What you eat influences how you react to CBD (the parmacokinetics of CBD). This clinical trial assessed the effect of high-fat and low-fat meals, whole milk, and alcohol on CBD blood levels. We discuss the following:
Pharmacokinetics is the process of what happens to a bioactive substance when it enters the body. It describes the fate of the substance, in this case CBD, from the moment of administration to the point of leaving the body. As such, pharmacokinetics of CBD is how the body influences the fate of CBD in the body. On the other hand, pharmacodynamics of CBD is how CBD influences the fate of the body when it takes CBD.
The pharmacokinetics of CBD is important to know to be able to assess proper dosing, benefits, and side effects of CBD. This is especially important, because certain foods might influence CBD pharmacokinetics.
Scientist were interested in finding out how low-fat vs high-fat meal types, the consumption of whole milk, and drinking alcohol would influence the pharmacokinetics of CBD, in comparison to fasting. To find this out, they conducted a randomized, open label (participants knew what they were getting), crossover clinical study.
Study participants were 30 healthy volunteers, who fasted overnight, and then received a single dose of 750 mg Epidiolex (FDA approved purified CBD medication). Then they fasted again for another 4 hours, although they could drink some water. After fasting, they randomly received:
Nurses draw some venous blood from the participants 16 times during the study period, and laboratory technicians analyzed the concentration of CBD in the blood. In addition, the scientists checked a number of vital signs and performed numerous physical examinations and evaluations to register any adverse events.
Even though almost all participants (90%) reported some adverse effects, these effects were only mild. Just two participants reported moderate adverse effects, and both were in the group where they drank alcohol after taking CBD. These side effects were:
The researchers found that compared to those who fasted the whole time, those who had the high-fat meal had the highest blood concentrations of CBD, followed by the low-fat meal, whole milk, and (to a lesser extent) alcohol. The effect of the low-fat meal was similar to the effect of drinking milk. As such, having eaten and drunk anything before taking CBD increased blood CBD levels.
This showed that there was significant food effect for CBD and its metabolites, especially with high-fat meals.
Crockett J, Critchley D, Tayo B, Berwaerts J, Morrison G. A phase 1, randomized, pharmacokinetic trial of the effect of different meal compositions, whole milk, and alcohol on cannabidiol exposure and safety in healthy subjects. Epilepsia. 2020 Feb;61(2):267-277.