CBD has certainly been getting plenty of press these days. But amidst all the marketing and misinformation circulating online, it’s difficult to discover all you need to know about CBD microdosing. In this blog, we explore CBD microdosing and how the body absorbs CBD.
CANNABIDIOL: THE NON-PSYCHOACTIVE CANNABINOID
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a cannabinoid. But it definitely won’t get you high. THC is the primary psychoactive cannabinoid. THC will get you high. Although that’s certainly not all THC is good for, our focus today is on CBD. You’ve probably heard of the ECS (endocannabinoid system) already too. But did you also know that CBD actually has a low affinity for CB1 receptors (mostly found in the brain and nervous system) and CB2 receptors (commonly found on cells and tissues of the immune system)?
However, CBD does activate the GPR55 receptor, associated with inflammation and seizure reductions. Research has evidenced CBD interacts with TRPV1 receptors to reduce sensitivity to pain. Furthermore, CBD is also a partial agonist to the 5-HT1A receptor, which has been linked to the anti-depressant and stress-relieving properties of cannabidiol.
You are supplementing more than your ECS when you take a dose of CBD. Scientific research and human medical trials will eventually reveal all the secrets of CBD’s interactions with receptors throughout the human body. What we know now is just the tip of the iceberg.
WHAT IS MICRODOSING?
Dr Albert Hofmann is the Swiss chemist that first synthesised LSD. He is arguably the father of microdosing too. He lived to the age of 102. The good doctor was taking minuscule doses of LSD for at least the last 20 years of his life. Dr Douglas Jorgensen, founder of Patient360, defines microdosing as follows: “microdosing, in general, is a means to manipulate the receptors and gain a desired physiologic response with less drug”.
Microdosing adheres to the medical standard operating procedure of start low and go slow. CBD microdosing is no different. Essentially, this is about getting more from less. It is, however, still unclear if smaller, more consistent doses of CBD are more advantageous than larger doses.
IT’S ALL ABOUT BIOAVAILABILITY
When a drug is administered intravenously, it is 100% bioavailable. This is because it has no absorption barriers to cross. Bioavailability is a measure of the API or active pharmaceutical ingredient of the medicine that is actually absorbed into the bloodstream. This is represented as a percentage of the totally bioavailable intravenous dose. How you choose to microdose makes all the difference.
When you swallow a CBD tablet, it is not absorbed directly into the bloodstream. It takes a minute or two to dissolve in the stomach and then be absorbed. Your liver will not metabolise it 100% due to the “first pass effect”. Thus, ingesting CBD through the mouth has relatively low bioavailability, typically less than 10%. It could also be a while before you feel the benefits of the oral CBD dose. Perhaps as long as an hour. Carrier oils like hemp seed oil and olive oil are often infused with CBD to create supplements with greater bioavailability.
A couple of drops of CBD oil under the tongue takes advantage of mucus membranes in the mouth for increased bioavailability. So long as the CBD oil is held under the tongue for 60–90 seconds and not accidentally swallowed, the first pass effect is avoided. However, effects are still not instantaneous and usually take 20 minutes or so.
Puffing on a joint of CBD-rich cannabis takes CBD bioavailability up to the 15–20% range. This has become the most common consumption method for many cannabis cultivators. The lungs absorb the CBD for rapid relief. CBD-rich cannabis strains are available in a variety of CBD:THC ratios. Different strains work for different symptoms.
Vaporizing CBD takes you into 40–60% high bioavailability territory. Healthier and 3–4 times more effective than a roll-up, this is probably the way to go. These days, with 99% crystalline CBD isolate and an amazing array of vape tech available from e-liquid pens to desktop units, it’s never been more convenient.
HOW TO MICRODOSE CBD
There is no universal microdose of CBD anyone can recommend because every person has a unique ECS. Nor is there a formula for everyone to find the “sweet spot” microdose for CBD easily. All anyone can cite is anecdotal evidence. The truth is, discovering your personal ideal CBD microdose requires self-experimentation. At time of writing, microdosing CBD is DIY.
In this writer’s opinion, microdosing CBD is about to blow up! It’s only a matter of time before this wellness trend transitions to mainstream medicine. Microdosing psilocybin mushrooms is already on the way to becoming a recognised medical treatment for depression.