Should CBD be Taken With Food?
CBD is new to many people.
Most of us are just getting over the fact that it's not THC!
- There's not a "high feeling"
- It's not habit-forming
- You're not going to crave crumb donuts
In fact, CBD and THC have almost opposite (and opposing effects).
See CBD verus THC here.
The safety profile of CBD is very strong.
We finally got our minds past that part.
We keep hearing about all the benefits (see here) of CBD but some housekeeping items first.
For example, how do we take this stuff to get the most out of it?
- What time?
- How much?
And the question of the hour (or at least article), should we take it with food?
This question is pretty ingrained with us since there are lots of things that are ideally taken on a full stomach.
For good reason with many of them!
What about CBD oil?
Let's take a look at this question and it turns out, there are some pretty good reasons to ask (and answer it).
What is CBD made out of?
CBD is a cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant...specifically hemp for legal purposes.
Cannabinoids are lipids which are little packets of a specific type of fat.
The body (and more importantly the brain) gobbles up lipids.
Don't worry...they're not like the fat you find in bacon or saturated fat.
They are much simpler than that.
Not only do they not get lined in your arteries but research is showing that CBD helps to address arteriosclerosis!
We have little receptors (CB1 and CB2) all over the body that interact with CBD within our own endocannabinoid system.
This system is tasked with balancing other key systems:
- Immune system (inflammation and immune response)
- Nervous system (neurotransmitters)
- Endocrine system (hormones)
Critical systems that affect how we sleep, feel, repair, and age!
So CBD is a simple little piece of fat.
What's the best way to take this in and make it get to work?
How does CBD oil get absorbed?
The recommended (and most popular) way to take CBD is with CBD oil.
This is the CBD isolate or crystal added to a base oil:
- MCT (extracted from coconut oil)
- Olive oil
- Hemp oil
We use MCT oil since many people with allergy or histamine issues might react negatively to the olive or hemp oil (plant material).
Some of the CBD is absorbed via the sublingual gland right below your tongue.
This goes directly into the bloodstream!
It's actually a way to increase the bioavailability by 4x's (see here)
We'll discuss below how to take advantage of that pathway.
Otherwise, the rest is absorbed in the digestive tract like all foods and beverages.
Keep in mind that most of the CBD gets broken down before it can reach the digestive tract.
- Acid in the stomach
- Our gut bacteria
It's brutal down there.
It's estimated that between 10-20% of the CBD actually makes it through this digestive gauntlet.
The sublingual gland might absorb 15-30%.
The CBD is absorbed primarily in the intestines.
It's also processed or "metabolized" in the liver by the P450 enzymatic pathway!
This is fine...it just means to take it at least 4 hours away from medications since many meds also use this pathway.
Always work with your naturopath or doctor with any supplement!
Here's a list of meds that use the P450 pathway for reference.
Is it best to take CBD with food?
Finally...the question we came here for.
It's best to take CBD with food if possible.
Most people break up CBD daily doses into 2-3 separate amounts.
This works nicely with meals and maybe one for bedtime if you use it for sleep (and all the repair that occurs when we sleep).
Make sure to keep the oil under the tongue for at least 30-60 seconds to get better absorption via sublingual contact.
Then swallow AFTER your meal.
There are two main reasons to take CBD just after food.
- Avoid stomach discomfort from having just CBD hit the digestive system (rare - mainly an issue with full-spectrum CBD)
- Aid in the absorption of CBD into the bloodstream
By the way, there's a reason the base for CBD are oils.
Let's look at that next!
What type of food works best?
Your fattiest meal!
That's the general rule.
You want to take CBD after your fattiest meal.
We won't get too far into the weeds but here's the deal.
Remember your liver's P450 pathway??
It's a workhorse in the body.
Your liver is frantically trying to breakdown everything it can to be removed from the body.
When you eat food with simple chains of fat included, your liver has the responsibility to process that.
Simply put, if it's busy with breaking down your food (especially fats in the food), it can't bother as much with CBD.
It only has so many resources and that meal you just ate is hogging the P450 pathway!
More CBD sneaks through!
This is the basic mechanism that prompts taking many meds with food.
It's interesting, right??
And here, you thought it was a just weird thing passed down from your grandmother!
Busy the liver and more CBD gets through.
There's even research to back this up:
The bioavailability of CBD increased 4 fold when taken after a meal
We'll take 4x better absorption of CBD!
What does that mean practically for how much CBD gets into the bloodstream?
So we have our CBD marching orders
Take CBD after meals
Ideally, take CBD after the fattiest meal
Hold CBD under tongue for 30-60 seconds (longer is better)
This way, we can increase the amount of CBD that actually goes to work in our bodies by a factor of 2-4 times!
Learn all about the other questions people have on how to take CBD here.
Let us know what works for you below.
Let's help each other be healthier and happier!
Always work with a doctor or naturopath with any supplement!
The information provided here is not intended to treat an illness or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified healthcare provider.