CBD is one of the hottest news topics around – but what actually is CBD? How do you vape CBD? Should you be vaping CBD? These are some of the questions that we get asked quite often, so let’s set the record straight.
There’s an increasing demand for CBD products across this UK. The range of products is almost limitless, spanning different foods, beverages, tinctures, topicals and more. And with all these different ways to consume CBD, it can be difficult to choose the best option. But one thing that is important to understand is that the way that you ingest CBD will have a big impact on the effective dosage that your body actually gets.
Understanding CBD Bioavailability: Vaping vs. Other Methods
Of all the CBD that you consume, only a percentage of it will enter your circulation and produce its active effects that support overall health and wellbeing. This introduces the idea of bioavailability which is the degree combined with the rate at which a substance is absorbed into the bloodstream. Importantly, the bioavailability of CBD will depend on the way that you introduce it to your system.
The bioavailability of CBD is directly related to the consumption method and the concentration of the CBD product. So, what is the best way to take CBD? If you want to maximise the bioavailability using products that are readily available on the market, let’s look at the options:
1. Oral Consumption
This covers CBD products such as CBD beverages, capsules, foods, and other edibles. There are a number of benefits to oral consumption (not least it’s convenience and ease), the downside is that CBD passes through the digestive system which has the effect of filtering out a large proportion of the CBD. This has a dramatic negative impact on its bioavailability.
The most optimistic studies point to a bioavailability rate of 20%, which means that if you drink a CBD beverage with 100mg of CBD, only 20mg of the CBD will reach the bloodstream. That’s over 75%, which makes CBD edibles expensive, and possibly ineffective.
This happens because CBD is an organic compound which passes through the liver before entering the bloodstream. When this happens, the amount of CBD is reduced through absorption or chemical breakdown in the liver (called the ‘first-pass effect’) where the liver reduces the concentration of bioactive compounds. Additionally, CBD is hydrophobic and is therefore not water-soluble, so it tends to rapidly diffuse out of the bloodstream, thereby reducing the amount of bioactive CBD that is transported around the body.
2. Sublingual Consumption
This is where a CBD tincture, lozenge or spray is administered directly to a vein under the tongue called the sublingual gland. From here the CBD is absorbed directly into the bloodstream which is referred to as sublingual administration (or sublingual consumption).
This more direct method of consumption has a faster impact on the body compared to oral consumption and offers higher bioavailability as it bypasses the liver and is only subject to degradation by enzymes in the mouth’s saliva.
The maximum bioavailability percentages is 35% (it ranges between 12% and 35%) which is significantly higher than oral consumption. The most important factor that impacts the bioavailability with sublingual consumption is the quality of the CBD.
3. Vaporised Consumption (Vaping)
Vaping is the inhalation of CBD directly into the lungs. This is usually done with a vaporiser or a vape pen. This direct form of consumption into the lungs means that CBD quickly enters the bloodstream bypassing the liver, and it does so with less breakdown and significantly higher bioavailability.
Studies show that the rate of bioavailability is between 34 and 46% (in some cases it’s as high as 56%) making this method the most effective for consuming CBD. This means that you can enjoy the same health and wellness support, but you need to consume a much smaller amount to have the same effect. In addition to increased bioavailability, the time for the CBD to become active is the body is significantly shorter as it is not traveling through your digestive system.
The Benefits of Vaping
It is Discrete and Convenient
Most vaporisers or vape pens are small and can be easily concealed in a jacket pocket. This, combined with the efficacy and convenience of vaping CBD, makes it a popular consumption method.
It Can Be Cost-Effective
Because there is higher bioavailability, the cost for the equivalent amount of available CBD through edibles or sublingual consumption tends to work out to be more expensive.
Edibles take upwards of 30 minutes for the CBD to take effect, tinctures take around 15 minutes, but if you want to feel the effects quickly, vaporised CBD is the best option, and the effects can be felt almost immediately.
If you’re new to vaping you may have some questions about this form of consumption, these are some of the most common ones:
CBD contains only trace amounts of THC (less than 0.2%), which is the psychoactive compound in marijuana associated with a ‘high’. CBD for vaping is made from industrial hemp, not marijuana.
CBD has a very low toxicity which suggests that in order to overdose a person would need to take more than a hundred times the daily recommended dose of CBD in a short space of time in order to be at risk of overdosing. To date, there has not been a documented case of a human fatality than can be attributed to an overdose of cannabis.
It can happen that CBD products don’t contain the amount of CBD that is advertised on the bottle. The best option is to choose a product from a reputable brand, and do your homework online before you buy. Read reviews, check the growing and manufacturing processes that the company uses and request the third-party lab reports.
Vaping is becoming a more popular method of consuming CBD, particularly because of the high level of bioavailability that it offers, as well as being convenient, more cost-effective and fast-acting. If you’re new to CBD vaping, read through our FAQs, and do your research before choosing a product.