BY: bhangers.com

Not all CBD consumed orally actually reaches the endocannabinoid system.

When consumed orally, cannabidiol (CBD) is processed by the liver and other digestive organs. Only a percentage of the CBD consumed passes through these organs and makes it into the bloodstream, so it can be used by the endocannabinoid system. Any excess CBD is stored in fat cells. If enough CBD is consumed, CBD can remain in the fat cells for days, releasing gradually for use by the endocannabinoid system. So, although oral consumption doesn’t provide the highest availability, if you consume enough consistently, oral consumption is a very effective way to treat certain chronic conditions.

The “first-pass effect” is the term used to describe the metabolism of chemical compounds in the liver and other digestive processes, which causes a significant portion of medicine consumed orally, to be broken down into unusable components and limiting the amount of compound which is bioavailable to cells in the body.

If consumed orally and at significant enough levels, CBD tends to be absorbed by the fatty cells, and can provide benefit for chronic conditions throughout the day. A study by Zhornitsky and Potvin [Cannabidiol in humans-the quest for therapeutic targets] defined “high-dose” oral CBD as 150-600 mg/day.

Many consumers experience a satisfactory effect by consuming a 15mg capsule twice per day (morning and night).

Other popular methods of consumption are smoking, vaporization, oromucusal, intranasal, and others. Bioavailability of CBD varies greatly depending on the method of administration. The averages for CBD bioavailability by method of administration are:

  • 6% – 15% for oral (swallowed and digested by the GI system)
  • 35% for oromucosal (absorbed directly through the mouth)
  • 34%-46% for intranasal (applied through the nose)
  • 40% for vaporized (absorbed through the lungs)

American Medical Association (AMA)
National Institute of Health (NIH) National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)


However, just because a certain method has better bioavailability, it doesn’t necessarily make it a better or more cost effective solution. Please read below for some considerations of different methods of use.

Using CBD Tinctures and Sprays to Improve CBD Bioavailability

While the average oromucosal absorption rate is 35%, studies have shown a wide range of variability. Nabiximols (Sativex®) is an oromucosal spray containing THC and CBD in an approximate 1:1 ratio, and studies report up to 90% absorption. We’ve learned that by increasing the length of time that tinctures and sprays remain in the mouth, one may increase overall absorption. More studies need to be performed to determine what other factors improve bioavailability.  For both mouth sprays and tinctures, it is currently recommended to hold the CBD liquid under the tongue for 30-60 seconds before swallowing.

“Oral mucosal (e.g. sub- or supralingual) administration of drugs is often the route of administration of choice when the drug shows a large first-pass effect after oral delivery. Systemic exposure of drugs after oral mucosal administration is often expected to be a route of administration with a fast onset of action.’ [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3513449/]

Vaporizing CannabinoidsVape CBD Shatter

When you vape, vapor infused with CBD enters your lungs, and is diffused into the bloodstream.  Vaporizing allows CBD to be absorbed by the lungs, into the blood, and across the blood-brain barrier. This avoids the first-pass effect altogether, allowing nearly three times as much CBD to enter your circulation (as compared to the oral administration) for a maximum bioavailability of 40-60%; depending who you ask.

The first effects of inhaled cannabis usually occur within a few minutes, and gradually wear off after 2-3 hours. Vaping is effective for treating acute symptoms that need to be addressed quickly. By vaporizing a CBD e-liquid or high-CBD concentrate, you could potentially feel its effects 30 to 60 minutes faster. This makes vaping CBD an extremely efficient delivery method especially if you’re looking to manage an acute condition.


Dosage of CBD should follow the old adage “start low, go slow.” Experts recommend what they call titrating to effect – the process of slowly increasing one medicine or one liquid, with another medicine or liquid. New users are recommended to take 5 to 10 mg daily at first, as this is the typical small serving size for an adult. Depending on your metabolism, body weight, and desired effects, you might want to start with no more than 15 mg per day. You can always up the serving size after your body gets accustomed to it. Using 50mg to 100mg  or more per day is not uncommon.

Absorption, onset of action, and bioavailability are all factors to consider when purchasing a CBD product.

How hemp oil liposomes are made.

Elixinol has a interesting method of pre-dissolving CBD hemp oil and embedding it into microscopic liposomes. This safe technology allows you to absorb more cannabinoids with the aid of naturally occurring phospholipids. These support cellular health and delivery of cannabidiol and other cannabinoids directly into the cell.

The reason that liposomes are so effective is that hemp oil, in its natural form, is a sticky dense oil. As you may know, getting any oil-based substance to pass through a cell wall is a challenge as the absorption rate can be slow. This can mean that a higher dose than necessary is required due to the body not being able to absorb hemp oil efficiently. Liposomes can be absorbed very quickly through a cell wall, so either in a topical or ingested format, they enhance the effects of CBD and other cannabinoids due to this super-efficient delivery method. By attaching to hemp oil molecules and transporting them to their destination, liposomes are a perfect solution for effective application of cannabinoids.

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