Bioavailability of CBD: absorption and sources of the cannabinoid

Available sources of health-promoting phytochemicals are plentiful on the market and this number is constantly growing with newly emerging products.

In this article, you will learn what to look out for when buying hemp products with CBD to guarantee optimal absorption of the cannabinoid.

It is worth remembering that the topic of absorption (bioavailability of CBD) is relevant to its use and dosage.

You will also learn about the currently available uses and sources of cannabinoids along with the body's response time and bioavailability (level of CBD absorption).

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Facilities: infographics | Update: 29.06.2021

Bioavailability of CBD - absorption of cannabidiol

The hemp plant Cannabis Sativa contains more than 80 different phytosubstances called cannabinoids. Research into their use has been ongoing for several decades, and their number and intensity has strongly increased with the popularisation of hemp products worldwide in recent years.

As you read these words, nearly 160 research topics related to the use of CBD cannabidiol alone are registered in's drug and chemical database.

CBD has already found use as an active ingredient in a registered anti-epileptic drug called Epidiolex.

However, this does not make cannabidiol itself a medicine. Neither do over-the-counter CBD hemp preparations.

Solid evidence has also been found for the efficacy of CBD and the CBD-THC combination in the treatment of, among others. Alzheimer's disease.

The applications of cannabinoids are extensive due to their unique effects on the relatively recently discovered human endocannabinoid system. Animals, too.

As the available sources of cannabinoids - including CBD - are plentiful, it is useful to know that the absorption of CBD varies for different sources.

Cannabidiol from some sources is absorbed better than from others. Each source has its own advantages and disadvantages.

You will also read about this later in the article.

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How do you choose a source of CBD and cannabinoids?

To answer this question, it is worth first mentioning a few key points to facilitate the selection and purchase of the right source of cannabinoids.

Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum or 0% THC

It is believed that cannabinoids work better in a group than individually. The so-called ambient effect is responsible for this. entourage effect.

This is the main and most important reason why it is always better to choose CBD full spectrum or broad spectrum hemp oil. Their use is associated with a full range of health-promoting applications. The same cannot be said for formulations based on CBD distillate or isolate.

Full and Broad Spectrum products are inherently less processed which allows them to retain their unique terpene profile and flavonoids. As has been proven, both terpenes and flavonoids not only impart a specific taste and aroma to preparations, but also have their own health-promoting uses.

Laboratory tests and examinations

It is very important for a product to have a certificate confirming its quality. Such a certificate should be issued by a reputable external laboratory or chemical analysis institute with suitably modern chromatographic equipment.

If a particular preparation has an unobjectionable certificate of cannabinoid content, that is good. Even better if it has also been tested for purity, i.e. heavy metal and pesticide levels. The absence of such extended purity testing of a preparation can be the first warning sign.

Polish organic hemp

Try to choose products for which organic hemp grown in Poland was used as the production material. Our Polish crops are some of the best in the region. The standards of hemp cultivation in our country stand at a very decent level. In some cases, we can even say world-class.

Organic cultivation can testify to the purity of the CBD product you are dealing with. The risk of absorbing unwanted pesticides or heavy metals in preparations made from organic hemp is lower.

CO2 extraction vs alcohol extraction of cannabidiol

CO2 extraction is the best of the methods currently used to extract high-quality cannabinoid essences. It does not use a solvent, which in the case of the other method is alcohol, and is therefore not contaminated with alcohol residues.

Food: bioavailability of CBD in foods

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Foods, especially small snacks and sweets such as CBD jelly beans, CBD chewing gum or even CBD mints are a great way to use cannabinoids discreetly. They also mask the characteristic taste and aroma quite well.

This category also includes CBD capsules.

CBD and cannabinoids in food most often occur through the so-called infusion of CBD hemp oil or by adding CBD crystals in powder form.

However, their use comes with some downsides. Studies have shown that the consumption of CBD in the form of food products is associated with a so-called "downside". first pass effect. Cannabidiol taken into the body from CDB foods is first broken down initially in the digestive system and by liver enzymes.

This means that the effect will only appear after up to 2 hours. Furthermore. In the case of CBD food, absorption is at an average level of 13% (from 6% to 20%) of its accepted amount (1, 2, 3)*

Bioavailability of CBD from food:

CBD absorption: 6% to 20%
Time to effect: up to 2 hours

Sublingual use of CBD

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Food products very often contain sugars and preservatives. By avoiding these additives, CBD hemp oil can be used sublingually.

CBD oils, as they are primarily referred to, can be found in the form of CBD drops, sprays or lozenges.

Sublingual use seems to be the optimal solution. In particular, it is safe for the lungs, which is not the case with inhalation, vaporisation or smoking.

It allows the digestive system to be partially bypassed. The effect appears much faster than with CBD foods - an average of 20 minutes is said to be required. CBD drops applied under the tongue are held for about 30-60 seconds and then swallowed. In the case of hemp oil CBD absorption is at the level of up to 35%*

Bioavailability of CBD applied sublingually:

CBD absorption: 20% to 35%
Time to effect: approx. 20 minutes

Topical application of CBD to the skin - CBD in cosmetics

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Products such as CBD patches, creams, ointments, gels or lotions are designed for direct topical application to the skin. They work great for topical pain or problematic skin conditions such as eczema, AD or acne.

