F.A.Q Series: Can I Use CBD On an Empty Stomach?

Most oral medications are required to be taken along with food i.e. not on an empty stomach but, with a few, you may be encouraged to use them first thing in the morning, before eating. So, what’s the deal with CBD – should you be eating them with food or on an empty stomach?

As always, let’s get straight to the point. If you use tinctures and oils under the tongue, whether you have eaten or not is of little consequence as the majority of the CBD is absorbed in capillaries under the tongue thus by passing the digestive system. This is also true of topicals, transdermal and vaping products all of which also bypass the digestive system in some way.

In short, yes, you can use any kind of CBD product either with or without having eaten but, does it make a difference?

Why Would Food Make a Difference?

 This question only become relevant if you gain your CBD through oral/eating methods which include CBD in capsules, gels and gummies. In these cases of oral consumption, CBD does pass through the digestion tract before being absorbed into the blood steam thus materials (food) in this tract can impact absorption rates for CBD as well as the bioavailability of the molecule i.e. the amount of CBD the reaches your blood VS the amount that was originally ingested.

Orally consumed or ‘edible’ CBD typically has the lowest bioavailability of all methods (but is convenient in other ways) and this is due to something called ‘first pass metabolism’ which refers to the initial flow from the digestive tract to the liver where drugs, other molecules and of course CBD, are partially broken down. Only after this ‘first pass’ does CBD then make it to the blood stream, this a substantial amount of CBD is metabolised and broken down before ever reaching your blood to produce effects. This process greatly reduces bioavailability.

Can Food Increase Oral CBD Bioavailability?

One potential way to improve the relatively low bioavailability of oral methods is through the addition of foods high in fatty acids. CBD is a fat-soluble molecule so by making fats more available in the digestive tract you can alter CBD absorption rates.


The Final Word

The use of sublingual oils vapes, or topicals/transdermal products is unlikely to be affected by your consumption of food – these products will be as effective whether or not you have just eaten. However, orally consumed CBD such as in the form of capsules, gels and gummies may be affected by food. On an empty stomach you may increase the rate at which CBD produces an effect but reduce the bioavailability of the compound. Conversely, eating food along with oral CBD may reduce the rate of effect but ultimately increase the bioavailability of CBD. The choice of eating or not alongside using oral CBD is entirely up to you and both options are perfectly safe.

If you are ever concerned about using CBD or purchasing CBD online from a company you aren’t sure about, even if it is nothing to do with Dr. Ed®, feel free to reach out to our support team to lend a hand. Head to our Contact page to speak to us or send us a message over web chat or on social media.

1 comment

Good afternoon.
I hope your all well!
I’ve been recommended to you from bev Clifford anyhow I am currently looking for an alternative to taking my medication I’ve been recommended CBD but need to fork out to last a full month, I currently suffer from some nearve damage and now looking for the alternatives out now I also suffer from insomnia

From the information above is there anything that you would recommend please

John August 16, 2023

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