The first few times you enjoy CBD can be a bit intimidating. How often are you supposed to take it? How do you consume it? Can you take CBD on an empty An increasing body of research makes it easier for us to understand how CBD works. Providing us with answers to questions as: ‘should I consume CBD oil drops with food or does it work better on an empty stomach?’
Can I Take CBD on an Empty Stomach?
The first few times you enjoy CBD can be a bit intimidating. How often are you supposed to take it? How do you consume it? Can you take CBD on an empty stomach?
All of these questions are valid in terms of consuming CBD, especially if you’ve never tried it before. Today, we’re going to focus on CBD consumption, specifically, what happens if you take CBD on an empty stomach. With our busy and fast-paced lives, sometimes consuming supplements without food just happens. But how does this affect our bodies if it’s CBD we’re taking? Let’s find out.
Consuming CBD is super easy to do, especially with the many products that are available on the market today. You have the choice to enjoy CBD oils, CBD edibles, CBD beverages, CBD softgels, and so many more products, depending on your personal preference. Before we talk about how these products react when consumed without food, let’s quickly talk about CBD consumption in general. This way, you know exactly what’s going on that first time you put CBD in your belly.
How the CBD travels throughout the body depends on the type of cannabidiol product you’re consuming. For example, consuming some CBD oil sublingually is going to act quite differently than a CBD edible does. These results are because manufacturing processes vary from product to product.
CBD oils, when taken sublingually, get absorbed into the bloodstream through the tissue underneath the tongue. Basically, cannabinoids get a fast-track into your blood, able to start working almost immediately after consumption. Here, using the bloodstream, the cannabinoids travel to areas that require its support, and you begin to feel effects shortly after. This quick onset time is a big reason why so many people choose to opt for sublingual consumption methods.
If we have a CBD edible, on the other hand, the process will be much slower. Just like with your food, your body has to digest the cannabidiol before it can get to work. So, after consumption, you must wait for your body to fully process the infused treat you ate. Once it digests, the cannabinoids will be absorbed by the liver and then travel throughout the bloodstream and do their duties. Thus, being patient with edible CBD products is absolutely crucial.
Unfortunately, some people misunderstand the onset time of effects. This causes them to consume more CBD than they may have liked, as the CBD just hadn’t kicked in by the time they finished another dose. Overconsumption is a good way to get your stomach feeling upset, so make sure to always give the CBD some time to work. When you do this, it allows your body to adjust to the new substances inside.
Is CBD Safe to Consume?
Sometimes, the thought of consuming a new substance like CBD can feel a little strange. A lot of people are left wondering if CBD is safe for us to consume in the first place! Thankfully, yes, CBD is safe for consumption.
In general, CBD is regarded as safe in the health and wellness sphere. The cannabinoid comes directly from a plant that, typically, doesn’t have any psychoactive or harmful properties. In 2018, the federal government legalized hemp for cultivation and production after seeing such benefits (and low risk) from the plant itself. Thus, hemp-derived CBD is also legal and considered safe for consumption.
Interestingly enough, CBD consumption tends to be safe for people of all ages. The elderly population has discovered serious support from CBD products, while parents of children who have incurable conditions see miraculous results from giving their kiddos cannabidiol. People from all sides of the spectrum can safely consume CBD — you just have to make sure you’re consuming responsibly.
As we mentioned above, overconsumption of CBD is usually when you see stomach upset or undesirable results. So, while CBD is definitely safe to consume, it doesn’t entirely come without adverse side effects. Though some people may never find any problems with CBD consumption, others may discover mild upset with too large of a dose. That’s why you always start as low as possible with a dosage and then make your way up as your body adjusts. Simply take your time.
What Happens if You Take CBD on an Empty Stomach?
If you’ve taken CBD on an empty stomach, don’t panic — nothing all that awful is going to happen. However, you may find yourself feeling a bit less comfortable than expected. Why? Because CBD acts best when consumed alongside a full belly.
When consuming CBD, as we mentioned, there’s a digestion process involved. Because the CBD has to be metabolised in the liver before releasing its properties (when taken orally), your stomach should have food already inside. When you take CBD with a bit of food, it makes it much easier for your stomach to break down and digest the cannabinoids, and less of the potency is lost by the time it reaches the liver. If you think about it, CBD works extra-hard in the body to give you the support it needs; having some just gives your body a bit of help, too.
So, what happens if you take CBD on an empty stomach? Thankfully, nothing too major.
