If you are like most of our readers, you are a smart consumer, somebody who carefully researches all your options before you purchase. Your investment in a high-quality grade CBD oil is no exception. But here’s a critical factor that even your most careful research may have overlooked: only about ten percent of the particles in a serving of just about any ingestible consumer product, including CBD oil, are actually used by your body.
Only ten percent is pretty low by anyone’s standards. So why is this happening?
Most of the cells in your body are only capable of directly absorbing particles which are 60 to 80 nanometers in size. To give you an idea of just how small these units are, a nanometer is one billionth of a meter. The cannabinoid particles in most commercially available hemp oils, no matter how high the purported quality, is about 2000 nanometers.
So you can see, just from comparing the above numbers, that is it physically impossible for you to absorb CBD oil at the cellular level because the particles are just too big. Instead, when you take CBD oil orally, the oil has to be broken down in your stomach before it’s absorbed into your bloodstream and the effective amount of CBD that you are getting is actually far less than the amount you originally took. Not only are you getting a smaller amount into your body, but you have to wait a lot longer to experience the effects, because your digestive system has to have time to process the CBD oil.
Bioavailability And First Pass Metabolism
You should understand that the method of delivery will greatly affect what is known as the bioavailability (say ‘BYE-OH-ah-VALE-ah-bil-eye-tea’) of the CBD oil. Bioavailability simply means the percentage of a substance that is absorbed into your bloodstream after any other processing is done by your body.
So if you ingest CBD oil orally using such popular products as edible gummies, gel capsules or oils, the CBD has to first go through your digestive system and get broken down by the liver and other sites in the body. This is known as first pass metabolism and is responsible for decreasing the amount of CBD that eventually enters your bloodstream.
There are also a couple of other ways CBD is ingested and those are sublingually and inhalation. Let’s take a closer look at both these methods of ingestion to see what effect they have on the bioavailability of CBD.
Sublingual Administration of CBD
Sublingual (say ‘SUB-LING-gwal’) simply means “under the tongue” and is used to administer sprays, lozenges, tinctures and concentrates. This mode of taking CBD oil is preferred by many people as it effectively bypasses the first pass metabolism, as the oil is absorbed through the mucus membranes under your tongue going into the capillary (small blood vessel) bed beneath and directly into your bloodstream. Taking CBD oil sublingually will give you a higher bioavailability of the product than taking it orally.
Inhalation of CBD
Another popular way of taking CBD is inhalation, known as vaping. The oil is actually inhaled using a vape pen and is taken deep within the lungs on inhalation then is directly absorbed into the bloodstream through the miniscule air sacs in your lungs called alveoli.
Inhalation, like sublingual administration, bypasses the first pass metabolism and generally results in higher bioavailability of CBD than when taken orally. Many factors can affect the bioavailability of CBD taken this way, including how long the inhalation is held, the number as well as the spacing of puffs on the vape pen and the actual volume of the inhalation.
But all of these methods of CBD administration still do not address the one property of CBD oil that limits its bioavailability, regardless of the route of administration. CBD oil, like all oils, is hydrophobic, which means water hating. You’ve doubtless seen this hydrophobic property in action when you make an oil and vinegar dressing. Regardless of how much you shake it, the dressing quickly separates into layers of oil and vinegar, which is water based.
Like other oils that enter the bloodstream, CBD quickly disperses away from the bloodstream to collect in fatty tissue. Naturally, this hydrophobic property of CBD oil limits its bioavailability.
Nanoemulsions - Water Soluble CBD
Fortunately, there is now a cutting edge method that involves transforming the CBD oil into a water soluble CBD nanoemulsion. You probably gathered from our discussion above on nanoparticles that a nanoemulsion has something to do with tiny particles. Indeed, an emulsion is just a fine scattering of extremely tiny droplets into another liquid in which it is normally not soluble. Nanoemulsion technology is an exciting development and is being used in medicine as an advanced drug delivery system.
Making CBD oil into a nanoemulsion effectively renders the CBD oil water soluble, meaning you can now mix it with any beverage! Because the particles are so small, even though you are ingesting the CBD orally, the particles do not need to be broken down by the stomach and they enter almost immediately into your bloodstream. This increases the bioavailability to nearly 100% and also gives nearly instant results. Oils can take 15-30 minutes to show results, while our water soluble can show result in 2-4 minutes.
Although vaping is also a way to get very quick results, many people do not like the idea of inhalation. Water soluble CBD oil taken in a beverage is a convenient, effective and easy way to get the same effects. Cheers!