Barely a year after cannabidiol (“CBD”) was legalized via the 2018 Farm Bill, millions of people were clamoring to use it. Extracted from industrial hemp, cannabidiol is thought to have a wide variety of medical applications. Although research into its purported medical abilities is still scant, people have been using it to relieve pain, anxiety and skin conditions such as acne and psoriasis, among others.
In addition, a few years ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) approved the use of a CBD-based formulation called Epidiolex to treat seizures caused by Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome.
With researchers trying to learn more about CBD, studies into the hemp extract have shown that diet has the potential to affect its bioavailability, which refers to the extent and rate at which the body absorbs a drug. Cannabidiol, which is one of more than 100 chemical compounds produced by the hemp plant, has low bioavailability thanks to its poor solubility (CBD is fat soluble) and high lipophilicity, referring to its affinity in a lipid environment. Additionally, CBD is susceptible to the first-pass effect, meaning its structure and concentration are affected by digestive enzymes as it goes through the digestive tract.
In 2013, researchers ran a study with the aim of evaluating how food would affect the bioavailability of a single dose of CBD and THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol) oromucosal spray. Published in the “European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology,” the study found that the spray’s bioavailability was four times higher when the participants used it after a meal or snack compared to when they used it on an empty stomach.
A 2018 study that was published in “CNS Drugs” also found that CBD, specifically in the Epidiolex formulation, had a higher bioavailability when used after a meal.
Earlier this year, researchers from the University of Minnesota investigated how diet affected the pharmacokinetic profile of purified CBD capsules. The study involved patients from the MINCEP Epilepsy Care Clinic who were provided with a single dose of 99% pure CBD capsules. They took these capsules under two different conditions: with no breakfast and after a fatty breakfast totaling an estimated 840-860 calories.
The researchers found that the concentration of CBD in the body increased fourfold when the patients first had breakfast, with the fatty diet raising CBD’s blood concentration by 14 times.
According to the researchers, maintaining a fed state can result in longer transit times in the gastrointestinal tract, therefore increasing dissolution rates for lipophilic drugs such as CBD. A high fatty diet will also lead to increased bile secretion, further increasing the solubility and absorption rates of highly lipophilic drugs. As such, the researchers concluded that CBD should be taken with food, especially a diet high in fat, to provide maximum absorption.
If conditions aren’t right to boost bioavailability, a consumer may not obtain the full benefits from CBD products even if those products are made to the highest standards such as those made by entities such as BevCanna Enterprises Inc. (CSE: BEV) (OTCQB: BVNNF) (FSE: 7BC).
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