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What is CBD Bioavailability?

What is CBD Bioavailability?

You’ve heard of CBD and even gone as far as trying it. For most people, taking high dosages of CBD is the best way to enhance the effects. However, if you’re looking to get the most value for your money, it makes more sense to increase the bioavailability of CBD.

What is CBD Bioavailability?

Bioavailability is simply defined as the percentage and rate that a substance gets absorbed into the bloodstream. That would mean that CBD bioavailability is the how much and at what rate CBD is absorbed into the bloodstream.

Understanding the bioavailability of CBD is critical because it not only helps you know how much CBD makes it to your bloodstream but also how much CBD you need to take and also what forms of CBD are most effective. If the bioavailability is low, there’s a high chance that you will not feel the effects.

What is the Bioavailability of CBD Oil?

The bioavailability of CBD is not a standard. Instead, it depends on a variety of factors the most important of them being how you take the CBD. Different methods of consuming CBD will result in different rates and speeds of bioavailability.

Intranasal CBD bioavailability

Inhaling CBD is the most effective way of delivering CBD into your bloodstream. This method of taking CBD delivers about 34% to 46% of the CBD into your bloodstream. In some studies, the percentage goes as high as 56%.

Read more: Difference Between Sativa and Indica

CBD can be inhaled through vaping using a vaporiser. Once inhaled, the CBD is absorbed through the lungs almost instantly. The CBD is then delivered to the bloodstream and travels down to the ECS receptors located in different areas of the body.

As you breathe in, you inhale more CBD, which allows you to have a constant dose of CBD that is rapidly absorbed into the body.

On average, when you inhale CBD, you should feel the effects within 10 minutes give or take. For some people, the results are felt faster while in others, they take longer.

CBD Bioavailability When Taken Sublingually

The second most effective method of taking CBD is by placing a few drops, or CBD spray under the tongue (Sublingually) using this method, the bioavailability of CBD is pegged at around 13% to 19%. In other studies, the value goes as high as 35%.

When placed under the tongue, the CBD is absorbed through the sublingual gland and enters the bloodstream. Using this method, the effects of CBD can be felt within 20 minutes.

However, how soon you feel these effects depends on how well you hold the CBD in the right place for about a minute. If you swallow the CBD too soon, the bioavailability plummets and the time taken for the effects to take over will also increase dramatically.

Bioavailability of CBD when Taken Orally

Most CBD users prefer to take CBD orally. This is possible because of the variety of oral CBD product available which include CBD gummies, CBD tablets and Capsules, CBD edibles like snacks, chocolate and honey, among others.

When you swallow CBD, it follows the same procedure as other foodstuffs or drinks. It has to be digested and broken down by the liver before being absorbed into the bloodstream. This not only increases the time it takes for you to feel the effects but also reduces the bioavailability.

The bioavailability of CBD, when taken orally on average, is between 10% - 20%. However, because this option of taking CBD has numerous variables, the bioavailability can be as low as 6%. The time it takes for the effects to kick in is between 30 to 120 minutes.

Bioavailability of CBD when Applied on the Skin (Topically)

There is a wide variety of CBD products that can be applied to the skin. These include CBD balms, salves, and lotions.

When CBD is applied topically, it interacts with the ECS receptors in the peripheral nervous system for targeted effects in specific areas.

Why not also read: How Long Does CBD Stay in Your System?

Because of this unique interaction, when CBD is applied to the skin, it does not enter the bloodstream. In this method of taking CBD, you need to be aware of how to correctly use CBD for maximum effects.

The CBD has to be applied to pass through the skin barrier and increase absorption.

Unfortunately, the bioavailability of CBD has not been quantified when it is applied to the skin. Nonetheless, it has been found to have substantial effects even when applied topically.

Other Methods of taking CBD

CBD can be delivered to the bloodstream using CBD suppositories. Using this method, the CBD is absorbed through membranes in the vagina or the anus. The bioavailability of CBD, in this case, can be 25% to 50% more than when the CBD is taken orally, which translates to about 13.5%. 

Can You Increase the Bioavailability of CBD?

If you’re looking to increase the bioavailability of CBD by increasing its bioavailability, there are several tips and tricks you can use.

Using a high fat snack

CBD dissolves in fats and fatty oils because it is a fat-soluble compound. When the CBD dissolves, it breaks into smaller molecules that are easier and more likely to be absorbed into the bloodstream. By taking CBD and mixing it with a high-fat meal or snack, you can increase its bioavailability drastically.

This is the same reason why CBD is dissolved in other oils like hemp seed oil or coconut oil in CBD oil tinctures.


You can also increase bioavailability by emulsifying the CBD. This is already being done in new CBD products which are using nanotechnology to break the CBD down into smaller molecules that are easier to absorb.

Other than breaking down the molecules, emulsification also increases the surfaces area, which enhances absorption because the smaller molecules are more dispersed.

After emulsification, the CBD can be combined with fatty oils or terpenes to enhance uptake into the bloodstream further.

Using other terpenes

Terpenes are also compounds found in most plants that have essential oils as well as the hemp plant. Like the essential oils, terpenes have been found to have various benefits, and they also have a unique aroma and fragrance that can be used in flavouring fruits and herbs

Terpenes are often added to CBD to make full-spectrum CBD products. Together, the products can enhance each other’s benefits.

Why not also read: Difference Between Full Spectrum and CBD Isolate

Because the terpenes are oil-based, they also help in dissolving CBD and breaking it down to increase absorption.

Final Thoughts

Understanding bioavailability is critical. It not only helps you make the most out of CBD but also save on your CBD products. By increasing bioavailability, you can get more out of the same amount of CBD you take each day as opposed to increasing the amount of CBD you take.

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