The absorption of CBD: does CBD oil have no future?
Every time we use CBD oil we throw away 90-95% of the CBD because it is not absorbed by the body. How long will we keep on doing this until we find a better solution?
We all know that water and oil don’t mix. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that when we orally take CBD oil, it is not easily absorbed as our bodies consist of 65-70% water. What most people don’t realise is how poorly CBD oil is being absorbed. Tests have shown that at best 15-20%, but on average only 5-10% of the CBD oil we take orally is ultimately being absorbed. A staggering 80-95% of the CBD oil you consume, your body will never use.
The way that our body absorbs fatty compounds like CBD oil, is by encapsulating these compounds with a special molecule. This molecule has on one side a ‘fat-loving’ end (lipophilic) and on the other side it has a ‘water-loving’ end (hydrophilic). The molecules form a sphere around the CBD oil molecule and the lipophilic end attaches itself to the fatty compound and in doing so points the hydrophilic end towards the outside. This allows the sphere (with the CBD oil within) to become solubilised in water and pass the mucous membrane to enter the bloodstream. This process is called micellization.
To build these micelles the body needs time and energy. Whilst the body is working to encapsulate and absorb the CBD oil and other fatty components, the CBD is being destroyed by our stomach acid and by enzymes in our liver.
The patented technology Swiss PharmaCan uses mimics the creation of these spheres known as micelles, in a laboratory. This means that CBD products created with MyCell Inside™ technology are ready to be absorbed by the body almost instantly. The CBD inside these MyCells can easily pass through the mucous membrane, which consists of 90-95% of water, enter the bloodstream and be delivered to the right location in your body. The result is increased absorption from an average of 5-10% to almost 100% – furthermore the effects are more potent and the onset faster.
These days the most common way to consume CBD is orally. A large number of CBD oil-based products have been, and are being launched every day and sold online, in speciality stores but also more and more frequently in high street retail shops. These CBD oils are dissolved in a carrier which is edible vegetable oil. Recently, questions are being asked about the efficacy of taking CBD this way because of the low absorption rate of the active ingredient.
Oral bioavailability of any substance such as CBD is a measure of the rate and extent to which it is reaching the systemic circulation. It is a key parameter which affects its efficacy and the likelihood of adverse effects. By definition, when a medication is administered intravenously, its bioavailability is 100%. Studies of oral bioavailability have received considerable attention as being one of the principal pharmacokinetic properties of drugs and significant progress has been made in understanding the various components of this complex puzzle, including solubility, partition coefficients, absorption, metabolism, and excretion.
Poor oral bioavailability is one of the leading causes of failures in clinical trials and hindering the estimation of what dose will be needed to support the treatment of a condition. This is because compounds with a low bioavailability, such as CBD oil, would have a highly variable exposure between individuals. If a compound has an average bioavailability of 5% or less (as studies show CBD does) it would easily vary in the range of 0.5–10%, a 20-fold difference, which is not acceptable if we want to be able to use CBD in a correct therapeutic manner.
More than just water soluble
Current developments with CBD set a newly high demand for oral CBD formulations and products. In addition, oral consumption is not only the most promising alternative to smoking for consumers who are interested in cannabis’ medicinal properties, but it is also the preferred way to consume medicines and nutritional supplements by most of the world’s population. Increasing CBD oral bioavailability is one of the most important developments in this field.
The MyCell Inside™ technology solves this problem. By reducing the waste and reaching an almost 100% efficiency, MyCell Inside saves users money by obtaining the same results, faster and with a much lower dosage. However, it is not only about saving money. CBD products made with the MyCell Inside technology finally make it possible to accurately dose the amount of CBD necessary to support a treatment. With nearly 100% bioavailability, now users can rest assured that the CBD is being absorbed by their body.
Although our MyCell Inside technology makes CBD-oil water soluble, that is just a very small part of its benefits. The most important difference compared with other CBD products which call themselves water soluble is that the patented MyCell Inside™ technology Swiss PharmaCan uses is 100% natural and mimics our own micelle system to absorb oil and fatty components.
