But, it’s not that simple. CBD needs to penetrate the body’s blood-brain barrier to produce an effect. This allows CBD to interact with our bodies’ endocannabinoid system. Essentially, CBD acts as a natural supplement for our endocannabinoid system.
Bioavailability determines how well CBD penetrates the blood-brain barrier. Your body’s unique characteristics will have an impact on bioavailability in addition to your choice of delivery method.
The effects of CBD on the endocannabinoid system vary in length, as well. This is often referred to as “half life”.
Another time-based consideration: how fast will you feel the effects? This is another component of bioavailability. Each method has its pros and cons. For example, with some methods users can feel the effects quickly, but not for a long time. While, other methods might take longer to take effect, but last for a longer duration of time.
So how can you know which method is best for you? We’re here to help explain the limitations and benefits of each delivery method.
Intravenous injection and suppositories have the highest bioavailability. In fact, intravenous injection delivers 100% of a bioactive ingredient into the bloodstream.
Although this method is beneficial for research, it is probably not the most appealing for everyday use. Luckily, there are other methods that still deliver high bioavailability.
Smoking and vaping products
Smoking and vaping products offer the next highest bioavailability method after direct injections and suppositories. Smoking marijuana plant matter can offer 31% bioavailability. Simon Zhornitsky and Stéphane Potvin demonstrate this.
Smoking and vaping are often the most popular methods. However, despite their popularity these methods often pose unnecessary health risks.
You might think that all oral administrations are the same, but that’s necessarily true.
Bioavailability is much greater when CBD enters our bloodstream sublingually. This is because we have a vein under our tongues called the sublingual gland.
The sublingual gland offers a more direct route to our bloodstreams. The enzymes in our saliva may hinder delivery, but bioavailability for sublingual oils varies from 12% to 15%.
NatureRX is a sublingual CBD oil. You simply shake the bottle, then spray the oil under your tongue. Allow it to rest under the tongue for 30-60 seconds before swallowing for maximum effectiveness.
Sublingual oils generally take effect after 15 minutes to 60 minutes and can last anywhere from four to eight hours.
Eating and drinking CBD infused edibles and drinks are also popular options.
But, edibles and drinks infused with CBD have low bioavailability. A 2009 study reported that the gastrointestinal tract offered 4-20% bioavailability.
So let’s say you have an 100mg edible, only 20mg will reach your bloodstream at 20% bioavailability.
Why? CBD struggles to survive in our metabolic and digestive systems. Plus, CBD is not water soluble and our bodies are 60% water.
Gastrointestinal uptake of CBD can take up to four hours while effects can last for eight hours.