Millions of people from all over the world are discovering CBD for the first time.
Odds are, they’re hearing about or using CBD in one of its many oil forms like a tincture, cream, or vape liquid. The vast majority of use cases out there are gonna be water-based, I’ll explain more about what I mean here in a bit. But what it all comes down to is bioavailability.
So what does bioavailability mean?
Simply put, it is the absorption percentage of the CBD which enters the circulation when introduced into the body and so is able to have an active effect. Therefore when using CBD, we want the highest bioavailability possible so our body can absorb all the benefits.
The First Pass Effect
The way in which you consume the CBD dictates how bioavailable it is. So the first thing that’s crucial to understanding why water-soluble is so important is known as the First Pass Effect or First Pass Metabolism. This is a physiological phenomenon that occurs when you’re delivering any drug compound to the body, the concentration gets greatly reduced before it can effectively be absorbed.
Basically what’s happening is that this drug compound (CBD) is getting processed by the liver before it has a chance to effectively enter your bloodstream. This ends up meaning you have a great decrease in bioavailability. It’s not a novel problem, however. This concept affects tons of different drug compounds from curcumin (turmeric) to morphine; and various other substances that are standard in drug delivery and pharmaceuticals.
These pharmaceutical compounds have the same exact issue which is the First Pass Effect, preventing it from being efficiently absorbed in a certain state. So to overcome the effect, there needs to be some sort of conversion process for these molecules.
Keep in mind that The First Pass Effect only affects the bioavailability of CBD if consumed into the stomach or oral consumption. If you’re absorbing a CBD oil tincture properly under your tongue through your skin, or you’re vaping it, it doesn’t have those absorption issues because the First Pass Effect is specific for the stomach.
The good thing is that scientists have created techniques to successfully overcome the first pass effect. This means that you can take something like CBD which normally has extremely poor bioavailability in the stomach, and put it through this conversion process. Doing so will enable you to drink it, eat it, or swallow it into your stomach without sacrificing effectiveness.
So why does all of this matter?
It comes down to the fact that we can’t effectively absorb CBD in our stomach as is. You might be thinking well what about all the CBD oil capsules out there? Isn’t that just an oil that I’m swallowing into my stomach? Or what about CBD drinks, am I not getting the full dose for those either?
The answer really is it all depends on how those companies formulated their CBD.
For example, there are some CBD companies that use a unique conversion process for their capsules and drinks. This ensures that your body is able to process the capsules or drinks without compromising the bioavailability levels.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of CBD capsule companies out there that do not use these conversion techniques and this contributes to poor bioavailability levels. This is a science that not everybody’s aware of, or they are aware of it and have chosen to ignore it for some reason.
What does it look like if you took a 25 milligram CBD capsule?
You could only be absorbing 5 milligrams of that expected dose. Out there in the world of drug delivery science, up to 40% of new drug compounds–a lot of them being from plants, have this same issue of bioavailability in the stomach. The techniques that have been created to overcome this problem are tried and tested and well known in the scientific community and are being used every day for other compounds.
Maintaining bioavailability through conversion
One of the best ways to overcome the first-pass effect is to convert the oil-soluble CBD into a water-soluble form. Doing this not only increases bioavailability in the stomach but it also greatly increases the ways in which you could use CBD products.
Because with an oil-based extract, you’re confined to mixing it with other oils since of course oil and water don’t mix. With water-soluble, you can much more easily incorporate that into baked goods, frozen goods, coffee, tea, juices, and so much more.
One technique being used at some CBD facilities is recognized for possessing the unparalleled potential for increasing the oral bioavailability of poorly water-soluble drugs. I know that’s a mouthful but basically it means that the technique converts the soil into a form that increases bioavailability in the stomach.
So how does this work?
Basically you could think of CBD oil as a big blob and this conversion technique takes it from a big blob of oil and breaks it down into a bunch of really really really small pieces. All of those small pieces are micro or nano-sized and that ends up being what’s known as microencapsulation. It is literally encapsulating pieces of that CBD oil into small enough segments so they can effectively enter your bloodstream in the stomach and overcome the first-pass effect.
The end result of the conversion process that we use to take the CBD oil into a water-soluble form ends up creating an off white powder. It’s very fine to the touch and still has the smell from all the terpenes and other naturally occurring compounds in the extract besides the CBD.
Well maybe water-soluble CBD is not for you. If you really like creams, if you really like holding a tincture under your tongue-then by all means stick with that. However, if you want to expand the ways in which you can use this substance then water-soluble is for sure the way to go.
Otherwise, you’re gonna be throwing your CBD oil into your smoothie or into your water. First of all, it’s not gonna mix well. Secondly, you’re gonna be absorbing maybe 50% less. To incorporate something and build it into your daily routine it has to be easy so water-soluble CBD allows you to just consume it in a much more friendly way. This eliminates having to guess what dose you’re expecting without having to sacrifice bioavailability and without having to deal with holding an oil under your tongue to properly absorb it.
Water-soluble CBD is all about convenience
If you walked into any natural food store near you what you would see is powders that you could add to a shaker or smoothie, and you’d see pills. There are some tinctures, but there is a very small minority compared to what is in the supplement department as a whole.
So with either pills or powders, it’s entering your stomach. In order to use CBD in that same way, it really needs to be in a converted form for increased bioavailability and a water-soluble CBD can do that.
If CBD is really going to go mainstream like we all know it can, it’s gonna be in the most user-friendly way. I think it makes the most sense that the most user-friendly way for CBD to be delivered to the body is just by swallowing it, drinking it, or using it in a capsule.
You know there’s a lot of people out there that have great CBD tinctures but when they start dropping that tincture into a smoothie it’s misleading to their customers. Yes, the tincture is perfectly fine absorbed under the tongue. But if you’re just dropping CBD into your smoothie, you should be aware that you’re getting only half that dose or less.
A good example is if you go to fill your car up with gas and pay for a full tank would you be okay only getting half a tank or even 20% of a tank? Absolutely not so if you’re paying for a dose of CBD oil and you’re just putting it a drink or smoothie, you should know that’s exactly what’s happening.
So that’s everything you need to know about water-soluble CBD. Really what it comes down to is we all have these incredible endocannabinoid systems in our body that are the precursor to our nervous and immune system. Our endocannabinoid system and the CBD which interact with it is essential for the full functioning of our body’s vital systems and maintaining health and balance within our body.
CBD is arguably the best way to supplement that system and support yourself on so many levels by helping the body achieve homeostasis. Being in homeostasis means the body is in balance. When we are in balance and our internal systems are working both efficiently and effectively, then we experience optimal health and wellness.
However you want to incorporate CBD into your life is up to you but just remember that if you’re going to be swallowing it in a capsule, or in any other form, it needs to be converted to overcome the first-pass effect. Taking CBD in a water-soluble powder helps to overcome that bioavailability obstacle and also greatly opens up the opportunities for you to use it in creative and interesting ways