Cannabis plants contain over 60 compounds called cannabinoids. These chemicals will attach to endocannabinoids which will affect specific brain receptors as well as the immune system.
Cannabinoids are what produce the effects of marijuana. The feeling of euphoria, relaxation, and the “high” come from cannabinoids. In most cases, THC is responsible for its psychoactive effects.
To make the most out of your experience, you need to know the best way to absorb CBD. In this guide, you’ll learn about the bioavailability of CBD. Read on and find out more.
Why Use CBD?
The main reason to use CBD is the fact that it’s non-psychoactive. That means it won’t make you high, unlike THC. Several studies show that CBD is a counteractive agent to the psychological effects of THC.
This implies that CBD is safe to use for children, pets, and people who aren’t looking to get high. With that, CBD proves itself as an important chemical compound for medical use. That’s the reason why the CBD market in the United States has a projected annual growth of 107%.
Its potential makes it a prime subject for research about its therapeutic use. It’s discovered that CBD will reduce inflammation while relieving pain and strengthening the immune system. It’s possible since it interacts with the CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system.
What’s the Best Way to Absorb CBD?
Your body needs to absorb CBD for it to benefit from the compound’s effects. It should find its way into your bloodstream. From there, the substance can now interact with your cannabinoid receptors.
The way CBD interacts depends on how you consume it. It’s called the route of administration, and it affects how your body uptakes, distributes and gets rid of CBD in your body. It’s important since the chosen method will affect the effectiveness of cannabinoid therapy.
You have lots of choices when consuming CBD. You can add it to your food, swallow it as a tincture, inhale it using a vape, or swish it around your mouth. But this will affect how CBD affects you as well as the time it takes for it to start working.
The body will absorb CBD in a variety of ways. Here are some ways you can consume it:
1. CBD Absorption Through Inhaling
You have the choice to smoke hemp flowers and other high-CBD strains or use vape CBD oil and other CBD concentrates. The latter has a greater potency level since the body absorbs it quickly. It’s so fast that you’ll feel the effects almost as soon as you do the first puff.
If you need immediate pain relief, inhalation is your best choice. It’s possible since the alveoli in your lungs will absorb the CBD within a few seconds. Another benefit is that your lungs also have a bigger surface, making absorption easier.
Once the CBD gets absorbed by the lungs, it will enter your bloodstream. Once there, the chemical will have quick travel throughout your body. That’s why when comparing to other methods, inhalation will absorb more CBD at a faster rate.
2. CBD Absorption Through Ingestion or Sublingual Methods
The most common means of taking CBD is through the mouth. Its main selling points are its speed and convenience. The dosage is easier, especially if you’re not fond of smoking or vaping.
3. Oral CBD Absorption
This is the more common method compared to its sublingual counterpart. It’s simple since all you need to do is to swallow the CBD product. Its main drawback is that the food you swallow will go through your digestive tract.
It’s a lengthy process since it will go to your hepatic portal system after the digestive tract. It will then go to the portal vein and into the liver. Once the CBD arrives in the liver, the process will become more complicated.
This will result in a “first-pass effect”, which breaks CBD down. That will result in a significantly lesser concentration of the compound. Once it’s on the bloodstream, it’s only scraps of what you ingested.
That’s why it’s one of the least effective means of absorbing CBD. Despite its ease of delivery, you’ll need to take higher concentrations of the substance. Also, it can take as long as two hours before you start feeling the effects.
The good news is that a study found that swallowing CBD with fatty acids might negate the first-pass effect. That way, you’ll have a better rate of absorption when ingesting CBD edibles.
4. Sublingual CBD Absorption
When taking CBD sublingually, you need to hold it under your tongue for 1-2 minutes. After that, you should swallow it. Its main benefit is that you will bypass your digestive system since it will metabolize in your liver alone.
With this method, no enzymes will break down the CBD molecules. It won’t travel through your digestive tract, meaning it reaches your bloodstream faster. If you’re looking for a more effective means of ingesting CBD, this process is less savory but faster.
5. CBD Absorption Through Topical Means
When smearing CBD oils onto your skin, the CBD doesn’t reach your bloodstream. That’s why you should only use this method when targeting to relieve a specific body area. Your skin will absorb CBD, but it will only interact with nearby cannabinoid receptors.
Take note, your skin won’t absorb cannabinoids that much. That’s why this method of CBD consumption has a low bioavailability compared to the first two methods. If you choose to use these products, make sure to apply copious amounts onto your skin.
The CBD should be thick enough to break the barrier of your skin. With a liberal application, the pores of your skin will absorb CBD and help heal the affected area. That’s why it works best when you use lotions, salves, and balms that have high CBD levels.
If you’re looking for a topical CBD product that can penetrate the skin, you need transdermal CBD patches. These can help CBD enter your bloodstream by crossing the dermal barrier. It’s a more effective means of absorbing CBD if you want to apply it on your skin.
How to Increase CBD Bioavailability
You have a lot of options when raising your CBD bioavailability. This helps in enhancing the therapeutic effects of CBD. In some cases, you don’t even need to change your preferred method of CBD absorption.
Here are some tips you should consider:
1. Eat a High-Fat Snack
CBD is a compound that easily dissolves in fats and other fatty oils. With this, CBD breaks down into smaller molecules, making it easier for your body to absorb it. Due to this, a good way to increase your CBD bioavailability is to eat a high-fat snack or meal beforehand.
You can also dissolve CBD in coconut oil or hemp seed oil. Most CBD tinctures and other edibles do this. But to get the most out of it, you should add a high-fat snack into the mix.
2. Use Emulsification
A lot of new CBD products use nanotechnology to help in emulsifying their CBD. It’s the process of micronizing CBD molecules. Most water or oil-based products do this process to increase its bioavailability.
A good rule to remember is that CBD molecules are more bioavailable when it’s smaller and more dispersed. It’s possible since the particles have better chances of passing through cell membranes. With that, they can get into the bloodstream easier compared to their larger counterparts.
Manufacturers use different types of emulsification processes for their CBD products. Some will increase the substance’s bioavailability more than others. In most cases, they mix fatty oils or terpenes to the CBD.
3. Use Supplemental Terpenes
Terpenes give most of the health benefits associated with essential oils. They’re fatty oils that naturally occur in almost every plant. They’re used to make popular fragrances and flavors of various herbs and fruits.
This substance also occurs in hemp. That’s why manufacturers extract it along with the CBD and other chemical compounds. With that, they become the materials used to make full-spectrum CBD products.
With these chemicals mixed, they synergize and increase their efficacy. It’s called the entourage effect, and bioavailability plays a big role in this concept. After all, terpenes help increase its levels and enhance the cannabinoids’ therapeutic properties.
4. Use Supplemental Herbs
The best herb to add to your diet is black pepper. It has lots of compounds containing terpenes. You can also find some of these chemicals in other plants like chamomile and hot peppers.
Chamomile flowers also prevent your body from breaking down cannabinoids. It’s possible due to the apigenin compound, which binds to an enzyme that breaks the compounds down. Apigenin is also present in oregano, parsley, and dark chocolate.
There are various ways of consuming CBD. Some of them will have higher bioavailability compared to the others. If you want to make the most out of your CBD experience, follow the tips mentioned above.