A new Gallup poll revealed that 14% of all Americans say they use some form of cannabidiol (CBD) product.
And no wonder…
Well over 12,000 clinical studies have documented CBD’s ability to do everything from reducing pain, to removing beta-amyloid plaque in brain cells, to supporting healthy blood pressure and blood sugar control.1,2,3
My patients want natural solutions and CBD is a new tool in my arsenal that’s highly effective, natural and safe.
That’s the good news.
But many CBD users are getting just a fraction of this healing herb’s benefits.
That’s because most CBD doesn’t reach its intended destination: the cell receptors that make up the body’s endocannabinoid system.
That’s the system that regulates your body’s physiological and cognitive processes, including everything from appetite and pain sensation to mood and memory.
In fact, the most common kind of CBD delivery system — oil — does NOT reach the cell membrane. That means you’re not getting all of the real benefits of CBD.
Maximize Your Body’s Absorption of CBD
When it comes to CBD, we all want to get the greatest benefit. And that means increasing its bioavailability.
Most medications and supplements are best taken with a meal because it increases the absorption of what you’re taking. This same concept of bioavailability applies to CBD products.
The more CBD you absorb in your bloodstream, the more potent the effect.
As a regular reader, you know that CBD can be taken in the form of tinctures, capsules, vaping, balms, edibles and more. Each method provides benefits, but some allow for more CBD to be directly absorbed than others.
For example, eating or swallowing CBD requires digestion, which means some of the CBD gets broken down by your liver before circulating into your bloodstream. Tinctures on the other hand, get absorbed more quickly into your bloodstream under your tongue.
I’ve found that an oral spray just may be the most effective way of increasing CBD’s bioavailability. That’s because it’s a quicker, more direct route to the bloodstream, and it avoids the liver’s “first pass” effect, which lowers CBD bioavailability.
To get maximum benefit, spray the liquid under your tongue, hold it without talking for 60 seconds and then swallow.
Three More Ways to Increase CBD Bioavailability
- Choose an emulsified product. Some water- or oil-based products emulsify their CBD using nanotechnology. This breaks CBD down into even smaller molecules. The smaller and more dispersed the molecules are, the more bioavailable they are, because they pass more easily through cell membranes and into the bloodstream than larger CBD particles.4
- Take it with healthy fats and oils. CBD is a fat-soluble compound, meaning it dissolves in fats and fatty oils. This breaks CBD down into smaller molecules that are more easily absorbed by the body. One way to increase CBD’s bioavailability is to mix it with a healthy high-fat snack or meal. A recent study found that epilepsy patients who took CBD with high-fat foods increased their absorption up to 14 times more than those who took it on an empty stomach.5
- Look for full-spectrum CBD. Terpenes are fatty oils found in the essential oils of almost all plants. They occur naturally in hemp and are extracted along with CBD and other compounds to create full-spectrum CBD products. These compounds work together and amplify each other’s benefits, a synergy known as the “entourage effect.” Terpenes increase CBD bioavailability and enhance the therapeutic effects of cannabinoids.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
1. Salk News. “Cannabinoids remove plaque-forming Alzheimer’s proteins from brain cells.” June 27, 2016.
2. Jadoon KA, et al. “A single dose of cannabidiol reduces blood pressure in healthy volunteers in a randomized crossover study.” JCI Insight. 2017;2(12):e93760.
3. Grochowski J. “Novel study reports marijuana users have better blood sugar control.” Am J Med. May 15, 2013.
4. Bruni N, et al. “Cannabinoid delivery systems for pain and inflammation treatment.” Molecules. 2018;23(10).
5. Birnbaum AK, et al. “Food effect on pharmacokinetics of cannabidiol oral capsules in adult patients with refractory epilepsy.” Epilepsia. 2019;60(8):1586-1592.