CBD supplements may go to waste when taken without certain foods

Some substances are fat-soluble, meaning they must be consumed with a glass of milk or some other fat for proper absorption. Other compounds, however, must be taken on an empty stomach or with food/beverages that do not contain fat in order to be absorbed. According to a new study, cannabidiol (CBD) supplements fall into the first category, meaning you're probably wasting your money if you're consuming these products with food or drinks that don't contain dietary fat or on an empty stomach.

CBD is a phytocannabinoid identified decades ago in cannabis plants and, though it has long been associated with some positive health effects, it was only recently approved by the FDA for use in patients who have certain medical conditions. As well, CBD products derived from hemp can now be legally sold in the United States, assuming they're not marketed with unproven claims.

Many people are taking CBD supplements orally in the form of capsules, but may not be benefitting from any potential positive effects if they consume the products without dietary fat, according to a study out of the University of Minnesota.

The researchers focused specifically on cannabidiol oral capsules and the body's ability to absorb the compound when fasting and after a high-fat meal. The researchers focused on epilepsy patients who were taking 99-percent pure CBD capsules on an empty stomach or after a standardized fatty breakfast, examples of which include a breakfast burrito.

The team found that participants who consumed CBD after a high-fat breakfast had four times as much of the compound in their body when compared to fasters. In at least one case, the researchers recorded up to 14 times the CBD amount in the participants' blood. The study didn't find any cognitive differences in these compounds.

The study indicates that patients taking oral CBD capsules should ideally consume them after a meal that is high in fat, such as something containing full-fat dairy, cheese, oils, or similar products. Low-fat and fat-free foods like salad and many fruits and vegetables likely aren't adequate to aid absorption.