid. The study, which was published last month in the peer-reviewed journal Nutrients, also explored the effects that cannabidiol has on digestion and determined that CBD products are best consumed with food for maximum absorption, among other findings.
The research, which was conducted in conjunction with Colorado State University’s Department of Health and Exercise Science, compared the absorption of five different CBD formulations in 14 male test subjects. Products studied included CBD diluted in medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) coconut oil, CBD isolate, and three different water-soluble CBD ingredients. The goal of the study was to document how each of these formulations of CBD entered and left the bloodstream and at what rate. Additionally, the study profiled how the formulations interacted with liver functionality and if there was evidence that food intake and metabolism were affected by the products.
New research shows that taking water-soluble cannabidiol products with food provided the best . [+] absorption of CBD.
Water-Soluble CBD Had Best Absorption
The study found that water-soluble CBD preparations displayed superior pharmacokinetics compared to oil-based CBD. One of the water-soluble CBD preparations used in the study was created using proprietary technology from NextEvo Naturals, which has proven to significantly improve bioavailability. John McDonagh, CEO of the company, said that the research sheds new light on how consumers can get the most out of the CBD products they take.
“While the potential health benefits of CBD have been widely publicized, this new data suggests consumers should be very aware of the pharmacokinetic differences between commercial CBD formulations, for example, how the CBD you are taking gets absorbed into the body,” McDonagh said in a statement from NextEvo. “We set out to prove that our product formulations may actually be able to offer the many benefits of CBD because they enter the bloodstream quickly and efficiently.”
The results of the study, which NextEvo notes have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, show a more than 500% variance in maximum blood concentration achieved between water-soluble CBD ingredients compared to oil-based formulations and unformulated CBD isolate. The variance represents a significant difference in the body’s ability to absorb and process CBD, which is necessary to reap the potential health and wellness benefits of the cannabinoid.
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Taking CBD With Food Increases Absorption
The results also showed that consuming water-soluble CBD with food greatly increases the body’s absorption of CBD and modifies early insulin and triglyceride responses. Six hours after consumption, CBD concentration in the bloodstream was three times higher when consumed with food compared to taking the product after fasting. David Chernoff, MD, chief medical officer at NextEvo, says that the research revealed CBD’s potential positive effect on insulin and triglyceride levels.
“Our study results show that within 30 minutes after eating a meal, CBD appeared to lower insulin and triglyceride levels. The exact mechanism of how CBD impacts insulin levels and triglyceride levels is unclear as the CBD levels 30 min post-meal are very low,” Chernoff writes in an email. “What one can infer from these findings is that CBD may have a favorable effect on how fats and sugars are metabolized after a meal so CBD might be beneficial for supporting healthy glucose and lipid metabolism.”
Researchers have long debated if eating a meal or fasting could affect CBD’s absorption into the bloodstream. Some have found that it helps to eat when taking oil-soluble CBD, but the new research suggests that taking water-soluble CBD products with food will provide the most benefit.
“We’ve found that the best way for consumers to take CBD is in a product containing a water-soluble formulation with a meal. This allows the body the opportunity for maximum absorption into the bloodstream,” writes Chernoff. “The more CBD the body absorbs, the more likely the consumer is to experience CBD’s potential benefits.”
CBD is available in a variety of product formulations.
“This is one of the first studies to examine the potential benefits CBD has on digestion and whether it should be administered with food,” NextEvo wrote in a statement about the research. “The study provides significant evidence that consuming CBD with food alters the dynamics of CBD metabolism and increases systemic availability, favorably modifying early insulin and triglyceride responses.”
The research also revealed new evidence on the safety of CBD. The study showed that CBD taken at average doses, in this case, 30mg per dose, does not evoke physiologically relevant changes in markers of liver function, suggesting that CBD probably does not represent a risk to the liver.
Potential limitations of the study identified by the researchers include a small sample size and the fact that all test subjects were male, although the authors wrote that they “have no reason to suspect the potential for sex differences.”
A report on the study, “Cannabidiol and Cannabidiol Metabolites: Pharmacokinetics, Interaction with Food, and Influence on Liver Function,” was published online by the journal Nutrients in May.
Most THC and CBD oil goes to waste in your body—here’s why
If you knew that only 6% of your CBD gummies would enter your bloodstream to do their job, would you still purchase them? Amid the current frenzy surrounding cannabis and its therapeutic benefits, it’s easy to gloss over the bioavailability of cannabis products.
Bioavailability refers to the degree and rate at which a substance is absorbed into your bloodstream to be used where needed. Physiological processes and consumption methods can affect cannabis absorption, rendering its effects somewhat hit-and-miss.
