Should you be putting CBD in food and drink?

Should you be putting CBD in food and drink?

Sabina King on Jul 12th 2019

There are many reasons people love CBD oil drops: easy dosing, convenient and versatile because you can take it in so many ways. Some people enjoy taking it sublingually or under the tongue, while others prefer to add it to their coffees, cocktails or meals. People that take CBD usually do it to gain some benefits from it: whether that’s relaxation, immune support or pain relief. But can these benefits be gained from CBD drops even when they’re mixed into food and drink?

What are CBD drops and do they work?

CBD drops or CBD tinctures are essentially liquids with a high concentration of CBD. The CBD will be emulsified into another carrier oil, and a few other ingredients may be present too, like flavoring. Hempure CBD drops contain broad-spectrum CBD, MCT oil, non-GMO sunflower lecithin and natural essential oils for flavoring. Tinctures have long been used in herbal medicine as a method of ingestion, and they do work. It is an effective way to reap the benefits of CBD for those who would prefer not to take capsules or vape. What benefits are these?

How effective are CBD drops?

Benefits of Taking CBD Tinctures

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When discussing efficacy, what we primarily think about is bioavailability. Bioavailability refers to the amount of an unchanged substance (usually a medicine) that reaches its target organ. When it comes to CBD, the bioavailability would refer to the amount of unchanged CBD that reaches your body’s endocannabinoid system. When you take CBD drops sublingually, studies suggest that your system absorbs about 12-35% of it successfully.[1] This is actually a pretty high percentage considering the fact that CBD is hydrophobic and doesn’t dissolve into water. When taking CBD sublingually, one must place the drops under the tongue, hold for 60-90 seconds, and then swallow. Mucus membranes under the tongue absorb the CBD and then disperse it right into the bloodstream, allowing it to take effect.

How effective are CBD drops in food and drink?

When one mixes CBD into their meals or drinks, the bioavailability drops to 4-20%. There are several reasons for this.


While the substance is exactly the same, it doesn’t enter your bloodstream in the same way when it’s mixed in with food or drink. When you ingest CBD orally, it has to travel through the digestive system and be metabolized by the liver before it can reach the bloodstream. Scientists refer to this as ‘first-pass metabolism’. At every stage of first-pass metabolism, some amount of CBD is lost. This is why pharmaceutical companies often take first pass metabolism into account when formulating drugs.

Improper mixing

It would be best to add CBD to something that contains oil, since the compound binds to fats. However, most drinks do not contain oil, which means the CBD might be left sitting on top of the drink and not mixed into it. If you’ve ever had a beverage that contains oil, you’ll know that this will probably end up sticking to the cup and not enter your system.

Temperature changes

CBD lattes are growing quite popular in cafes across the US. However, it’s important to note that while delicious, they are unlikely to provide much therapeutic benefit if served hot. A study analyzing the stability of cannabinoids in cannabis tea found that CBD could lose some potency when exposed to heat.[2]

What can you do?

If you like the idea of mixing CBD into your food and drink, there are some things you can do to ensure better absorption. But it is key to note that if you are taking CBD on a doctor’s recommendations or to achieve some specific therapeutic benefits, you might be better off taking the drops sublingually or opting for another method of consumption, like capsules. When taking CBD for wellness, dosing issues aren’t as important. Here’s what you can do to make the most of your CBD drops:

Choose a brand with broad-spectrum CBD

how is broad-spectrum CBD different?

Broad-spectrum CBD is CBD with other plant compounds from hemp. In comparison, CBD isolate is pure CBD with no other compounds. It may seem like you need CBD isolate to reap the most benefits, but research suggests the opposite. When taken together, all the compounds of the hemp plant increase the bioavailability of CBD. You could compare this to the way calcium is better absorbed when taken with vitamin D, or iron with folicacid. Researchers call this the entourage effect.

Add CBD Drops to Your Coffee

Choose a brand with a good carrier oil

Some carriers may work better than others. For instance, MCT oil (which is very Use more CBD popular among fitness enthusiasts and biohackers) is known for its ability to be rapidly absorbed by the body. MCT oil is a fat that functions like a carbohydrate, and several people already add MCT oil to their ‘ bulletproof coffee’. CBD emulsified into MCT oil will be faster absorbed by the body.

An obvious solution to the lower rates of bioavailability would be to simply add more CBD drops. For instance, if you’d like 10mg of CBD in your iced latte, try adding 30mg. This makes it more likely that 10mg will be absorbed by your system. It might make sense to purchase a separate bottle of CBD drops just for mixing into food and drink, so you don’t deplete your usual dose.

Add your own CBD

A popular trend right now is ‘CBD infused’ goods. CBD chocolates, burgers and mocktails are all the rage in restaurants and bars. The downside to this is that you probably won’t know the brand of CBD the establishment uses, and whether it’s reputable. Secondly, you don’t know how much CBD they’d be using. If you're buying something cooked, it probably won’t be very potent either. You’d be better off ordering a regular burger and taking your CBD along with it.

When a new product is gaining traction in the media, it’s common for companies to jump on the trending bandwagon and capitalize. With adequate information, you can make sure that you spend your money in the right places, while still gaining all the incredible benefits CBD has to offer!

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