Route of Adminstration & Absorption
We live in a fast-paced world, filled with stress and anxiety; a place where the usual methods of managing our mental and physical problems often fall short.
The pharmaceutical drugs industry, though humungous and ever-developing, still fails to address our pains and anxiety.
So, how do we manage our everyday stress and take care of our overall health and wellbeing?
A lot of people these days turn to natural solutions. One such natural source, Cannabis, an oft-misunderstood plant, has shown a lot of promise in resolving every-day and difficult-to-treat health issues.
Recent research has revealed that Cannabidiol (CBD), a chemical compound found in cannabis plants, can be a safe, non-intoxicating, and potent agent of treating many conditions and disorders.
However, CBD is only as good as its bioavailability, or in other words, the extent and rate at which it acts on the system, relieving the body of the problematic symptoms.
Any chemical substance – drugs, foods, drinks, etc. – can act at different rates and intensity, depending on their composition, and theform and method in which they are administered.
To better understand how CBD’s bioavailability matters, we must first understand how it works on our body.
What are the CBD pathways?
Before cannabidiol can act on our body, it must first travel from the site of administration, i.e. the area of the body which is exposed to this phytocannabinoid (cannabinoid extracted from plants),
to the bloodstream.
The blood carries it to the cannabinoid receptors (CB1 & CB2) in the endocannabinoid system and other non-cannabinoid receptors, like the serotonin receptor (5-HT1A).
These receptors interact with the cannabinoids and send out signals to the different body parts, controlling, influencing and even dictating their functions and behavior.
Now this entire process can be broken down into two distinct steps.
- The path taken by CBD to travel from the point of introduction of CBD to the body to an organ before it can be absorbed into the bloodstream is called the route of administration.
- The second step is the absorption into the bloodstream. This is where bioavailability comes into play. Depending on the method it is administered, only a certain portion of the product introduced into the body is actually absorbed into the bloodstream.
From these two steps, we can quite clearly understand that the method employed to introduce CBD to the body – apply, consume, or inject – determines the speed and efficiency at which a certain product acts on the body.
It also defines the CBD dosage needed to remain active in your body as well as the period for which it remains in your body, actively or in a dormant state.
Now, the route in which CBD is administered into your body is decided by the form of product you buy. Rather, you should apply this rule in the reverse order, i.e. to say, choose the form of product according to the way you want it administered. That way, you have control over both the route of administration and its bioavailability.
CBD products are available in the market in many forms – tinctures,oils, lotions and creams, e-liquids, capsules, vape oils, gummies, and other edibles, etc. In fact, there are many food items that you can infuse with CBD. They can be your favorite snack, a family baked recipe or a smoothie.
So let’s discuss how bioavailability of cannabidiol can be controlled or enhanced.
Bioavailability & Different Types of CBD products
Bioavailability & Pro-CBD Foods
Going back to the topic of CBD-infused foods, for those who prefer consuming CBD orally but are disheartened by its low bioavailability, it would be of some interest to note that certain food items boost CBD’s strength! Yes, you heard that right!
According to scientists, fatty acids and medium- to long-chain triglycerides help enhance CBD’s bioavailability, especially when administered orally.
Fat acids are good CBD-binding agents. With fats getting metabolized into energy, the CBD molecules are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, without being reduced in its content by the liver enzymes, thus increasing its effectiveness by four times.
Some foods pro-CBD foods include:
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Soybean oil
- Sesame oil
Bioavailability & Decarboxylation
This not an oft-talked about topic, but is relevant when you understand what decarboxylation really does.
Let’s get the basics first. What is decarboxylation (decarbing in short)?
Decarboxylation is a chemical reaction through which a carboxyl group is removed from a complex compound and carbon dioxide is released. In the case of cannabinoids, a carbon atom is removed from the compound.
This reaction activates the cannabinoids present in cannabis. For example, CBDA (which is an acidic molecule of cannabidiol) is transformed into its active form that reacts more efficiently with the CB receptors. Hence, this reaction helps increase CBD’s bioavailability. There is considerable scientific research to prove that as well!
Bioavailability of Isolates, Broad & Full-Spectrum CBD
This is another aspect of a CBD product that plays a determining role in its bioavailability.
Methods to chemically “isolate” cannabidiol from the 84 other active cannabinoids in cannabis plants have come as a boon for many who regularly need to take drug tests. Isolated CBD is a more stable compound, with no THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, a psychoactive chemical component of cannabis plants) in it.
A full-spectrum CBD product (usually oils) includes, besides small amounts of THC, other cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and fatty acids. This carefully created natural blend of compounds provides a more natural, holistic and more enhanced effect on the body, which is often known as the “Entourage Effect”. This effect improves the bioavailability of the CBD product, as the other elements in this kind of product boost the CBD’s strength.
Some people want to make the most of CBD (everything that the entourage effect offers), without having to worry about the ill effects of THC or being caught red-faced on an annual employee drug test. This is the right kind of product for them. A broad-spectrum CBD oil is a carefully designed product that has all the wholesome goodness of other cannabinoids, terpenes, and fatty acids, except THC. A broad-spectrum product is one from which THC is removed from the end product through a separate isolation process. With this type of product, you get a highly bioavailable CBD product (owing to the synergy of other components boosting its power).
Parting Thoughts on CBD Bioavailability
The concept of Bioavailability may seem a bit complicated at first, but it is necessary to understand for first-time users and those looking to get the most out of their CBD products.
While we hope this article has helped you clear all your doubts, we earnestly believe that this knowledge will help you make a more informed choice on what kind of product you should buy and how it will impact you.