CBD oils and hemp extracts are now globally acknowledged as a potentially effective, non-invasive medication in the management/treatment of some debilitating illnesses, such as epilepsy, anxiety, pain, depression — just to name a few of the countless health problems CBD products are commonly used for.
However, until recently, only small percentages of the oil’s healing properties have been absorbed into the bloodstream.
Oral bioavailability is a percentage that indicates how much of an ingested substance makes it through all the degradative digestive enzymes and processes, and actually gets absorbed into the bloodstream so that it can take its effect on the body.
Substances with higher water solubility usually have higher bioavailability. It has been reported that standard CBD oil products have a bioavailability of less than 10%, i.e. most of the dose gets wasted in the digestive system and doesn’t even enter the bloodstream. A recent study found that orally-ingested CBD had a bioavailability of as low as 9%.
By improving water solubility/compatibility/dispersibility of hemp and CBD oils, the absorption rate, bioavailability and efficiency can be significantly increased. And that’s where nanotechnology comes in handy.
Nanotechnology may be the new cannabis industry buzzword, but what does it actually mean?
Firstly, “nano” originates from the Greek word “nanos” which means “dwarf.” These extremely tiny particles, aka nanoparticles, can measure anywhere from a few nanometers up to a few hundred nanometers in diameter.
Put in layman’s terms, nanotechnology utilizes microscopic particles to deliver drugs into the human body more efficiently. It makes cannabinoid particles so small that they can effectively disperse in water and get absorbed by the body more easily. This technology has been used to improve the efficacy of various oral drugs, topical treatments and other health products.
So, thanks to recent advancements in nanotechnology, yes, water-soluble CBD and hemp oils are real! There are two common methods by which nanotechnology is used today to create water-soluble CBD oil: nanoemulsion and liposomes. These are briefly explained below.
Nanoemulsified CBD Oil
Nanoemulsion involves breaking up oil particles into tiny droplets (measuring nanometers in diameter), which are then dispersed into water or another solvent by the help of a surfactant or emulsifier: substances that lower the surface tension and increase kinetic stability.
Technically speaking, that does not make CBD oil “dissolve” in water, but rather creates tiny (invisible to the naked eye) nanoparticles of CBD oil that “suspend” in water. It would be more accurate to call it a suspension, dispersion, colloid, colloidal suspension, or simply, a nanoemulsion.
If you are interested in learning more about the technical process, this is a great scientific article that explains nanoemulsions in more detail.
Liposomal CBD Oil
Liposomes are microscopic spherical vesicles; minute bubbles with a water- or fluid-filled center surrounded by a phospholipid membrane (either single-layer or bilayer). These tiny spherical sacs range in size from 25 to 2,500 nanometers (varies per purpose), and are made from the same main component of cell membranes: phospholipids.
Liposomes are filled with medication, such as CBD oil, and are used as carriers (nanocarriers) to deliver their contents to the cells and tissues throughout the body.
Because liposomal particles are more easily and quickly absorbed by the body, this technology is often used in topical creams and sublingual solutions or sprays, providing rapid uptake into the bloodstream and higher bioavailability. Some orally-administered liposomal CBD is also designed to protect the encapsulated CBD and other cannabinoids from degradation while passing through the digestive tract.
Similar to nanoemulsified CBD, liposomal CBD doesn’t technically dissolve in water, but rather quickly disperses into water creating a cloudy suspension. Both methods are used to make CBD oil more water-compatible, which is commonly said to be water-soluble, albeit it’s not scientifically accurate to call it water-soluble. On the other hand, standard CBD oil will just float on the surface of water and won’t mix with it.
Where to Buy Water-Soluble CBD/Hemp Oil?
An increasing number of hemp vendors are switching to water-soluble products as more consumers are demanding them. It is estimated that soon most CBD/hemp supplements on the market will be water-soluble and produced using nanotechnology.
One of the reputable manufacturers of water-dispersible hemp products is a company called QuickSilver Scientific, which is based in Colorado, USA. They make many different dietary supplements in nanoemulsified, liposomal liquid form.
QuickSilver Scientific manufactures a line of nanoemulsified hemp supplements including Broad Spectrum Hemp Extract (THC-free), Full Spectrum Hemp Extract (<0.3% THC), and a few hemp-based formulas for sleep, relaxation, etc.
In addition to cannabidiol (CBD), their hemp extract blends also contain phytocannabinoids, terpenes, and other bioactive compounds found in the hemp plant, which are believed to augment the medicinal value of CBD.
Broad/Full Spectrum hemp extracts have a superior pharmacological profile, and many experts and consumers claim they are more effective than pure CBD isolates. Of course, as with all other claims about this substance, the scientific jury is still out.
QuickSilver Scientific’s products are designed to be absorbed intraorally or sublingually, so the dose should quickly enter your bloodstream and start taking effect in a matter of minutes. The company recommends holding the dose in your mouth for 30 seconds before swallowing it for optimal intraoral uptake.
You can buy QuickSilver Scientific’s nanoemulsified hemp extracts and formulations from their official website.