Bioavailability of CBD: Choosing the Most Effective Product

With an increasing number of states following suit, the medical cannabis market is growing as is the array of products and methods to administer them. As the medical benefits of cannabidiol (CBD) become more well known and established, companies across the country are finding new types of products to provide relief from pain, anxiety, nausea and more. But what is the most effective way to deliver CBD to where you need it most? It all comes down to the bioavailability of CBD and the first pass effect.

In this article we will explain what the bioavailability of CBD means, how first pass metabolism works, and the pros and cons of different CBD products to ensure you are able to make an informed purchase of Habit Crafted products.


What Does Bioavailability Mean?

First off, what does bioavailability mean? Bioavailability is defined as “the degree to which a drug or other substance becomes available to the target tissue after administration.” Basically, depending on how you consume a substance will determine how much of it is actually absorbed into the body.

As we mentioned before, the second factor in the effectiveness of a CBD product is first pass metabolism, also known as the first pass effect. The first pass effect occurs during the metabolism of a drug. Before CBD can reach the circulatory system and deliver its medicinal benefits, it must go through the enzymes of the gastrointestinal lumen, bacterial enzymes, gut wall enzymes and hepatic enzymes. After being broken down so many times, the amount of CBD left to circulate in the body is greatly reduced. This is the main reason why oral CBD products, like capsules, have such low bioavailability.

Now that we know what bioavailability and the first pass effect are, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of different CBD products and how they compare based on these two factors.


What are the Pros and Cons of Different CBD Products?

At Habit, we’ve created a myriad of products to suit your medicinal needs –– from topical CBD to tinctures. So which one is right for you?



For centuries, humans have used certain plant extracts as a means to relieve pain naturally and effectively. By incorporating this ancient knowledge with modern science, Habit has developed a uniquely formulated topical CBD to use with our largest and most outward of organs –– our skin.

But how do topicals work? Rather than smoking medical marijuana or ingesting it orally, which will affect the entire body and can take up to 2 hours to experience the full effects, topical CBD allows you to apply cannabinoids to where you need them most. This form of CBD is a good starting point for new medical marijuana users who want to avoid the psychoactive effects of cannabis and only benefit from the therapeutic effects. Non-psychoactivity is possible because the cannabinoids in topicals bind to CB2 receptors near the skin, activating the endocannabinoid system, and are never actually absorbed into the bloodstream.

Topicals are effective for the management of difficult and chronic pain like those from arthritis and rheumatism. Keep in mind, human skin has a low absorption rate for cannabinoids, so the coverage and dose need to be large enough to remain effective through this barrier.      

Habit – Topical Warming Therapy 200mg 



CBD capsules are one of the most common vessels for administering medicinal cannabis products. Taking a cannabinoid orally can make it easier for consumers to incorporate the CBD into their food and make it more easily digestible. Despite this ease however, capsules are also the most inconsistent.

This has even been documented in a number of clinical trials. One in particular was conducted on patients with Huntington’s disease. The patients were given about 700 mg orally throughout each day for 6 weeks, yet the mean amount of CBD found in their blood plasma ranged from only 5.9 ng/ml to 11.2 ng/ml. As we mentioned before, due to the first pass effect, the oral bioavailability for CBD is very low.


Vapor and Isolate

This form of medicinal cannabis use is definitely the most well known. It also provides the benefit of attaining a higher bioavailability. Habit has created both distillate cartridges and independent concentrates. Both of these are solvent free and refined from locally sourced, sustainably grown organic cannabis, offering an extremely clean and effective CBD experience.

Inhaling cannabinoids has been researched in a few clinical studies. One study in particular compared the clinical effects of eating a cookie infused with THC and CBD versus smoking them. In the study, bioavailability of CBD after inhalation was about 18% whereas the bioavailability after oral consumption was only 6%, making it safe to say that vapor and isolates are effective means of receiving the full benefits of CBD.     

Habit/cbd – Pure CBD Disposable Vapor Pen



For thousands of years, natural essential oils have been widely used by ancient civilizations. Now, modern science is uncovering and validating their beliefs that nature holds the power to heal our bodies and minds, safely and effectively.  

One of the main benefits of a tincture is the ease of consumption. All you have to do is place a few drops of the tincture solution from an eyedropper under your tongue. Leave the solution under the tongue to be absorbed, not swallowed. This method is known as sublingual absorption.

Tinctures, or essential oils, are viewed as the most effective means of utilizing the sublingual route for CBD administration. Why are they so effective? Since tinctures enter the body through sublingual absorption, they are able to bypass first pass metabolism because of the large amount of capillaries below the tongue. In a study that compared the bioavailability of oral and sublingual CBD solutions, the results showed that the CBD that was sublingually absorbed illustrated significantly higher bioavailability than the CBD that was taken orally.

Inspired by these clinical and preclinical studies, Habit has created unique proprietary blends using the most powerful and effective essential oils in the world. These tinctures are formulated to amplify the mental and physical healing capacities of cannabinoids, effectively expanding the range of therapeutic benefits.

Habit/cbd Daytime Tincture 300mg, 3,000mg CBD Blends

So What is the Most Effective CBD Product?

In terms of bioavailability, inhalation and sublingual absorption are the most efficient in delivering CBD to the bloodstream. In order to reap the full benefits of these medicinal products, especially when you are experiencing symptoms that require fast relief and high levels of CBD, Habit has created both vapor and tincture products for our customers.

Although medicinal CBD usage isn’t a one size fits all market, you should now have the knowledge you need to confidently choose the correct product for your needs.


Want to learn even more about what goes into our products? Check out these 3rd party CBD lab results to discover what we’re made of: Lab Results