nanoenhanced cbdDecember 15, 2021
If you look at a pre-mixed salad dressing on the grocery shelf, you’ll see that it lists extra ingredients & chemicals — many of which help keep the oil & water mixed indefinitely. If you could zoom in on that salad dressing with a high-powered microscope, you would see countless tiny drops of oil suspended in vinegar (which is mostly water).
According to some customer testimonials, Foria’s CBD oil seems to absorb faster than competing products — likely because the carrier is MCT coconut oil.
Is all this nano-business a sign of scientific progress — or just a scientistic gimmick?
Here are our thoughts on a few popular reasons people consider taking nano CBD:
(And digestion tends to break down a large percentage of any CBD you swallow — which is why we strongly recommend that you vigorously swish your CBD oil around your tongue and gums for enhanced absorption.)
Nano-Enhanced CBD Risks & Side Effects.
You can visualize a droplet of any CBD oil product as one of those carnival ball-pits full of plastic spheres. Most of those spheres are molecules of the carrier oil (coconut oil, olive oil, etc.) but there’s a much smaller number of CBD molecules interspersed throughout — mostly hidden inside the ball-pit with very little at the surface or edges.
Since oil and water don’t mix, “nano” CBD companies use one of the oldest tricks in the recipe book…
In truth, nano CBD products are about as technologically-advanced as creamy balsamic vinaigrette .
Don’t be fooled by the big words (or the small ones). This article explains the ins and outs of nano-enhanced CBD oil in language you can actually understand. Learn how to judge the quality and safety of nano CBD products for yourself.
Nano -Amplified CBD. Nano -technology-Enhanced Diols. Nano -particle Cannabinoids. Nano-OMG.
By the normal definition, those extremely small things should be less than 0.0000001 meters — i.e. 100 nanometers.
Because your mouth and your digestive tract are moist and watery, and because oil & water don’t mix, when you swallow a CBD product it tends to stay in droplets or globules, with most of the CBD molecules hidden and inaccessible until fully digested.
It may sound intimidating, but nanotechnology is just a fancy way of saying that a company is working with extremely small things.
And what are these “nano” things anyway? Little drops of CBD oil!
Does Foria Offer Nano-Enhanced CBD?
Fortunately, there are plenty of natural, inexpensive tricks people can use at home to increase their absorption of CBD oil.
There is one true reason you might want to try emulsified CBD oil (aka nano CBD).
Although nano-enhanced CBD can deliver higher levels of CBD quickly into your bloodstream, there are a few things you should consider before buying a nano CBD product:
Whether or not you should try nano CBD depends on why you were drawn to it in the first place.
Most of the benefits promised by nano CBD products can be found from less-adulterated CBD products for a much lower price.
What you wouldn’t be able to see (even though it’s there) is a thin layer of emulsifiers & other chemicals coating the surface of every drop of oil. They’re what keep the oil droplets from merging and rising to the top to separate from the water.
What Is Nano CBD?
However, in the CBD industry, “nano” is thrown around pretty loosely, frequently describing much larger things. Why? Simply because “nano” sounds so coooool.
If you’re shopping for CBD oil, you may have noticed a growing selection of products that sound like they belong in a science fiction novel instead of on your nightstand:
Nano CBD products, like nano cbd oil and nano cbd water, typically contain CBD oil, water and other ingredients that help stabilize this emulsion. For instance, one common nano CBD ingredient – lecithin or “phospholipids” – is the same fat in egg yolks that works great to keep salad dressings from separating.
Just because the verdict is still out does not mean that nano CBD is not safe or effective — but we prefer to be cautious when it comes to the purity & safety of our products.
Getting More out of Your Broad-Spectrum CBD.
When whipping up a homemade salad dressing, recipes usually call for honey, mustard or egg yolks. This isn’t just for taste — these ingredients are natural emulsifiers, which means they help stabilize oil-in-water mixtures.
When manufactured correctly, emulsified CBD oil could potentially increase the amount of CBD that ends up in your bloodstream.
Devit-Lee zeroes in on how people consume cannabis compounds generally as potentially altering its bioavailability regardless of formulation. “The way the problem [with nanoemulsion] is often framed is ironic because it’s framed around potency,” he said. “When you eat CBD, if you take it first thing in the morning before food, you might absorb 3-6 percent. If you take it with a fatty food, you might absorb more of it.”
The bottom line is that there just isn’t much research for a persuasive argument either way. The only thing consumers can really do is to shop thoughtfully for CBD — nano or not — and buy from U.S. companies that can easily show you their third-party lab results and certificate of analysis.
CBD is non-intoxicating and reported to ease a wide range of conditions, and consumers are flocking to the cannabinoid to help relieve chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia, and even skin conditions like psoriasis and acne. Even restaurants and cafes are jumping in on this wellness trend, adding it to smoothies or mocktails for a few extra bucks, while chefs are adding CBD to their menus (though officials in cities like New York are cracking down on the practice). Even mainstream stores like Walgreens and CVS are jumping on the bandwagon, stocking their shelves with CBD products.
Though most CBD products come in packages designed to keep out light, the simple act of opening and closing the container will reduce its efficacy. McDonald says that the nanoemulsion process itself insulates their products from degradation — though it should be noted the research backing this is scant — and all their packaging, with the exception of water, is opaque to keep out light.
