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It’s a problem many consumers have all over the market. Doesn’t matter if you’re new or experienced with CBD, the question of effectiveness is always at hand. Bioavailability is the term that all CBD enthusiasts should familiarize themselves with.

Bioavailability is a term in the medical field that addresses the overall effectiveness of a drug. The amount of the administrated dose that surpasses the bloodstream is what determines its bioavailability. When we take a drug, such as CBD, not all of its contents will be fully utilized. This is a result of the extraction methods used for the oil, preservation, mg count, but most importantly, digestion. When we consume something, a large portion is broken down in various parts of our digestive tract, depending on the route of administration.

As we all know, the CBD market is vast and ever growing with unique products such as CBD coffee, gummies, oils, salves, and much more. It can be challenging to find out how much CBD you should take, but how can we know what is high in bioavailability and what is not?

Here’s an important part of understanding bioavailability. It matters on the way you are using CBD. For example, vaping CBD will have different bioavailability than edibles. This is obviously because inhaling will absorb the CBD differently than through the liver. This doesn’t necessarily mean that one way is better than the other because certain CBD products will list the different milligrams it contains. When clinical trials are conducted on cannabidiol and anxiety, researchers carefully administer specific doses in order to achieve the desired effect, which is where bioavailability becomes important. Even in the research field there are people carefully looking at the most effective methods.

How can I find high bioavailability?

Technically, the way to get maximum bioavailability is through intravenous injection. This releases the compounds directly into the bloodstream. However, this isn’t very common for CBD, as you can imagine. Intravenous methods is for someone going into diabetic/allergic shock, and insulin or an epinephrine pen can save a life.

Even though we don’t have injectable CBD at our disposal, we do commonly use methods of inhalation, oral intake,  and sublingual absorption.


Smoking or vaping is the quickest way to absorb something in the bloodstream. When CBD enters the lungs, it’s absorbed into the bloodstream quickly by also avoiding other processes that would normally breakdown the CBD, thus decreasing bioavailability.

Another benefit to inhalation is its quick results. Of the three methods, inhalation is the quickest route of administration. When processing the blood-brain barrier, vaping is one of the best ways to use CBD bioavailability wise. Some studies suggest that inhaling CBD can have upwards of 56% bioavailability, which is a very impressive number.

56% bioavailability is essentially saying 56% of the milligram intake will be utilized. So, if you had a 50mg E-juice, then roughly 25mg of CBD will be absorbed, which is still sizable.

Oral Intake

CBD edibles, capsules, liquids, etc, are nothing new to the market either. And if you’re looking to avoid smoking/vaping, then CBD edibles are an attractive choice.

Even though consuming CBD through means of edibles is less bioavailability, standing around 4-20%, there are some benefits as well. But why so low? Degradation of CBD in the stomach, and significant first-pass metabolism to active and inactive metabolites in the liver.

Oral intake may be the least effective of the three methods, but is still reliable for how simple and tasty they can be. If a package of CBD gummies came with 25mg of CBD each, then you could expect 3-5mg of CBD actually being utilized per gummy. But there is one slightly more effective way of using CBD, and that is sublingual.

Sublingual Absorption

Under your tongue, you have a sublingual gland. This vein absorbs CBD directly, and can only really degrade in bioavailability from the enzymes in your saliva. This is a great way to use CBD Oil/tinctures effectively.

The good news is that this method also has high bioavailability, standing around 10-35%. You can rely on a 100mg bottle delivering 10-35mg of CBD.

A small downside to sublingual absorption is the time it takes to be effective compared to inhalation, but is still rather quick.   

What is best for me?

Each method has its own benefits and downsides. And of course, there is personal preference involved as well. Before deciding which one is best, try to evaluate the time you want it to work, as that’s a basic factor people think of. Speed also shouldn’t be the main deciding factor either, but consider efficiency as well.

Understand what you’re using CBD for as well. If you’re struggling with falling asleep at night, all of the methods will work just fine, but be sure to avoid CBD isolates, as CBD alone won’t aid in sleep unless taken in high amounts. Learn more about the different cannabinoid purposes in full spectrum CBD here.

Disclaimer* If you’re taking other medications and want to try CBD, be sure to check up with your physician first as CBD does interact with other drugs. We are not doctors and cannot suggest a dosage, nor do we claim CBD will cure your ailments.