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Medical cannabis experts Kanabo explain the different ways to consume CBD

When it comes to CBD, Kanabo explain its all about the bioavailability



Kanabo: The new Kanabo vapes and liquids

We asked the experts at the world-renowned medical cannabis research group, Kanabo, to go beyond the jargon and explain the many ways to consume CBD, and to find out which is the best.

What is the best way to take CBD?

Kanabo explained that it’s all about bioavailability

Oil is taken under the tongue, capsules are swallowed whole, chocolate is devoured and drinks are often mixed with other ingredients, including caffeine and alcohol. Add to that the many CBD-infused skincare and cosmetic products which have infiltrated the beauty space. The list of ways to take CBD is growing.

So, which way is most effective?

Bioavailability and CBD

First, it’s important to understand what the word bioavailability means in CBD terms. This refers to the proportion of it which enters the circulation when introduced into the body, so it is able to have an active effect.

In this article, we will evaluate its bioavailability when taken under the tongue, consumed in the form of an edible or beverage, when inhaled using an e-cigarette or vaporizer and when applied to the skin.

As the skin is the protective barrier between the body and the outside world, we’ll look at this first, working our way in.
CBD in skincare and cosmetics.

Remember the definition of bioavailability? Take another peek at the first paragraph if you need to recap. When we talk about the skin, and how well it is absorbed through the various layers of the skin, we’re talking about penetrability.

Think of these two words as if they mean the same thing. One refers to how well CBD is absorbed in order to perform when consumed from the inside, while the other measures the same but from the outside.

Before we dig skin deep, now is a great time to remind ourselves of the Endocannabinoid system. The skin is the body’s largest organ, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that we all have cannabinoid receptors within the epidermis.

A hand rubbing cream into the back of another hand

CBD and skin

So, how effective is CBD in skin terms?

It turns out it has the ability to be very effective in certain cases. One proven example of CBD helping the skin is in cases of acne.

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Recent studies have shown evidence that CBD oil is helpful with treating acne due to its anti-inflammatory properties and ability to reduce sebum production.

In one study, CBD oil succeeded in preventing the sebaceous gland cells from making too much sebum, the leading cause of acne breakouts.

Another skin study identified CBD as an efficient and safe way to reduce acne flare-ups, due to its anti-inflammatory qualities.

So, we know it has benefits for the skin. But, in terms of how much it is actually delivered to the bloodstream via the many layers of the skin, the jury is still out. It largely depends on the other ingredients which are used as carriers. Many cosmetic manufacturers use propylene glycol, while natural skincare brands may opt for hemp seed oil. Others prefer to use a water-based formula that is said to enhance the absorption of many skin-friendly ingredients.

Researchers at Kanabo estimate the bioavailability of CBD in the form of a skincare product could be around 25 per cent but this will depend on the product, whether it is oil-based or water-based, and the quality and quantity of CBD in the product to begin with.

A hand holding an edible

CBD capsules, beverages and edibles.

There are many benefits to taking CBD in food or capsule form. First of all, this is a wide-ranging and delicious category, from capsules and gummies to chocolate, protein supplements and beyond. The variety and flavours to taste are endless which makes for an enjoyable CBD experience.

Taking edibles also makes it easy to consume large amounts of CBD compared to taking the same amount in the form of oil drops which could be messy and tricky to measure. However, research from Kanabo suggests the bioavailability of edible CBD products could be as low as 5 per cent.

On top of this, when swallowed, it can take up to 2 hours to get to work. What’s more, some of this key ingredient is destroyed by the body’s biological processes in the first-pass metabolism and digestive tract.

So, while this way of consuming CBD could be delicious and nutritious, it’s not guaranteed to be effective for your needs.

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CBD oil

Tinctures, oil drops and oral sprays offer high concentrations of CBD in small volumes. Perhaps the most common way of taking CBD, these flavoured oil supplements are taken under the tongue where the drops are held for at least 30 seconds before swallowing. From here, the active ingredients are absorbed via the thin mucosal membrane found in the mouth (this is the lining of the wall of the mouth).

While a popular choice for many aficionados, one problem with taking CBD oil is there can sometimes be a very strong cannabis taste left behind in the mouth. Add to that the physical nature of measuring how many drops to take by using a pinch-top dropper, and administering each drop beneath the tongue without any spillage.

For most people, these attributes present problems or nervousness about using CBD in professional and public settings, or even on the go. Taking CBD drops requires good eyesight for reading the label and measurement guide, plus good physical movement is essential for administering the drops, rendering this kind of product unsuitable for those with a disability, or the elderly. CBD oil can also take an hour or more for it to get to work.

