The term “bioavailability” refers to the rate and degree a substance is absorbed by the bloodstream. CBD bioavailability takes into account how much unchanged CBD reaches the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and other body systems for use in the target organ. For instance, CBD can be used by the muscular organ system to relieve muscle pain.
The ECS is a complex biological system in your body shown to play important roles in your body’s relationship to pain, mood, appetite, memory, movement, and more.
The type of CBD spectrum absorbed, whether full, broad, or isolate spectrum, also affects bioavailability. It is thought that CBD influences the receptors in this system. Therefore, it is important for you to be aware of the bioavailability aspects of CBD. This includes considering how you ingest CBD, the type of CBD spectrum you choose, and your health goals for using CBD.
Why Does CBD Bioavailability Matter?
Knowing how much CBD is absorbed and used by your body is an important factor in deciding how you will use CBD. Your physical condition, digestive health, and whether to take CBD with or without food all can affect the bioavailability of your CBD product. To find your ideal dosage, it is important to know some things about bioavailability.
Can CBD Spectrum Affect Bioavailability?
Within the chemical make-up of CBD are three spectrums. Differing spectrum CBD products can have varying effects on your body and bioavailability.
CBD Broad Spectrum
There is CBD broad spectrum. This type of CBD contains various compounds, cannabinoids, and terpenes. Broad spectrum CBD has a chemical make-up between that of full spectrum and CBD isolate spectrum.
Full Spectrum CBD
Full spectrum CBD contains all the cannabis plant compounds, including low traces of THC. The traces according to the FDA must not contain more than 0.3% THC to be classified as a CBD product. THC is the chemical that makes cannabis users feel “high.” It is important to note that since this chemical is non-existent or extremely low in full spectrum CBD, the user will not feel this aspect of the cannabis plant.
The purest form of CBD is the CBD isolate spectrum. There are no other compounds in this form of CBD. This is a pure form of CBD, and does not contain THC, terpenes, other cannabinoids, or plant compounds. Some studies have shown that people who use pure isolate spectrum CBD often must take more of it. This is thought to be due to the “entourage” effect. This theorizes that the bioavailability is higher in CBD when other plant compounds are used synergistically by your body.
Does How I Use CBD Affect Bioavailability?
How you consume CBD will affect the amount or rate of absorption into your body.
The most convenient way to use CBD is by mouth. This is also the most popular way. Studies have shown only about 4 to 20% of CBD is absorbed by the ECS when CBD is orally consumed. This is because it is first metabolized by the liver. As a result, a large percentage of CBD is lost in the digestive process. This is known as first pass metabolism.
The most bioavailable way to orally consume CBD is sublingual. With this method, CBD is absorbed into your body through the mucus membranes in your mouth. Because this is administered in the form of tinctures dropped under the tongue, CBD entering the body skips being metabolized by your digestive system. Studies have shown the bioavailability of sublingual CBD products to be between 12 to 35% absorption rate.
Some oil-based tinctures help to increase the bioavailability of CBD. This can be done because CBD is oil-based plant material, and therefore hydrophobic. This simply means that CBD does not dissolve in water, and therefore is not absorbed into the bloodstream easily. Most of it is passed through the body. One such oil efficient at maintaining the bioavailability is MCT oil. It is a carrier oil that helps CBD become water compatible. It will then lose less CBD through this type of emulsification. Advanced technology has created what is known as nano-emulsification, which makes a very small droplet of oil that cells can absorb directly by target cells. This has the highest possible absorption.
Another way to use CBD is by vaping. In this method of use, air sacks in the lungs absorb CBD into the bloodstream. The effects of this usage are felt immediately. Vaping maintains the most viable bioavailability, with some studies suggesting up to 50% CBD absorption rate. Again, the type of CBD spectrum, broad, full, or isolate, will influence the bioavailability and resulting health outcomes.
CBD topical products are another way CBD can be used by the body. When CBD topicals are rubbed on the skin, nearby endocannabinoid receptors are affected by the localized CBD. Since the skin has a low permeability, which means chemicals do not easily pass through, the concentration in CBD topical products must be high. Topical CBD products can be full spectrum, broad spectrum, or even CBD isolate. Topical CBD products do not reach the bloodstream. However, a thick balm as compared to a thinner lotion will increase CBD bioavailability. Thicker applications of topical CBD naturally result in increased absorption into the skin.
A transdermal patch is absorbed directly into the bloodstream. This is a medicated CBD patch that introduces CBD effectively into the bloodstream. Since it arrives there, its bioavailability is higher compared to topicals that are only absorbed into the skin and not the bloodstream.
Your health goals with CBD usage determines how you use the product. Bioavailability is important to know about, as it will affect your decision-making on how you use CBD. It is good to know, and, like G.I. Joe said, knowing is half the battle.