What is CBD Bioavailability?

CBD comes in many forms: oils, tinctures, capsules, vaporizers, edibles, lotions, etc.  All these products come in different sizes and concentrations, but they can be compared by the amount of CBD content – measured and expressed in mg of CBD.

Among two products with the same amount of CBD, there can be large differences in how much CBD actually enters the bloodstream.  This is due to a factor called bioavailability.  Bioavailability is the rate at which a compound is absorbed into the bloodstream.  Bioavailability is cruical in understanding how much CBD must be consumed.  Different product types offer varying speeds at which CBD enters the bloodstream.   

Let’s look at the different ways of consumption:

Sublingual Consumption

Sublingual consumption methods include CBD oils, tinctures, lozenges and sprays.  Sublingual consumption is a method where CBD enters the bloodstream without going through the digestive system.  It provides better bioavailability than oral consumption. 

Bioavailability rates reported are between 12-35% for sublingual consumption – the varying degrees being mostly due to quality of CBD.

Oral Consumption

Oral consumption means products that you ingest – including CBD capsules, edibles and beverages.  With oral consumption, the CBD will have to pass through your digestive system, significantly reducing bioavailability due to breakdown by enzymes.

Reports show between 4 and 20% bioavailability for oral consumption.

Consumption through Vaporizers

Vaporized consumption means inhaling CBD with the use of a vaporizer device.  Vaporized CBD directly goes to the lungs and enters the bloodstream.  This method is even more effective than sublingual consumption becuse no breakdown occurs by the enzymes in the mouth.

Reports show 34-56% bioavailability rates with vaporized consumption.

Consumption methods compared

Bioavailability also effects how much you’re going to have to spend for a given amount of CBD.  If you purhase a sublingual product of 1000 mg, 120-350 mg will enter your bloodstream.  If you consume through a vaporizer, this number will be 340-560 mg.   This means you’ll have to buy more CBD to consume the same amount through sublingual consumption.

Another thing to keep in mind:  inhaled CBD enters the bloodstream faster than all other forms, it takes 30 seconds.  Sublingual tinctures are the second fastest method, with 15-30 minutes to take effect.  Edibles are the slowest with more than 30 minutes to take effect.

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