Whether you’re a new user, or an experienced user, we all have a common concern… How do we get the most effectiveness out of our CBD? While this requires a rather in-depth explanation, a major factor is the “bioavailability” of CBD.
If you’re wondering what that is, you’re going to want to keep reading…
What is CBD Bioavailability?
As you may have noticed, CBD is available in many various forms including: lotions, tinctures, oils, e-liquids, capsules and more. Each of these different forms requires a different usage method, and each product typically comes in multiple concentrations of CBD.
If you’ve never used CBD or are fairly new to the industry, all the different options can be very confusing.
You may want to try CBD, but which method should you use and how much CBD should you take? These are crucial questions that can all be addressed by understanding what bioavailability means.
In short, bioavailability is the degree and rate at which a substance that is absorbed into the bloodstream.
In addition to the amount and strength of a substance, bioavailability determines how much of what you took is actually present to provide your level of effect. For medications ordered by your doctor part of the calculation about the dosage has already included bioavailability when determining the standard dosage.
With that being said, the bioavailability of CBD varies based on the the consumption method and concentration of CBD in the product in question, which leads us to a very important question:
What’s the best way to take CBD?
Now, if you want to get the most bioavailability out of your CBD, the most direct route would be intravenous administration, meaning injected directly into the bloodstream through the veins.
While this method, by definition, delivers 100% of CBD into the body, it probably isn’t the most popular option.
For anyone who doesn’t prefer to stick themselves with a needle, let’s talk about the different methods of using CBD, and how each affects CBD bioavailability.
Most of us know how oral consumption works. Basically it means to consume something through your mouth. In terms of CBD, common oral consumption methods include CBD capsules, CBD edibles and CBD beverages.
While oral consumption methods do offer certain benefits, any substance consumed will have to pass through our metabolic and digestive systems, which will filter out a large portion of the CBD, drastically reducing its bioavailability.
A 1986 study reported a bioavailability rate of 6%, while a 2009 study reported it between 4% and 20%. While both findings differ significantly, both are pretty low, with a 20% bioavailability rate being the most optimistic scenario.
To give you an idea on how that works, if you eat an edible that contains 100mg of CBD, only 20mg will actually reach your bloodstream.
Of course you need to accept that you’re going to lose a portion of the CBD to your digestive system, but over 75%? That’s worse than taxes!
Don’t worry though — there are other ways to increase your CBD bioavailability rate!
Under the tongue, there is a vein called the sublingual gland. When a substance is administered to the sublingual gland, it gets absorbed directly into the bloodstream, which is referred to as sublingual consumption or sublingual administration. Common sublingual consumption methods include CBD tinctures, CBD lozenges and CBD sprays.
Because sublingual consumption is more direct, it impacts the body quicker than oral consumption and maintains higher availability, only being degraded from enzymes in the mouths saliva.
Because there are a few different factors that will impact the CBD bioavailability of sublingual consumption (most involving the quality of CBD), reported rates range from 12%-35%, which is still significantly higher than oral consumption.
Vaporized consumption involves inhaling CBD directly into the lungs, typically through a vape pen or vaporizer device.
By directly entering the lungs, the CBD can then quickly and and directly enter the bloodstream, with decreased breakdown rates and higher bioavailability.
With numerous medical studies reporting bioavailability rates between 34–46%, and some even reporting up to 56%, vaporizing CBD is by far one of the most effective methods to take CBD, and our recommended method.
By understanding how CBD bioavailability works, it not only helps you increase the effectiveness of the CBD you’re taking, it saves you from overspending on methods with low bioavailability.
Imagine you had the choice to purchase a 500mg CBD edible for $50 or a 500mg CBD e-liquid for the same price. Here’s how the cost would breakdown:
CBD Edible: With an overly optimistic bioavailability rate of 10%, 50 mg of CBD would enter your bloodstream, and at $50, you’d be paying $1 per milligram of CBD
CBD E-Liquid: With a bioavailability rate of 35%, 175 mg of CBD would enter your bloodstream, and at $50, you’d be paying $0.28 per mg of CBD, which is 72% cheaper than the CBD from the edible.
On a larger scale, imagine you used 1,000 mg of CBD per month and over the course of the year it added up to 12,000 mg of CBD. You’d be spending $12,000 compared to just $3,360. The more you know, right?