• Working Hours - Mon - Fri: 9:00 - 17:00

What Is CBD Bioavailability and Why Does It Matter?

What Is CBD Bioavailability and Why Does It Matter?

CBD is used across the world for therapeutic purposes, with the substance having a multitude of benefits ranging from pain relief to inflammation reduction. As CBD is more widely used and manufacturers and developers innovate and create new products, their effectiveness is tested. In addition, different methods for administration have also been established. While these different methods are great because they provide more options to consumers, they’re also worth being considered from a bioavailability standpoint. 

However, most people don’t understand bioavailability or why it matters to growers, manufacturers, and consumers. The concept is either misunderstood or not deemed important. In this article, we’re going to delve into CBD bioavailability, what it is, how it works, and why it’s an essential component to consider during the manufacturing process and for consumers as a whole.

What Is CBD Bioavailability?

CDB bioavailability refers to the degree to which it is absorbed into the body through the bloodstream. The bioavailability of CBD varies depending on how it is administered and helps determine what dosage should be taken by individuals. 

CBD is available in several forms, including oils, tinctures, capsules, lotions, edibles, beverages, salves, and more. These products have different usage methods, come in different concentrations and ultimately, affect the bioavailability of CBD. 

Oral Bioavailability  

Oral administration is extremely common, with CBD taking the form of beverages like tea and coffee and edibles like gummy bears, capsules, and more. However, while this is one of the most convenient ways of administering CBD, it’s also one with the lowest levels of bioavailability. 

This is because the CBD goes through the digestive system and then enters the bloodstream. Because it gets digested and metabolised, CBD gets broken down by the liver, and there is very little left for absorption. One study showed oral bioavailability rate to be as little as 6%, while a more recent study has reported that oral bioavailability ranges between 4% and 20%. This means that even if the bioavailability rate is the highest it can be (20%), an individual is still only having 20 mg of 100 mg of CBD reach their bloodstream.  

It should also be noted that oral administration results in the CBD taking longer to take effect. Because it goes through the digestive system, it can be up to two hours before the CBD reaches the bloodstream and provides relief. 

Topical Bioavailability

Oral administration may be one of the most common ways of administering CBD, but topical administration isn’t far behind. Topical products infused with CBD, such as lotions and salves are becoming increasingly popular as CBD continues to take the world by storm. That being said, topical bioavailability of CBD is believed to be extremely low, with some studies showing it to be as little as 3%. However, it’s still used worldwide because it’s still shown to be effective when it comes to providing pain relief.

Sublingual Bioavailability

Yet another way of administering CBD is sublingual, i.e., under the tongue. This can be done via CBD drops, CBD lozenges, CBD sprays, and CBD tinctures. These are held under the tongue, absorbed through the mucous membranes in a vein called the sublingual gland. 

This enables them to enter the bloodstream directly and makes sublingual administration extremely effective. Research has shown CBD oil to have a sublingual bioavailability of 12% to 35%, rates that are substantially higher than oral administration. It should also be noted that sublingual administration is more direct than oral administration and thus, impacts the body much faster. 

Intranasal Bioavailability

One of the most effective ways to administer CBD is through the lungs. Devices like vaporisers and vape pens allow individuals to inhale CBD directly into their lungs. Lungs have a large surface area and thousands of blood vessels close to the surface, allowing inhalation to provide direct access to the bloodstream. 

This method is highly effective and has one of the highest bioavailability rates out there, with vaporised consumption having shown rates between 34% and 46%. Some studies have even reported bioavailability rates as high as 56%. 

Why Does CBD Bioavailability Matter?

Bioavailability is an essential component of CBD and determines how it interacts with your body. Understanding it is crucial because it shows individuals how CBD interacts with and behaves in the body and how much should be taken. 

In addition to affecting dosage, bioavailability also dictates which form of CBD one should take. Both are important to consider because CBD needs to reach a high enough concentration in the human body to work and be effective in treatment. 

This information is important for a number of individuals. Doctors and pharmacists need to know about bioavailability rates so they can advise patients to take the right dosage of different substances to get the best results. Manufacturers need to know the bioavailability of their products so they know who to market their products to and how to market them to maximise their sales. 

Bioavailability information is especially important for consumers since they can stop overspending on methods with low bioavailability and opt for more effective products instead. The various kinds of administration methods also take different amounts of time to take effect. 

For example, sublingual administration will take effect much sooner than oral administration, which can take up to 2 hours to enter the bloodstream. For patients in severe pain, this is an important distinction to know so that they can medicate using the methods that will provide relief the soonest. 

CBD Bioavailability and Testing

Testing helps manufacturers ensure the level of bioavailability they’re promising clients and lets them learn how to market their products. This is especially important considering the importance of labelling and informing consumers about the products being offered. 

For example, the packaging may advise customers to consume the edible with a high-fat snack when it comes to edibles. This is because the fatty oils break the cannabis down into smaller pieces and help with absorption. Studies have shown that CBD has fat-soluble properties and allows the substance to act faster. 

Additionally, manufacturers use terpenes for additional benefits as well as to maximise flavour and aroma in CBD products. In addition to adding health benefits, terpenes use the entourage effect to strengthen the impact of CBD and increase CBD bioavailability. Terpene analysis can help manufacturers show consumers these benefits.

Take advantage of terpene analysis, cannabinoid profiling, and more analytical services with IFS Laboratories. We’re a UKAS-accredited laboratory that can provide you with accurate and timely reports on your CBD products. Reach out to us for more information here.