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Is There Such Thing as Water Soluble CBD?

Is There Such Thing as Water Soluble CBD?

We hear from many customers who ask if we sell water soluble CBD.  We also see many brand claiming their product is water soluble. 

Let’s set the record straight…

CBD is hydrophobic.  Meaning, CBD is an oil and therefore is NOT water soluble.

This is true for CBD, THC, etc.  All cannabinoids are oil substances in their natural extracted state. Be wary of brands marketing products what are "water soluble" and "100% bioavailable."  This is simply not true.  

Some brands and brokers will say that CBD isolate is definitely water soluble.  CBD isolate is a highly processed molecule which ends up being a white powder substance after extraction - basically everyting except the CBD molecule is eliminated during the processing.  Even in this state, the CBD molecule is still not theoretically water soluble.  

CBD can, however, be processed into a water-compatible form.

The term "water-soluble CBD" is used extensively by many marketing teams and brand ambassadors reps. "Water-soluble" by definition means it needs to homogeneously incorporate into water by separating into molecules or ions (thus dissolving like sugar, alcohol or salt). Oily substances are repelled by water, which forces them to stay separate from it.

CBD, THC and many other oils can be made water compatible if they are formulated as micro- or nano-emulsions, which are stable and visually homogeneous oil/water mixtures.  Both micro- and nano-emulsions can be prepared in concentrated forms that are fully mixable with water and, therefore, appear to be “water-soluble.” Both emulsion processes require the use of surfactants, which dilute the products.  Depending on the surfactant used, most are safe and there are several natural options available with minimal negative effects. It is, of course, beneficial to use as little surfactants as possible. This is where nano-emulsions have a clear advantage over even micro-emulsions: the amounts of surfactants used for their preparation are up to 10 times lower that those needed to make micro-emulsions.

Nano-emulsion based CBD products are created by breaking up the cannabis extract into 10-100 nanometer droplets.  Although not truly water soluble, the small particle size allows them to disperse throughout the water – effectively increasing the surface area of the compounds. Nano-emulsion based CBD products are used in beverage products typically.  Beverages are mostly processed by the body through the digestion process, however some uptake begins to occur in the mouth. 

At the end of the day, there are many ways to consume CBD oil.  The consumer is seeking the benefits that full spectrum CBD oils provide.  The greatest benefits are achieved through absorption.  Absorption is often confused with bioavailability. 

More on bioavailability to come...


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