It’s critical to get clued up about bioavailability in order to maximize the medicinal potency of cannabis. The more bioavailable your cannabis, the lower the quantity of the plant you need to reap its benefits.
What factors influence cannabis bioavailability?
The surge in cannabis popularity can be partly attributed to the range of consumption methods available. Edibles and tinctures can have less of the stigma traditionally associated with joints. However, when cannabinoids such as CBD and THC are ingested in oil form—oil is also used to make edibles—their bioavailability becomes compromised.
CBD and THC oils resist absorption into the bloodstream because the human body is up to 60% water . Basic science—and salad dressing—dictates that oil and water do not mix, and the same is true for cannabis oil and the human body.
“Cannabinoids are fat-loving molecules and have to traverse a cellular environment that is aqueous or watery,” explains Dr. Patricia Frye, a member of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians and chief medical officer at Hello MD . When cannabis is consumed as an oil, the onset of effects can become delayed and bioavailability limited.
Another phenomenon that limits oil-based cannabis extracts from reaching the bloodstream is the first-pass effect. When cannabis is ingested orally, it is absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract and transported via the portal vein to the liver, where it is metabolized. As a result of this process, only a limited quantity reaches the circulatory system. Since cannabis oil is often taken orally, its efficacy can be hindered.
Are some cannabinoids more bioavailable than others?
There has been some investigation into CBD, THC, and less into cannabinol, or CBN. Studies have shown that the bioavailability of cannabinoids depends on the method of delivery.
When applied as a topical ointment or transdermal patch, CBD can penetrate the tissue ten times more effectively than THC. The same is true of CBN.
THC, however, is more bioavailable than CBD when administered orally or delivered via the lungs. A clinical study found that concentrations of THC in the bloodstream appeared 30-50% higher than CBD following oral delivery as a sublingual spray.
However, the bioavailability of THC is still limited when consumed orally, averaging only 4-12%. When smoked or vaped, the bioavailability of THC leaps to an average of 30%.
Which methods of cannabis consumption optimize bioavailability?
Some of the most common and convenient cannabis products, such as capsules, soft gels, tinctures, and edibles, limit bioavailability due to the first pass through the liver. “With edibles, absorption is slow, unpredictable, and highly variable,” says Frye. “Only about 6% of the dose is absorbed. The onset of action can be as long as 6 hours; it’s very easy to take too much, and the effects can last as long as 20 hours!”
Oral administration lasts longer than smoking, eliminating the need for frequent dosing. Oral methods also avoid irritation to the airways and the risk of malignancies associated with smoking or vaping.
That said, inhaling cannabis guarantees increased bioavailability because molecules are transported by vapor particles directly to the alveoli in the lungs. This allows cannabinoids to rapidly enter the bloodstream without being metabolized by the liver.
Another lesser known method of administration is intranasal delivery, which enables cannabinoids to be easily absorbed with a rapid onset of 10 minutes or less. “Intranasal methods are highly bioavailable at 34-46%,” says Frye. “It’s a particularly helpful mode of delivery for patients who are having a seizure or for patients trying to abort an impending seizure or migraine.”
Transdermal patches can be super effective at targeting localized or systemic pain. They allow for a steady infusion of active ingredients to the delivery site, so the patient is unlikely to experience spikes of THC in the bloodstream.
Finally, nano-emulsions and micro-emulsions can dramatically increase the stability and bioavailability of cannabinoids. These novel formulations use nanotechnology to offer up to 100% bioavailability. Frye cautions, however, that the research is still scarce. “We don’t know the full extent of how these manipulations affect cannabinoid activity at the cellular level,” she says.
What tips or tricks can help increase bioavailability?
One method that boosts the absorption of edibles is to combine cannabis product with fats. Frye recommends combining edibles or tinctures with healthy fats such as guacamole, hummus, or dark chocolate. If you’re feeling less virtuous, however, ice cream works as a treat. The same goes for alcohol-based tinctures.
For those who smoke or vape, bioavailability can be enhanced by minimizing sidestream loss and increasing the number of puffs. “Using a desktop or handheld vaporizer with flower will eliminate sidestream losses,” Frye advises. If you think you get more bang for your buck by holding your breath, think again. “There is no evidence supporting holding one’s breath for more than 10 secs,” says Frye.
Some final words of advice from Dr. Fyre, for those looking to optimize cannabis bioavailability: “The most cost-effective way to use cannabis is not to use more than you need. Less is more,” she says. Due to its biphasic nature, excessive dosing may exacerbate the symptoms you’re trying to alleviate.
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.