The short answer is that if you’re taking CBD oil by placing the drops under your tongue, it doesn’t matter if you take it with food. This is because the CBD is being absorbed directly into your bloodstream through the mucus membranes in your mouth. Whether you take it with food is also irrelevant if you are vaping or using a transdermal method. As with the sublingual drops, both of those methods deliver the CBD directly into your bloodstream.
When Would Taking CBD With Food Make a Difference?
If you are using CBD capsules or gummies, the question of taking them with food is relevant. It’s also relevant if you’re swallowing the drops or putting them in a food or drink. In these cases of oral consumption, the CBD must first go through your digestive system before being absorbed into your bloodstream.
Bioavailability is a measure of how much CBD is actually getting absorbed into your bloodstream. Oral methods only have about 5% bioavailability. So if you were to take a gummy with 25mg of CBD in it, your body will only utilize around 1.25mg of the CBD in that gummy.
The reason for the low bioavailability of oral methods has to do with something called “first pass metabolism.” When you consume the CBD orally it goes through your digestive system and makes its first pass through the liver. From the liver, CBD is distributed into the bloodstream. This process greatly reduces the bioavailability.
The bioavailability of other methods where the CBD goes directly into your bloodsteam is much higher. Sublingual drops have 20-30% bioavailability, vaping is 30-40% and transdermal methods are more like 70%.
Can Taking Capsules or Gummies With Food Increase Bioavailability?
One way to increase the low bioavailability of oral methods is through the addition of foods high in fatty acids. By consuming foods high in these fatty acids before taking your CBD, you can help slow down the absorption of CBD via the digestive system. This increases the bioavailability.
Conversely, if you take CBD on an empty stomach you can experience a quicker onset of effects. However, this causes the loss of bioavailability. If you choose to go this route, consider increasing your dosage to counteract the lowered bioavailability.
The Bottom Line
If you’re taking sublingual drops, vaping or using a transdermal CBD product, consuming food will have no notable impact on the product’s effectiveness. If you’re taking CBD capsules, gummies or other edible form, eating food before taking your CBD may increase the bioavailability. Foods high in fatty acids can be most effective in doing this.