Oil and water do not mix. CBD, or cannabidiol, is a plant based compound which means that is an oil derivative and therefore not soluble in water. This is why CBD is much more commonly available in oil-based products such as creams and lotions that can be topically applied to the skin where it is absorbed directly into the bloodstream.
This oil based formulation also makes CBD suitable for use in atomizers or vaporizes such as vaping. Through vaping, the CBD is absorbed into the bloodstream via the lungs. Both the topical and vaping CBD delivery systems are highly effective and ensure a high rate of absorption of the product. This is because the processes bypass the digestive tract.
CBD edibles such as baked goods, gummies as well as pills and capsules are not as easily absorbed by the body. This is because the oil-based compound is not water soluble and therefore not as easily absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract or colon and then metabolized by the liver.
It basically means that much of the CBD that is being consumed is lost and expelled as waste by the body. CBD edibles have therefore been considered to be far less effective in delivering the benefits than CBD oil that is applied either topically or vaped.
However, that has been until recently. New extraction methods and refining processes are being adopted to ensure that CBD is water soluble and therefore easier for the body to absorb and that less is wasted.
But what does water soluble mean and how is this achieved on a plant based compound that is an oily substance?
Oil and water do not mix. A product that is not water soluble can therefore not be dissolved in water in order to promote the absorption process in the digestive tract. However, when the CBD particles are refined to the extent that they are small enough, they act as though they are dissolved in water.
This means that these tiny particles are not actually dissolved but infused into water and are simply small enough to act as if they were water soluble. CBD products that state that they are water soluble are therefore not truly water soluble.
So are these smaller particles more easily absorbed than the oil-based compounds that are far more widely available?
The simple answer is yes – smaller particles are more easily absorbed into the body than larger particles. Less of the beneficial health properties of CBD are lost through the digestive and metabolic processes of the body than with regular oil-based CBD.
However, whether this only applies to better absorption through the digestive tract or of it applies to the skin and lungs too is yet to be established. Research is currently being conducted into just how much better water soluble CBD is to increase absorption and therefore the benefits of CBD.
This research is also important in determining which ailments or health conditions are best treated with water soluble CBD vs. oil-based CBD. For example, water soluble CBD may be found to be better for treating mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression whereas oil-based, topical CBD may be more effective for pain relief in muscles and joints.