According to a 2020 review of the evidence, researchers estimate the bioavailability of oil to be somewhere between 10 and 20 per cent. This is complex, however, as there are multiple factors to weigh up. That said, the available data suggest that the absolute bioavailability of CBD oil is 24 per cent when taken in conjunction with eating a high-fat meal.

Kanabo: A vape lying near a magazine and a coffee

CBD vapes

E-cigarettes, also known as vapes, are growing in popularity as a way to get a CBD fix.  Compared to CBD oil, vapes are relatively accessible and simple to use. Designed as a way to deliver low concentrations of nicotine to those on a mission to quit smoking, e-cigarettes are a fast and convenient way for those who already smoke or vape to take CBD.

CBD e-cigarettes are produced using isolated CBD with carrier ingredients and flavourings added. All of these ingredients are vaped at a high temperature and inhaled. Oils on the other hand often come in the form of broad-spectrum hemp extract, providing more benefits through the Entourage Effect. Broad-spectrum extract provides CBD, other cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and maybe more natural than a purified, isolated product.

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That said, the main attraction to vaping CBD is the fast onset, with CBD getting to work in minutes, making this delivery system ideal for those in pain.

Kanabo researchers estimate the bioavailability of CBD when vaped to be quite high at approximately 30 to 50 per cent. When it comes to how much of the active ingredient is successful from vaping, it could be as little as 5-10 per cent.

The winner: vaporization

We know what you’re thinking, ‘didn’t we just cover this?’

As the public interest and support for CBD grows, the many ways to take CBD are growing more advanced, more powerful, and effective. Vaporization, with a superior device, is the fastest, most efficient way to deliver CBD to the body.

For this example, let’s take the new VapePod device from Kanabo, the first medical-grade vaporizer in the world.

With metered dosage providing a temperature-controlled, limited and precise dose of CBD with every puff, this kind of device is multiple steps up from even the most advanced e-cigarette devices.

When you inhale from the VapePod, the CBD and terpene-rich oil in the vape cartridge is received in the mouth as a vapour at a lower, safer temperature compared to your average e-cigarette. From here, it travels to the throat and down into the lungs where it is dispersed into the bloodstream via the pulmonary tract. This action happens in seconds, with the active ingredient getting to work in minutes.

Compared with taking oil drops under the tongue, using a product like the VapePod by Kanabo avoids the first-pass metabolism and digestive tract, providing a quicker delivery of CBD when you need it most.

The VapePod is compatible with three unique CBD oil cartridges, only available from Handpicked CBD in the UK.

This is a precise, science-based, no-nonsense approach to getting a measured amount of CBD, and feeling the difference, fast. So much so, it is estimated that up to 75 per cent of the active ingredients in the product are absorbed and effective in the body.

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CBD guides: Could CBD help with women’s intimate healthcare?

The endocannabinoid system can play a huge role in helping women’s health issues.



Women's health illustration
Home » Lifestyle » Wellness » Medical cannabis experts Kanabo explain the different ways to consume CBD

As the number of intimate care CBD products on the market continues to increase, we examine how CBD could help.

CBD has been associated with women’s health issues such as period pain relief, menopause insomnia and even hormonal acne. But as CBD is also thought to help us achieve homeostasis (balance) in the body, could it help to maintain vaginal health?

CBD and vagina health: A banner advert for The Medical Cannabis Clinics

Women’s health and the endocannabinoid system

The endocannabinoid system is thought to regulate different functions in the body such as sleep, mood, appetite, memory and fertility. It is made up of receptors, enzymes and endocannabinoid that are found naturally all over the body. There are two major receptors called CB1 and CB2.

CB1 is usually found in the central nervous system, while CB2 is found in the peripheral nervous system. Endocannabinoids bind to the receptors to help with different problems such as pain. 

The vagina, bladder and urinary tract also have endocannabinoid receptors.

CBD, unlike THC, does not bind the receptors. CBD may supplement the endocannabinoid system helping to regulate your system. The cannabinoids travel the receptor that has been stimulated and needs extra help to achieve a balance.

Depending on the dose and which receptor it is, CBD is thought to help anxiety, sleep problems, inflammation and pain.

This could be especially useful for those struggling with conditions such as endometriosis, painful periods or anxiety around sex.

Vagina Health and CBD: Beauty and personal care products

Women’s health

When it comes to vaginal health and women’s health concerns in general, how could CBD help?


Painful periods

CBD may help with painful periods due to its anti-inflammatory properties. During a period, the uterus contracts to shed its lining while releasing hormone-like substances called prostaglandins. These substances are involved in inflammation and pain while triggering muscle contractions. Higher levels of prostaglandins may mean more painful menstrual cramps.

