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Should CBD oil be taken on an empty stomach?

There is a surprising amount of misinformation on the Internet regarding whether CBD oil should be taken on an empty stomach or after meals. However, with a little research and a basic understanding of digestion, the answer becomes clear for those on a daily, sustained CBD oil routine.

Does CBD oil need to be taken with food? The easy response is yes.

Taking CBD oil with food helps bypass a process known as “fist pass metabolism”, in which large segments of CBD are broken down in the digestive system before they can reach the bloodstream. By taking CBD with food—namely fatty acids—you can help preserve the CBD through first-pass metabolism and ensure that more of its components are absorbed in the bloodstream.

Why CBD Should Be Taken with Food

To best understand why CBD should be taken with food, it’s important to first understand a term called “bioavailability.” Defined as “the degree and rate at which a substance (such as a drug) is absorbed into a living system or is made available at the site of physiological activity,” bioavailability describes the amount of an active ingredient absorbed by the body based on factors like the type of product taken.

Taking products orally, where the active ingredients are absorbed through digestion instead of the mucous membranes in the mouth, can diminish the bioavailability of active ingredients like CBD. This is due to the effects of first-pass metabolism altering the structure of CBD into one of its metabolites.

First pass metabolism is the main reason for the lower oral bioavailability of CBD. First pass metabolism is caused by the actions of enzymes in the digestive system before CBD reaches the circulatory system. CBD is acted on by enzymes in the liver (called CYP450 mixed function oxidases) to yield more than 100 different metabolites, not all of which are used by the body.

There are a number of ways that oral bioavailability can be enhanced. One such way is by taking CBD with medium and long-chain triglycerides (fatty acids). A recent study suggested that co-administration of CBD with these fatty acids can bypass some first pass metabolism.

While some other websites encourage you to take CBD oil products orally on an empty stomach for faster results, this may reduce the overall potency of the CBD oil itself, sacrificing speed for strength. Because of the effects of enzymes during digestion, we suggest that CBD oil products that are taken orally, like our CBD oil capsules, be taken with food (especially meals high in medium-chain triglycerides) to increase potential bioavailability.

Which Foods Should Be Taken with CBD?

Foods high in medium-chain triglycerides are ideal to take with CBD. These foods include most cheeses and yogurts, as well as a host of additional oils, including coconut oil. HempMeds® offers several CBD oils that are formulated with these additional oils to help maximize bioavailability in cases where consumption with food may not be a possibility.

Other quality foods to eat around the same time you take your serving of CBD oil include olive oil, soybean oil, sesame oil, fish, nuts, avocado, and eggs. These oils and foods are great sources of medium-chain fatty acids.

Taking CBD Oil on an Empty Stomach

Though beneficial, taking CBD oil with food may not always be feasible for many individuals. Thankfully, for those who need or prefer to take CBD oil on an empty stomach, there are a number of solutions specially formulated to increase bioavailability. First and foremost among these are CBD products specifically designed for absorption under the tongue. Products absorbed this way, like pure CBD oils and tinctures and liquids, have a higher bioavailability and faster onset of natural effects. However, after these products are held in the mouth for up to 90 seconds, they are swallowed, meaning that some absorption still takes place along the digestive tract.

A 2012 study on a sprayable cannabinoid product that was absorbed first under-the-tongue and then in the digestive tract after being swallowed demonstrated the positive effects of eating before taking a CBD product. The results of the study showed that bioavailability was 4-fold higher for CBD when taken after a meal. However, it also demonstrated that food can delay peak concentration in the blood by a couple of hours.

For those looking to get immediate effects from CBD upon ingestion, there is no better means of consumption than inhalation. Inhaling specially-formulated CBD vape oils through vape pens or larger tank vaporizers can deliver CBD to the bloodstream in a matter of seconds.

The Verdict: Take CBD Oil with Food

Although swallowing CBD oil on an empty stomach can benefit your body, taking CBD oil with food is the best way to get the most out of CBD.

For HempMeds® customers taking a daily serving of CBD oil, there is more value found in a delayed, heightened level of CBD in the bloodstream. In simpler terms, using CBD oil products with food allows there to be more CBD in your system for a longer period of time after use, giving you the most bang for your buck when using HempMeds® products.

Your best bet is to time your daily serving of CBD with mealtime or snacks. You can also add CBD oil into recipes and the everyday foods and drinks you consume.

So, which HempMeds® products are formulated for ingestion with other foods? Nearly all of them. If you’re looking to substitute CBD oil into some of your favorite cooking recipes, we recommend oils, liquids and isolates from our Real Scientific Hemp Oil® line. If you’d like to simply mix some CBD into your meal or your drink, our CBD isolate and CBD tinctures are great for doing just that. Of course, you can always eat our CBD edibles and CBD capsules with any meal, no extra steps required.

More CBD Education

Discover more about how CBD interacts with the body on our education page and read up on HempMeds® to learn more about how we make our CBD products the best in the market. Ready to get started using HempMeds® CBD oil products? Shop in our online CBD store.

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