Self-emulsifying drug delivery system sees faster absorption and increased bioavailability for humans to absorb CBD
Cannabidiol (CBD) is increasingly being used to support many areas of health including mood, joints, healthy sleep, and a normal inflammatory response. However, CBD is known to have limited oral bioavailability.1
That’s why a recent study published in the journal Molecules sought to determine whether the absorption of CBD could be improved by using a more effective delivery system.2 The novel self-emulsifying drug delivery system (SEDDS) used in the study makes it easier for CBD to be absorbed without the addition of oils.
This SEDDS VESIsorb® formulation technology incorporates CBD as hemp extract and allows it to be absorbed through a lymphatic absorption pathway rather than through the gastrointestinal tract.
Here’s what the Molecules study found:
- Single oral administration of SEDDS-CBD led to greater blood plasma levels of CBD and increased bioavailability to absorb CBD compared with the control CBD.
- Faster absorption occurred with SEDDS-CBD compared to a control formulation of CBD.
- Normally, CBD is better absorbed in women compared to men. However, the SEDDS-CBD significantly reduced this gender difference.
Bioavailability to absorb CBD
CBD is lipophilic, which means it dissolves in fats. That’s why blood plasma concentrations and bioavailability are higher when taken with food. CBD also undergoes first-pass metabolism, which means its concentrations are greatly reduced after it is metabolized by the liver and before it is able to reach the systemic circulation.² Furthermore, CBD is absorbed differently in different people and its absorption can even vary within the same person.2
Researchers have been trying to improve the delivery system of CBD for more consistent and effective results. Their research has led to the development of SEDDS, a mixture of oils and surfactants that improves gastrointestinal absorption of CBD.2 Past studies have shown that VESIsorb®, a type of SEDDS technology, boosts oral bioavailability of other lipophilic molecules such as coenzyme Q10 (ubiquinone).3 In the current study, researchers investigated whether this same technology could improve oral absorption of CBD.
Study: New delivery system helps humans absorb CBD
Authors of the Molecules study administered to 16 healthy volunteers (eight men and eight women) a single oral dose of CBD that used the VESIsorb® SEDDS technology standardized to 25 mg as hemp extract.2 The same hemp extract diluted with MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) oil served as a control.
The study was a randomized, double-blind, cross-over study, meaning the subjects received one formulation (SEDDS CBD or the control MCT CBD) on one day, then were switched over to the opposite formulation after a 14-day break. The participants took the CBD on an empty stomach after 10 hours of overnight fasting to prevent any effect food may have had on absorption.
Single oral administration of the SEDDS CBD led to 4.4-fold higher blood plasma levels of CBD compared to the control CBD formula. The SEDDS CBD also resulted in improved bioavailability. Additionally, the SEDDS CBD was absorbed faster, with 87.5% of subjects showing peak levels in one hour after taking the SEDDS CBD compared to a median of three hours for the MCT-CBD control formula. Normally in regard to the endocannabinoid system, CBD is absorbed more easily in women compared to men.
However, this gender difference was considerably less pronounced with the SEDDS CBD.
According to the researchers, “To conclude, SEDDS-CBD based on VESIsorb® formulation technology offers a novel, good, tolerable, and effective oral cannabinoid delivery system. CBD has a number of potential health benefits; however, our data demonstrated that unless the SEDDS formulation is used, there is relatively poor bioavailability of the standard CBD formulations (e.g., hemp extract diluted with MCT oil) and could lead to diminished benefits (or no benefit) for this natural product.”
CHRIS D. MELETIS, ND, is an educator, international author and lecturer. His personal mission is “Changing World’s Health, One Person at a Time.” He is widely recognized as a world-renowned expert on the science of CBD and has authored 16 books and more than 200 national scientific articles. He can be contacted at drmeletis.com.