CBD Wellness: Which Method is Best?
You’ve heard so much about the wellness potential of CBD and you’re ready to jump in, or you’re wondering if there’s a better way than your oily tincture. What’s the best and most enjoyable way to maximize the benefits of ingestible CBD? Among the array of choices, you’ll likely narrow the methods down to two forms: edibles and tinctures/oils. Let’s take a look at both and then introduce you to a newer method.
Edibles are popular because they’re easy, discreet, and familiar. We’ve been taking vitamins orally from our first Flintstone’sTM Gummy to our last CentrumTM Silver. But how much of a vitamin gets to the bloodstream versus getting metabolized away? Well that depends on which vitamin, or active ingredient, is being swallowed. The amount that gets to the bloodstream varies widely.
CBD is a molecule that, unfortunately, doesn’t hold up well to that inhospitable journey through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and liver. Our bodies love CBD but the GI tract is not kind to it. At the end of this journey, only a small fraction of the original dose remains to enter your system through the bloodstream – where the CBD does its work. This “first pass metabolism effect” degrades and destroys a portion of the CBD you paid good money for. Since CBD’s effects are less demonstrable than its psychoactive sibling, THC, the loss is hard to detect.
So, sorry edibles, you’re about the least efficient method to reap the benefits of CBD.
Tinctures (alcohol-based liquids) and Oils (oil-based liquids) have the right idea. They attempt to avoid that destructive first pass metabolism by sublingual (sub = under, lingual = tongue) administration and absorption through the mucosal membrane (mucosa) to get to the bloodstream. This makes sense because there are a lot of capillaries in the mucosa to act as direct and speedy pipelines to the bloodstream.
In order to begin that journey, however, the CBD has to absorb well – that is, to pass through the membrane under your tongue. Oils are, well, oily. Humans are water based, and oil and water don’t mix well. If you’ve ever squirted a dropperful of oil under your tongue, you know the feeling of oily liquids pooled up and sitting there. Some brands throw around the word “Nano” to imply that smaller particles will absorb better. Lot of issues here -- suffice it to say that most “nano” claims are false. Even if they truly did use nano-sized particles, there are often other chemicals along for the ride that you may not want. Bottom line: If you’re considering a brand claiming to be “nano,” further scrutiny is needed.
And then there’s the taste: a taste that few describe as positive. The fact that you can strongly taste something under your tongue points to the fact that oils don’t stay in place -- since taste buds are on top of the tongue. Typically, instead of absorbing through the mucosa, tinctures and oils pool up then migrate to the back of the mouth and get swallowed. This process makes a typical oil just another edible, albeit one with an experience that involves trying to hold a pool of oily liquid under your tongue for 60 seconds before swallowing.
Some of the dose will absorb but, again, only a fraction of the original dose gets to the bloodstream.
A THIRD WAY: UNDER-TONGUE TABLETS
The best of both worlds would be a non-liquid, water-soluble under-tongue tablet that would stay in place and dissolve at the same rate as your ability to absorb it. Some strips are on the market that hold the oil in place while the strip dissolves. That could be the answer for those who don’t mind the texture and taste.
But the most consumer-friendly method comes from the scientists at Kelsie Biotech in Colorado. Its technology creates a micro-powder that can be pressed into tablets that rapidly dissolve under your tongue. The micro-powder is the perfect particle size and water-solubility to dissolve in about a minute. As the tablet melts under the tongue, the texture is somewhat creamy, not oily or gritty. If you can even taste it, the flavor is a subtle wintergreen with no hint of grassy hemp, oil, or the burn of alcohol tinctures.
The best part is that more of the CBD you bought gets to your bloodstream -- that’s called bioavailability. Bypassing the stomach and successfully absorbing through the mucosa means higher bioavailability. The other benefit is speed. The direct route of the capillaries under your tongue shuttles active ingredients to the bloodstream in about 10 minutes, where edibles (or swallowed oils) can take an hour to deliver their diminished dose.
So far, two brands utilize Kelsie’s patented technology: SUM Method, a cannabis company selling its brands, SUM Microdose and SUM Metadose, in Colorado dispensaries. Focusing on the high bioavailability, SUM stands for Superior Uptake Method. The second brand, Meter Hemp, contains no THC and can be purchased online at meterhemp.com.
We hope this sheds some light on what happens when you consume CBD and, for that matter, other supplements and vitamins.
Meter Hemp (CBD)