GW investigates CBD absorption and drinking

Researchers study how CBD consumption is affected by dietary choices.
Medical Team
Written by Medical Team, Leafreport's Clinician Team
Last Updated
CBD research

As we know, pinning down the right amount of CBD intake for the average user is no simple matter. First of all, because pinning down the characteristics of this ‘average user’ is not simple to begin with. Needless to say, this represents a relevant and worthwhile aspect of scientific research in regards to the consumption of cannabinoids.

Scientists at GW, the company responsible for manufacturing FDA-approved cannabinoid medicaments such as Sativex and Epidiolex, have recently published a study assessing the pharmacokinetics of CBD consumption. The study, published on February, 3rd 2020, was conducted on a sample of 30 people and presented five different meal variables: highly caloric meals, low caloric meals, consumption of whole milk, consumption of alcohol and, as reference condition, fasted state. In other words, they attempted finding out how different types of meal can affect CBD absorption in a healthy adult’s body. By dosing of 750 mg of CBD, and then collecting blood samples up to four days after administering the cannabinoid, the research team monitored the levels of cannabidiol exposure manifested by its sample. Each person underwent this dosing in three of the five possible conditions.

Scientists found out that, in comparison to fasting, a highly caloric meal before consuming CBD increased the substance’s absorbability up to four times. A low calorie meal would present similar but less intense effects, increasing absorption by roughly three times. Having consumed half a liter of milk incremented the patient’s exposure to the substance by 240%, in comparison to the reference condition and the ingestion of five doses of alcohol (roughly, 40 grams) raised absorbability by 160% circa. However, in terms of the medical effects of cannabidiol, no relevant difference was observed across the sample. The only variance detected was the duration of presence of CBD-metabolites in the body: while they were present for only four hours in the fasted individuals, the alcohol group showed a pattern of ten more hours of detectability. In other words, consuming alcohol made people’s system ‘digest’ CBD over a longer time-span. The very high dose of cannabidiol administered reportedly gave minor discomforts (like headache, tiredness or nausea) to roughly half of the sample. However, considering the fasted state everyone was tested on, or the ingestion of five portions of alcohol after going with no food for ten hours, these adverse effects are not surprising, and were not considered of scientific relevance.

As it was already known, cannabinoids tend to bind with fats, so these findings might not be very surprising for those close to the industry. However, it is interesting to notice how the increased exposure of the body to the cannabinoid did not translate into a relevant difference in its clinical effects. This study provides a lead for a possible conceptualization of CBD’s posology, but leaves open the question of how to increment the medical effects of cannabidiol in the patients.


Medical Team
Medical Team
Leafreport's Clinician Team
The clinicians in our team bring their experience from across the spectrum of medical specialties, as well as their perspective from years of clinical practice, research, and patient advocacy. Medical Review, provided by members of Leafreport’s team, ensures that our content is accurate, current, and patient-focused.

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