The global CBD industry is expected to reach an estimated £17 billion by 2022, and, at the same time, you can expect to see the array CBD-infused products on the market also continue to grow. CBD is already available in many forms from tinctures, oils and e-liquids to foods and beverages, but which is the best way to get your CBD? In this post, we look at the effectiveness of each and why you should vape CBD.
What is bio-availability and how is it affected?
Bio-availability is the rate and degree that a substance is absorbed into the bloodstream. Bio-availability also determines how much of a substance you need to take to achieve the desired effect. The higher the bio-availability, the better.
How you administer a substance greatly affects the bio-availability.
An injection would obviously be the most direct administration method but is not favourable for most people, at least not on a long-term basis.
Administering a substance orally could involve drinking or eating it, meaning it is subject to first-pass metabolism in the liver before entering the blood circulation, therefore reducing the bio-availability.
Administering orally could also mean placing a substance under the tongue for it to be absorbed into the blood through tissues under the tongue, otherwise known as sublingual administration.
Sublingual administration is more effective than oral administration involving eating and drinking a substance. Sublingual administration is more direct, faster and avoids first-pass metabolism, but the substance can still be affected by the saliva in the mouth.
Pulmonary administration involves breathing in a vapourised/aerosolized substance through the lungs. Because there is no digestion or saliva to contend with, the substance can be absorbed quickly and relatively unhindered into the bloodstream.
CBD capsules, foods and beverages
There are variety of foods and beverages now on the market, including everything from gummies all the way to CDB-infused coffees. There are also CBD capsules available. These may be a convenient and perhaps tasty way of getting your CBD but are they effective?
The evidence points to no. CBD is not absorbed well through the digestive tract and is subject to significant first-pass metabolism. Peak plasma concentration can take up to 3 hours and only 20-30% of the CBD you ingest in this way is bio-available and can be as low as 6%. Therefore, if you eat or drink a product containing 100mg CBD, 70% or more will be wasted.
CBD tinctures, oils and sprays
Next, we have tinctures, oils and sprays which allow you to administer CBD sublingually. This is more effective than oral consumption of CBD. Peak plasma concentrations of substances administered sublingually are reached within 10-15 minutes – much faster than when the same substances are ingested orally.
Bio-availability is also higher (around 30%) because the CBD is only affected by the saliva, not the harsh acids present in the stomach and it is not subject to first-pass metabolism.
Why you should vape CBD
Vaping CBD is considered the most efficient and quickest method of administering CBD. As the CBD does not have to pass through the digestive tract and is unaffected by saliva, bio-availability can be as high as 60% if vaped correctly.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) in its 2018 report on CBD:
“Aerosolized CBD has been reported to yield rapid peak plasma concentrations in 5–10 minutes and higher bioavailability than oral administration.”
For people already accustomed to vaping, making the switch to CBD is easy. Simply, choose a flavoured CBD e-liquid, a non-flavoured CBD e-liquid or mix a non-flavoured CBD e-liquid with another vape juice flavour (but be aware that this will lower the potency). Shortfill e-liquids are sold nicotine-free so you don’t have to vape nicotine along with your CBD if you don’t want to.
You can vape as you normally would but try to hold the vapour in your lungs for slightly longer (up to 15 seconds) to help CBD uptake. We recommend a daily maximum dose of 5ml.
If you are new to vaping, then see our beginner’s guides here to get you started on the right foot.
Sign up to the Vapoholic newsletter below and receive our latest deals, flash sales, new e liquid flavour releases and up to date vape culture and vape industry news delivered straight to your inbox. You’ll also receive 10% off your next order!