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One study from 2019 revealed that women with endometriosis self-rated cannabis or CBD as most effective for soothing pain. This was compared with other practises such as yoga and stretching.

Another study, which was focused on arthritis in rats, found that CBD gel applied to the area may help to reduce pain and inflammation.


Endometriosis is an extremely painful condition that can be debilitating. The tissue from the uterus can become attach itself to other organs in the body such as fallopian tubes, ovaries or pelvis.

Studies have shown that women are increasingly turning to CBD for help alleviating the pain of endometriosis. There are on-going studies into how exactly CBD suppositories or tampons may help endometriosis but there are no results as of yet.

A study into fibromyalgia and pelvic pain for women from 2021 revealed that over one-third of the women surveyed were current CBD users with 81 per cent of this group stating the use had ‘improved their pain.’ A further 76 per cent of users said they were able to substitute CBD for other medications including opioids, NSAIDS, gabapentinoids and benzodiazapams.

Vaginal dryness

There are many different reasons for vaginal dryness including menopause, medication and even particular times of a menstrual cycle.

CBD may help to soothe any redness or irritation caused by vaginal dryness. If the skin is more sensitive as a result the anti-inflammatory properties may reduce any swelling or issues of eczema or dermatitis.

Yeast infections

CBD is thought to be potentially anti-fungal which may help with yeast infections.

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However, its important to note, before you grab your CBD oil, that there are no direct studies for yeast infection. CBD may be able to boost the effects of caryophyllene oxide or beta-caryophyllene. Both of these are terpenes that are found in the cannabis plant. An older study from 1999 highlighted caryophyllene as a potential help for fungal infections in nails and the skin.

CBD may also offer some relief for irritated or itchy skin as a result of fungal infections such as candida. This is due to its potential anti-inflammatory properties which can help to reduce redness or swelling.

What is the best CBD to use internally?

While it may be tempting to use our existing CBD products in our intimate areas, it’s best not to.

CBD products for intimate areas are formulated to be used internally which means they are safe. Oils or topicals may contain ingredients or perfumes that can cause infections. The vagina contains a type of bacteria, a Lactobacillus. It produces lactic acid and helps to lower the pH of the vagina, but any form of imbalance can result in infections or thrush.

How to use CBD internally

The most common ways to use CBD vaginally are lubricants and suppositories.

While suppositories may seem scary, they can be one of the easiest ways to take CBD. They are made from from oils such as coconut, that can melt at body temperature. The CBD can take a few minutes to be absorbed by the body once it has melted the oil. It is worth noting that it can be a bit messy when the oil melts, so using something like a sanitary pad can place a barrier between your clothing and the oil.

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Sex and women’s health

Latex and safety

Another way that oil-based products may cause a problem, is with latex. Oil can erode latex condoms or glide dams causing them to break or split. If CBD products are being used during sex, always make sure that the CBD  being used is water-soluble.


Some people can feel really anxious around sex, due to past experiences, pain or being intimate with a new partner.

A lot of the studies conducted on anxiety and sexual anxiety appear to be focused on men. However, more general anxiety and CBD studies do have a more mixed-gender ratio.

A review from 2020 suggested that CBD could help with anxiety disorders. In reducing anxiety, a person’s libido may increase helping them to feel like sex more.


When the vagina is aroused, the mucous membranes in the vulva and vagina begin to produce a natural lubricant. This is also referred to as vasodilation, the natural process of our bodies expanding our blood vessels to allow more oxygen into certain tissues.

Some studies show that CBD may help with this process by increasing sensitivity and blood flow around the body. CBD is absorbed through the mucous membranes in the vagina and straight into the blood vessels. It is one of the quickest ways to absorb a dose of CBD as it doesn’t have to pass through the digestive system.

CBD suppositories and lubricants are designed to be used internally.


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Does the endocannabinoid system have an effect on exercise euphoria?

What causes a runner’s high? Is it CBD, endorphins or our endocannabinoid systems?



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Home » Lifestyle » Wellness » Medical cannabis experts Kanabo explain the different ways to consume CBD

The euphoric feeling after exercise, often referred to as a ‘runner’s high’, is associated with a reduction in pain, stress and anxiety.

Research now links the runner’s high to our endocannabinoid system, suggesting that the exercise-induced endorphin release it was always attributed to, is not solely responsible.

But what is our endocannabinoid system? And how does it work? 

We examine endocannabinoids, endorphins and how CBD plays a part in balancing the body and exercise

What is the endocannabinoid system?

The endocannabinoid system is thought to regulate different functions in the body such as sleep, mood, appetite, memory and fertility. It is made up of receptors, enzymes and endocannabinoids.

Endocannabinoid receptors are found naturally all over the body. There are two major receptors called CB1 and CB2.