What this means is that, theoretically, a person who consumes nano CBD as opposed to regular CBD may feel the effects more quickly. Dr. Mary Clifton, an NYC-based MD specializing in internal medicine, is also a CBD and cannabis expert and has worked with medical marijuana patients for more than 20 years in Michigan and New York State respectively.
Like any trend, nano CBD has its skeptics.
Kurek adds, “Nano CBD is a CBD molecule packaged in nano-carriers that are the size of about 100 nanometers — or one-billionth of a meter — which allows the “package” to stay in the body for a longer time and to slowly release the intact CBD in the targeted tissue.” To illustrate his point, he mentions a 2017 study that reported a 600% increase in bioavailability of oral Nano CBD compared to CBD in a rat model.
Clifton says that she remains undecided about nanotechnology, but she says that some of her patients are enthusiastic about the formulations. “A number of my patients swear by the use of nanotechnology to make their CBD more effective,” she said. However, she notes that the human data on CBD nanotechnology is pretty much nonexistent, though cellular data shows promise.
this is the nano CBD cocktail I made with grapefruit and rosemary. I am with the company so I did some promo shots for them because I am a nice lady who would like to be rich one day pic.twitter.com/sGrnNzaFFY — mommy’s special computer time (@sistersleaze) December 31, 2019.
But nano CBD exists in a world with such a confounding range of CBD products available that can be found in the oddest of places — like the neighborhood bodega, alongside the condoms and Five Hour Energy packets — it begs the question: Is nano CBD a genuine innovation, or a gimmick to help companies differentiate themselves from the pack?
CBD, more formally known as cannabidiol, is everywhere. Given the incredible enthusiasm, you would never guess that CBD is not exactly legal, leaving CBD purveyors in a legal grey area. This lack of federal oversight has created a lot of wiggle room for companies seeking an edge or niche in an increasingly crowded and competitive space. One such niche is the very sci-fi sounding name nano (or water-soluble) CBD, touted as being more effective and bioavailable (the degree to which a nutrient is available for the body to use) than other formulations.
Kurek begins by noting that nano-sized delivery technologies are not unique to CBD and are widely used by pharmaceutical companies to ensure bioavailability. “Nano CBD is a CBD molecule coated with very small particles, such as liposomes or lipid nanoparticles (LNPs), that stabilize the CBD and can move in our blood faster than ‘naked’ CBD, to effectively reach the target,” he explained.
Acknowledging that the onset of nanoparticles takes about half as long as regular CBD, he also notes that the molecule spends about half as much time in your system. “Practically speaking, is that much different than taking a stronger dose? I don’t know that consumers would find it [nano CBD] much different.”
Dr. Itzhak Kurek, Ph.D., is the co-founder and CEO of Cannformatics, a Northern California biotech company using saliva metabolomics technology to personalize medical cannabis treatment. Weedmaps spoke with Kurek to learn more about nanoparticles and the science behind them.
And this is assuming that the CBD product in the bottle is exactly what’s reported on the label, something that some CBD companies are wont to do. In 2019, the FDA issued several warning letters to CBD firms for products that did not contain the amount of CBD they purported to contain, and for using language that suggested CBD could cure, treat, or prevent disease, a big FDA no-no.
The technology used in Nano CBD isn’t new.
Devit-Lee also notes that every state has different testing requirements, and each lab has a different formulation for detecting drugs. In other words, just because it says something on the label doesn’t make it so. “If you have a good product that has some terpenes that help with absorption and with medicinal effects — if it’s a good quality product in general you don’t need to do this nanoformulation. But if you have bad quality hemp products, maybe [nano] can help them stand out,” he added.
Corona, California-based CBD company CBD Living utilizes nanotechnology for their flagship product, CBD Living Water, as well as topicals, gummies, and others. Chief Operating Officer Sean McDonald said that the company decided to utilize nanoemulsions because of its reported ability to increase bioavailability and speed up the absorption rate. And the customers, he said, feel better, quicker.
A challenge with cannabinoids generally — regardless of how they’re processed — is cannabinoid degradation. Once cannabis is harvested it begins the degradation process, meaning that the potency of the product, whether it is water or an edible, will decline. Many factors contribute to this process, but the top four are UV light, airflow, humidity, and temperature.
Another area of concern lies in the safety of nanoparticles — when particles are made smaller, there may be unintended consequences. The increased use of nanotechnology in biomedicine, agriculture, and consumer products has led to the rise of nanotoxicology, the study of how engineered nano devices and structures may affect people. In reporting an explainer on weed wine for Weedmaps News, Josh Lizotte, founder and CEO of Rebel Coast, cautioned against the process of using nanoemulsions in cannabis-infused wine because “we don’t know the health effects of nanotechnology, and how such small particles [interact with] the body.”
But clear CBD water bottles that could sit on store shelves for weeks or even months under the blazing lights of a grocery store aisle might be CBD-free by the time they’re purchased and consumed.
Project CBD is a California-based nonprofit dedicated to promoting and publicizing research into the medical uses of CBD and other components of the cannabis plant. Their Chief Science Writer, Adrian Devit-Lee, is somewhat skeptical of nano CBD formulations. He agrees with Kurek that the nanoemulsion theoretically makes CBD easier for the body to absorb, but that it doesn’t mean it is “practically” easier to absorb.
To nano or not?
Featured image: a 3D rendering of nanoparticles on a white background (Photo: Shutterstock)
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