When you take your dose of CBD without eating anything else, your stomach is going to struggle to digest the CBD oil. Along the same lines, your liver will also struggle to absorb the CBD. These factors combined make it extremely challenging for your body to digest correctly, likely leaving you to feel a little bit nauseous. In fact, it’s quite common for consumers to get a bit of stomach ache after consuming CBD on an empty stomach. Feeling queasy, having stomach cramps, and even vomiting have all been reported after CBD consumption without food.
However, just because you shouldn’t take your CBD on an empty stomach doesn’t mean you should take CBD with just anything. Adding CBD to a stomach full of high-sugar and high-starch foods will also likely affect the process, leaving you feeling a bit uneasy as well. This is because CBD acts best alongside healthy fats (hence why your CBD oils pair with coconut oils, typically) and even certain complex carbs. When they interact with these more nutritious foods, the cannabinoid can break down easier, react better, and leave your stomach feeling a whole lot more at ease.
If you take CBD on an empty stomach, nothing drastic will occur, and for some people, the body may act best without food in the belly. Some find taking their dose of CBD first thing in the morning is the best way to experience the full effects without anything in the stomach. But for others, that’s the exact route to a stomachache.
Typically, we do suggest taking CBD with food. If you find that this simply isn’t working for your digestive system, then try taking your dose of CBD on an empty stomach. After all, CBD is just as unique as you are.
Counteracting Uncomfortable Side Effects
Even though consuming CBD on an empty stomach can result in a few uncomfortable side effects, these side effects are quite easily combated.
In general, the side effects of CBD are pretty mild and can be prevented or treated through the use of everyday activities. If you consume too much CBD and find yourself feeling fatigued, nauseous, or dizzy, take the time to eat a nice meal. Eating a balanced (somewhat nutritious) meal can sometimes be exactly what your body needs to get itself back on track. This can especially be efficacious if your stomach is upset due to a lack of food. Make a quick snack, eat it slowly, and let your body decompress just a bit.
If eating a meal isn’t enough to remedy these uncomfortable side effects, try sipping on some water or tea. Again, these everyday choices can do wonders for your mind and body, easing the kind of imbalance you’re going through.
As a whole, you want to be cognizant about what you’re putting in your body during this time of discomfort. Of course, it was likely the lack of food in the first place that’s causing you to feel pain or nausea! So, turn to a small, healthy snack to try to give your body what it’s asking for. If your stomach is upset from CBD, don’t turn to some fried chicken or a cheeseburger from McDonald’s. Instead, eat a granola bar, some nuts, or even fish if you have it. Trust us: your body will thank you!
The most important thing to remember when experiencing this stomach upset is that it won’t last forever. The effects of CBD are only temporary, and they don’t last very long whatsoever. As long as you’re actively making choices to benefit your mind and body, you should be just fine.
Different Types of CBD Have Different Reactions
The last thing we will discuss regarding CBD consumption is the different types of CBD products. Primarily, we’ve been focusing on the effects of CBD oil, either taken sublingually or orally. However, if you have a CBD edible that contains a good amount of healthy fats, there’s a good chance you won’t have to consume any food alongside these types of products.
As you can imagine, CBD edibles are a kind of product made to be consumed. They are foods and snacks that companies have infused with varying amounts of CBD to make them productive and potent. Some people may find that consuming a small CBD edible on an empty stomach might cause a bit of upset, but this usually isn’t the case. CBD edibles are one of the few CBD products that most people can safely consume any time of day — whether you’ve eaten already or not. And, again, this is because they’re food products themselves!
Other products, like CBD capsules and tinctures, don’t have the luxury of coming with such sustenance. Thus, it becomes a lot more crucial for you to consume those forms of CBD alongside some food, as it gives the cannabinoids the buffer they need.
However, if you’ve never tried CBD before and you want to see how edibles do, we do suggest eating your edible after having a small snack. This way, you’re giving your body a chance to absorb the new substance just a little bit better.
CBD Consumption Conclusions
So, what have we learned about CBD consumption? Primarily, you want to make sure you’re consuming your lovely CBD products with a bit of food in the stomach. Though consuming CBD on an empty stomach isn’t going to kill you, it can cause some severe discomfort that no one deserves to go through. When you take the time to ensure your belly is (somewhat) full of healthy fats and complex carbs, your CBD products can work flawlessly.
Don’t be too intimidated by consuming CBD. Just like most medications, supplements, or vitamins, CBD may cause just slight stomach upset — that’s all. This mild discomfort is easily combated and tends to go away quite quickly. But, if you find that your stomach reacts this way every time you try CBD, that may be a sign that CBD simply isn’t for you. If that’s the case, contact your health care practitioner to discuss other options you may have.
Is it better to take CBD oil with food or on an empty stomach?
