The non-intoxicating cannabinoid CBD is everywhere these days. Major beauty brands have started releasing serums and moisturizers infused with CBD, mainstream pharmacies across the nation are stocking their shelves with CBD oils, and there’s even a CBD-infused mattress available online. There are more ways than ever to consume CBD, but how do some of these newfangled methods stack up against traditional inhalation? Are edibles just as effective as hemp flower or CBD vaporizers?
What Is Bioavailability?
Understanding bioavailability and how it applies to CBD is the key to determining which CBD administration methods will be the most effective.
Essentially, a compound’s bioavailability is a measurement of what percentage of that particular compound makes it to its biological destination once it’s been consumed. For CBD, that biological destination is the bloodstream—it’s where the CBD can produce the most potent therapeutic effects. Generally speaking, CBD doesn’t have a particularly high bioavailability. However, some forms of CBD will be more effective than others.
How Effective Are Topicals?
Topical CBD—the kind you rub directly onto your skin, offers the lowest bioavailability of any administration method out there. In fact, none of the CBD applied topically will ever reach your bloodstream. However, that doesn’t mean that topical CBD is useless.
There are cannabinoid receptors located in the skin. Applying CBD topicals can activate the cannabinoid receptors in the specific area where the topical was applied, which means it could be helpful in spot-treating pains.
Most beauty products that contain CBD come in the form of creams and balms, which you apply topically. While CBD in this form won’t enter the bloodstream, it can interact with the sebaceous glands found in the epidermis, reducing the amount of oily acne-causing sebum produced by the skin.
How Effective Are Edibles?
Edibles like gummies and capsules have become extremely popular in recent years, mainly due to how easy they are to take. But how well do they work?
Have you ever wondered why gummies take a while to kick in? It’s because edible CBD first has to navigate our labyrinthian digestive system before the blood can absorb it. Not only can this process take hours, complicating dosing, but it also has a tremendous effect on bioavailability.
While edibles may be incredibly easy to use, it’s bioavailability is only around 10%. That means that if you take a 20 mg edible, only around 2 mg will actually end up in the bloodstream. The rest of that CBD winds up excreted without having any practical effect. Because of this low bioavailability, consumers often have to take larger quantities of CBD in order to get their desired effect, which is not only a hassle but can quickly get expensive.
How Effective Is Sublingual Administration?
Some CBD oils are designed to be used sublingually, which is an administration that involves holding the oil underneath the tongue for around 60 seconds, allowing the tissues in the mouth to absorb the cannabinoids directly.
Because sublingual administration circumvents the digestive system entirely, more of the CBD reaches its biological destination. Typically, sublingual CBD consumers will also feel the effects sooner—somewhere between 15 and 45 minutes. This can make finding the right dose significantly simpler, though remember different oils take longer to kick in depending on concentration.
How Effective Is Inhalation?
Inhalation offers far and away the best bioavailability of any method out there, by some estimates quadrupling the amount of CBD absorbed with edibles. With such a high bioavailability, inhalation allows consumers to get significantly more usable CBD from smaller doses, which makes it extremely cost-effective—especially for daily users.
With inhalation methods, consumers can expect to feel effects almost instantly. This not only helps to simplify dosing, but it also helps medicinal patients find relief faster. Nothing’s worse than waiting around in pain for the CBD to finally kick in, only to discover you should have taken a higher dose two hours later.
Traditional inhalation techniques like joints and pipes can irritate the throat and aren’t great for overall lung health, but vaporizers help to mitigate this. Thanks to the innovative Elon cannabinoid delivery device, now you can have the best of both worlds—all the benefits of smoking CBD flower without the dangers of combustion.
Every administration method has its benefits, and other factors can impact bioavailability, but inhalation is still definitely the way to go if you want the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to CBD.