Have you ever wondered why prescription medications come in so many different forms? Have you wondered why some drugs should be taken with a meal while others should not? It all boils down to a principle known as bioavailability. It is a principle that also applies in the CBD realm.
Just like prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, CBD's bioavailability differs depending on delivery method. CBD users may choose different products based on their bioavailability as it relates to what they want to accomplish. If this is all foreign to you, sit tight and relax. We will explain it all in the following paragraphs.
Bioavailability in Simple Terms
First, do not be frightened by the word 'bioavailability'. Despite sounding highly scientific, the concept is actually pretty easy to understand. Bioavailability relates to how much of a given substance is absorbed into the body for its intended use.
Think of it as being similar to a sponge absorbing water. Different types of sponges absorb at different rates. The higher the absorbency rate, the more water a sponge will absorb and vice-versa. Drug bioavailability is based on the exact same principle.
The higher a drug's bioavailability, the more of the drug actually makes it into the bloodstream. Bioavailability is that which makes a drug available for the body's use. CBD bioavailability works the same way. Measuring CBD bioavailability is nothing more than measuring the amount of CBD that makes it to the bloodstream.
Bioavailability and Delivery Systems
Previously we mentioned that some prescription medications are best when taken with a meal. That is because the bioavailability of such drugs increases when they are mixed with food. But there's another thing to consider: these types of drugs are taken orally. What about other delivery methods?
Some asthma medications are inhaled. Likewise, some allergy medications are injected. There are different delivery methods because bioavailability differs. The exact same thing applies with CBD.
In the CBD realm, the most common delivery methods are:
- Edibles– Edibles in the CBD space are generally presented as tablets, capsules, caplets, or gummies. You swallow the edible with or without a liquid. As it is digested, the edible releases CBD that your body then metabolizes.
- Tinctures – Tinctures are concentrated oils generally consumed by placing a drop or two under the tongue. Because there are so many capillaries in the skin at that location, the CBD is very quickly absorbed into the bloodstream.
- Vapes – Vaping CBD gets the maximum amount of CBD into the bloodstream by going through the lungs. Vaping is not as common with CBD as it is with other cannabinoids, but there are people who prefer this delivery method.
- Topicals – A topical CBD product is usually a cream or lotion. It is applied to the skin topically, hence its name. The skin absorbs the CBD and passes it on to the bloodstream.
There are other delivery methods space doesn't allow us to get into. The important thing to know is that delivery methods impact bioavailability. Some delivery methods offer greater bioavailability compared to the others. But there's something else to consider – experiencing CBD's effects.
Vaping CBD would make the compound immediately available for use. You would start feeling the effects right away. Similarly, those effects would wear off pretty quickly. Consuming CBD by way of an edible is just the opposite. Bioavailability through edibles is such that it may take several hours before you feel anything. On the other hand, the effects of the CBD will linger much longer.
So now you know. CBD bioavailability is a measurement of how much CBD is available for your body to use.