What is CBD oil?
The term “CBD oil” is used to describe oil-based tinctures containing CBD that has been extracted from the raw cannabis plant. Tinctures and other products like capsules, topicals, and edibles commonly contain a CBD extract mixed carrier oils like MCT, which aids the body in ingesting and metabolizing CBD easily and efficiently. CBD oil tinctures are absorbed sublingually by the mucous membranes.
What is Water-Soluble CBD?
Water-soluble is used to describe a CBD extract which has undergone a process to break the oil into tiny particles. The small particle size simply allows them to disperse throughout liquids. This process increases the surface area of the oil, helping to assist in the absorption of CBD into the body. These soluble extracts can come in both liquid and powder forms. They are then used to produce consumable CBD products like tinctures, capsules, edibles, and drinks. The Ounce’s Broad Spectrum CBD Nano Drops are water soluble.
Bioavailability: Oil vs Water-Soluble
When CBD is swallowed, it undergoes a first-pass effect. The-first pass effect is a phenomenon in which a drug gets metabolized at a specific location in the body that results in a reduced concentration of the active drug upon reaching its site of action or the systemic circulation. The first pass effect is often associated with the liver, as this is a major site of drug metabolism. However, the first pass effect can also occur in the lungs, vasculature, gastrointestinal tract, and other metabolically active tissues in the body.
The first-pass effect is a phenomenon in which a drug gets metabolized at a specific location in the body that results in a reduced concentration of the active drug upon reaching its site of action or the systemic circulation. The first pass effect is often associated with the liver, as this is a major site of drug metabolism. However, the first pass effect can also occur in the lungs, vasculature, gastrointestinal tract, and other metabolically active tissues in the body.
Timothy F. Herman; Cynthia Santos, First Pass Effect
During this process, much of the CBD is destroyed by the liver, and only a fraction of the originally consumed. When oil-based CBD is swallowed, studies show that it can be as low as 4% bioavailable. Bioavailability is a measure of how easily a substance can be absorbed by the body. Tests have shown that at best 15-20%, but on average only 5-10% of the CBD oil we take orally is ultimately being absorbed. This means that the majority of CBD extract in oil tinctures are flushed from the body as waste.
Our bodies are made primarily of water: human brains are 80% water, our cells are 90% water, and blood 85% water. Water soluble products allow your body to absorb the greatest proportion of CBD with bioavailability ratings of 90-100% contingent on the manufacturer.
Comparing the Effects of Oil-base vs Water Soluble
Oil-based CBD comes on slower, last longer, has a lower bioavailability and is absorbed less. Water soluble CBD comes on faster, does not last as long, has a higher bioavailability and is absorbed more.
- Swallowing an oil-based product, though not recommended due to it’s low bioavailability, takes 60-90 minutes to come on gradually and can last for as long as 8 hours.
- Sublingual tinctures (holding of CBD oil under the tongue for 30-50 seconds before swallowing) take 20-60 minutes to come on, come on more gradually, and may last for up to 8 hours.
- Water-soluble CBD comes on faster, is absorbed more readily, but have a shorter duration. For example, using our water soluble nano drops takes 20 minutes to become active in the body, have a more pronounced come on, but only last for up to 5 hours.
So which is better? The truth is CBD oil and water-soluble CBD have different uses. CBD oil can be taken sublingually/orally in a tincture or an edible product, or it can be used topically on the skin. Water-soluble CBD can be dissolved in water and drank. Since water soluble CBD has a much smaller particle size, the body can absorb the cannabinoids into the bloodstream much quicker than regular CBD oil. It is important to note that CBD oil generally lasts longer in our systems than water-soluble CBD.
- Herman TF, Santos C. First Pass Effect. [Updated 2020 Sep 3]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK551679/
- Price G, Patel DA. Drug Bioavailability. [Updated 2020 May 21]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557852/
- VanDolah HJ, Bauer BA, Mauck KF. Clinicians’ Guide to Cannabidiol and Hemp Oils. Mayo Clin Proc. 2019 Sep;94(9):1840-1851. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2019.01.003. Epub 2019 Aug 22. PMID: 31447137
- “Water-Soluble CBD: Why CBD Bioavailability Matters.” CBD Oil Review, CBDoilreview.org, cbdoilreview.org/cbd-cannabidiol/water-soluble-cbd/