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The optimal inhalation of CBD

Franjo Grotenhermen

In the last issue I reported on the optimal oral intake of CBD. The starting point was a recent study according to which the bioavailability of CBD via the stomach can be considerably increased if a large amount of fat-rich food is taken at the same time. Presumably, a large part of the orally ingested cannabidiol is absorbed through the lymphatic system of the intestine by the simultaneous ingestion of fat, so that the degradation in the liver is reduced. However, an English breakfast with eggs, fried potatoes and bacon and 900 kilocalories is not for everyone. Other fats, such as healthy vegetable oils, can be used.

An alternative is the inhalation of CBD. According to a 1984 study, the systemic bioavailability of inhaled CBD in a group of cannabis users averaged 31 percent with a range of 11-45 percent. Thus, with optimal inhalation of CBD, almost half of the CBD enters the bloodstream. The concentration course in the blood looks similar to that after inhalation of THC, with maximum concentrations in the blood plasma in the order of 100 nanograms per millilitre within a few minutes after the start of inhalation and a rapid decrease. After one hour, the concentration in the blood plasma was only 10 ng/ml.

According to a study from 1981, the concentration course of CBD in the blood plasma after oral intake of 40 mg corresponded approximately to the course after oral intake of 20 mg THC. Thus, CBD has an even worse bioavailability than THC after oral intake via the stomach. And this is already quite poor with an average of 5-10 percent - unless CBD is taken with a lot of fat. According to another source, however, the systemic bioavailability of CBD after oral intake is 10-15 percent. So there is still a need for clarification here.

Recently, I met a man who told me that he did not feel any relevant effect on his severe tinnitus (ringing in the ears) by taking CBD orally, but immediately after inhaling a CBD liquid. Such liquids are usually made from pure CBD crystals, which are then liquefied and flavoured. He showed me his e-cigarette, from which he takes a puff every 5-10 minutes in order to be largely symptom-free. For him, inhalation was obviously much more effective.

An alternative way of inhalation, which is slightly cheaper than using CBD liquids because you can use the CBD crystals directly, is inhalation by means of vaporizers. These vaporisers are mainly used for the inhalation of cannabis flowers. This is a tip from my colleague Dr. Kurt Blaas from Vienna. To do this, weigh out the desired amount of CBD, for example 10 mg using letter scales or fine scales, and dissolve this small amount in very little alcohol. After a little trial and error, you can make a larger amount of CBD alcohol solution and store it in a dropper bottle, which you can get at a pharmacy, in the refrigerator.

The chamber of the vaporiser can be filled with some crushed hemp tea or other aromatic herbs or teas. The highly concentrated alcoholic CBD solution is then dripped onto it. Now the alcohol can be vaporised by setting the temperature of the vaporizer to 80-90 degrees Celsius. Now the air smells of alcohol for a short time. As soon as the smell of alcohol has disappeared, there is only pure CBD on the plant material.

The cannabidiol can now be inhaled by setting the temperature of the vaporiser to about 200 degrees. The boiling point, i.e. the temperature at which CBD vaporises, is stated differently according to various sources and lies between 160 and 180 degrees Celsius, i.e. above the boiling point of THC (157 degrees).

If you have CBD-rich cannabis strains available, you can of course vaporise them directly in the vaporizer. In German-speaking countries, very CBD-rich strains are available in Switzerland, but there are also a few in German pharmacies. Further international developments are to be expected in this area in the future.