While taking CBD with a high-fat, high-calorie meal appears to be one way to improve its bioavailability, manufactured liposomal CBD is another option
Cannabidiol (CBD) has been connected to a variety of health benefits, with a 2019 Gallup poll reporting that the most common reasons for its usage include nonspecific pain relief (40%), easing anxiety (20%), assistance with sleep-related issues such as insomnia (11%), and the treatment of arthritis (8%). However, one issue that has been raised repeatedly with regard to this hemp plant extract is its low bioavailability rate, which is aided by a liposomal cannabidiol delivery.
CBD’s poor bioavailability
In August 2020, the journal Pharmaceuticals published a special issue titled “Cannabidiol: Advances in Therapeutic Applications and Future Perspectives.” One of the articles included in this issue addressed CBD’s low bioavailability rate. It further informed that the body’s ability to absorb this substance isn’t the same across all ingestion methods as it “varies greatly with route and mode of administration.”
For instance, though research is somewhat insufficient, the oral bioavailability of CBD is thought to be somewhere around 6%. Another disadvantage of oral delivery is that it takes a long time to reach peak levels in the body.
While taking CBD with a high-fat, high-calorie meal appears to be one way to improve its bioavailability — potentially increasing its absorption rate up to four times in healthy individuals — one new study indicates that an innovative manufacturing technology may be another solution to consider.
Increasing CBD’s absorption rate with liposomal patent-pending technology
On April 2, 2020, the American Journal of Endocannabinoid Medicine published a pilot study involving liposomal cannabidiol delivery. The technology used involved a proprietary delivery system which was “designed to increase the amount of active ingredient that is absorbed into the bloodstream.” How did it do?
Fifteen men and women between the ages of 25-70 were recruited, all of whom indicated that they were not taking any form of CBD. Next, participants were randomized, with some receiving a stand-alone oral CBD and others taking a liposomal CBD. Ten milligrams of both forms were taken at least four hours after eating and blood samples were taken one-hour post-ingestion, the results compared to samples collected prior to taking the CBD.
Two weeks later, subjects were given another oral dose of CBD, but with the other preparation. In other words, subjects initially given the stand-alone oral CBD were provided the liposomal CBD and vice versa. Again, blood was drawn both pre- and post-ingestion to compare the results.
Researchers found that, when the stand-alone oral CBD was ingested, it did not appear in detectable levels in nine of the participants’ blood at the one-hour mark. Yet, the liposomal CBD was detected in all 15 participants blood at the same timeframe.
CBD levels were higher as well, with the liposomal CBD group averaging 1.77 ng/mL compared to the non-liposomal group average level of 0.24 ng/mL. Additionally, the highest CBD concentration in the liposomal group was recorded as 5.9 ng/mL, whereas the highest recorded concentration in the non-liposomal group was 1.3 ng/mL, or less than four times the other group’s amount.
It should be noted that two people included in this study did have CBD in their system at the baseline bloodwork but were still included. Researchers addressed this fact by noting that these individual’s blood results post-study did not appear to be “markedly altered.”
Also, because this study only involved 15 participants, it’s hard to say whether the same results would be found in larger groups. Though this piece of research does show promise in that new technologies are being created to increase CBD’s absorption rate in the human body.
The value of better CBD absorption
Better absorption options mean that consumers may be able to achieve therapeutic effects with lower doses of CBD. This can be beneficial to patients who experience an adverse reaction to higher CBD doses, such as experiencing dry mouth, diarrhea, and fatigue.
In the case of this tested CBD specifically, this technology could also allow consumers to consume CBD orally without reducing its effect due to first-pass metabolism.
In the future, we’re likely to see more technology geared toward improving the body’s ability to absorb and use CBD. That’s good news for patients who choose to add this substance to their dietary regimen, no matter what the reason.