Researchers are investigating the supposed medical uses for cannabidiol (CBD), which is a non-psychoactive compound in cannabis, as Studies on psychoactive drugs are making a medical comeback after 50 years of stagnated progress. However, investigating CBD's therapeutic use is not an easy task since oral CBD formulations have extremely low rates of absorption.
Now, however, a team of scientists has demonstrated a novel microencapsulation method that increases the absorption and bioavailability of CBD. The new method was seen to increase peak concentrations of CBD in the brain by 300 percent compared to CBD oil in animal tests.
The new study was published in the journal PLOS ONE.
Low absorption levels for CBD oil
Bioavailability and dosing can be problematic when the CBD's effects on the brain are being investigated. This is a big issue since cannabidiol has been previously found to have therapeutic benefits for some brain disorders thanks to the fact that it reduces inflammation and acts as an antioxidant. However, it is hard for the body to absorb when it's taken orally.
CBD oil can result in plasma and tissue bioavailability as low as 6 percent when ingested. While sublingual dosing can result in higher levels of absorption, this can change a lot from person to person; making the dosage a big problem, New Atlas reports.
In order to combat this, scientists from Australia produced CBD microcapsules where the CBD was encapsulated in a gel.
Animal test results
The experiments were conducted on mice who were given the capsules combined with capsules of deoxycholic acid since it increases absorption in the body, per Scimex. The capsule method was used to protect the compounds from degradation in the stomach. The researchers measured levels of CBD in the mice's blood and brains after 20 minutes, one hour, and three hours.
The results were astonishing. When they compared the outcomes with the unencapsulated CBD oil, they saw that the devised method increased the amount of CBD in blood by an average of 47 percent.
The number was 25 percent higher in the brain. The researchers added that "with the new capsule combination, the peak concentration of CBD in the brain was 300 percent higher than with CBD oil", increasing the absorption and bioavailability of CBD greatly.
"The potential effect of DCA on the drastic reduction in brain CBD concentration is an interesting finding that requires further investigations," the researchers wrote in the study. "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."