A question I get asked all the time is “What is the best method of taking CBD?” The answer is, actually, quite complicated.
CBD administration presents several challenges due to its physical makeup. It is important to identify and overcome the challenges that face CBD’s effective delivery. This is particularly true of edibles, which are a preferred route for delivery by patients and producers.
This outline will identify some challenges with CBD administration, strategies to improve CBD delivery and efficacy, and new CBD formulations under development. Hopefully this will make answering the what is the best method of taking CBD question a little easier.
Challenges of CBD Administration
CBD has been improving the lives of so many people – we know this. That said, not everyone reacts to CBD in the same way. This is why having some idea about how your body processes CBD is so important.
Successful CBD delivery is dependent on multiple factors including the individual’s physical makeup and the CBD item’s properties. The bioavailability of CBD, or the amount of CBD that is able to enter the bloodstream, is dependent on these factors. The bioavailability of CBD varies greatly with both route (where it goes) and mode (how it goes in) of administration.
Always consult your doctor before changing or adding supplements to your daily routine. It is possible CBD could interfere with a prescribed medication. This is unlikely, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Modes of Administration
Determining what is the best method of taking CBD will depend on the individuals needs and preferences.
All cannabinoids are lipophilic, meaning they bind to lipid/oil molecules. Due to this, CBD is metabolized through the liver in what is called first pass hepatic metabolism. If you are consuming edibles, this is the process your body uses to break down CBD. Without getting too technical, this route of delivery is extremely inefficient; studies report bioavailability as low as 6%. Peak drug concentration levels occur after 60-120 minutes.
Inhalation can overcome some of the problems of CBD delivery. The bioavailability of individuals after smoking 20 mg CBD has been reported at 11-45%. Peak drug concentration levels occur around 3 minutes after inhalation. This is not an ideal route for anyone with breathing issues or sensitivity to inhalants.
Topical CBD products also bypass first pass metabolism. The bioavailability of these routes falls between 10-20%. These levels are not extremely high, but a topical application is ideal for localized pain relief. Further, this method allows for the CBD to stay static over the pain site, allowing for consistent and continuous relief. Drug concentrations reach a maximum in 20-30 min.
Sublingual routes show a bioavailability of 34–46%, as they also avoid first pass metabolism. The sublingual vein runs under the tongue, and is an extremely vascular area. This allows for greater systemic absorption, as well as rapid absorption into the bloodstream. Assuming exposure times to the mucosal lining are adequate (60 seconds), peak drug concentrations occur between 10-20 minutes.
The answer to what is the best method of taking CBD for me is twofold; topicals for pain and sublingual CBD for systemic absorption.
CBD has been shown to degrade over time, depending on temperature and light conditions. An average degradation 0f 13% in 30 days is common with exposure to light and room temperature. When stored in the dark at room temperature however, only 4% degradation. This suggests light is a significant contributing factor in degradation at room temperature.
Store your CBD products in a cool dark place. This will maximize the life and potency of your products.
Asking what is the best method of taking CBD is a good starting question. The next one should be how to maximize the efficacy of the method.
Simply eating CBD products, like gummies, requires your body to digest the product before getting the benefits. This further slows the absorption rate. Regardless, research suggests this route of administration remains viable. A way to increase oral bioavailability is to administer CBD alongside a high-fat/high-calorie meal. Recent studies show a four-fold increase in bioavailability when compared to a fasted test group.
- What is the best method of taking CBD in edible form? Typically, CBD gummies or pills.
Only using MCT oil as a transport medium. Oxidation is associated with rancidity and deterioration of fats, as well as decreased concentrations of cannabinoids and terpenes. A recent study demonstrated that CBD dissolved in medium-chain triglycerides oil is completely devoid of any lipid oxidation. This suggests MCT oil is less susceptible to oxidative degradation than other common mediums, such as olive oil or hemp seed oil. This is why all New Phase Blends tinctures use only MCT oil.
- What is the best method of taking CBD in sublingual form? In MCT oil.
Avoiding the gastrointestinal tract and first pass metabolism effect seem to be the most effective ways to control bioavailability issues. Two new methods showing promise and currently under development are self-emulsifying drug delivery systems (SEDDS) and cocrystal engineering.
Self-Emulsifying Drug Delivery Systems
These involve mixtures of oils, surfactants, and solvents that produce nano or micro sized droplets when they come into contact with an aqueous (water) solution such as in the gut. The small nature of the droplets increases the surface area available for drugs to be dissolved and absorbed.
This method has been shown to increase bioavailability in drugs like CBD. Since cannabinoids bind to lipids, they have a hard time penetrating water barriers, like mucus membranes. Known as hydrophobia in chemicals, it reduces CBD absorption.
Early results demonstrate increases in bioavailability when compared to an oromucosal spray. Individual variability is still somewhat high, but the test group showed between 31-34% higher bloodstream penetration.
Cost and production issues could be prohibiting factors here. These are complex formulations that have, so far, proved difficult to produce at scale. The cost of formulation and inability to patent has hampered the development of these drugs.
Cocrystals consist of an active ingredient that is chemically bound to one or more unique compounds. This modifies the material properties of the first compound to make it more absorbable. This process leaves the pharmacological effects of the first compound intact.
In terms of CBD production, this means binding CBD with another compound that is more bioavailable, allowing more CBD to enter your bloodstream.
A cocrystal CBD drug is currently in non-clinical trials. Since oral delivery of drugs is the most popular in consumers, increasing the bioavailability of edibles would be a welcome addition to the CBD lineup.
Another good (in terms of drug development) trait of cocrystals is their complex chemical structure. These compounds do not occur in nature, so they can be patented. The possibility of a patent means more profitability. More profitability means more money for research!
Before taking any new medication always consult your doctor first! CBD could potentially interact with other prescriptions, no one has time for that. That said, the answer to what is the best method of taking CBD will depend on the individual.
Each person should consider what type of CBD application works best for him or her. From efficacy to discretion, what you need and and how you want it will ultimately determine which product you purchase.
Inhalation shows greatest bioavailability, but is also an irritant to both your throat and potentially anyone around you. Edibles are the most popular and tastiest route. They are also the least bioavailable. Topicals deliver continuous and consistent levels of CBD to your pain sites. However, lipids like CBD have a hard time penetrating the water barrier of the skin. Sublingual tinctures are both bioavailable and quick to act, but take a more little effort to administer properly.
Hopefully this helped answer your question about what is the method of taking CBD.