CB1 is usually found in the central nervous system, while CB2 is found in the peripheral nervous system. Endocannabinoids bind to the receptors to help with different problems such as pain. It is not fully understood how cannabinoids bind with receptors.

Endocannabinoids are actually naturally produced molecules that are similar to cannabinoids. So far, researchers have identified two key endocannabinoids: anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG).

Enzymes break down the endocannabinoids once they are no longer needed. The two major enzymes are fatty acid amide hydrolase, which breaks down AEA and monoacylglycerol acid lipase, which typically breaks down 2-AG.

What is the difference between endocannabinoids and endorphins?

Endorphins are chemicals released by the body in response to pain or exercise. They were traditionally associated with the euphoria felt after a run. However, endorphins cannot cross into the brain through the blood-brain barrier which exists to protect the brain from toxins and pathogens. 

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This is one of the reasons that scientists suspect it may not be the reason for the high. They may keep you from experiencing pain after a run.

How does CBD feature in all of this?

CBD interferes with the receptors found in the endocannabinoid system to help them balance the body. However, it is not fully understood how this happens.

CBD, unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another cannabinoid found in the plant, does not bind the receptors. CBD may supplement the endocannabinoid system helping to regulate your system. The cannabinoids travel the receptor that has been stimulated and needs extra help to achieve a balance.  Depending on the dose and which receptor it is, CBD is thought to help anxiety, sleep problems, inflammation and pain.

This is why a lot of runners or athletes depend on CBD as part of their recovery routine after a strenuous workout. It may help to alleviate some of the muscle pain they endure during a run.


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Mental health

How this US brand is helping veterans access free CBD

“U.S. military veterans are some of the most selfless individuals so we thought the project would be a perfect fit.”



Home » Lifestyle » Wellness » Medical cannabis experts Kanabo explain the different ways to consume CBD

US vaping supply brand, CCELL, has partnered with the Veteran’s Walk and Talk project to provide free access to CBD.

CCELL will be partnering with the Veterans Walk and Talk (VWAT) to gift its members with limited edition CBD vapes that highlight their military service. 

Veterans Walk and Talk is a community project based in the US, offering support, psychedelic therapy and cannabis.

It was founded in 2016 by Colin Wells, who served in the US Army, as a way for veterans in Southern California, Sacramento and Oklahoma, to take control of their health journey.

The project now holds regular community outreach events that provide veterans with a one-on-one psychedelic or cannabis walk and talk therapy or group hikes. They also hold trail and beach clean-ups where the community come together to give back to nature along with book clubs and comedy nights.

Veterans: A banner advert for the medical cannabis clinics

To mark the firm’s fifth anniversary, the CCELL team decided to join forces with VWAT.

Speaking with Cannabis Health, Joe Strain, vice president of CCELL said: “VWAT started with veterans in mind. Founder Colin Wells, who served in the US Army and experienced withdrawal traumas, began posting on social media to see if anybody wanted to join him on his hikes as a means to relieve stress.

“On these hikes, he’d provide free cannabis, education and a safe space for people to talk. These hikes inspired him to start VWAT as a way to give back to his community, with the main goal of reducing the suicide epidemic among veterans. Now, VWAT has 12 chapters across the country, all carrying the same mission.”

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Joe added: “US military veterans are some of the most selfless individuals, so we thought they would be a perfect fit. We heard about what VWAT is doing for veterans and decided to support the organisation on its mission to help improve the lives and health of veterans by providing them with CBD vaporisers. The alignment was undeniable, and we’re honoured to be a part of helping them further their mission.”

The high-quality vapes will be provided by Hhemp and Litty Extracts will supply the CBD.

Mental health and veterans

Mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be common among veterans. The symptoms of PTSD can be debilitating causing flashbacks, nightmares or physical effects such as nausea or pain.

study from 2017 highlighted the difference in PTSD between veterans and civilians. In the study of 5,826 veterans, researchers recorded a rate of 13 per cent with PTSD. This is almost double the seven per cent of the US population with a PTSD diagnosis.

Studies show CBD may help PTSD by interacting with the endocannabinoid receptors in the body. 

Joe explained: “It’s known that many veterans deal with PTSD after they have served. Studies have shown that CBD can be effective in reducing PTSD symptoms. This can potentially afford members the opportunity to manage their symptoms without excessive pharmaceutical drugs, which often cause side effects.”

He added: “CCELL has produced limited edition CBD vapes which will signify that the users of the vapes are members of Veteran’s Walk and Talk. Not only is this great for the members, but it is also significant for this non-profit organisation as it helps to spread awareness about the great work that VWAT does and will help encourage more people in need to join.”

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