The best way to get more bang for your CBD buck
by Macey Wolfer– February 4, 2019
Cannabidiol (CBD) is commonly administered orally or sublingually in the form of an oil or a tincture. This method is easy to carry out and works well for many people. Others find they aren’t achieving the results they should be with their dosage, though, and one explanation may be that their bodies aren’t absorbing enough of the cannabidiol to have an active effect. When you put a droplet of oil in a bowl of water, the oil stays separate and wants to go its own way, without ever absorbing into the water. With human bodies made up of roughly 60 percent water, concerns about only small percentages being absorbed, with the rest flushing out unused, are well founded.
What is Water-Soluble CBD?
Water-soluble CBD is a potential solution to this quandary, and some producers are paving the way with their water-soluble products. The name sounds like a perfect solution, though there is an important catch. Cannabis molecules, including CBD, never truly dissolve in water. The idea here is to make an oil with cannabidiol that has been transformed into something more compatible with water to create better absorption, despite CBD being hydrophobic. By doing so, the CBD oil becomes more compatible with water, and more of the substance will have an active effect on the body. Calling it water-soluble CBD is slightly misleading, considering the cannabis compounds cannot dissolve. The term has caught on within the industry for marketing purposes, though, and still sums up the main idea. The goal is to up the bioavailability of the CBD to get the most absorbed into the bloodstream with each dose.
What is Bioavailability?
The bioavailability refers to the amount and the rate at which a drug enters the system and creates an active effect on the body. Since we’re made up of such a large percentage of water, our bodies tend to resist absorbing CBD into the bloodstream and instead flush a large portion out unused.
If your CBD does not have good bioavailability, you essentially could be placebo-ing yourself. You’re taking the substance, but very little of it can reach your body and offer relief for your ailments. Some studies suggest around six percent of CBD oil gets fully absorbed, leaving your body to flush out the other 94 percent that had no effect.
How is Water Soluble CBD Made?
Creating nanoemulsions to break down molecules into smaller, more water-soluble solutions is the most common method used today. Nanoemulsions require adding extremely tiny droplets of the oil into a substance it typically cannot dissolve in, along with a surfactant. Surfactants are meant to reduce the surface tension of the liquid the oils will be dropped into.
The broken down molecules have a much higher bioavailability, and the tiny particles no longer need to break down in the stomach. Instead, they can enter the bloodstream right away, offering much quicker results.
Water-compatible CBD oils that have been created using nanoemulsion technology can easily be added to food or drinks since they are translucent, and typically do not have a strong taste.
Creating microemulsions to make a water-compatible CBD solution is possible, but is frowned upon with the popularity of its highly effective counterpart, nanoemulsions.
The process is similar but uses way more surfactants, which can cause unpleasant effects, like health complications or unpleasant tastes. Too many surfactants are known to make the extract taste bitter or soapy, which is enough to turn people away. With the number of surfactants needing to be added, it can also be difficult to meet regulations, which would render the product unsellable.
Liposomes are another possible method of making CBD oils more water-soluble, but the method also has some downfalls. Liposomes are small, spherical structures containing water, with a hydrophobic bilayer. They have been accepted as an effective drug delivery system for a while now, but are not the best way to deliver CBD oil.
The process for creating liposomes is complex, and much like microemulsions requires a significant amount of surfactants. Forming liposomes with natural extracts is difficult as well, and synthetic or isolated cannabinoids are often used instead.
Benefits of Water-Soluble CBD
Using a CBD oil that is considered water-soluble, meaning it has been broken down into a solution that is more absorbable in water, is a good choice for getting more value out of your product.
Some claim the increase in bioavailability with nanoemulsions to create a water-soluble CBD product can reach 500 percent, meaning you’d only have to take one-fifth of your usual dose to get the desired result. When looking at the price per dose, water-soluble CBD oils often come out less expensive than regular oils. Less product is wasted, and unnecessary amounts aren’t being consumed.
Like other methods of delivery, water-soluble CBD mixtures take effect much quicker because they absorb more rapidly. You will feel the effects of your dose within a few minutes, rather than waiting an hour for relief.
Adding CBD mixtures into beverages is now possible with water-soluble CBD oil, which can make consuming it even easier.