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June 30, 2020

Bioavailability: What It Is and Why It Matters For CBD

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CBDfx Team

A CBD tincture

We’re going to go out on a limb and guess that, if you’re reading this article, you’ve either encountered CBD in your life or have heard stories about what it does.

All of us start off very similar, and as we grow, we diversify a bit. The same goes for CBD. Not all CBD is meant to become vape juice or a topical ointment. Sometimes, they become tinctures or edibles. 

Similarly, not all CBD products deliver the same results. Like, 20mg of CBD applied to the skin will actually deliver more CBD than a 20mg oral capsule, but the effective amount won’t last as long. A CBD vaporizer will take effect almost instantly, while ointment may release the same amount of CBD over a much longer period of time.

When you’re looking for the right CBD product—or several products—that blend well with your lifestyle, it’s important to understand the differences between CBD products and how they’re absorbed in order to find the right product for you.

So, what is bioavailability, and does it fit in with CBD?

Understanding Bioavailability and CBD

First, let’s define some terms.

Bioavailability has a lot of bearing on how your body interacts with CBD. What it means is the proportion of a compound that enters the circulation system and then becomes active. In order for a chemical to be effective, it needs to enter the bloodstream, and the amount that’s able to affect you depends on how the chemical is metabolized. 

This process can begin in a few different ways, which brings us to absorption. 

It’s important to distinguish between bioavailability and absorption because while they may seem similar in nature, they’re really quite different. When it comes to CBD, there are a few really popular ways of absorbing the compound.

Ingestion, meaning either consuming an edible or administering something like a tincture under the tongue, known as sublingual ingestion, is one way. Another is through vaporizing, which aerates the CBD and allows your lungs to absorb the compound. Then, of course, there’s the topical application via ointment or salve. 

Take ingestion as an example. In this case, absorption can be defined as the movement of the drug across the outer mucosal membranes of the gastrointestinal tract. Bioavailability, on the other hand, is defined as the availability of the drug at the site of therapeutic action. 

Each method has its own level of efficiency, which is how bioavailability is determined. 

What Does Bioavailability Mean to Me?

Whether you’re new to CBD products or looking to hone your selection, factoring in the bioavailability of a product can help you figure out which product is best for you, as well as the appropriate dosage.

By the far most bioavailable means of using CBD is intravenously, but it’s hard to find someone who likes needles so manufacturers have opted for different methods to deliver CBD.

The next most efficient way of introducing CBD into the body is through vaporizing it. 

The bioavailability of this method can get up to 50%, so if you were to find yourself in the mood for a little Blue Dream, which carries 50mg of broad-spectrum CBD, your body’s going to be able to use around 25mg of that. The benefit of vaporizing, aside from its relatively high bioavailability, is the speed at which your body will metabolize its active ingredients.

If you’re looking for quick effects, this is your best bet. 

The next-highest bioavailable method is topical. Your skin is incredibly receptive to CBD, putting the bioavailability of topical and transdermal products around 45%. 

Next time you’re coming home from a long day, we recommend treating yourself to a little evening at the spa. The beauty of this application is that while being high in bioavailability, it’s also one that your body will experience over a longer period of time than vaporization. 

When it comes to tinctures, there is a pretty big range in bioavailability, between 15% and 35%. The reason for this is the enzymes in your mouth can begin the process of metabolizing before you’ve actually absorbed the CBD. This is why carrier oils are so important. We weave all of ours with MCT oil to maximize the bioavailability and add the inherent wellness benefits that the oil itself. 

That’s why you’ll see tinctures come in a variety of different concentrations of CBD, oftentimes much higher than you find in other products. 

It may not come as a surprise that ingesting CBD has the lowest bioavailability of all methods. Whatever you’re ingesting this way has to pass through your digestive system, and by the time it’s in your gastrointestinal tract, you’re looking at a bioavailability between 5% and 15%.

The benefit of this method is that your GI provides more of a time-release than the other methods. Taking something like a CBD Capsules or multivitamin in the morning means that throughout the day, your body slowly parses out the active cannabinoids, terpenes, and their associated benefits.

We hope you’ve found this information helpful. The more we know about CBD, the better we can figure out the best ways for it to supplement our health and wellness regimen. 

For more information on CBD oils and other CBDfx products visit CBDfx.

Did you know?

The strength of the CBD needed (500mg, 1000mg, and 1500mg) will depend on the dog.
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