A study has shown that an orally taken active compound such as CBD, encapsulated with the MyCell Inside technology showed as soon as 30 minutes after consumption a bioavailability of more than 90%.
Most other products, which refer to themselves as water soluble use a form of liposomal system. Compared to liposomes, the micelles from the Mycell Inside technology have a much higher stability with regards to temperature, pH and mechanical stress. Besides this, the molecules used for encapsulation in these liposomal systems are mostly synthetic or synthetically modified compounds (like polysorbates), which are derived from the petrochemical industry and have carcinogenic concerns. The molecule the MyCell Inside™ technology uses is 100% natural and non-allergenic.
Entering the bloodstream, just the beginning
Having the active compound encapsulated within the MyCell Inside technology allowing it to easily pass through the mucous membrane and be absorbed in the bloodstream, is just the beginning. To work effectively the active compound has to be delivered into the cell. The micelles created with the Mycell Inside technology act in such a way that they make contact with the target cells and only release the active component in the cell.
When we deliver a 10 ml, 5% solution it contains 500mg of CBD and because of our patented 100% natural micellization system, the 500mg will become almost 100% available to your body. The future of this patented technology is not just the medical use of CBD, but also the inclusion of CBD in a large array of beverages and foods. CBD products made with MyCell Inside technology are also added to food, drinks, cosmetics and supplements.
CBD Mycell Inside™ for beverages
Beverages, in general, are always going to be a popular product. The possibility of including CBD in a range of beverages allows one of the most popular products to hit the beverage scene since bottled water. CBD drinks are more than just an exciting new product – CBD drinks allow people to more easily benefit from the cannabinoid in their everyday lives.
Many other water-soluble solutions tend to fall apart in very low concentrations. This concentration is referred to as the Critical Micelle Concentration (CMC). Below that concentration the molecules which make the spheres tend to break apart. This CMC is an important characteristic of a surfactant. Our technology has the lowest CMC available in the market, which makes our MyCell very stable and perfect for use in low concentration solutions.
Although our MyCell size is in the nano-range (
100 µm) it is not considered nanotechnology, as it doesn’t break down the molecules into nanoparticles. Our MyCell Inside technology totally maintains the properties of CBD. Our MyCells are stable and improve active product ingredient absorption even in critical environments such as high acidity (pH stability 1-14), temperature fluctuation or under mechanical stress.
CBD products produced with the MyCell Inside technology offer high-potency, high-speed and high-bioavailability CBD. Due to the high absorption rate of MyCell Inside™ technology, these CBD infused products will feature prominently in the future of both the beverage and the cannabis industry. All compounds show the same benefits:
- Fast and close to 100% absorption;
- Very stable in critical environments;
- Remains stable in very low concentrations; and
- A stable shelf life of 24-36 months or more (stored in a dark place at room temperature).
And they also have endless possibilities:
- Allows unprecedented access into the beverage market;
- Introducing water-soluble cannabinoids to a diverse array of foods;
- Consistent and measurable CBD control;
- Increased convenience and portability with drinks; and
- An extremely easy way to take CBD with endless possibilities for its addition to drinks and foods.
Not just for cannabinoids
This patented MyCell Inside technology is applicable not only for cannabinoids. It also works perfectly for all fat-soluble compounds and has been tested and proven with a variety of compounds like vitamin A, D, E and K, but also with Curcuma, Fish oil, Coenzyme Q10, Artemisinin and many more.
Perfectly crafted, in the heart of Switzerland
Swiss PharmaCan combines Swiss science, state of the art of MyCell Inside technology and pure ingredients. We pride ourselves on the highest standards of extracting 100% pure and sustainable organic hemp; with a focus on the perfect geographical location, cultivation methods, and the health of crops, water, and soil. We cultivate the seeds and thereby ensure that our plants are unique with the highest content of health positive cannabinoids and terpenes possible. Further, our hemp plants grow in the best locations – on sunny fields close to the Alps, with rubidium-rich soil that gives the hemp the full spectrum of CBD compounds – which is then harvested and processed by hand.
