The Importance of Biological Availability in Medicinal Cannabis

The term “bioavailability” refers to the degree to which a living organism absorbs a substance and the extent to which the substance is available for physiological activity. In the case of cannabis, it indicates the degree to which the body absorbs cannabinoids and experiences effects. In other words, bioavailability determines how “high” you get or how effective your medication is. The bioavailability of medicinal cannabis is particularly dependent on the method of consumption. Certain methods make cannabinoids more effective and therefore better for pain or discomfort for which you want relief. Do you use medicinal marijuana? If so, understanding bioavailability will help you better assess how effective a treatment is.


Method of administration (the route a substance takes through the system) is the primary factor in determining bioavailability. The method of administration affects the extent to which the human body absorbs, distributes, processes and eliminates a substance. Bioavailability, therefore, directly affects how a substance is processed by our bodies. In doing so, it determines how potent or effective the substance is. If you inject a substance or administer it intravenously in any other way, the bioavailability is 100%. It then enters the bloodstream immediately and has an immediate effect. Therefore, intravenous administration is the gold standard in terms of bioavailability. But nobody injects marijuana. We therefore show the bioavailability of the most common methods of consumption.


Vapor of marijuana has a bioavailability of more than 50%. Research from 2016[1] shows that some commercially available vaporizers (such as the Volcano) offer a bioavailability of 50-80%. Thus, vaping cannabis provides significant bioavailability. Vapor also contains fewer carcinogens and toxins than smoke. Therefore, vaping is the ideal method for people who use medicinal marijuana. The bioavailability is the highest and you also protect your lungs. view vaporshop


A 1980 study[2] estimated the bioavailability of cannabis smoke to be 6-18%. But more recent research suggests the number is higher. A 2005 study[3] found that smoked cannabis has an average bioavailability of 30%. In doing so, the study found that after smoking a joint containing 3.55% THC, cannabinoid levels peak after about 10 minutes. Whether you consume it as smoke or vapor, there are benefits to absorbing marijuana through the lungs. The lungs have a large surface area, great permeability and good blood flow. As a result, cannabinoids enter the bloodstream quickly.


With sublingual administration the membranes under the tongue and (in the sides of) the mouth absorb a substance. The bioavailability gets a boost here, because you bypass the digestive system and your mouth absorbs the substance and not the intestine. Sublingual ingestion also allows you to feel the effects of cannabis within seconds. It is therefore an ideal option if you are looking for immediate relief. However, sublingual administration has a bioavailability of 15-35%. This is lower than smoking or vaping, but higher than taking cannabis orally in the form of edibles.


Edibles have the lowest bioavailability of all consumption methods. The bioavailability here is 4-20% according to research[4]. However, according to another study[5], that percentage is between 4% and 12%. Both studies conclude that the bioavailability of edibles varies greatly from person to person. This lower bioavailability is largely due to the initial liver passage. This reduces the potency of the marijuana. The first liver passage is a process by which the concentration of a drug decreases before the substance reaches the system. In this process, the liver and intestinal wall absorb some of the substance. Despite the lower bioavailability, edibles do provide a high that lasts longer than other forms of cannabis. In addition, they often lead to a “stronger” high. This is because much of the THC in them turns into 11-hydroxy-THC. This is a more powerful version of the cannabinoid that easily acts on the brain. This is a good example of the fact that low bioavailability does not always mean less effect.


Understanding bioavailability helps you determine the right products and consumption methods. Some people who use medicinal marijuana want immediate relief. To them, we recommend products and methods with high bioavailability of cannabinoids. Vaping is probably most effective for severe or chronic pain. You feel the effect within seconds. In addition, less cannabinoids are lost than when taken sublingually or orally. On the other hand, the effects last longer when consuming marijuana in the form of edibles. Depending on the strength of the edible, the effects of cannabinoids last between 5 and 8 hours. Thus, people who treat a condition with edibles are less likely to need medication on a daily basis. Research also shows that the type of cannabinoid has an effect on bioavailability. A 2003 study[6] shows that THC has a higher bioavailability than CBD when taken sublingually and orally (edibles). Therefore, it may be smart to ingest cannabidiol using a method with high bioavailability. People who use medicinal marijuana should look for the consumption method that best suits them. Consuming cannabinoids in a certain way may make them more effective. However, bioavailability is only one consideration when looking for a method to relieve symptoms. View Zamnesia CBD