Lab Testing

CBD Bioavailability: Optimizing for Tinctures and Oils


CBD bioavailability is an important topic. Bioavailability means how much of a substance actually makes it to the bloodstream without elimination on its way to the target.  When taken by mouth, drugs break down in the digestive system before reaching the bloodstream. The amount that makes it to the bloodstream is lower than what was originally ingested because the body eliminates some of it.  Bioavailability varies based on the method of consumption and the purity and potency of the product in question. If you want to get the most out of your CBD, pay attention to bioavailability. 

What is the best method to take CBD oil or tincture?

If you eat CBD or swallow drops from a tincture or oil, the digestive system will break it down first. This decreases bioavailability. Some reports have shown the bioavailability of CBD to be less than 10% when consumed orally. 

The best method for taking CBD tincture or oil is the sublingual method. Leave the solution under your tongue for 60-90 seconds and then swallow. The glands under your tongue will absorb the majority of the CBD and the remainder can be swallowed.  CBD bypasses the digestive system and goes straight to the bloodstream when taken sublingually. Reports have shown that sublingual administration enhances bioavailability. The exact amount is unclear with different publications claiming anywhere from 13 to 35%

How can I boost CBD bioavailability? 

The best way to increase bioavailability is to take the product sublingually. Choose a quality product with a focus on purity and potency. This will ensure that you’re not absorbing any other substances or contaminants. To find pure and potent CBD, look for products that have been third-party tested by an ISO-accredited laboratory.

Laboratories with ISO-accreditation have proven their ability to meet industry testing standards. The company should provide a copy of their Certificate of Analysis (COA) detailing their test results. You can check the purity and potency of the CBD by reading the product’s COA. Each batch test should at least check for chemicals, pesticides, and solvents. Some companies will go even further and check for additional impurities such as heavy metals. Testing covers potency as well. The product must fall at or below 0.3% THC to meet legal standards and prevent intoxication. It’s also important that the product actually contains the amount of CBD it claims. There have been plenty of cases where the number on the label does not match what the actual test results show. If you’re buying CBD with bogus amounts, you’ll never know what your proper dose is. 

What is the right CBD dose? 

There is no universal CBD dosage. Bioavailability varies across different methods of administration. You may never know exactly how much CBD you’re getting, even when you take a set amount. Figuring out how much CBD is right can be a process.  Start with a low dose anywhere around 15-25 mg and pay attention to how you feel after taking it.  It typically takes 15-20 minutes for sublingual CBD to take effect, though you may need to experiment a bit before finding the perfect amount.  Luckily, CBD has been found to be safe even in very high doses. It’s very unlikely that users would take too much and experience adverse effects. One rodent study found potential liver problems or adverse reactions to certain medications, though. So if you’re considering taking CBD, it’s worth discussing with your doctor first, especially if you have other conditions. 

Final thoughts 

When it comes to CBD, what you see isn’t always what you get. That’s why products should always be tested by third-party laboratories with ISO-accreditation. But it goes beyond that.  CBD’s effects vary across different users, products, and reasons for taking it. If you want the most relief from your CBD, be sure to pay attention to bioavailability when deciding how to take it. The better the bioavailability, the better your results will be. 

Pure CBD products have no detected levels of pesticides, solvents, heavy metals, or microbial contaminants.
Products must contain between 0-0.3% THC under the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill.
Products should contain high concentrations of CBD and less than 0.3% THC.
CBD is not regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration.