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When it comes to supplements that you introduce to your body, there are so many factors that impact how well each individual supplement will work for you, including if it even works at all.

From doses and potency, to conditions you take the supplement on and what time of day you take it, many different variables come into play. 

Take bioavailability for example. Each and every substance that you take has a certain level of bioavailability.

See, the bioavailability of a substance plays a key role in the efficacy of the supplement at hand, meaning the natural bioavailability level of a substance will determine the conditions that must be met in order to yield the desired effects. 

But what exactly does this mean in the context of CBD oil? In order to answer this question, it is important to define bioavailability as well as CBD oil, and then we can speak more to how the two are related.

CBD 101: What is Cannabidiol?  

While we’re on the topic of explaining terms, we figured it would be best to talk about CBD in great detail, just for the sake of making sure everyone is on the same page.

As the shorthand way of referring to cannabidiol, CBD is a cannabis-derived substance that yields a plethora of positive side effects. 

As one of many compounds found within cannabis plants, CBD is a cannabinoid. In fact, CBD is one of over one hundred cannabinoids found in cannabis, yet it’s also one of the most commonly extracted compounds for use as a supplement. 

Often confused with THC, cannabidiol is often mistaken as a substance that gets you high. This is false information, however. In all actuality, CBD cannot get you high, but THC does. That is the main differentiating factor between THC and CBD. 

CBD oil is simply the liquid form of cannabidiol. Used for a plethora of reasons, the main factor that attracts so many people to CBD as a supplementary aid is the way it relieves pain like no other.

While it doesn’t have the miraculous power of totally eliminating any and all health concerns that people may be facing, CBD certainly makes symptoms more tolerable.  

Today, we’re going to zero in on how bioavailability and CBD oil relate to one another. By now, it’s likely that you see the correlation, but we’re going to go in-depth and explain to you just how much CBD is used by the body. 

The Definition of Bioavailability 

Bioavailability is a term that refers to how the body takes to a certain substance. In terms of CBD, the bioavailability refers to how well the body is able to absorb the cannabidiol and then subsequently use it in the ways it is intended.

More specifically, the bioavailability of CBD speaks to how quickly and how efficiently the CBD is absorbed by your bloodstream! 

How Bioavailability and CBD Are Related 

The bioavailability of CBD refers to how much of the CBD oil is actually taken up by the body compared to how much CBD ends up going to waste. 

For today, we’re talking solely about CBD oil, but for the sake of perspective, keep in mind that the way CBD is administered will affect the amount of CBD that is absorbed by the body.

In other words, the form of CBD that you take will impact the bioavailability of the cannabidiol. 

We've covered the fact that the method by which you consume CBD affects the absorption rates, but yet another very powerful influential factor is the way your body naturally absorbs compounds that are introduced to your internal organs.

Not everyone's bloodstream absorbs compounds in the same way, so it’s a unique process for everyone. 

The absorption rates of CBD come down to many different factors, as we've mentioned.

But one variable that we've yet to mention is the element of administration. This refers to the method by which you take CBD, and when it comes to CBD, there is a wide array of forms to choose from, including but not limited to... 

  • Oils 
  • Edibles 
  • Concentrates 
  • Gummies 
  • Waxes 
  • Creams 
  • Lotions 
  • Moisturizers 
  • Bath Bombs 

The Bioavailability of CBD Oil 

When you consume CBD, the assumption is that your body uses all of the CBD at once. There isn’t much that would make you think otherwise. However, this is not necessarily the case! 

The true amount of CBD that is absorbed by the body might actually shock you. To reiterate, the exact percentages of CBD that your body absorbs will differ from one person to the next, so keep that in mind as we talk about the many different kinds of bioavailability. 

However, on average, for the amount of CBD oil that you consume, only 10% of the CBD oil is absorbed and that's being considerate!

At most, the human body typically uses up 20-30% of the CBD oil you put into your body, but often, it’s closer to a 5-10% retention rate.

All of that being said, there is an actual process that determines just how much CBD is consumed by the body. The process is called pharmacokinetics, and as a subsection of pharmacology, pharmacokinetics is all about how substances act once they enter the body.

A Breakdown of the Four Kinds of Bioavailability 

Just as bioavailability falls under the umbrella of pharmacokinetics, there are four different types of bioavailability that each relate to how CBD interacts within the body. Pharmacokinetics helps to explain why there are four different subsets of bioavailability.

These four categories of bioavailability include… 

  1. Sublingual Bioavailability 
  2. Intranasal Bioavailability
  3. Topical Bioavailability
  4. Oral Bioavailability 

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Source: One and Co.

1. Sublingual Bioavailability 

Sublingual bioavailability references CBD that is swallowed, usually after being placed under your tongue. When CBD is administered in such a manner, the bioavailability rates vary between 13% and 19% depending on the person! Sometimes, the bioavailability rates will reach a point of 35% but it's not to be expected. 

Unlike intranasal bioavailability, yet similar to oral and topical bioavailability rates, the sublingual administration of CBD causes the cannabidiol to enter the bloodstream. As a result, the absorption rates of sublingual methods of consuming CBD are much smaller, meaning the bioavailability rates are lower as well. 

2. Intranasal Bioavailability

Intranasal bioavailability quite literally refers to the bioavailability of CBD that is inhaled.

On average, CBD that is consumed via inhalation tends to have a bioavailability value between 34% and 46% with the highest intranasal bioavailability rate reaching a percentage of 56. 

In fact, inhaling CBD by way of vapes, bubblers, or other inhalation methods results in the highest bioavailability rates.

The reason for the high bioavailability rate when CBD is inhaled comes down to the fact that the CBD vapor reaches your lungs right away, as opposed to entering your bloodstream and slowly making its way throughout your body. 

3. Topical Bioavailability 

Last but not least is topical bioavailability. The aspect that sets topical bioavailability apart from the other three types of CBD bioavailability is that topical bioavailability is the one kind that doesn't actually involve consuming CBD orally. 

Instead, topical bioavailability is about externally-applied CBD in the form of lotions, creams, and moisturizers, to name a few examples.

While these are excellent methods of receiving pain relief as a result of the calming effects of CBD, topical applications of CBD do not work on anything internal. 

If you have physical and external discomfort topical applications are the perfect match, but that is the extent of topically-applied CBD products. The bioavailability rates of topically-applied CBD vary between 25% and 50% with most cases leaning more towards a bioavailability rate of thirteen and a half. 

4. Oral Bioavailability 

The oral method of consuming CBD takes place with edibles, oils, and tinctures.

These are some of the most simplistic and convenient methods of taking CBD, but even so, they do have their detrimental side, seeing as the bioavailability rates of oral consumption are some of the lowest out there.

The wildest recorded bioavailability rate of the oral methods of CBD consumption has been a mere 6% but the more common range of oral bioavailability rates span anywhere between ten and twenty percent. 

Is It Possible to Increase CBD’s Bioavailability? 

We hate to break it to you, but technically speaking, it’s impossible to increase the bioavailability of CBD. Cannabidiol itself cannot be manipulated in a way that increases its bioavailability. 

But this doesn't mean all hope is lost in regards to increasing the absorption rates of CBD in your body. Instead of focusing on how to increase the bioavailability of CBD itself, it's more efficient to turn your attention to figuring out the right dose instead. 

If your absorption rates are lower than desired, you are likely not administering a proportionate dose for your age, weight, and height.

The best way to figure out the dose that suits you best is by slowly increasing your consumption of CBD until you are pleased with the outcome. 

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