A recent study by researchers affiliated with Colorado State University has found that water-soluble cannabidiol products provide the best absorption of CBD, shedding new light on best practices for consumers seeking the benefits of the popular cannabinoid. The study, which was published last month in the peer-reviewed journal Nutrients, also explored the effects that cannabidiol has on digestion and determined that CBD products are best consumed with food for maximum absorption, among other findings.
The research, which was conducted in conjunction with Colorado State University’s Department of Health and Exercise Science, compared the absorption of five different CBD formulations in 14 male test subjects. Products studied included CBD diluted in medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) coconut oil, CBD isolate, and three different water-soluble CBD ingredients. The goal of the study was to document how each of these formulations of CBD entered and left the bloodstream and at what rate. Additionally, the study profiled how the formulations interacted with liver functionality and if there was evidence that food intake and metabolism were affected by the products.
Water-Soluble CBD Had Best Absorption
The study found that water-soluble CBD preparations displayed superior pharmacokinetics compared to oil-based CBD. One of the water-soluble CBD preparations used in the study was created using proprietary technology from NextEvo Naturals, which has proven to significantly improve bioavailability. John McDonagh, CEO of the company, said that the research sheds new light on how consumers can get the most out of the CBD products they take.
“While the potential health benefits of CBD have been widely publicized, this new data suggests consumers should be very aware of the pharmacokinetic differences between commercial CBD formulations, for example, how the CBD you are taking gets absorbed into the body,” McDonagh said in a statement from NextEvo. “We set out to prove that our product formulations may actually be able to offer the many benefits of CBD because they enter the bloodstream quickly and efficiently.”
The results of the study, which NextEvo notes have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, show a more than 500% variance in maximum blood concentration achieved between water-soluble CBD ingredients compared to oil-based formulations and unformulated CBD isolate. The variance represents a significant difference in the body’s ability to absorb and process CBD, which is necessary to reap the potential health and wellness benefits of the cannabinoid.
Taking CBD With Food Increases Absorption
The results also showed that consuming water-soluble CBD with food greatly increases the body’s absorption of CBD and modifies early insulin and triglyceride responses. Six hours after consumption, CBD concentration in the bloodstream was three times higher when consumed with food compared to taking the product after fasting. David Chernoff, MD, chief medical officer at NextEvo, says that the research revealed CBD’s potential positive effect on insulin and triglyceride levels.
“Our study results show that within 30 minutes after eating a meal, CBD appeared to lower insulin and triglyceride levels. The exact mechanism of how CBD impacts insulin levels and triglyceride levels is unclear as the CBD levels 30 min post-meal are very low,” Chernoff writes in an email. “What one can infer from these findings is that CBD may have a favorable effect on how fats and sugars are metabolized after a meal so CBD might be beneficial for supporting healthy glucose and lipid metabolism.”
Researchers have long debated if eating a meal or fasting could affect CBD’s absorption into the bloodstream. Some have found that it helps to eat when taking oil-soluble CBD, but the new research suggests that taking water-soluble CBD products with food will provide the most benefit.
“We’ve found that the best way for consumers to take CBD is in a product containing a water-soluble formulation with a meal. This allows the body the opportunity for maximum absorption into the bloodstream,” writes Chernoff. “The more CBD the body absorbs, the more likely the consumer is to experience CBD’s potential benefits.”
“This is one of the first studies to examine the potential benefits CBD has on digestion and whether it should be administered with food,” NextEvo wrote in a statement about the research. “The study provides significant evidence that consuming CBD with food alters the dynamics of CBD metabolism and increases systemic availability, favorably modifying early insulin and triglyceride responses.”
The research also revealed new evidence on the safety of CBD. The study showed that CBD taken at average doses, in this case, 30mg per dose, does not evoke physiologically relevant changes in markers of liver function, suggesting that CBD probably does not represent a risk to the liver.
Potential limitations of the study identified by the researchers include a small sample size and the fact that all test subjects were male, although the authors wrote that they “have no reason to suspect the potential for sex differences.”
A report on the study, “Cannabidiol and Cannabidiol Metabolites: Pharmacokinetics, Interaction with Food, and Influence on Liver Function,” was published online by the journal Nutrients in May.