What is CBD bioavailability and why does it matter?

With all the excitement around CBD as an effective therapy, researchers are continuously exploring the fundamental questions regarding the therapeutic benefits of CBD and the different effective dosages for various health conditions.

However, with the enormous amount of different, new and innovative types of CBD products becoming available, questions are also being asked about the best ways in which CBD can be administered. In other words, what are the “best” ways to take CBD and are some products more effective than others?

Ultimately, the question revolves around something called bioavailability. So let’s explore what bioavailability is and how different ways of administering CBD affects its effectiveness.

What Is bioavailability?

Bioavailability simply refers to how quickly and how much of a particular substance gets absorbed by your bloodstream when it’s administered in a particular way. The reason why knowing the bioavailability of a compound is important is because it helps determine what an effective dosage is.

In other words, the bioavailability of a compound not only governs the form in which you should take it, but also how much of it you should take for it to reach a high enough concentration in your system for it to be effective.

What is the Bioavailability of CBD?

As with any other compound, the bioavailability of a particular CBD product is largely dependent on how it gets absorbed into the blood stream with different methods of administration having varying degrees of bioavailability. Similarly, in the case of CBD, recent research has also shown that when CBD is consumed with fat, the absorption rate and subsequent bioavailability of CBD increases significantly.

Sublingual administration

When CBD drops are dispensed sublingually and held there for a minute or two, the CBD has an opportunity to be absorbed by the capillary-rich, mucous membranes under the tongue. From there it can enter directly into the blood stream making it a relatively effective method of administration. CBD oil has been shown to have a sublingual bioavailability of between 10% and 20%.

Oral administration

Administration via oral ingestion has one of the lowest levels of bioavailability of all the methods and clocks in at around 4% to 6%. This is due to two reasons. Firstly, the CBD first hast to go through the digestive system, then pass through the portal vein into the liver where its metabolised and only then enters into the blood stream. Secondly, during this process of metabolism, the liver breaks down the CBD leaving very little CBD available for absorption.

Topical / Transdermal administration

The transdermal bioavailability of CBD is unknown, but scientists believe that to be low. Even so, one study in which a purified CBD cream was administered to treat MS-related limb paralysis, researchers found that it did provide effective pain relief.

Inhalation / Intranasal administration

Because the lungs have a large surface area with thousands of tiny blood vessels close to the surface, inhaling CBD is probably the most effective method of administration with the highest bioavailability. The same goes for intranasal administration with both these methods having a bioavailability of anywhere from 34% to 56%.

Final Thoughts

Much research still needs to be done to know exactly which forms of CBD administration is really the best. However, the little we do know indicates that the two most effective ways of taking CBD with the highest bioavailability is via sublingual administration and inhalation or intranasal administration. Therefore, choose products optimal methods of administration to ensure you receive your ideal dose of CBD [insert link to CBD dosage article].