Whether you’re new to the CBD industry or have been a regular user for a long time, you’ve definitely noticed the various forms CBD is available in. You can use oils, CBD creams, lotions, pastes – the list goes on and on.
The number of options available can be overwhelming and even confusing, but the one thing that both experienced users and novices have in common is a concern over how to get the most of their CBD products.
A major factor that plays into the effectiveness of a CBD product is bioavailability.
No matter your experience with CBD, knowing which method to use and how much of a product you should use are crucial questions that can be answered by understanding what bioavailability is.
What is bioavailability?
Bioavailability refers to how much and how fast a substance (CBD in this instance) will be absorbed into your bloodstream.
Because substances don’t have 100% absorption, bioavailability also tells you the percentage of a substance that will actually make it to the bloodstream. For example, taking a CBD capsule may deliver 80% of the CBD in the capsule, while taking CBD oil orally may deliver 90% of the CBD that was held under your tongue.
When you receive medications from your doctor, the dosage has already included bioavailability, but for CBD, it varies based on the concentration of CBD in the product and the consumption method.
This all leads to a vital question…
What is the best way to consume CBD?
The only way to get 100% bioavailability from your CBD is to take it intravenously, which injects it into your bloodstream directly.
Assuming that you’re not exactly thrilled at the thought of injecting yourself with a needle, let’s dive into the different methods of consuming CBD and how each method will affect the CBD bioavailability.
Method 1: Sublingual Consumption
The most popular way people administer CBD products such as tinctures, sprays and lozenges is by sublingual consumption, or under the tongue.
The sublingual gland is a vein located below the tongue. When administering a substance to this gland, it is directly absorbed into the bloodstream.
As one of the more direct methods of consumption, not only will the CBD will impact your body faster, it will also maintain higher levels of availability. The only thing that lowers the amount of CBD that is absorbed is the enzymes found in the mouth’s saliva.
CBD bioavailability through sublingual consumption is impacted by a couple of different factors – most of them relating to the quality of the CBD – but has a relatively high rate of bioavailability ranging from 12%-35%.
Method 2: Oral Consumption
Oral consumption, consuming CBD through your mouth, is familiar to most people, as this is how we eat and drink daily. Regarding CBD products, oral consumption is the common method used drinks, edibles and capsules.
There are certain benefits that this method offers, but anything you consume orally has to pass through both the digestive and metabolic systems, which filter out a large amount of CBD. This reduces its bioavailability substantially.
Reported bioavailability rates vary. A study in 1986 reported a rate of 6%, while another 2009 study reported rates within a range of 4%-20%. Even at the higher, more optimistic side of the range, oral consumption has drastically less bioavailability than consuming CBD sublingually.
So, putting this in real terms, let’s say you have a CBD gummy that has 100mg of CBD, only 20mg will make its way into your bloodstream. Now, of course, you should expect that a portion of the CBD will be filtered out, but losing more than 75% is not what customers expect to happen!
Method 3: Vaporized Consumption
This process of consumption is when CBD is inhaled directly into your lungs. This is usually done using a vaporizer device or a vape pen.
CBD administered in this manner quickly enters the bloodstream, with higher bioavailability and reduced breakdown rates.
Numerous medical studies have consistently reported bioavailability rates around 34%-46%, with some studies reporting a ridiculously high 56%.
Vaping CBD is easily the most effective method for getting the most out of CBD and the many benefits it offers. It is definitely the recommended method for those using CBD for severe and chronic pain and need fast and strong relief.
The Value of Understanding Bioavailability
When you have a clearer understanding of how the bioavailability of CBD works, you are in more control.
Not only will you be able to increase the effectiveness of the benefits you receive from the CBD you’re taking by choosing the best method (improving your overall well-being as well), you will also save a lot of money by no longer overspending on methods that have low bioavailability.
This hypothetical situation will further explain the breakdown of costs.
Imagine you are choosing between two CBD products you really want to try. In one hand you have a 750mg CBD e-liquid for a vape pen. In the other hand you have a 750mg edible. Both cost $75.
CBD E-Liquid: The low end of bioavailability rates for vaporizing is 35%. Taking that into consideration, 262.5mg of CBD would make it to your bloodstream. At $50, you’re paying around $0.29/mg of CBD.
CBD Edible: Taking an optimistic bioavailability rate of 10%, 75mg of CBD would reach your bloodstream, and at $75, you’re paying $1.00/mg of CBD.
You would be paying 71% more for a CBD product that gives you much less if you chose the edible over the e-liquid!
The discrepancy is even more apparent on a larger scale.
If you used 12,000mg of CBD yearly (1,000mg per month) you’d be spending $12,000 on edibles compared to $3,480 if you purchased e-liquids. Knowledge truly is power…
Some CBD products aren’t going to be as effective as others. This may be disappointing news for some CBD users, but it doesn’t mean you can’t use the method you want.
For example, Blessed CBD is a highly effective CBD brand located in the UK. We’ve found their CBD oil tinctures to be highly effective for treating pain, anxiety and sleep. They were also voted the best CBD oil in the United Kingdom by the likes of Mirror, HerbMighty, Observer, Manchester Evening News, Liverpool Echo, Birmingham Mail, LA Weekly, Readers Digest, Glasgow Live, Improb and Luxury Lifestyle Mag.
To assess whether or not a product is worth buying, always be sure to read customer reviews and feedback to gauge what the general public think about the products.
As long as you understand how much CBD will be delivered from the product you’re purchasing, you won’t feel tricked or taken advantage of. Understanding bioavailability doesn’t mean you have to buy the strongest product, it simply goes a long way to helping you have realistic expectations.