It’s said that around 14% of Americans use CBD. While that might just be a cooked-up number, one thing is certain — CBD is becoming increasingly popular in recent times and many people use it to enrich their lives.
If you’re one of those people and are just starting out with CBD, you want to make sure you use it in the most proper and effective way out there. And one of the questions every CBD beginner has on their mind is does CBD work better on an empty stomach? Or should you take it with food?
Well, say goodbye to the food dilemma because we’re going to break down the science of CBD absorption for you and tell you what researchers have to say about CBD and food.
What is bioavailability and what does it mean for me?
You might know that our body has a limited ability to absorb the things we eat. This means that not all of what you put in your mouth ends up in your bloodstream. This is called bioavailability.
In other words, bioavailability is the percentage of an ingested substance that ends up in your blood and then goes on to produce its effects.
Bioavailability is important because it directly affects your CBD experience, which we want to ensure is as awesome as possible. Different methods of taking CBD have different bioavailabilities and produce CBD effects at different speeds and intensities.
For example, if you vape CBD, you can expect it to kick in within two to three minutes. On the other hand, if you take CBD capsules, you’d have to wait for an hour or so before the awesomeness begins.
Why? Because both methods of CBD consumption have different bioavailabilities. Vaping has a far greater bioavailability than taking capsules because CBD in capsules has to get absorbed and then get processed by the liver before it can reach the bloodstream and exert its effects. Meanwhile, vaped CBD molecules can directly diffuse into the bloodstream via the blood vessels in the lungs.
How is bioavailability related to CBD on an empty (or full) stomach?
Well, the state of your stomach can affect the bioavailability of CBD when you ingest it. In other words, the contents of your stomach directly influence how well it absorbs CBD (and so directly affect your CBD experience).
You might not know this, but if you were to take CBD in its pure form, only one tenth of it would be absorbed by your stomach. Why? Because our bodies are not very good at absorbing water-soluble substances. This is the reason why CBD products always contain oils. These oils can easily cross the lining of your stomach and carry CBD molecules with them that otherwise would have gone down your toilet.
This is also the reason why many CBD companies recommend that you use the oil sublingually (under your tongue). The sublingual method has a greater bioavailability than swallowing, and so CBD effects kick in quicker and less CBD gets wasted.
Back to our question — is CBD absorbed better by an empty stomach or one that’s full?
To answer this question, scientists studied eight people in an experiment. They found out that because CBD molecules stay longer in the stomach when it’s full, they get absorbed better. Not only this, but researchers also found that if the meal was particularly fatty, absorption was even better.
This makes sense because as we mentioned earlier, CBD products always contain oil to aid in absorption, so when your stomach is full with a fatty meal (which contains a lot of oil), CBD absorption gets even more enhanced.
So, should I take CBD on an empty stomach?
That would be a big no! As we just mentioned, a full stomach is far superior in absorbing CBD than an empty one.
If you take CBD on an empty stomach, you’re wasting your time and money. How? Because slower absorption and reduced bioavailability mean you’ll have to wait longer before CBD effects kick in. It also means that you’re wasting precious CBD. Not only will this force you to buy more CBD, but you’d have to buy it more often to experience a steady stream of effects.
Therefore, it is best to take CBD after a meal.
What should I eat before taking CBD?
So we’ve established that the best way to take CBD is after a meal. But which meals work the best with CBD? You guessed it — fatty meals!
But this doesn’t mean you should start eating unhealthy (pizzas and burgers) every time you take CBD. After all, CBD is supposed to enrich your life and make it healthier — pizzas and burgers will give you a diseased heart.
Some healthy foods you can try include coconut oil, sesame oil, and soybean oil. Additionally, almost any other fatty (but healthy) food item can be taken before CBD. These include eggs, nuts, meat, fish, and avocados (and maybe some chocolate too).
The goal is to eat a food with a maximum amount of medium- and long-chain fatty acids. So carry out some experiments and see what suits you the best!
What’s the best way to take CBD as a beginner?
With all that talk of bioavailability, don’t let it distract you from a very basic principle. And that is to start out with low doses.
It’s also best to take multiple small doses than taking a single large one. Keep a track of how you feel throughout the day and if CBD effects start to wear off, you can use a quick consumption method to top up your dose.
But what’s the best consumption method for CBD? While vaping is certainly the fastest, many experts believe that the sublingual (under the tongue) method is the best. It has an excellent bioavailability (at least far superior to swallowing), and you can enhance it by eating something fatty before it!
To put it all together, taking CBD on an empty vs. full stomach has to do with its bioavailability. CBD should always be taken on a full stomach because its absorption gets enhanced, giving you a better experience. And if you can take a fatty meal before CBD, that’s even great. However, remember that overdosing on CBD is harmful. Your goal should be to optimize your dose in such a way that it remains safe and gives you the best possible CBD experience out there!