What is the bioavailability of hemp CBD oil

What is CBD Bioavailability?

Cannabidiol's (CBD) bioavailability when taken orally is on average 13–19% according to a 2002 study.

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know in order to make good decisions about your CBD product.

You'll learn that the product size and milligram content largely does not matter if the CBD is does not result in reaching your bloodstream.

Read below and follow along as we cover CBD delivery technology and how it definitely matters in what ways you consume CBD.

In order to discuss the nuances regarding the bioavailability of CBD or any substance, we need to first define what it means.

What Is Bioavailability?

Bioavailability refers to what degree and rate at which an administered drug is absorbed by the body's blood stream. This is a medical definition that applies to all drugs, not just cannabidiol.

Any time you take a drug, it is only a limited amount that will actually make it into your bloodstream. The strong desire to maximize the CBD absorbed by your system may impact your choice among the increased availability of CBD oils and cannabis products.

The route of administration is significant because it influences the uptake, distribution, and elimination of the CBD compound in your body.

It is essential because the more bioavailable CBD a product has, the lower the dosage you need to produce the desired effect, take, for example, reduction of pain, inflammation, or anxiety, etc.

Is CBD Oil Bioavailable?

Yes, CBD is bioavailable, but there are a few variables to consider with the products you choose in order to determine the most potent type of CBD product to take.

We'll start by discussing the most common CBD variations on the market. 

In today's world, modern chemists have found numerous ways to isolate CBD; they call this extract "CBD Isolate." CBD Isolate has been shown to be more stable, and it also does not contain any of the other cannabinoids or flavonoids as Broad or Full Spectrum varieties do.

CBD Isolate is odorless and tasteless; it can be combined with other plant compounds to make a unique cannabinoid product.

Many users will enhance their existing CBD products with isolates to improve the flavor or increase CBD strength to an otherwise broad or full spectrum product. Since the only molecule in these products is CBD, you may find the effects lacking.

Broad Spectrum CBD products contain everything the plant offers with the exception of THC in order to meet regulatory guidelines to remain legal.

The reported benefits increase over isolates, since broad spectrum products contain more of the particles contained within the hemp plant. Consider including broad spectrum products in your search especially if you are subject to drug screenings.

Full Spectrum CBD products contain all the active particles available within the hemp plant, along with cannabinoids and regulated amounts of THC. it includes naturally occurring terpenes, essential vitamins, fatty acids(lipids), proteins, and more.

Preliminary studies show that full spectrum CBD may help reduce chronic pain, depression, anxiety, and so much more, however due to the concentrations of CBD versus other compounds found in Broad and Full Spectrum extractions, the bioavailability rate of CBD in these products may be lower by volume than a CBD isolate.

These variations exist mainly due to government regulations which dictate how much THC can exist in a hemp-derived CBD product. You may not care which type of CBD you take, but want the most effective outcome.

We discuss how adding more cannabinoids to the mix results in an "entourage effect" in this article, if you'd like to learn more about that.

How is CBD Best Absorbed?

The best way to absorb CBD will depend on which method you choose to consume it. There are many ways to ingest CBD. Remember that the bioavailability of CBD refers to the amount of the substance that enters your bloodstream versus the amount that was ingested.

The resulting percentages below show how much CBD actually enters your bloodstream. You may find these figures surprising...

NOTE: This does not take into account the concentration or the amount of CBD in milligrams that you are ingesting. The bioavailability (CBD) will increase with methods that remove barriers to the bloodstream.

CBD Oral Bioavailability

The bioavailability rate of orally ingested CBD is 13-19%. Oral administration refers to a capsule or capsules of CBD oil that are swallowed with or without food.

It is processed at a slower rate, thus has a longer lasting effect that may last as long as 7 hours. 

Avg. Absorption

CBD Oral 

When you consume CBD orally, it is processed by your liver and other digestive organs in your body, in light of this, only a percentage of the CBD you consumed orally will pass through these organs and makes it into the bloodstream.

This process is called the First Pass Effect where your blood takes all of the absorbed particles to your liver first before allowing it to pass through to vital organs and receptors. Enzymes break down most of what you eat before they reach where you want them too.

You may question whether or not this is a an effective option for a CBD company to offer, but we have to remember that popular preconception sometimes defies logic. You will see a wide range of edible CBD products on the market, even if these products do not deliver the health effects people want.

When CBD is consumed orally and at significant enough dose, it is absorbed by and binds with fatty cells providing an increase in benefits for chronic conditions throughout the day. CBD is an oil-based substance by nature. There are water soluble options, but manufacturer's have to add additional components to it in order to make the CBD soluble in water. 

NOTE: CBD oral administration is not the best for absorption, but it is one of the easiest and is useful with a high enough concentration and dose.

CBD Sublingual Mucosal Bioavailability

CBD, when taken sublingually results in an average bioavailability of 12-35% though these results are all based on the type and concentration of the tincture. 

A CBD tincture, is absorbed through the mucosal membranes in your mouth. This process is called sublingual application. is a more viable method than oral applications because this method does not pass through the liver first.

Avg. Absorption

CBD Sublingual / Mucosal

When you administer CBD sublingually, it is absorbed through the mucous membrane under your tongue, the capillaries under the tongue provide the cannabidiol a medium directly into your bloodstream, which avoids the first pass effect as experienced with an oral administration (eating it).

