Researchers have demonstrated a novel microencapsulation formulation method designed to improve the absorption and bioavailability of CBD. In animal tests, the new method has been shown to increase peak concentrations of CBD in the brain by 300 percent compared to CBD oil.
As part of the research, recently published in the journal Plos One, a team of Australian scientists describe a novel two-pronged technique designed to heighten the absorption and bioavailability of CBD.
The new process first involved the researchers utilising an established microencapsulation method previously designed to protect therapeutic compounds from degradation in the stomach and increase uptake in the brain. This was then accompanied by other absorption-enhancing compounds to see if they would enhance brain bioavailability.
For the research, the scientists tested co-administration with a bile acid called deoxycholic acid (DCA). Animal tests were then conducted to measure CBD absorption levels, comparing the CBD microcapsules alone, the microcapsules in combination with DCA, and traditional CBD oil.
They gave the new capsules to mice and measured levels of CBD in their blood and brains after 20 minutes, one hour, and three hours.
Compared with unencapsulated CBD oil, the new method increased the amount of CBD in blood by an average of 47 per cent, and in the brain by an average of 25 per cent. Significantly, the new capsule combination resulted in peak concentration of CBD in the brain that was 300 per cent higher than with CBD oil.
The results showed that while plasma concentrations of CBD were higher in the short-term in the microcapsule cohort compared to the CBD oil control, CBD concentrations in the brain only spiked significantly when the cannabinoid was administered with DCA. The researchers suggest the microcapsule/DCA combination led to a “remarkable 40- and 30-fold increase compared to the naked CBD oil and CBD capsule groups, respectively.”
However, DCA administration also seemed to lead to a more rapid decrease in brain CBD concentration about an hour after administration. The researchers suggest it is unclear exactly why or how DCA may lead to this particular effect.
Absorption of CBD is a major challenge for the industry. CBD oil, for example, when ingested orally can result in plasma and tissue bioavailability as low as 6 percent. Sublingual dosing, or using varieties of inhalation methods, can result in higher levels of absorption but there still remains a huge inconsistency in bioavailability from person to person. For researchers trying to investigate CBD’s potential therapeutic uses this dosage issue is a particular problem, especially for those exploring the compound’s effects on the brain.