CBD: Methods of Ingestion, Bioavailability and Effectiveness

CBD: Methods of Ingestion, Bioavailability and Effectiveness

As a wholesale distributor of CBD, it is probably obvious to you that this compound has become one of the most popular health supplements in the world over the past few years. CBD’s rapid growth in popularity is due to the various health benefits it provides and the fact that it causes very few negative side effects (if any at all!) when overused. But to be honest, not all CBD products are created equal! 

Many different suppliers and manufacturers offer a plethora of different CBD (which also known by the scientific term cannabidiol) supplements, but they vary drastically in effectiveness. This is primarily due to the differences of the bioavailability of CBD in each product. This concept is extremely important for those in your position to understand since it can massively affect your merchandise sales in the long run. Let’s take a closer look at the topic of CBD bioavailability and what it can do for your business below!


Bioavailability is a term that describes how quickly and efficiently a compound is absorbed into a user’s bloodstream. Besides the total amount used and concentration levels of the product in question, bioavailability is the primary determining factor in how effective a product is in providing desired effects. 

This is why this concept is so important to understand; just because a product has a high concentration of CBD, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be effective. If it is filled with low-quality, poorly extracted cannabidiol that doesn’t have high bioavailability once ingested, the supplement will provide the same benefits of another that has a far lower concentration level. The bioavailability of a CBD item depends primarily on the quality of the cannabidiol found in it, as well as the manner that it is consumed.


As you and many of your end customers have probably already noted, there are quite a few different ways to ingest cannabidiol! But which methods offer the maximum CBD bioavailability? Let’s take a look at the effectiveness of different manners of cannabidiol ingestion here:

  • Oral Ingestion

This form of CBD absorption is by far the most popular because of its innocent nature and ease of use. There are three main orally ingested cannabidiol product types: capsules, edibles, and beverages. While these supplements are very popular, they have a much lower bioavailability compared to other methods. One recent study concluded that at most twenty percent of the CBD found in an orally ingested item becomes active in the bloodstream! That means that if you eat a product that contains 100 mg of CBD, your body will only feel the effects of about 20 mg of the cannabidiol at best!

The reason that these types of cannabidiol supplements are generally so ineffective is that they have to pass through the entire digestive system and be metabolized by the liver before they become active in the bloodstream. Not only does this process take a long time (it usually takes about 30 to 90 minutes) but enzymes within the liver break down a large amount of the CBD into an unusable form. This is the reason that many edible products have such large amounts of CBD in them in the first place.

  • Sublingual Ingestion

Sublingual absorption of CBD describes a unique metabolic process that occurs when a substance is absorbed into the bloodstream after being administered under the tongue. While sublingual ingestion may seem similar to the oral ingestion pathway, they are actually quite different. When a user doses themselves with a sublingual tincture, spray, or soluble isolate, the CBD and other beneficial hemp compounds are absorbed into the mucous membranes found under the tongue rather than going into the stomach. 

This allows the compounds to enter the bloodstream directly while bypassing the digestive system and liver completely. Obviously, this would indicate the bioavailability of sublingual CBD products is much higher than other orally ingested supplements. Hence, the effects from most sublingual supplements are felt much quicker, usually within 15 to 30 minutes. In comparison to other methods of using cannabidiol products, sublingual supplements have a relatively high bioavailability.

  • Topical Products

Topical CBD supplements such as creams, lotions, and skin patches are very popular due to the fact that they are the only product that can be used to treat a specific area of the body. They are quite effective because they also bypass the digestive system and liver as well. However, they do take a bit of time to become active within the body; topical cannabidiol effects are usually felt in less than 1 hour, on average of 20 minutes. But they can last upwards of six hours!

  • Inhalation: Ingestion Through the Lungs

Inhaled CBD has a very high bioavailability. This is why vaped, smoked, or dabbed CBD product effects can be felt within just a few minutes. The lungs allow an extremely effective pathway into the bloodstream; studies indicate that inhaled CBD can be over five times more effective than orally taken cannabidiol products! However, it should be noted that inhaled CBD effects wear off at a faster rate as well.

  • Suppositories

Suppositories are certainly the least popular CBD product type. However, they easily offer the greatest bioavailability! Cannabidiol suppositories offer both a quick onset period as well as extremely lengthy effects. People report feeling suppository effects within 15 minutes and not noticing any waning of the benefits for up to eight hours! This is easily the longest lasting of any CBD supplement types!


Since both oral CBD ingestibles generally have low bioavailability, manufacturers of these supplements have worked very hard to increase the amount of cannabidiol that becomes active in the bloodstream. They have done this through two main processes:

  • Carrier Oils

It should be noted that CBD is a fat-soluble compound. This means that it is more effectively broken down and processed by the body when consumed with a fatty substance. This is why many CBD merchandise manufacturers have started to use a carrier oil to mix with their initial hemp extracts. The most popular and effective carrier oil used in the industry is currently MCT oil.

  • Water-Soluble CBD Supplements

Since our bodies are primarily made up of water, a water-soluble CBD product would provide the best results. But there is an interesting issue: since cannabidiol is essentially an oil, it doesn’t dissolve in water at all! 

However, recent improvements in technology have allowed manufacturers to effectively emulsify CBD extracts into micro-droplets which can be suspended in a water-based solution. Breaking the droplets of CBD oil into thousands of tiny particles vastly increases the surface area and the rate of absorption into the body. Some studies indicate that these new nanoemulsion and liposome-based products are over 200 to 500 percent more effective than traditional CBD oil extract supplements!