When you think of cannabidiol, you might picture an oil-based tincture that you buy and put in a drink or under the tongue. If so, it's time to think again.
While oil-based CBD products tend to dominate the market, a recent study conducted in conjunction with Colorado State University's Health and Exercise program and co-funded by Caliper Foods, a company that produces cannabinoids, and NextEvo Naturals, a water-soluble CBD outfit, found that water-soluble CBD products are actually absorbed better into the bloodstream than oil-based CBD products or a CBD isolate. The study also found that water-based CBD is absorbed better when it's accompanied by food.
The study, conducted over eight months, took five formulations — one CBD isolate, three water-soluble formulations and one with CBD dissolved in medium-chain triglyceride oil, fat made from coconut and palm kernel oils — and measured how much of the CBD was absorbed into the bloodstreams of fourteen males participating in the research, as well as how long it stayed in the bloodstreams.
The results showed a significant variance between the different formulas. One of the water-soluble formulations had a circulating CBD concentration of 3.1 nanograms per milliliter, while the oil-soluble formulation had a CBD concentration of only 0.4 nanograms per milliliter.
One of the water-soluble formulations was created using the technology of NextEvo Naturals. Gerry McNally, vice president of research and development with NextEvo, says that the study will help consumers make sure they are getting the most out of the CBD they are taking.
"Most people think CBD is an oil, but it's really not — it’s a white crystalline powder," McNally notes. "When CBD first appeared on the market about three or four years ago, it appeared in the form of these oil tinctures...to the point where people assumed that CBD was an oil." People may not even realize that CBD can be made into a water-soluble product, he adds.
"Really, we can use this data to help educate our consumers that if you want to get the maximum benefit from your CBD product, use water-soluble CBD with proven efficacy and take it with a meal so you can get the full benefit of the product," McNally says. "The CBD molecule is a very oil-soluble molecule, so that’s what people chose to dissolve it in. That being said, it was an improvement over not dissolving it in anything. However, I think word is slowly getting out that water-based and water-soluble CBD is far superior."
Taylor Ewell, one of the study's researchers, says that new information showing real effects of CBD is important, but there are still many unknowns.
"If you take the same CBD that I take, we could have wildly different responses," Ewell notes. "Even people of similar body composition, they have very different responses, and it’s kind of hard to predict why. There's something going on that scientists haven’t figured out with variability, and it looks like even within the same person taking the same product on two different days, there’s still a ton of variability."
CSU is currently conducting more research on the effects of CBD, including a study that analyzes whether it can help control blood sugar and help people who are diabetic. That project was started because of epidemiological research that showed regular cannabis users have a lower prevalence of diabetes, Ewell says. And assistant professor of psychology Hollis Karoly is doing a study on how CBD interacts with alcohol use disorder.
"There are a lot of claims about the things that CBD does," Ewell concludes. "People will tell you that it helps you sleep better [or] cure diabetes...but there hasn’t really been a whole lot of science done on humans and the effects of CBD, so that’s kind of the reason we’re doing some of this research."