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Can You Eat CBD on an Empty Stomach?

Cannabis has been an integral component of humanity’s medicinal practices since time immemorial—the first documented use of cannabis traces back to 2800 BC in China. Emperor Shen Nung—regarded as the father of Chinese medicine—is believed to have extensively used marijuana in his medical practices. 

In recent times, the popularity of cannabis compounds has soared tremendously. Technological advancements have made it possible to extract naturally occurring cannabis compounds. Around 1940, the first successful attempt to isolate a cannabinoid from cannabis plant material led to cannabidiol’s (CBD) discovery.

Currently, scientific studies indicate CBD shows promise in combating chronic pain, inflammation, stress, anxiety, and neurological disorders

It is also a popular supplement in the sports and health and wellness sectors. Athletes and fitness enthusiasts leverage its curative qualities to accelerate muscle recovery, treat joint pains, and improve sleep quality, among other conditions. 

While topical application and vaping are popular, eating CBD is the most popular way to use it. In medicine, doctors usually recommend taking pills after eating. Does this apply to CBD too? Read on to find out.


Does an empty stomach affect your CBD experience?

The concept of taking medicine on a full (or empty) stomach has a scientific basis. It all revolves around the effects of food on the body. 

Undoubtedly, food triggers wide-ranging changes in our bodies, including increasing the blood supply in the gut system and raising acidity and bile levels. Naturally, what you eat affects how your body absorbs drugs. 

Also, some substances can irritate the stomach’s protective lining, causing stomach discomfort, ulcers, inflammation, and indigestion. Such types should ideally be taken with food or after eating. A glass of milk, a sandwich, or fruit is usually enough.

Medications taken “before food” are usually those whose action mechanisms are affected by food. For example, taking drugs with food may affect their absorption in the gastrointestinal tract, making them less effective. 

With CBD, it is recommended that you take it with food or on a full stomach. 

The logic behind this is simple: CBD has a high affinity for fat, so taking it with food or on a full stomach, especially after a fatty meal, increases the amount digested and absorbed into the bloodstream. 

Taking CBD with or after food also implies that it stays in the gut longer, allowing much of it to be absorbed into the bloodstream.

When drugs go through the digestive tract, they undergo first-pass metabolism in the intestinal walls, followed by portal circulation and the liver. As substances move through the GI tract, they are broken down into useful metabolites that the body needs and can absorb. 

Whatever remains is converted into inactive metabolites that the body cannot absorb and therefore ejects as waste. 

The downside of this process is that it reduces the overall quantity of a substance reaching the systemic circulation. CBD’s oral bioavailability is roughly 6% in humans, which is low compared to THC. For this reason, it is usually more beneficial to take CBD sublingually.

There is no problem, per se, associated with taking CBD on an empty stomach. However, there have been reports of minor side effects such as dizziness, diarrhea, and nausea.


Understanding bioavailability

Drug bioavailability is a term used in pharmacology to describe the rate and extent to which an active moiety (e.g., a metabolite or drug) is absorbed into the systemic circulation, thereby accessing the target site.

Typically, bioavailability is determined by several factors, such as drug design, method of administration, and dosage. 

Generally, orally administered drugs have low bioavailability due to first-pass metabolism. The implication is that the drug is metabolized before sufficient plasma concentrations are attained. Low bioavailability is common with poorly water-soluble, low absorption, orally administered drugs.

Because CBD is often synthesized in oil form, it is hardly soluble in water. This significantly affects its bioavailability, though other factors like age, sex, and history of use can also play a role.

As mentioned earlier, CBD’s bioavailability is quite low (6%), so underdosing can also compound this problem.

This can be mitigated by using MCT oil as a carrier element. MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) oil has shorter-chained and smaller molecules than typical oils. This means they are digested and absorbed more quickly into the bloodstream.

Another way to increase CBD oil’s bioavailability is via sublingual administration.