There is still a lot to be discovered about CBD and the way it works in the body. Although each person reacts differently to the substance, there’s always some science applicable to all consumers. And while we long had to rely on anecdotal proof of how CBD actually works; an increasing body of scientific research makes it easier for us to understand the plant’s substance now. Providing us with answers to questions as: ‘should I consume CBD oil drops with food or does it work better on an empty stomach?’
As you might know, most CBD products are best consumed multiple times a day. In the morning, around lunchtime and at night before you go to bed – for example. Though something you might not’ve considered, is that your body processes your CBD oil drops differently on those various occasions. Mostly because of the biological variables we provide the Cannabidiol (CBD) to work with.
For instance, you might take your CBD drops on an empty stomach when you wake up; on top of a light lunch during the afternoon and after a serious meal at night. Even though it might look like this won’t make a big difference, nothing could be further from the truth. As science proves, the food you might or might not have eaten does impact the way CBD is processed by the body. And consequently, the way it affects the body.
How CBD works in the body
To understand why that is, we have to look at the way the body absorbs Cannabidiol. More specifically, we focus on CBD’s bioavailability and how that might be influenced by the ‘first-pass-effect’. Bioavailability means the ratio in which a substance becomes actively available where it’s needed, after consumption. Or in other words, how much and how fast CBD actually reaches the bloodstream after you take the oil.
And as you might’ve learned in one of our other blogs – about the water-soluble CBDactive+ for example – Cannabidiol in itself generally has a very low bioavailability. Even when it’s diluted with a carrier oil, like hemp seed oil or olive oil.
In fact, regular CBD oils provide a bioavailability of just 6-12% of the consumed Cannabidiol. Which means that much of the consumed cannabinoid is actually broken down by the body before it can make a difference; in something we call the ‘first-pass-effect’. Considering the fatty molecules have a hard time traveling through the mouth’s tissue; regular CBD oils need to pass through the digestive system before they can be processed by the liver.
There, the body breaks the consumed cannabinoids down into over 100 different metabolites. All with the help of the so-called P450 cytochrome enzymes. Though unfortunately, the body breaks down and excretes much of these metabolites before they reach the bloodstream. With a low bioavailability of the product as a result. Meaning you might need more CBD oil to reach the desired effect; compared to CBD products with a higher bioavailability; like CBDactive+.
Taking CBD oil drops with food
Though as science shows, there is an easy and cheap way to make the substance more effective; and that is to take your CBD oil combined with food. Proven by researchers of the University of Minnesota, consuming CBD with food could possibly avoid the first-pass-effect and increase the efficacy of the drops you take.
This research was performed on eight adult participants with therapy-resistant epilepsy; and focussed on exploring the impact food has on CBD’s effects. For the experiment, participants received ‘one dose of 99% pure CBD capsules’. In other words, capsules filled with CBD isolate crystals. And they were instructed to consume it on an empty stomach, as well as after a fatty meal (840-860 calories). Blood plasma levels were noted immediately after taking the CBD and again several days later.
As the results show, the body absorbs four times more Cannabidiol – and much faster too – when consumed with fatty food than it does on an empty stomach. And despite of the relatively small size of the study, it does in fact confirm what we know about the absorption-rate of fats and oils.
Fatty acids and CBD
This study’s results are backed by a review done by the Harvard Medical School – which focused on the bioavailability of fatty acids in the body. Which showed that conventional fats and oils act as energy-rich and quick-acting fuel.
Accordingly, the body absorbs fatty food faster and so avoids that part of it is broken down by the ‘first-pass-effect’. In most cases, CBD is diluted with a carrier oil consisting of organic fats or fatty acids. However, this is often not enough to protect the CBD from the P450 enzymes. Thus it might be advisable to start taking your CBD after you’ve eaten; or combine it with fat foods as fish, avocado, nuts, red meats and coconut oil to name a few.
More effective CBD
On the other hand, there are products available, especially developed to reach maximum bioavailability. Take our CBDactive+ for example, a water-soluble CBD extract with all cannabinoids and terpenes needed for the best entourage effect. Due to the chemical make-up of the active ingredients in this product, it completely avoids being ‘attacked’ by the P450 enzymes; and is absorbed for the full 100 percent. Accordingly, this means that a CBDactive+ product with 4% CBD is comparable to a regular CBD oil of 40% in terms of effects.
Summarizing, it might be advisable to increase the number of healthy fatty acids you consume daily to increase the effects from regular CBD oils. Another possibility, is switching to a hemp product with a high bioavailability like CBDactive+. All depending on what you’d like to achieve with the use of the cannabinoid supplement, of course.
Need help finding the right product for your personal needs? Get in touch – we love to help!