Another phenomenon that limits oil-based cannabis extracts from reaching the bloodstream is the first-pass effect. When cannabis is ingested orally, it is absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract and transported via the portal vein to the liver, where it is metabolized. As a result of this process, only a limited quantity reaches the circulatory system. Since cannabis oil is often taken orally, its efficacy can be hindered.
THC, however, is more bioavailable than CBD when administered orally or delivered via the lungs. A clinical study found that concentrations of THC in the bloodstream appeared 30-50% higher than CBD following oral delivery as a sublingual spray.
Are some cannabinoids more bioavailable than others?
CBD and THC oils resist absorption into the bloodstream because the human body is up to 60% water . Basic science—and salad dressing—dictates that oil and water do not mix, and the same is true for cannabis oil and the human body.
For those who smoke or vape, bioavailability can be enhanced by minimizing sidestream loss and increasing the number of puffs. “Using a desktop or handheld vaporizer with flower will eliminate sidestream losses,” Frye advises. If you think you get more bang for your buck by holding your breath, think again. “There is no evidence supporting holding one’s breath for more than 10 secs,” says Frye.
However, the bioavailability of THC is still limited when consumed orally, averaging only 4-12%. When smoked or vaped, the bioavailability of THC leaps to an average of 30%.
Cannabidiol (CBD) has been in the news more often than not in the past year, and for good reason. This compound that occurs naturally in cannabis, besides the famous THC is non-psychoactive and even better, come with a myriad of therapeutic effects. Scientists have been on a roll, learning more and more about CBD and how it interacts with receptors in our entire bodies to encourage homeostasis. There are many promising studies now suggesting that CBD could help with the control or even total elimination of certain symptoms including seizure activity in epileptic patients, anxiety, chronic pain, depression, cancer, nausea, sleep disorders, and many more. CBD also portrays anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects which may be beneficial to patients suffering from conditions such as arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease. But let us not get ahead of ourselves here. You see, before CBD provides all of its therapeutic effects, first it has to be absorbed into the body, and here lies the catch.
CBD can also be inhaled directly into the lungs after being vaporized typically using a vape pen, e-cigarette or other vaporizing devices. This method delivers CBD right into the lungs after which it is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream directly, resulting to very little breakdown of the CBD and very high bioavailability.
What is CBD’s Bioavailability?
The way you take CBD can therefore dictate how effective your CBD treatment will be at exhibiting its natural balancing effects. In this article, we will look at the different methods of CBD administration and how well they get absorbed into the body.
There is a vein called the sublingual gland right under the tongue. Interestingly, when a substance is placed directly on top of this gland, it gets absorbed directly into the bloodstream. This is what is normally known as sublingual administration, and it is one of the most popular ways of taking CBD, especially among young people. CBD can be consumed sublingually using CBD tinctures, sprays, concentrates and lozenges.
CBD’s bioavailability is dependent on both the concentration and method of consumption of the CBD product in question. This leads us to the question of the day: