The US Farm Act of 2018 legalized the cultivation of hemp plants for research and medical purposes. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid extracted from it. Many health and wellness products formulated using it are popular among users for its therapeutic effects. They are used for reducing pain and inflammation, healing minor burns and wounds, treating the symptoms of skin diseases, and many more. To get the maximum health benefits from using CBD products, you must administer the ideal dosage, and this depends on the factor called bioavailability. Read on to know more about CBD bioavailability and its impact on absorption.
Bioavailability is a pharmacology term used for denoting the percentage of the dose of a drug available in the bloodstream. This is ultimately metabolized and used by the body, and the whole process is known as pharmacokinetics. For most medical purposes, cannabidiol (CBD) is consumed in the form of oil, and this is because of its versatility. For example, its dosage can be easily adjusted and can be added into beverages or edibles. Furthermore, oral consumption of CBD has the lowest bioavailability but gives long-lasting effects. While inhaling CBD has the highest bioavailability, the effects are short-lived.
The First Pass Metabolism
The main reason for the low bioavailability of CBD oral consumption is due to the first-pass effect. When you ingest CBD products like pills, capsules, edibles, and beverages, it passes through the gastrointestinal tract and is finally absorbed into the bloodstream through the intestines. During this journey, a portion of the cannabidiol is denatured by the stomach acids, and a portion of the remaining CBD that reaches the intestines is eliminated. The cannabidiol that is absorbed into the bloodstream is transported into the liver through the hepatic portal vein.
Once cannabidiol (CBD) reaches the liver, it is metabolized by enzymes into metabolites. The useful metabolites become available for the endocannabinoid system (ECS), while the unwanted ones are eliminated out of the body. This whole process is known as the first-pass metabolism, and it significantly reduces the amount of CBD that is available for the body. Any methods of cannabidiol consumption that bypasses this process have higher bioavailability.
CBD Capsules, Pills, And Edibles
Oral consumption of cannabidiol in the form of CBD oil capsules, pills, and edibles is popular among users. This is mainly because of the ease of CBD usage, the fixed dosage per serving, and the lower risk for overdosing. Having said that, this method has the lowest bioavailability, i.e. 13 to 19%, because of the first-pass metabolism.
Natural CBD is a fat-soluble compound, and this makes it difficult to be absorbed by the body. One of the best ways to increase CBD bioavailability when consuming it orally is to take it along with fat or lipid-rich foods. Also, taking CBD oil capsules on an empty stomach increases its absorption. The main advantage of taking cannabidiol orally is that its effects last longer because it is absorbed slowly into the bloodstream through the intestines.
Inhaling CBD Vapors By Dabbing, Vaping Or Smoking
Inhaling CBD vapors is a popular and widely used method by experienced cannabidiol users because of its high bioavailability. This is mainly because it bypasses the first-pass effect as CBD directly enters the bloodstream through the highly permeable alveoli of the lungs. Because of this, CBD’s effects are experienced immediately. However, this lasts for a shorter time because cannabidiol is quickly used up by the body. Moreover, the CBD bioavailability ranges from 31 to 56%.
CBD Dabbing: In this method, hemp CBD flowers or concentrate in the form of budder or shatter is heated to a specific temperature to produce cannabidiol vapors; the temperature has a significant effect on the quality of vapors. Low to medium temperatures are suitable for beginners and amateurs, and high temperatures are suitable for experienced cannabidiol users. As the temperature increases, the CBD content of the vapor increases and vice versa. However, the disadvantage of this method of using cannabidiol is that there is a higher risk for side effects from CBD overdosing.
Vaping CBD: Vaping is the most popular method to inhale CBD vapors. In this method, CBD e-liquid or vape juice is vaporized using a vape pen. These devices are available in the form of e-cigarette, and vape pens with disposable cartridges, or pods. Vape pens with more controls to adjust the temperature and the amount of vapor released are used by more experienced users to fine tune the vaping experience.
CBD Smoking: In this method of consuming CBD, CBD hemp flower-based cigarettes are smoked. This is less popular compared to the previous two methods and has a CBD bioavailability of 31%.
CBD Sublingual Consumption
In this method of consuming cannabidiol (CBD), drops of CBD oil are placed under the tongue so that CBD is absorbed into the bloodstream through the sublingual gland. Sublingual consumption of cannabidiol has the second-highest bioavailability because it bypasses the first-pass metabolism.
We hope that the details shared above clarified your doubts about bioavailability and its effect on CBD absorption.