Survey conducted in 2015 on animals showed that CBD gel significantly minimised joint swelling - a very promising result for humans with ailments such as arthritis or rheumatism. It may prove useful in relieving arthritic joint and muscle pain.

Topical application of CBD to the skin allows cannabinoids to engage with receptors of the endocannabinoid system located in the peripheral nervous system of the skin.

CBD does not enter the bloodstream when applied topically.

The effect is usually felt within a few minutes.

There are no studies indicating the bioavailability of CBD when applied to the skin.

It is generally believed that CBD absorption in topical application is low. However, there are numerous research indicating that it can be effective and efficient.

It is worth mentioning that there are preparations that combine cannabidiol with other substances that facilitate the absorption of CBD through the skin increasing the effectiveness of their use.

A completely separate category is the cosmetic use of CBD products. I will devote a separate blog article to this topic.

Bioavailability of CBD applied topically to the skin:

CBD absorption: not established
Time to effect: a few minutes

Inhalation | Vaporisation | Smoking of the dried product - Bioavailability of CBD

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You can smoke the high-CBD and legal THC content (up to 0.2%) dried in the form of a joint, e-cigarette, vape or vaporise with a heater with a cartridge containing a special blend of vaporising liquid and CBD oil (e-liquid).

Observing the development and gaining of new footholds in popularity, it can be said that vaping or CBD smoking has quite quickly become what cigar smoking has been for many years.

The variety of varieties, types, species and aroma, flavour and taste compositions means that smoking dried cannabis has become highly ritualised in recent years, becoming a product comparable in popularity to cigars. It could be said that, like cigars or even wines, good-quality dried cbd is a product sought after by connoisseurs of this type of stimulant.

The undisputed advantage of smoking and vaporisation is the highest absorption of CBD of all methods of cannabinoid use. CBD in this case will be absorbed in an average of 45% quite quickly, as soon as 10 minutes. Research indicate that the range is 34% to 56%*.

Smoking, vaping and vaporising CBD does not intoxicate - cognitive, motor, intellectual functions should remain unaffected.

The effect of inhalation appears in a short time, is the most intense, but also lasts the shortest.

Unfortunately, the significant disadvantages of inhaling and smoking the dried product spoil the positive picture of the health-promoting effects of these methods of cannabinoid use somewhat.

  • Firstly:
    Smoking dried hemp, especially of unknown origin, may be associated with carcinogens.
    In the case of vaporisation, this risk appears to be minimal and dependent on the type of cartridge used
    In practice, we know little today about the long-term effects of vaporisation as such.

The fact is that in September 2019, an investigation was launched in the United States to clarify the numerous emerging cases of negative effects of vaporisation and smoking of so-called e-cigarettes on human health. Apparently enough has been registered there a large number of very severe cases of lung disease associated with e-cigarettes, vaping, so that institutions concerned with the health of the American public take an interest in the problem.

  • Secondly:
    When heating a dry or e-liquid e.g. during vaporisation, know that you are not supplying the full spectrum of cannabinoids to the body. Some phytochemicals such as CBDa, for example, convert to CBD when exposed to temperature and as a result do not enter the body at all. The temperature of vaporisers is high enough for this process to take place in a short time.

Perhaps a solution, albeit somewhat cumbersome and certainly expensive, is to use temperature-controlled appliances.

If you decide to vaporise then avoid cartridges:

  • with diluted oil
  • based on MCT carrier oil (coconut oil)
  • with propylene glycol
  • vegetable glycerine

Why? Well, the study you will find here conducted in 2017 showed that these substances can damage the lungs.

At the end of the day, an adult decides for themselves what they like, and when asked "How do you use CBD and cannabinoids?" can confidently answer that they recommend vaporising CBD or even smoking it in dried form. No one has anything to do with it.

Is CBD crystal That is, CBD in powdered form can be inhaled? I will answer briefly. You can. A bit like snuff. Data on this is unfortunately not available.

Bioavailability of CBD used by inhalation, vaporisation and smoking of the dried product:

CBD absorption: 45% on average (34% to 56%)
Time to effect: up to 10 minutes

Article summary: CBD absorption, bioavailability and sources

There appears to be no single right and best method. The above does not cover all the forms under which CBD is already available. As a matter of interest, CBD in suppositories is also available. It is worth trying different ways to find the best one for you.

I personally have been leaning towards CBD hemp oil from the very beginning of my work with cannabinoids because of its second-best bioavailability while lacking the negatives and health risks characteristic of vaporisation and smoking.

On how to use cbd oils you can read in the article entitled 'The world's most important people'. CBD dosage or how to use CBD oil

If you want to know how CBD works? how long the effect lasts and the presence of CBD in the body, I encourage you to read a separate article here: how is the effect of cannabidiol felt?

Finally, I would traditionally add that it is always a good idea to consult your doctor about the use of cannabinoids. This is especially true for people who are taking pharmacological drugs. CBD-drug interactions I have discussed in a separate article, which you will find in the knowledge base.

If you are looking for CBD hemp oil that has been tested - by an independent research institute and several hundred satisfied customers - then I warmly encourage you to take a look at our products:

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