The capillaries in your mouth help diffuse the substance before it finally enters your bloodstream.

To achieve better effectiveness in your dose, simply place the desired amount of CBD oil under your tongue without swallowing for one minute to 90 seconds. We question any company that says to swallow any sooner than that.

You can then swish it around your mouth as the walls of your mouth provide a similar membrane structure.

Some brands like Mana Artisan Botanics™ offer CBD tinctures that are actually palatable.

It's hard to feel good when your CBD tastes bad.

That's why we are proud to endorse a product designed specifically with that in mind.

What's more, Mana Artisan Botanics™ has offered 10% off your first order! 

So be sure to check them out.

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NOTE: If you wait for the oil to be absorbed by your mouth's mucous membranes before swallowing, then you should achieve a significant increase in your CBD dose.

CBD Vaping and Inhalation Bioavailability

Vaping CBD oil is the most effective convenient way to administer cannabidiol offering a 10 to 56% bioavailability.

When you inhale, CBD enters your lungs. Since there is no additional barrier, the CBD can then quickly and directly enter the bloodstream, with decreased breakdown rates and higher bioavailability.

Avg. Absorption

CBD Vaping & Inhalation

Vaporized administration involves inhaling CBD directly into the lungs, through a vape pen or vaporizer device.

NOTE: Vaping CBD is considered particularly useful when treating acute symptoms that require more urgent attention, and this is very efficient for those who prefer to administer their CBD at more regular intervals.

Edible CBD Bioavailability

While the gummies may taste good, the amount of CBD that your body actually absorbs into the bloodstream is very low in comparison to sublingual or inhalation methods, offering only 8-15% of the contained CBD.

As with the oral method described above, CBD is swallowed and digested, forcing it to pass through the liver before entering the bloodstream.

Avg. Absorption

CBD Edible 

But isn't this the same as oral ingestion? That's a good question, but the answer is "Not exactly."

Yes you are consuming the substance orally, but edibles generally contain more ingredients which may hinder the CBD from reaching the bloodstream as it passes through the liver. 

NOTE: Unless you are consuming water-soluble product, CBD likes to stick to fats, and fats don't break down easily within the body.

Topical CBD Bioavailability

Did you know you can take CBD from a cream or lotion? Topical creams containing CBD, when spread over your skin at specific targets, like muscles pain-perceiving nerves, and inflammatory cells, is diffused locally.

Avg. Absorption

CBD Topical

Very little if any actually ever enters your bloodstream, but it can help your body heal where you are feeling pain locally.

Brands like Mana Artisan Botanics™ also offer therapeutic creams and oils that can be applied directly to your skin.

It feels good and smells great!

What's more, Mana Artisan Botanics™ has offered 10% off your first order! 

So be sure to check them out.

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Transdermal CBD Bioavailability

A less known option is transdermal application. This method is common with nicotine patches, but if the nicotine were replaced with CBD, then the bioavailability would be very high. 

Nearly 100% would enter your bloodstream due to the gels that are designed to allow passage through your skin.

Avg. Absorption

CBD Transdermal

Suppository CBD Bioavailability

The bioavailability of CBD suppositories is about 80%. While I don't necessarily subscribe to this method myself, it is way more effective.

While it isn't as fun to think about, utilizing suppositories for rectal and vaginal CBD administration can be incredibly useful when other methods are not as effective. 

Avg. Absorption

CBD Suppository

The mucosal tissues of the vagina and anus are great locations to apply CBD to affect muscles, inflammation, and pain-perceiving nerves in those areas, similar to topicals.

An added benefit to rectal application is that this area is rich in capillaries, meaning CBD will enter the bloodstream similar to sublingual tincture administration and reach the desired receptors without running into as many barriers. 

Any molecules entering the blood through the rectum should peak within 2-8 hours.

So How much CBD can Your Body Absorb?

Depending on the method in which you consume CBD, it will vary. From the available options above, transdermal application, similar to a nicotine patch will offer you the most effective way to consume CBD.

Here is a list of the methods from most effective to least:

  1. Transdermal Patch
  2. Suppository (Rectal Application)
  3. Inhalation/Vaping
  4. Sublingual Tinctures and Oils
  5. Edibles
  6. Topicals

To recap, the amount of CBD your body can absorb will depend on which method(s) you choose to take it.

There Is No Right Or Wrong Way When It Comes To Consuming Hemp CBD Oil!

There is only the way that works best for your particular situation. Each ingestion method has its own merits and drawbacks.

Transdermal, mucosal, and Inhaled methods are most effective for delivering CBD to the bloodstream, though inhaling CBD does not last as long and will require more attention with regular dosing.


The incredible progression that CBD industry has made over recent years has the freedom to choose your method of CBD consumption, and this also represents another small step in the quest to see CBD legalized for all of us.

Bioavailability is simply how long and how potent a drug is when it is consumed in a specific way. When we understand the bioavailability of CBD through its various ingestion methods, we can make better determinations as to which method works right for a particular scenario. We won't be vaping CBD when we have foot pain, for example. We could use a topical cream for that.

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About the Author Jessica Jones

Jesse has spent most of her adult life struggling with anxiety. After studying neuroscience at University, she has since dedicated her life into researching the effects of CBD on the human body. The content on this website reflects her research.

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