Scientists are still learning about all the ways that cannabidiol (CBD) can benefit the human body. Many people who have experimented with CBD products have found that this non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis plants helps them relieve pain, inflammation, anxiety, depression, or other ailments. However, the way consumers get CBD into their bodies can impact how effective that compound can be.
Unfortunately, scientists have reportedly found that CBD does not have a very good rate of absorption, especially when it is ingested the way a CBD capsule would be. This means that a body may not be able to efficiently use all the CBD someone consumes, so he or she may need to take more CBD to achieve the desired results.
This poor absorption rate has reportedly been a problem for scientists who want to study CBD’s effects on the brain — until now. Australian research has recently shown that a new encapsulation method may be the key to improving CBD’s absorption rate. The study was published in the journal Plos One.
In this new study, scientists tested this new microencapsulation method. This new method encapsulates the CBD in a gel to protect it from degrading in the subject’s stomach and increase the uptake of the CBD in their brain.
The study also measured the interaction between this encapsulation method and other absorption-enhancing compounds. Scientists did this by testing the effectiveness of the encapsulation on its own and in combination with a bile acid called deoxycholic acid (DCA), which can be administered at the same time as the CBD. The researchers administered the capsules to mice and measured the concentration of CBD in each mouse’s blood and brain after 20 minutes, one hour, and three hours.
The studies reportedly showed that use of the microcapsule was more effective than CBD oil alone. When the microcapsule was used, there was a higher concentration of CBD in test subjects’ plasma over the short-term. However, there was a significantly higher concentration of CBD in the test subjects’ brains when CBD was administered with DCA.
According to a report on the study, “Compared with unencapsulated CBD oil, their new method increased the amount of CBD in blood by an average 47 percent, and in the brain by an average of 25 percent... With the new capsule combination, the peak concentration of CBD in the brain was 300 percent higher than with CBD oil.”
Although these results may be encouraging, scientists have not yet perfected this new potential method for administering CBD. The use of DCA seemed to cause a rapid drop in CBD concentration in the brain about an hour after it was administered, and researchers are not yet able to explain why this happened.
“Research suggests that bile acids may promote cellular uptake and clearance of lipoproteins, however, the effects of bile acids such as DCA on tissue clearance or lipophilic drugs such as CBD have yet to be defined,” the study reportedly says.
In the future, you might see this encapsulation method or the use of absorption-enhancing compounds become common features in popular oral CBD products. Unfortunately, more research must be conducted before products that incorporate these features can hit the shelves.