CBD is being used by more and more people to help alleviate pain, arthritis, insomnia, depression, brain injury, and myriad other conditions - we talk to people dealing with these difficulties in our stores every day. Many of them have reported very encouraging success stories. CBD is being used for more and more ailments, even prescribed by medical professionals for a range of illnesses, yet we are still untangling the details of how it works in our bodies. While CBD has been under investigation by researchers for the last 30 years, interest and funding have increased markedly only over the last ten years, and we still have a lot to learn. One area of study that should interest the consumer is improving methods of consumption to increase bioavailability. In general, bioavailability refers to the extent to which a drug is absorbed and takes effect in the body. That absorption rate differs depending on the way the drug is taken.
There are several ways to consume CBD. Some people prefer to take their CBD in edible form. A 2007 study showed that when test subjects were given a 40mg chocolate bar, the bioavailability was between 5% and 7%. While oral dosing is common and enjoyable, the bioavailability is quite low. This translates into less bang for your buck when consuming edibles as opposed to a tincture or vaping.
Another option for ingesting CBD is sublingual (under the tongue) application. When taking CBD sublingually remember to try to hold the oil or tincture under your tongue for about 30-60 seconds, or however long you can stand it. Humans and most other animals have a lot of blood vessels under the tongue and these allow the CBD to enter the bloodstream more quickly. Administering CBD this way can bypass the digestive process, thus making it more bioavailable. It also allows your body to absorb the CBD in about 15 minutes, and effects will last four to six hours for most people.
Inhalation is another popular way to administer CBD. For instance, isolate slab is mostly vaped, dabbed, or smoked, and there are also e-juices infused with CBD for vaping as well. Although inhalation may be more bioavailable than edibles or even sublingual, it also wears off at a much faster rate, meaning you have to keep "puffing" throughout the day to maintain the relief. Reliable research is lackluster in this area and often misrepresented; the fact is, we don’t have exact numbers for the average bioavailability of CBD when vaped. However, many drugs are more bioavailable when taken into the lungs versus eaten or taken sublingually.
Another popular way of administration is topical application. Topical products are rubbed on and absorbed through the skin. People who prefer topicals often have pain in one or two parts of the body that are easily reached, e.g. arthritis in the hands and/or knee pain. Rub the topical into the afflicted area deeply to warm the skin and open pores. Please note that topical products are not known to significantly enter the bloodstream and offer relief only where they are applied.
Everybody's endocannabinoid system is different and some will respond better to certain methods of administration than others. The effectiveness depends on your individual system. Moreover, some research suggests recent diet and age have a lot to do with how we absorb cannabinoids. Research is getting closer and closer to finding the best way to consume CBD, but the numbers don't speak for everyone, and you may need to play around with dosage and consumption to find what's best for you.