Let’s go back to school for a sec and re-learn the path drugs takes through the body.
When you take a drug it will pass through your body in four main stages: it is absorbed into the bloodstream. Your bloodstream then distributes the drug to your tissues and cells and binds to receptors. It is then metabolized and what the body determines untrustworthy is excreted. This process is medically known at ADME.
Ideally, we would want 100% of the drug to be absorbed and distributed. But that is not the case ever, for any drug. This is why when a doctor prescribes you medication, they have considered what your body will eliminate, and use this as part of the calculation when determining your standard dosage. The percentage of the drug your body actually keeps and distributes through your bloodstream is called bioavailability.
When considering CBD BIOAVAILABILITY you should ask:
A. How can we get CBD to your bloodstream the fastest? (Absorbed)
B. How can we get the most CBD to your bloodstream? (Distributed)
C. How can we get the effect to last the longest? (Metabolized)
To improve your CBD’s BIOAVAILABILITY, you need to understand the methods of delivery, and how you can use them to increase our body’s natural absorption and distribution, yet also metabolize slowly so the CBD will remain in your body longer.
Bioavailability is Important—and the company you buy your CBD from should know how to improve the bioavailability of their CBD oil.
Ways to take CBD and their bioavailability.
Suppositories have the highest bioavailability ~93%. The reason all drugs are not administered in this way is that oral dosing is more convenient, and people are weird about putting things in their bums. A CBD suppository is absorbed fast. It immediately enters the bloodstream through the large veins in your bottom. It moves from the bloodstream to the tissues and cells and binds to receptors, and gets to work. There is no waiting for it to make its way through your digestion, it is instant. Almost all of the CBD is distributed. A recent study showed that paracetamol when administered rectally was 93% bioavailable, compared to 37% when administered orally. Unlike a capsule, this method bypasses the stomach, intestine, and liver where it will most likely be eliminated. It can last about 9hours. If combined with a fatty substance like MCT Oil, it will remain in your bloodstream longer and will take longer for your body to metabolize.
Vaping has a bioavailability of about ~31%. Smoking CBD will hit you very quickly, as it is absorbed by the bloodstream as rapidly as if it was injected. But during the act of vaping, you do eliminate a lot of the CBD through exhalation. It also does not need to be metabolized, so does not last long. Whilst a great option for immediate pain relief, it should not be your main method, as can be unhealthy.
Topicals are another way to administer CBD, but there is minimal research to give us the confidence to quote a bioavailability percentage. This is 100% reliant on your skin —the thickness, the age, the fatty tissues. But anecdotally, they can be effective for localized pain and inflammation if your skin allows the drug to be absorbed into the bloodstream and circulate where needed.
Ingestibles have the lowest and most varied bioavailability 10-20% —they have to go make their way through your digestive tract, which is unique to you. So are absorbed, distributed, and metabolized differently by everyone. More on that below. We recommend these and prefer them for all-day relief as they last the longest and are very convenient. We recommend daily dosing for long term health benefits. When we talk about ingestibles we mean CBD oil, edibles, capsules, concentrates, or powder. Pretty much anything that has to move its way through your digestive system.
Q. So how do you make sure your CBD ingestibles are more bioavailable?
A. Buy ingestibles made with CBD oil that has been formulated to be water-soluble instead of a sublingual or tincture.
Speed: Regular CBD oil compounds behave like fat and your body only absorbs fat in the liver. This slows down the absorption as you have to wait for the oil to get to your liver before it can be sent to your bloodstream. Depending on the speed of your digestion this can take a while. A CBD oil that is water-soluble will be mistaken for water —and so instead absorb in your mouth and throughout the digestive process making you feel the effects much faster than a regular sublingual.
Elimination: If you are taking CBD oil make sure it dissolves in water. A CBD oil that is water-soluble will be mistaken for water. Our bodies are mostly water and so prefer compounds that present as water. Your body is less likely to eliminate a water-soluble compound than one that the body recognizes as fat.
We considered this when developing our CBD oil and so formulated Mello Mind to be water-soluble. It is still an oil but the oil has been emulsified to dissolve rapidly in water, and so be more bioavailable than a standard sublingual.
Also, a regular CBD oil must be put under your tongue. We often see companies telling you that you can put a sublingual oil in food or drinks. Do not do that. Once it passes your mouth it will begin to be eliminated. It must sit under the tongue for at least 30secs. Otherwise, it’s pretty useless. Just buy CBD oil that has been formulated to be water-soluble; you can still put it under your tongue. The industry is recognizing the impact of water-soluble CBD oil to bioavailability. And so more and more edibles are being made with water-soluble CBD. Most edibles are still made with regular CBD oil and these are still very effective. But it is an exciting innovation that will make all edibles so much more effective. As a consumer you can take less and feel more, you will feel the effects faster, and you will reduce the amount of CBD your body eliminates.