When the fast-food chain Carl’s Jr. announced earlier this year that it was slapping a special CBD-infused sauce on its Rocky Mountain High: Cheeseburger Delight in celebration of the 4/20 holiday, it turns out they were on to something. Little did they know that by serving a high-fat burger topped with a cannabidiol condiment, the restaurant was providing customers with more health benefits than they would get with CBD under normal circumstances. How is that even possible, you ask? Well, a new study suggests that eating high-fat cuisine before consuming CBD might increase the absorption rate, allowing more of the therapeutic aspects to shine through.
Researchers at the University of Minnesota recently rolled up their sleeves to examine just how the consumption of certain foods might affect the way the popular cannabinoid gets soaked up by the body.
For this particular examination, scientists used CBD capsules on a group of epilepsy patients, documenting their response to the substance in times of fasting and after a high-fat breakfast.
The results, which were published in the latest issue of the journal Epilepsia, shows that patients who consumed a fatty meal before dosing had 14 times more CBD coursing through their veins than subjects who didn’t eat. What’s more is none of the patients with higher concentrations of CBD in their system experienced any adverse effects, the study authors pointed out.
“The type of food can make a large difference in the amount of CBD that gets absorbed into the body. Although fatty foods can increase the absorption of CBD, it can also increase the variability, as not all meals contain the same amount of fat,” study co-author Angela Birnbaum said in a press statement.
The idea that food like pizza, buffalo wings and burgers making CBD more effective might sound like a string of lunacy, especially since everything we know about the human body suggests that eating anything before taking alcohol or drugs can weaken the effect. Anyone who has ever went to a bar on an empty stomach knows this all too well. Consuming a meal before a night of hard drinking is a tried and true method when it comes to ensuring that a person doesn’t get too drunk right out of the gate. The food slows the absorption of booze in the bloodstream, allowing the drinker to take on a steady stream of alcoholic beverages throughout the night without hitting a wall.
It’s the same reason that some medications aren’t supposed to be taken with food. Doing so just decreases how much of it is absorbed in the body.
There is little doubt that nourishment is essentially the enemy for the person searching for a fast-acting trapdoor out of a sober mind. But in the case of CBD, greasy sustenance, America’s all-time favorite fare, is an amplifier, of sorts, giving users more bang for their buck.
At least that’s what researchers believe could be the case for epilepsy patients using the cannabis compound to control seizures.
“This study shows that CBD concentrations could vary significantly if patients take it differently, sometimes with or without food,” Birnbaum said. “Variations in blood concentrations could leave a patient more susceptible to seizures.”
Still, it stands to reason that if people with epilepsy can get more of a benefit from CBD by consuming fatty foods before they dose, other patients, like maybe those using the cannabinoid to combat anxiety or insomnia, should have an optimized experience, as well. But then again, researchers say that a more thorough investigation is necessary before they can get a grip on exactly how food consumption affects the absorption rate for CBD. Not only was this particular study extremely limited (only 8 participants), scientists are still not clear if it is the calories or the fat content that ultimately contributes to a higher rate of absorption. However, researchers do seem to agree that CBD users will undoubtedly benefit from eating some kind of meal before a dose.
If not, at least it gives them a reason to cheat on their diet.