How To Maximize CBD Absorption

If you feel like your CBD isn’t working as well as it should, you may be right. You may be taking a high dose but ultimately receiving a low dose, depending on the way you’re taking CBD. Bioavailable forms of CBD allow your body to begin utilizing CBD right away, without having to first break it down or change its structure. If you want more potent benefits, it might be time to switch up how you’re taking your CBD.

What is Absorption and What Affects It?

Absorption basically refers to how much of something is actually utilized by your body. You might have seen the label on the back of a multivitamin that your vitamin contains several hundred percent of your recommended daily value of vitamin C or vitamin B. Multivitamins are packed full of way more than what you actually need because with their low absorption, your body will ultimately use much less and just excrete the rest. Absorption is impacted by the way you take CBD, or any other supplement. When you orally ingest or eat something, the only thing you completely process from it is calories. The vitamins or nutrients something contains are drastically reduced by something called the first pass effect. This means that your body metabolizes all or part of them before it can begin to actually use them, leading to lower rates of absorption. Poor absorption isn’t something you have to settle for. You can simply change the way you take CBD or multivitamins to promote better absorption and even bypass the first pass effect, allowing you to experience the benefits faster and more effectively.

Different Ways To Take CBD and How They’re Absorbed, From Best to Worst

CBD comes in many formulas. Some of them are more traditional and familiar forms like capsules. Oils and nano emulsified CBD formulas aren’t what people generally familiar with, but they do a better job at delivering usable, highly absorbable CBD to your body. Less conventional methods like vaping and topical CBD deliver CBD with particular sets of pros and cons.

Nano-Emulsified CBD

Nano-emulsified CBD is, in its simplest terms, very small CBD particles that are evenly distributed in some kind of carrier oil. The emulsion assures that each drop of the product contains the exact same amount of CBD. The tiny particles make it easier for the body to utilize the CBD. Nano-emulsified CBD is typically delivered sublingually. This means the drops are placed and held beneath the tongue, rather than immediately swallowed. The soft tissue membrane beneath the tongue allows small particles to enter the bloodstream without passing through the stomach. The body receives undigested CBD that hasn’t been broken down by the stomach or the liver. The whole CBD particles can be delivered directly to the body’s endocannabinoid system, getting to work right away. That’s why nano-emulsified CBD is the most efficient CBD you can use.


CBD oil is similar to nano-emulsified CBD in that this formula is in an oil base and intended to be taken sublingually. The difference in particle size and emulsion, however, means that the formula is slightly less effective. Your body needs to break down this CBD before it can use it, although it requires less breakdown work than CBD in capsules or gummies. CBD oil is essentially an inferior version of nano-cbd oil. It’s better than other forms, but still not as absorbable as the best form. CBD oil is still a good option if you don’t have access to nano-emulsified CBD.

CBD Capsules and Gummies

CBD capsules and gummies contain pre-measured doses of CBD. They’re intended to be eaten like candy or swallowed like any other health supplement capsule. Although these forms contain an adequate amount of CBD, they’re less absorbable by the body. The body processes everything you eat and drink before its nutrients can be delivered or used, and that’s the problem. Your digestive system will essentially rip apart the CBD to process it before your body even has a chance to use it. Less available CBD will eventually reach your endocannabinoid system, meaning that you would need to take much more to achieve the same effect you would with nano-emulsified CBD. There’s a lot of waste involved, because you never actually “get” the dose you’re taking.

Topical CBD

CBD can be infused into topical products, like pain balms, lotions, facial moisturizers, and even chapped lip salve. This form of CBD sounds the most convenient, but it’s also the least effective. Your body doesn’t effectively turn CBD on your skin into CBD in your body. Topical forms work best by soothing irritation or discomfort at the very surface of the skin. Burns, cuts, scrapes, and injuries closer to the surface of the skin may benefit from CBD topicals, but the body’s endocannabinoid system will not. Topicals are intended to help with very specific concerns rather than your overall wellness. A lotion is not a replacement for a tincture, but a complement to it. Using the two in conjunction with each other can provide different types of relief.

Inhaled CBD

CBD vapor cartridges and pens are, in fact, highly absorbable forms of CBD that do get to work immediately. The problem with inhaled CBD isn’t in its absorption or bioavailability, but in the risks that come with vaping. Your body can easily and efficiently use nearly all of the CBD you inhale, and that’s wonderful. It’s also absorbing everything else in that vapor cartridge, and there’s no reliable way to know exactly what’s in there. The FDA doesn’t regulate or evaluate claims of CBD content in vaporizer cartridges. There’s no guarantee that you’re getting as much CBD as you believe you’re getting. A recent study showed that two popular vaporizer cartridges contained twice as much CBD as they advertised. More isn’t always better for people who are trying to control their dosage. People using these cartridges likely vaped a lot more than they needed to, wasting product and wasting money. Other ingredients in these cartridges, such as vitamin E acetate, may also be linked to lung injury. CBD on its own is generally recognized as low risk to vape, but it’s far from the only ingredient in these e-liquids. When you decide to vape CBD, you’re choosing at your own risk to trust that the manufacturers aren’t combining it with any potentially harmful ingredients for the sake of flavor.

The Takeaway

There are plenty of ways to take CBD, but few ways to take it effectively. CBD needs to be taken in the right form for your body to efficiently absorb it. Nano-emulsified CBD is very potent and highly absorbent. It’s also completely safe and gentle to the body. It doesn’t pose the same risks as vaping CBD, but it delivers the same strength of CBD just as quickly. The best way to make sure that you’re getting as close to your intended dose as possible is to use sublingual nano-emulsified CBD products, though if you simply don’t like the taste or find it easier to take a capsule, all the more to you as long as you’re keeping absorption in mind!