The cannabis industry is always looking for the next big thing, or the littlest things to set one brand apart from the rest. Over the past years one of the biggest has been water soluble nano. CBD is oil soluble, so you can’t drop it into water, well you can but it will just float on top and probably just smear on the side of your glass. Your body is also primarily water, about 60% water actually, this can make absorbing fat soluble ingredients a little more tricky. One thing we constantly remind customers about is that edibles only have about a 8% bioavailability. Meaning if you eat 10mg of CBD you may only absorb about 2mg of that. Pharmaceutical chemists have been working to overcome these hurdles for a long time. The solution has come in these nano emulsified forms. Often simply referred to as water soluble nano, sometimes called micelles, liposomal delivery, but in the end it all seems to be the same.
What is "Water Soluble Nano CBD?"
First the CBD is broken down into the smallest possible particle size, often through a sonic process. Once the particle size is between 25nm-100nm it is ready to be emulsified. The emulsion involves surfactant and emulsifier systems. Surfactants break the surface tension of the water.
Less surface tension makes the water more accepting of particles held within its structure. Finally the emulsifier often lecithin is wrapped around the CBD particles. Like in the picture the emulsifier works because half of the molecule is attracted to oil (CBD) and the other half of the molecule is attracted to water. So you can think of it as a little space suit for the CBD particles so they have a compatible environment. Normally cannabinoids freak out when exposed to water, they turn into a gum-like consistency and jump right out of it, even Vodka!
Why is water soluble nano desirable?
It can make formulating a product a lot easier because the emulsion is done for you. You can add the CBD to anything more simply. For consumers the draw is often that you can drop some CBD in your beverage or maybe it is already in your beverage. The claims are 100x absorption. We have seen many assays, “scientific papers” on water soluble nano extracts touting 1mg of their CBD absorbing and conveying the effects of 100mg of every other CBD. Of course these claims make really great marketing, people love hearing about flashy numbers, charts and stats. Often companies with these products talk about these things as if they are a matter of fact and with great authority. In theory the small particle size should maximize surface area while the phospholipid (emulsifier) helps the oil (CBD) be more compatible with water (your body). So the result is supposedly absorption of the fastest speed, some claim in seconds. And again 100x CBD bioavailability. This sounds amazing, the bigggest game changer in cannabinoid history. It also sounds like it could be too much even. But results are often not what one would expect.
The Reality of Water Soluble CBD Products
What often ends up happening is quite underwhelming. Most of the time companies, on the backs of the 100x absorption claim, will simply use 10x less CBD. Of course simple math would suggest this leaves a net gain of 10x but it never seems to correspond with subjective experience. In principle a 250mg tincture should be a 2500mg in terms of effect, if not a 250,000mg but it simply is not. So what you end up with is a product with 250mg of CBD in it.
Nano emulsified products are also usually only 10% CBD by volume so you actually never know if a product has 250mg of CBD or 250mg of a nano ingredient which contains 25mg of active CBD. This scenario would make a lot more sense from the effects (or lack there of) that we have experienced from a lot of the products on the market we have sampled.
Why We Are not Impressed
Most water soluble nano preparations of CBD have very weak emulsions. One of the biggest brands/ stores on the east coast is “Your CBD store” with their Sunmed brand products. They have exclusively water soluble tinctures. Yet in all the freebies from events we have received from them, they emulsions have broken. The results is the “gum” of a rejecting CBD. Which leaves you with a tiny glass of water with an even tinier smudge of CBD floating on top. There is not a chance this is going to have 10x let alone 100x better absorption. Even the softened water it is in can’t tolerate it.
So not only are you getting far less CBD for your money, the emulsions are tricky to pull off and sustain and if they fail, the benefits disappear. When examining water soluble preparations there are basically 5 critical parameters. Taste, does it taste disgusting? The pictured one did, it tasted like sunscreen, that fake flavor was the cover up the awful bitterness of the emulsifier and surfactants. Shelf life, often emulsions don’t last long, temperatures, light and other shifts in environment can ruin an emulsion and leave you with a bunk product (if it wasn’t in the first place). Clarity, does the water turn foggy, iridescent or is it crystal clear? The better the emulsion the more clear it will be because the water is then very accepting and the particle size is small. Potency, this is a double edged sword, higher potency emulsions often are poor in every other category, lower potency emulsions are of course, low potency. And of course finally effect, or performance of the deliver of active ingredients. There is no water soluble nano that has all 5 of these at once optimized, there is always a compromise and often a big compromise. At The Remedy we really hate compromise.
We Never Really Feel Them!
Despite the science and the claims our biggest asset is our experience and how we have sensitized ourselves to detect the subtleties in the extracts we sample. That is always the final test of any ingredient. No matter what the science says and how substantiated it is, how many studies there, or whatever claims are being made, we want to feel results. With the water soluble nano emulsions we rarely feel anything it all. Once in a while we feel a fast onset of moderate effect and before it satisfies it fades away. We could never sell, promote or create a product which we don’t fully endorse and love ourselves.
