A Look Into Bioavailability

The research is in, and it’s huge. Raw hemp has now been scientifically proven to be the most readily bioavailable form of the plant. You may be wondering—what is bioavailability exactly? And why does that matter? Well, let us break it down for you.

Bioavailability (n.) refers to how readily any active ingredient can be absorbed and used by the body. More specifically, it’s the amount of a given substance that actually enters circulation once administered. So when we talk about hemp and bioavailability, what we’re really interested in is how much of the cannabinoids reach the bloodstream and so are able to have an active effect.

What the Research Shows 

In a recent study conducted in Italy, researchers found CBDA to be more than 18x more bioavailable than CBD. The way that the study measured this was by first preparing two different means of cannabinoid administration—a decoction (alcohol) and an infusion (olive oil). They then measured the levels of the CBDA and CBD in each preparation before administering them to the participants (on separate occasions). Interestingly, the level of cannabinoids were highly variable in the alcohol preparation, but stable and predictable in the olive oil infusion. After they gave the participants the sample(s), they then drew their blood over various time intervals, recording the concentration of cannabinoids and their metabolites at each interval. The results were remarkable: in every case, the level of CBD in the participants’ blood never even came close to that of CBDA. And this was true even when the cannabinoids were administered in equal amounts (see Table 3. right—click to expand).

What all of this means for the cannabis consumer is that not only do the raw cannabinoids have superior bioavailability compared to their “activated” counterparts, but also that you would need far less of them to attain the same therapeutic benefits. This is especially important for those who practice “milligram counting”, or measuring a product’s effectiveness by the sheer amount of CBD it has. Really, those molecules comprise only a very small part of what makes a hemp product “work”. When evaluating what is best for you, it’s crucial to consider where the cannabinoids come from (e.g. isolate, distillate, infusion, etc.), and what that means for the overall formula (e.g. terpenes, flavonoids, and nutrients—or lack thereof).

How to Shop

If you’re looking to add hemp into you wellness regimen, we recommend that you look for products that are whole-plant & full-spectrum. With those criteria met, you’ll receive the benefits of both the raw and decarbed cannabinoids. Awakened’s Everyday Hemp Drops are particularly rich in CBDA and yet only contains two ingredients—whole plant hemp and extra virgin olive oil. Available in our Shop.