What Is Bioavailability in Cannabis?
It’s normal not to think very much about what cannabis does after it enters your body. It makes you high or provides another desired effect, and that’s about all there is to it.
Once you start asking questions, however, the mystery of how cannabis works in the body becomes more intriguing. Why do edibles get you high longer, for instance, but vapes provide a stronger high?
We’ll answer all these questions over the course of this guide. Dive in to learn what cannabis bioavailability is and why it matters.
What does bioavailability mean?
The term “bioavailability” literally means the “availability” of a substance within your “biology.” It’s a measurement of how much of a substance your body can use before it is excreted. Put another way, bioavailability is also a measurement of how much of a substance is wasted after it is ingested.
Does cannabis bioavailability matter?
Yes, the bioavailability of cannabis matters quite a bit because it affects how high you get or how strongly cannabis affects you overall. If you use cannabis in a way that is not bioavailable and you do not experience positive results, you can at least know why. Understanding bioavailability also makes it possible to repeat your best cannabis experiences, possibly even deepening the extent to which you’re capable of enjoying cannabinoids.
What is the bioavailability of cannabis?
So, what is the bioavailability of cannabis? When viewed overall, it’s pretty low: around 5-25%. Some methods of using cannabis are more bioavailable than others, though, and it's possible to make even low-bioavailable cannabis products easier to process in your body.
Let’s take a closer look at the bioavailability of three popular types of cannabis products:
What is the bioavailability of edibles?
Cannabis-infused food products, also known as edibles, usually have a bioavailability of around 6%. Oral cannabis bioavailability can be improved — an example is eating pure cannabis extract, which has an average bioavailability of around 15%.
What is the bioavailability of vaping?
The bioavailability of vaporizing cannabis is estimated to be around 35%. The formulation appears to matter in this context with cannabis vapes that offer the entourage effect potentially providing increased levels of bioavailability.
What is the bioavailability of smoking?
The bioavailability of smoked cannabis may be as low as 10% and is usually estimated to be around 20%. One of the reasons vaping cannabis is sometimes preferred over smoking is this higher level of bioavailability.
Does bioavailability vary among cannabinoids?
Yes, there appears to be at least some variance in bioavailability in cannabinoids. The degree of bioavailability difference in natural cannabinoids is usually considered to be low, however.
These compounds have roughly similar structures and generally are absorbed and processed by the body in similar ways. Cannabis products containing any cannabinoid can be boosted to offer improved bioavailability, helping lead to the misconception that certain cannabinoids are considerably more bioavailable than others.
What is the bioavailability of CBD?
The bioavailability of CBD varies considerably depending on the way it is ingested. Inhaling CBD, for instance, usually provides much better bioavailability than orally ingesting it. Certain oral CBD products, though, have specifically been formulated to offer higher-than-normal bioavailability.
What is the bioavailability of orally ingested CBD?
When orally ingested, the bioavailability of CBD is estimated to be around 3-6%. This percentage can be raised, however, with methods like nanoencapsulation, which are reported to raise oral CBD bioavailability to the 20-25% range.
What is the bioavailability of smoked CBD?
Smoking CBD usually offers a bioavailability level of around 20%. Advanced bongs or other filtration apparatus, however, can cause higher volumes of cannabinoids to enter your lungs, raising the bioavailability of smoked CBD closer to 30%.
What is the bioavailability of THC?
THC is not considered to have bioavailability that is any higher or lower than that of other common cannabinoids. As a result, the bioavailability of THC ranges from around 5-35%. The amount of the THC you ingest that your body is able to use depends greatly on the ingestion method you use with inhalation of THC concentrate offering the best bioavailability.
What is the bioavailability of vaped THC?
When THC concentrate is inhaled in the form of vapor and not smoke, it can have bioavailability nearing 40%. The bioavailability of THC-rich cannabis flower is nearly as high with a maximum cap of around 35%.
What is the bioavailability of THCA?
THCA is the chemical precursor to THC, and its bioavailability may seem low when ingested orally since it does not have psychoactive effects. When smoked or vaporized, however, THCA converts into THC, meaning its bioavailability is the same as THC’s.
What is the most bioavailable way to use cannabis?
All things considered, vaping is the most bioavailable way to use cannabis. There are many ways to vaporize cannabis, however, with some offering higher bioavailability than others.
Vaping cannabis flower in a dry herb vaporizer, for instance, may offer relatively low bioavailability somewhere in the range of 20-25%. Dabbing cannabis extract using a high-end rig offering advanced filtration, though, could theoretically offer bioavailability pushing the 40% mark.
To maximize the bioavailability of your cannabis, choose high-potency products, use concentrates, and invest in a vaporization system that offers high-volume lungfuls of vapor. Future advancements may push the bioavailability of cannabis even further, so make sure to stay abreast of the latest developments in cannabis science.
What are the most bioavailable cannabis products you can buy?
If you’re looking for the best cannabis products with high bioavailability you can buy online, your two best choices will be cannabis flower and cannabis vapes. Flower offers slightly less bioavailability than vapes, but the bioavailability gap between the two varies depending on how you use them. Learn more about the types of high-bioavailability cannabis vapes you can buy online:
Conventionally offered in THC, you can now buy cannabis flower containing CBD, delta 8, or even THCA, providing a wide range of experiences at your fingertips. The most bioavailable way to use cannabis flower is vaping, with high-volume dry herb vapes like the Volcano Classic offering the most potent results.
Vapes offer even more bioavailability than flower, and there are many different ways to use cannabis concentrate. One of the most common approaches is the vape cartridge, which offers relatively weak hits compared to dabbing. You’ll need to invest in a proper dab rig, but dabbing cannabis concentrate offers the highest bioavailability of any known method of use.
Summary: Cannabis bioavailability is critical
Bioavailability is commonly overlooked, but it’s a critical factor when judging the potency of a cannabis product and how it will affect you. Understanding the higher bioavailability offered by dabbing cannabis extract, you may either choose to embrace that approach or try another. The important part is knowing the difference.
Cannabis bioavailability FAQ
Further your knowledge of cannabis bioavailability with the following frequently asked questions:
Is it better to swallow CBD oil or use it sublingually?
Keeping CBD oil under your tongue, also known as using CBD sublingually, is the most effective way to use oral CBD. The bioavailability of CBD is increased because some enters your bloodstream directly before it is swallowed.
What is the bioavailability of vaporized cannabis?
The bioavailability of vaporized cannabis is believed to be between 20-40% depending on the type of cannabis and how it is used. Dabbing cannabis concentrate with a dab rig is the most bioavailable method with vaping cannabis flower using a handheld dry herb vape offering the lowest bioavailability.
What form of CBD is most bioavailable?
CBD extract is the most bioavailable form of CBD if it is vaped. Otherwise, CBD flower is the next most-bioavailable method as long as it is smoked or vaporized.