We have a very hard time taking manufacturers at their word, we want all the details, so we can spread that information to you. If someone has a unique method of extraction or ingredient formulations, we are psyched, but we want to know why it is unique and what makes it special. No water soluble nano manufacturer has ever been able or willing to explain why their’s is different from any others. We have found that they never actually are different from any others and they are all disappointing. We aren’t going to let someone pull the wool over our eyes and then pass that wool down to our customers no way, we are going to stand up for how we see things and what we feel. We want full transparency and every bit of information that exists so we can teach you.
Water Soluble Nano is not Full Spectrum
Firstly nearly all water soluble nano is made from isolate. These CBD extractors made all this isolate, it fell out of fashion because it is not nearly as effective as full spectrum distillate, and now they are figuring out how to get rid of it. One of the ways they “upcycling” this wasted CBD is by turning it into water soluble nano. This allows them to take 100g of active CBD and sell it as 1kg of a water soluble ingredient because, as we said previously, most water soluble ingredients are only 10% CBD.
How Full Spectrum breaks down at Nano Scale
Lets say you have a distillate you want to make into a water soluble ingredient. That distillate is 90% CBD and 5% CBG. Once that distillate is reduced to a nano and emulsified it is 10% of the previous potency so you are left with 9% CBD and .5%CBG. More often than not in order to get the CBD into an emulsion friendly form they are stripped even further. On top of that most brands that make these kind of products probably don’t use distillate that has even 5% minors, more like 1 or 2% tops. So when made into an emulsion that leaves .1 or .2% and that is in the ingredient they use to make the products. After that ingredient obtained the product is diluted further into a tincture, often with 250mg of CBD .1% of 250mg is .25mg. So you get .25mg of minors in that entire bottle, which is not really full spectrum at all, that is far less than the allowable amount of Delta9 THC in the product. If you are allowed 3x more THC then it cannot be doing much good.
Is it even still "natural"?
Something being “natural” is highly nuanced thing, on one hand everything is natural as anything we do occurs within nature. On the other hand, once you processed so many steps away from the naturally occurring form, it is almost inarguably “less natural.” So instead of the black and white everything is more of a sliding scale and in this case slowly leaning away from nature. Isolate is still a natural product, but it is more processed and it turns out is less effective and more straining on the liver. So from there it is safe to assume the more raw the form the better absorbed and utilized, which is the full spectrum principle in a nutshell.
Don't Pharma Our Canna
The water soluble nano preparations are moving away from the natural wellness that we all love cannabis for. So many people are turning to natural remedies for their ailments and symptoms, but let’s not get caught in the trappings of the pharmaceutical promises and claims just in a new arena. The water soluble CBD strips away most of the principles of natural wellness in lieu of the enticing potential of more mechanisms of western medicine. At The Remedy we are all about merging the best of modern research and science with time tested natural principles, we think there is a best of both worlds. The evidence clearly points towards single compound pharmacology being not only inferior but also detrimental for our livers as well as their downstream side effects. The last thing we want is to let our precious cannabinoids be dragged through the ringer of false promises when such a potent remedy is already in hand.
Most of all Experiment for yourself
Despite all of this information I have thrown into this blog, do your own experiments and research. There might be some special water solubles out there, or you might react very differently to it then we do. Everyone’s metabolisms are very different and some could potentially do very well with the water soluble. Currently with all my clients and involvement in the industry, I haven’t heard anyone push back hard when I give them a lecture like this blog. So that makes me think most people have not have a very groundbreaking experience with water soluble CBD. But if we ever come across an emulsion or water soluble CBD extract which we find to be impressive, we will definitely be excited to make a water soluble option for our Remedy Family. We even have the blue bottles all ready. But for now they are sitting around as we are generally unimpressed with the water soluble options out there and are so satisfied with how far we have taken our Full Spectrum Tincture line.
We Find the Answer Lies Within Nature
Instead of using pharmaceutical techniques we have just pushed the natural approach even further. Of course starting with a full spectrum distillate is important. We actually add in addition cannabinoids and terpenes which add to the effect, absorption and utilization. We also add our blend of proprietary Co2 Extracted spices which include even more terpenes than are found in cannabis and many of the same classic cannabis terpenes such as Myrcene and Beta-Caryophyllene. It doesn’t stop there, our Co2 Extracted spices contain much more than terpenes in fact most of them are more dense actives that are not found in essential oils. Things like Piperine and Guineensine which maximize absorption and further drive effect. We also offer the cannabinoid enhancers which further modulate and amplify the effects of cannabinoids. We are always striving to find more extracts to contribute to a more complex tincture formula. These are The Remedy difference and why our tinctures are often felt within 5-10 minutes which is 3x faster than other tinctures. We don’t feel like there is much a need for water soluble when we get results like that from our oil based tinctures.
Your Body Knows What To Do
Our bodies digest fats everyday, hormones are made from cholesterol derived from fats. People have been successfully utilizing cannabinoids for thousands of years and they never saw any issue with it. Take your CBD with healthy fats and your body has enzymes and processes for absorbing them. Every cell is wrapped in a protective lipid layer. Fats are an integral and one of the most important parts of our bodies, for membranes, storage of energy, transmission of signals *cough* the endocannabionid system *cough*
Trust our body it knows what to do, and trust nature is has been here way before us and it will remain long after.