While there is an astounding amount of misinformation on the internet concerning whether CBD oil should be taken on an empty stomach or after meals, with just a little research and a basic understanding of digestion, the answer becomes clear for those on a daily, sustained CBD oil supplement routine.
Does CBD Oil need to be taken with food? The simple response is yes.
To fully answer this question though, first we need to take a look at a term called bioavailability. Defined as “the degree and rate at which a substance (such as a drug) is absorbed into a living system,” bioavailability describes the amount of an active ingredient absorbed by the body, based on factors like the amount and type of product taken.
Taking products orally, where the active ingredients are absorbed through digestion, instead of the mucous membranes in the mouth, can diminish the bioavailability of active ingredients like CBD. This is due to the effects of first pass metabolism altering the structure of CBD into one of its metabolites.
First pass metabolism is the main reason for the lower oral bioavailability of CBD. First pass metabolism is caused by the actions of enzymes of the digestive system before CBD reaches the circulatory system. CBD is acted on by enzymes in the liver called CYP450 mixed function oxidases to yield more than 100 different metabolites, not all of which are used by the body.
There are a number of ways that oral bioavailability can be improved. Once such way is taking CBD with medium and long-chain triglycerides (fatty acids). A recent study suggested that co-administration of CBD with these fatty acids can bypass some first pass metabolism. Both Kannaway Premium Hemp Oil Liquid and Pure CBD Liquid are formulated using MCT oil to enhance the absorption of CBD.
While some websites encourage you to take CBD oil products orally on an empty stomach for faster results, this may reduce the overall potency of the CBD oil itself, sacrificing strength for speed. Because of the effects of enzymes during digestion, we suggest that CBD oil products that are taken orally, like our CBD oil capsules, be taken with food (especially meals high in medium-chain triglycerides) to increase potential bioavailability.
Another way to increase bioavailability is to instead take products specifically designed for sublingual absorption under the tongue. Products absorbed this way, like CBD oils, tinctures, and liquids, have a higher bioavailability and faster onset. However, after these products are held in the mouth for up to 90 seconds, they are swallowed, meaning that some absorption still takes place along the digestive tract.
A study on a sprayable cannabinoid product that was absorbed first sublingually and then in the digestive tract after being swallowed demonstrated the positive effects of eating before taking a CBD supplement. Results of the study showed that bioavailability was 4-fold higher for CBD when taken after a meal. However, it also demonstrated that food can delay peak concentration in the blood by a couple hours.
For Kannaway customers taking a daily CBD oil supplement, there is more value found in a delayed, heightened level of CBD in the bloodstream. In simpler terms, taking CBD oil products with food allows there to be more CBD in your system for a longer period of time after use, giving you the most bang for your buck when using Kannaway products.