This method simply means placing the required amount of CBD oil under the tongue and holding it for a moment (roughly 40-60 seconds) before swallowing. This gives more time for CBD to be absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the rich network of capillaries under the tongue. 

Sublingual administration also enables CBD to bypass first-pass metabolism, resulting in more CBD entering your systemic circulation.


Is it better to take CBD oil before or after meals?

Take CBD oil after meals. There are several merits to doing so. 

For starters, taking CBD oil after meals means it gets food in the stomach. Broadly speaking, food takes 6-8 hours to go through the entire digestive system, i.e., the stomach, small intestines, and colon. 

So when you take CBD oil after a meal, it spends more time in the digestive system, leading to substantially higher quantities being digested and absorbed into the circulation. It is even better when you take CBD oil with a fatty meal since it strongly binds to fat molecules. This increases bioavailability.

Generally, taking CBD oil after meals means 30 minutes to an hour after eating. This ensures digestion is already underway, and the CBD passes through the digestive system faster.

What foods work best with CBD oil?

Fatty foods are the best for taking CBD oil. However, eat foods rich in healthy fats such as avocado, fatty fish, dark chocolate, cheese, nuts, chia seeds, whole eggs, beans, and olive oil.

Since CBD is fat-soluble, it binds well with fat molecules. In fact, some anecdotal evidence suggests that taking CBD with fatty foods may increase its bioavailability by up to five times.

Our Premium CBD Drops, for instance, will act better when taken with fatty foods. However, for best results, we recommend sublingual application as it maximizes bioavailability and gets directly into your bloodstream.  

These drops are ideal for people who prefer a no-frills approach to CBD. They’re available in broad and full spectrum versions and three strength levels to ensure everyone’s preference is met. Are you looking to calm your mind and soothe your body? This premium hemp CBD mixed in MCT oil is your best bet.


Can you eat CBD on an empty stomach?

Yes, you can eat CBD on an empty stomach. However, this may reduce its efficacy for several reasons. 

One, an empty stomach exposes CBD to the effects of the first-pass metabolism and significantly reduces its bioavailability.

Two, some people experience adverse side effects like nausea and dizziness when they take CBD on an empty stomach. However, these are often short-term and resolve as soon as they eat something.

Three, you do not need to eat a whole meal to take CBD. A glass of milk, a fruit, or a snack is often enough to prepare you for CBD. So, why take CBD on an empty stomach?


Should I take my CBD with or without food?

For best results, it is advisable to take your CBD with food. Fatty foods are the best, but make sure the fat is healthy. This is not carte blanche to stuff yourself with foods high in bad fats, like trans fats. Trans fats do not have any health benefits, so any amount is unhealthy, no matter how little.

Saturated fats are also not ideal because they can increase cholesterol levels, tipping your fat profile toward the more unsafe LDL cholesterol. This can lead to arterial blockages in the heart and other parts of the body. This is why nutrition experts do not recommend taking more than 10% of calories from saturated fat.

In any case, you probably use CBD to better your health and overall wellness. So it renders the whole exercise moot to use harmful fat when taking CBD. 


Should I take CBD gummies on an empty stomach?

This depends on your objectives. Cannabis users have reportedly noticed—anecdotally—that eating cannabis edibles on an empty stomach tends to boost their strength.

Eating cannabis edibles on an empty stomach implies there is little substance in the small intestines competing with the cannabinoids for absorption, which theoretically might enhance the effects.

Greater potency might, of course, be advantageous or detrimental, depending on your objectives. Higher potency levels may cause some users to experience unpleasant side effects like nervousness or drowsiness. 

However, eating edibles on an empty stomach may enable a cannabis user with better tolerance to get the same effects from a lower dose, lowering the overall wellness expense.

Our Premium CBD Gummies, for example, should be taken with food to see the best results. One or two pieces after each meal will be enough to help you go through your day stress-free and focused.

These delicious gummies, available in broad and full spectrum options, come in three tasty flavors and your trusted dose of organic CBD. These gummies are designed to help you relax and get through your day with ease.