Breaking Down Bioavailability
Welcome back to the blog! If you’re new to CBD, I know it can be a little overwhelming sometimes when trying to learn about how it interacts with your body, how to choose the right product for yourself, etc. in addition to getting familiar with the all the words used when talking about CBD.
Today we’re going to break down another one of the many words that you’ve probably seen (and maybe Googled yourself) in the CBD space: bioavailability.
What Does Bioavailability Mean?
When it comes to CBD, the term bioavailability refers to how much of the CBD you ingest is actually absorbed into the bloodstream. Once in your bloodstream, CBD can then react with your endocannabinoid system (ECS) to achieve a chosen effect.
In essence, bioavailability is important because it represents how much CBD will be used by your body.
In order to achieve 100% bioavailability, substances would have to be inserted directly into your bloodstream without passing any organs. Take for example intravenous medication when you’re in the hospital – that goes right into the bloodstream to have the fastest, most effective delivery of medication to get you feeling better ASAP, meaning it has pretty much perfect bioavailability. (For the record – don’t do this with our CBD.)
How Forms of CBD Affect Bioavailability
We’ve already talked about the different ways to take CBD and mentioned the varying degrees of bioavailability of each, but now it’s time to delve deeper into why and how. Let’s start with an example: our CBD Sour Gummies.
When you take a CBD gummy, it has to travel through your body’s digestive system. The digestive tract breaks down foods, including the gummy you took, and sends the nutrients into the bloodstream to be used throughout the body.
The processes of digestion and absorption are not completely efficient. Not all of the compounds in foods can be taken up in the digestive tract, which would leave some of the CBD from the gummy behind.
After the digestive tract has a go at your gummy, it moves to your liver.
The liver regulates almost all the chemical levels in the blood, so few compounds are passed through it and into the bloodstream easily, including CBD. Here, yet more CBD is filtered out before the rest can finally make it to interact with the ECS.
In contrast, CBD tinctures are dropped under the tongue to come in contact with the sublingual glands. The CBD simply enters the bloodstream through these glands.
This bypasses the many filters of the digestive system, allowing a CBD tincture to have a far greater bioavailability when used properly.
Your Body Type and Bioavailability
Understanding your body is the most important factor to getting the most out of your CBD, and this includes the bioavailability of CBD as well.
Past use of CBD products, medical history, height, weight, and many other factors related to your own body play a role in determining the bioavailability of CBD.
Bioavailability of CBD Products
Topical products like muscle salves or lotions are ideal for those looking for localized relief. Many contain pain-fighters like menthol or moisturizing ingredients like shea butter to provide added benefits.
Because topicals only interact with the cannabinoid receptors near the skin, they do not enter the bloodstream and are therefore not technically bioavailable.
Don’t despair though! These products do have their place in your wellness routine, even if they don’t have full-body effects. For example, try topical CBD to relieve post-workout joint or muscle pain!
Anything that passes through your digestive tract is included in the blanket term “ingestible” CBD. Think gummies, hard candies, or even tincture drops put in coffee or tea!
Like we discussed above, these products have a lower degree of bioavailability because they are filtered by many different organs. Though it may not be the most efficient way to get your CBD, edibles like gummies are popular because of their convenience.
It’s also easy to keep track of dosage since they are easily measured.
Ingestible CBD products can be a great way to try CBD for the first time. Make sure to start with a low dose and slowly build over time until you find the perfect balance for you.
CBD tinctures, sometimes referred to as “CBD oil tinctures,” have a high degree of bioavailability. As we’ve already mentioned, CBD is dissolved under the tongue and then taken up into the bloodstream through the sublingual glands.
Tinctures also offer plenty of flavors and strengths to customize your CBD routine. As with any CBD product, start with a low dose and use it daily for best results.
CBD e-liquids are a popular way to quickly and efficiently get CBD into your system. By inhaling vapeable CBD liquids, you allow the CBD molecules to quickly enter the bloodstream.
Most of the CBD you inhale will be absorbed, meaning it has the highest degree of bioavailability of any type of product we’re discussing today.
It can be challenging to measure dosage when vaping CBD, so it is important to start slowly until you understand how your body reacts to CBD.
Determining What’s Right for You
Armed with all of this knowledge about how different forms of CBD have different degrees of bioavailability, you’re probably asking yourself “what now?” The possibilities are endless!
Say you want some relief from daily stress at work. You have a big meeting coming up soon, and time is of the essence. While gummies may be the fastest way to consume your CBD, you know that their bioavailability is lower than your other option, a tincture, because it has to be processed by your digestive system.
You decide you want something that will act quickly and with a great deal of efficiency, so you know you want your CBD to have a high degree of bioavailability for this particular moment. A tincture will be absorbed faster and more efficiently, allowing you to go into your meeting confidently.