CBD bioavailability: what is it?

Let’s just get this blog rolling with a definition.

Bioavailability: The degree to which a drug or other substance becomes available to the target tissue after administration.

CBD has become extremely popular lately. It can be found in beverages, beauty products, tinctures, you name it, someone has probably thought of a way to infuse CBD into a product. There are plenty of options for using CBD, and as many different methods of ingesting, inhaling or applying it. It’s not the concentration of CBD that makes a difference in its effectiveness. What matters is how much of the CBD is absorbed into the bloodstream where it spreads throughout the body in search of CB receptors to interact with in the brain and immune system.

How to take CBD

CBD is best used as full spectrum, meaning it contains all the compounds found in the hemp plant. Isolates, or only a single component, aren’t as effective and can require higher doses with less availability.  

Based on the method used for using CBD, absorption can vary.

Intravenous: Probably not the most practical or popular option. It does, however, get everything where it needs to go quickly.

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Consumption: Edibles such as gummies, capsules, beverages, and other things you consume, are a popular means of using CBD. However, consumption isn’t an optimal method of absorption because CBD needs to take an indirect route to get where it can do the most good. It must first travel through the digestive and metabolic systems, lowering the bioavailability. Different studies have shown absorption ranges from 6% to 20% absorption, which isn’t impressive. For instance, even if you absorb 20% of 100mg of CBD, you’ve still lost about 75% in the process of digestion.

Sublingual consumption: Just beneath the tongue is a vast reservoir of absorption in a vein called the sublingual gland. When you place a dropper of CBD oil or capsule under your tongue and hold it there for 30 to 60 seconds or more, it goes straight to the bloodstream. Unlike consuming CBD, the sublingual method can provide from around 12% to 35% absorption. 

Inhalation: It’s possible to vape CBD concentrates and it’s a pretty quick method of absorption. When you inhale CBD, little hairlike projections in your lungs, called alveoli, absorb it and pass it directly to the bloodstream. From the bloodstream, it’s transported quickly throughout the body. Numerous studies show that anywhere from 34% to 46% or even 56% can be achieved through vaping.

Topical application: These products are rubbed onto and absorbed through the skin. For individuals with pain in more than one area of the body, these kinds of products can often provide relief on more than one location at a time. This method doesn’t send CBD to the bloodstream. However, the friction caused by rubbing the product in thoroughly opens the pores helping to transfer CBD to the affected area.

CBD and your health

As the interest in CBD grows and more products become available, it’s important to know what you’re getting. So, you’ll need to do some research on the various suppliers. Not all CBD products are the same, regardless of claims. The most important consideration should be given to the way the hemp is grown. It should be grown as organically as possible without using harmful herbicides, pesticides or growth enhancers. Second on the list is the manner in which the CBD is extracted. Look for a product derived from CO2 extraction. This is the most expensive extraction method, but by far the safest.

Learn more about CBD

In addition, every person assimilates CBD differently. A lot depends on your current state of health, age, diet and other factors. Because more research needs to be conducted to understand the best way to consume CBD, you’ll need to experiment. Fortunately, CBD is safe and rarely causes problematic side effects.