should i drink water after taking cbd?
cbd comes in a lot of different forms, from tinctures and topicals to vapes, gummies, capsules, and even smokable hemp flower. there’s a lot of (sometimes incorrect) information out there about methods of administration, and oftentimes there’s no additional information about whether cbd should be taken with or without food/water like you would typically see on a bottle of medication. that’s why we’re here today - there has to be an answer to the question: “should i drink water after taking cbd?”
if you vape cbd, consume it orally, or use it topically, it is completely fine to drink water normally without disrupting absorption. however, if cbd is consumed sublingually via a tincture, you should give the tincture at least 30-60 seconds for full absorption before drinking anything.
even if you take cbd sublingually and do not allow it enough time to absorb fully, the rest will still be absorbed through the gastrointestinal system (aka the gut) just as it would with oral consumption through a capsule, edible such as a gummy or chocolate, or by putting it into your coffee or tea. there’s a lot that goes into how quickly and fully your body can ingest cbd, including different methods of consumption, the form of cbd you are consuming, and other health-related aspects, even those as simple as drinking water.
water and cbd: what's most important
our bodies have tissues underneath our tongues (and between our gums and cheeks) that are largely mucous membranes. these membranes have a high concentration of blood vessels that can absorb a variety of chemical compounds directly into the bloodstream in rapid fashion. on the other hand, when you swallow something, it must go through the entirety of the gi tract (esophagus, stomach, and small- and large intestines) in order to be absorbed. the gi tract can be up to 30 feet long in humans, and it can take 30 minutes to two hours for effects of some oral medications to be felt.
the effects from sublingual consumption can be felt in as quickly as seconds, and often times can be fully felt within 20 minutes. yes, the small end of the scale could yield as small of a difference as 10 minutes, but a sublingually-administered medication could also be felt four-to-ten times faster, if not more.
cbd is one such compound that can be absorbed through sublingual administration. another way of consuming cbd directly into the bloodstream is through vaping it or smoking hemp flower, as the lungs also allow for rapid absorption. however, smoking and vaping also bring about their own side effects that do not come with consuming sublingual cbd drops, which is why we feel sublingual reigns supreme when it comes to methods of cbd consumption.
in addition to these methods, cbd can also be consumed through the skin by way of topicals in the same way that other skincare products such as lotions and balms can be. when using cbd topically, effects can be usually felt in around 20 minutes and can last for several hours. however, the effects are localized, meaning they will only be felt where the topical has been applied.
more on drinking water and taking cbd
firstly, we know that hydration is important, there’s no way around that. up to 60% of the human body is composed of water, and, well, we don’t need to beat a dead horse here to tell you how much better all your systems function when you’re properly hydrated.
so even if you shouldn’t drink water while you are consuming cbd (or anything else) sublingually, it’s important to make sure you’re staying well-hydrated all the other times when cbd has dissolved and is already in your system. doing so can help ensure that cbd is able to be absorbed by your bloodstream as easily as possible.
secondly, it is important to note that sublingual consumption may be hindered if one’s mouth is not clean. brushing your teeth may be the best way to prime your mouth for optimal absorption; but even if you aren’t near a toothbrush, it would be a good idea to drink some water and rinse out your mouth in order to maximize your mouth’s potential for absorption.
but what about food - does it matter if you take cbd on an empty stomach or a full one? there seems to be a lot of information out there, and it all is based on certain assumptions around methods of consumption. for example, it is not suggested to eat food directly with taking cbd if you are consuming it sublingually because, as we just learned, we want to have a clean mouth for maximum bioavailability.
cbd will work just fine on an empty stomach*as well as a full one. however, there’s also validity to the claim that certain foods can lead to increased bioavailability of cbd inside the body. you may have guessed, but since cbd is fat-soluble, fats such as olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, and fish can improve cbd’s absorption more than simple carbohydrates such as bread and sugar. but regardless, cbd is safe and nontoxic to the human body. all of this information is good to know, but there should not be any way to misuse it.
the kind of cbd you’re taking also matters
there are various forms of cbd out there even beyond just the finished product. you may see terms such as “isolate” or “full spectrum” associated with cbd products. another one you may see is “broad spectrum.” what are the differences, and more importantly, why does it matter?
to start, all cbd comes from the cannabis plant. that plant contains much more than just cbd, however. other cannabinoids (such as thc, cbg, and cbn) are also present, as are other compounds known as terpenes. these terpenes are kind of like essential oils to a plant, and a full spectrum extract of the cannabis plant contains all of the compounds that existed in the cannabis plant itself, terpenes and cannabinoids included.
broad spectrum is different from full spectrum in that the thc is removed. thc is the compound that is psychoactive, or gets you “high,” so to speak. last is isolate, which has isolated the cbd compound from everything else present in the cannabis plant, meaning all you’re getting is cbd – nothing else.
there’s a saying out there that talks about the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. in cannabis, that is called the entourage effect: the presence of all of cannabis’ compounds causes a synergistic effect that maximizes the effects of cbd (and the other compounds). this means that consuming an isolate, even if it’s advertised as the purest form of cbd on the market, will result in both less benefits and weaker effects for the user.
that leaves us with full spectrum and broad spectrum extracts. as we mentioned before, the difference is the presence or absence of thc. at the end of the day, both are effective. despite being part of the same plant, thc and cbd have a relationship with one another that needs more research to be fully understood. ultimately, it is up to the user to do their research on anything they put into their bodies, and cbd is no different. but if you cannot consume thc for any reason and/or are concerned about even trace amounts of it showing up on a drug test, a broad spectrum extract is definitely the way to go.
are there any conditions where sublingual consumption is not best? of course there are! since you’re curious, other medications (like extended-release ones) may need to be processed more slowly by your system, and thus oral consumption is preferred in those cases. also, if you have any open wounds or sores in your mouth, you should talk to your doctor to make sure you are not putting your health at further risk by consuming anything sublingually, cbd or otherwise. and the same goes for if you experience any discomfort or irritation for any other reason.
what was up with that asterisk (*) up above? cbd may result in undesired effects such as nausea in a small amount of people who take it on an empty stomach. symptoms may vary, but if you do experience any such side effects, try taking it after having food in your system next time. cbd is safe, as long as you are consuming a clean product, but just like other supplements and medications, some people may experience different results when taking it on an empty versus full stomach