Our products are thoroughly tested, analysed and documented in Switzerland for its cannabinoid ratio and its microbiological suitability. Certified free from pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, fungi and moulds. We carefully track the quality from seed to the end product, with the utmost care, experience and dedication to the highest product quality.
Please note, this article will appear in issue 10 of Health Europa Quarterly, which is available to read now.
Every time we use CBD oil we throw away 90-95% of the CBD because it is not absorbed by the body. How long will we keep on doing this until we find a better solution?
Is CBD water-soluble?
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- What is water-soluble CBD?
- CBD bioavailability
- How is water-soluble CBD made?
- The science behind water-soluble CBD
- Does CBD oil have to be water-soluble?
- How long does water-soluble CBD stay in your system?
- How can water-soluble CBD be taken?
- How is water-soluble CBD isolate made?
Think back to grade school, when you first experimented mixing oil and water. You’ll likely recall that oil sits on the water but doesn’t combine. Cannabidiol (CBD) oil has a similar reaction. CBD oil is hydrophobic, meaning it is repelled by water, and resists absorption by the body, leaving up to 90% of the cannabinoid to pass through the body unused.
Enter water-soluble CBD products. CBD is more compatible with water when it is formulated as a water-soluble product such as a nanoemulsion, liposomal product, or microemulsion. The CBD does not truly dissolve in water but water-soluble CBD is helping to unlock the cannabinoid’s potential by making it more effective and versatile.
What is water-soluble CBD?
In water-soluble CBD formulations, the CBD molecules are manipulated to dissolve better in water. However, the term water-soluble is inaccurate, since CBD molecules will never fully dissolve in water, but can be transformed into a more water-compatible form.
“It isn’t that the chemical composition of CBD is changing to be more soluble in water, because then it wouldn’t actually be CBD anymore, but CBD can be packaged in a more easily absorbable vehicle,” explained Matthew Halpert, Ph.D. Halpert is a lecturer in the Department of Pathology and Immunology at Baylor College of Medicine, and a CBD researcher at Medterra, a manufacturer of CBD products.
When CBD molecules are incorporated into water using an advanced process that breaks the oil particles into tiny molecules, the body is able to derive more benefits from the product. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
When producing water-soluble CBD, the oil particles are separated into tiny molecules by an advanced technological process. The molecules are then coated with a carrier or surfactant to stabilize them and keep them suspended in water. Smaller particle sizes allow the CBD molecules to disseminate more easily throughout water.
When CBD molecules are incorporated into water in this way, the human body is able to derive more benefits from the product. The human body is composed of up to 60% water so it makes sense that the more water soluble a product is, the easier it is for the body to transport and absorb it.
To fully understand the benefits of water-soluble CBD, it’s essential to understand the bioavailability of CBD. Bioavailability can be defined as the quantity of a substance that enters the bloodstream. CBD in its traditional oil form resists absorption into the bloodstream, which delays the onset of its impact on the user.
Another issue that limits oral CBD from reaching the bloodstream is a phenomenon called the first-pass effect. The concentration of the compound is greatly reduced before it can circulate throughout the body’s system because it can’t progress past the liver when ingested as an oil. This reduction in concentration also results in a decrease in bioavailability.
Reduced bioavailability affects some of the most common and convenient forms of CBD such as capsules, soft gels, tinctures, and edibles. Vaping CBD oil can yield more benefits because the molecules are transported by vapor particles and are therefore more easily absorbed by the lungs.
How is water-soluble CBD made?
Ultrasound is used to create vacuum bubbles in the CBD molecules, which causes them to implode, hit surrounding bubbles, and break into smaller droplets. Water-soluble CBD is generally either prepared as a liposome, nanoemulsion, or a microemulsion.
“Water-soluble” CBD boasts a rapid onset and greater efficacy. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Liposome: Liposomes are a potent way of delivering nutrients to the body. With liposomal CBD, the CBD molecule is surrounded by or attached to a fat.
Once the liposome reaches its destination and fuses with the cell, it releases the CBD. Liposomal CBD droplets measure between 100 and 5,000 nanometers.
Nanoemulsion: Nanoemulsions atomize CBD molecules even further, making them easier for the body to absorb. Smaller drops create a larger surface area to interact with the body’s tissues and enzymes.
The average size of a droplet of nano-emulsified CBD is 25 nanometers. Nanoemulsions are usually mixed with penetration enhancers to help spread the CBD further. They can be taken either orally or topically, with uptake occurring almost immediately after administration. This should result in higher potency and faster onset of action for lower doses.
Microemulsion: CBD microemulsions are also available but are less common. Microemulsion droplets measure between 100 and 5,000 nanometers, which means they can penetrate a larger surface area, but they require the use of surfactants to dilute the compound.
Microemulsions require ten times as many surfactants as nanoemulsions. A surfactant is a substance that helps to reduce the surface tension of CBD oil, increasing its ability to spread and disperse. Less is more when it comes to surfactants in products which will be ingested, which is why nanoemulsions are more popular.
All of these formulations increase the bioavailability of CBD so it can be better absorbed by the body.
The science behind water-soluble CBD
Both liposomes and nanoemulsions have been well-researched with a range of compounds.
“There are decades worth of scientific research that provide evidence of liposomes increasing the bioavailability of molecules not easily taken in by the body,” Halpert said.
Liposome, nanoemulsion, or a microemulsion formulations increase the bioavailability of CBD so it can be better absorbed by the body. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
However, research on liposomal CBD and CBD nanoemulsions is still in the early stages. There are a few published studies which suggest promising results.
A 2018 review published in “Molecules” found that the lipophilic nature of CBD rendered it a good candidate for nanotechnology drug delivery strategies.
A 2019 pre-clinical study investigated the efficacy of a CBD nanoemulsion in rats. The researchers found the nanoemulsion improved bioavailability by about 65%, and accelerated the onset of action of the CBD.
A 2018 study published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences investigated the bioavailability of Sativex oromucosal spray compared with a CBD/THC nanoformulation in 14 healthy male volunteers. On the days that the volunteers received the nanoformulation, they experienced faster absorption and improved bioavailability of the product.
Does CBD oil have to be water-soluble?
CBD can still offer benefits when administered as an oil. For those who prefer their supplements in a more familiar form, CBD oil will likely eternally hold appeal, although it doesn’t have the bioavailability of water-soluble CBD. It is likely, however, that the trend will continue towards more CBD products that utilize the nano-emulsification process.
CBD can still offer benefits when administered as an oil. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Halpert does stress, however, that not all water-soluble CBD is necessarily better. It can actually be worse if made using poor production techniques.
How long does water-soluble CBD stay in your system?
The absorption rate, the degradation rate of the CBD, and the receptivity of the individual to the product will all contribute to the length of time results are felt.
“The jury is still out on how long water-soluble CBD can remain in the body,” Halpert said.
Although there is no hard and fast answer, it is worth noting that high-quality, third-party tested, water soluble CBD boasts quicker onset and greater efficacy. Water soluble also requires a smaller dose due to its enhanced bioavailability, meaning the same size bottle of CBD should last longer.
How can water-soluble CBD be taken?
Water-soluble CBD is highly versatile and is often sold in liquid or powder form. It’s also available in oral, topical, and nasal spray forms. Nanoemulsified CBD is translucent, meaning it is visually undetectable when stirred into beverages. It can also be incorporated into food, allowing it to be widely used in everyday life.
Water-soluble CBD is also particularly useful when applied as a topical formula. While oily CBD creams sit on the skin, water-based serums can more effectively soak in by penetrating the spaces between cells.
How is water-soluble CBD isolate made?
CBD isolate is created when CBD molecules are subjected to a more complex process of extraction than full-spectrum CBD oil. The end result is CBD isolated into a crystalline form, without additional cannabinoids or terpenes.
Even CBD isolate, a highly purified form of CBD, is still hydrophobic. Nanotechnology is needed for CBD isolate to become more compatible with water.
“Water-soluble CBD isolate is the exact same CBD isolate as before, but it just goes through this extra process of packaging on the nano-scale,” Halpert said.
Is CBD water-soluble? Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents What is water-soluble CBD? CBD bioavailability How is water-soluble CBD made?