The popularity of CBD has resulted in a number of scientific breakthroughs, along with unfortunate marketing ploys. Many supposed “miracle products” in the CBD industry have little merit to show for it. Therefore, healthy skepticism is necessary when a new product arrives. In this article, we will examine one of those new products – water soluble CBD – to see if it is a breakthrough in the industry, or just another passing craze.
Water Soluble CBD: Is Nano CBD a breakthrough, or a fad?
If you keep up with the hemp or cannabis industry, you may have heard cannabis connoisseur Tommy Chong urge you to “throw away your CBD.” But why would such a prominent cannabis advocate say this? His answer – water soluble CBD.
What is Water Soluble CBD
In the simplest of terms, water soluble CBD, often called Nano CBD, utilizes incredibly small CBD particles that are designed to enter the bloodstream faster than standard CBD products. What does any of this mean? Why does it matter? And, most importantly, does it actually work? Let’s take a closer look.
What is Bioavailability?
If you’ve not heard of the term bioavailability, it is simply the efficiency and amount for a substance to enter the bloodstream and have an active effect in the body. This applies to medicines, nutrients, toxins, etc. and varies based on a number of factors including the method of ingestion.
For example, let’s discuss CBD on its own. CBD products made through CBD extraction are found in nearly every ingestible form including foods, capsules, drinks, tinctures, topicals, vapors and smokeable flower. Each of these products has a different bioavailability which, in turn, varies the effect that they have on the user. To make things simple, let’s take a look at each ingestion method and the bioavailability that these products may have:
These products, while popular, have the lowest bioavailability of any CBD product. That being said, this does not mean that they are particularly less effective. Instead, they target the endocannabinoid receptors of the nervous system making them ideal for targeted joint, nerve and muscle issues. When it comes to bioavailability, the barriers by which the CBD molecules have to penetrate to reach the bloodstream vastly reduce the amount of CBD that is absorbed by the body.
Products like CBD capsules, drinks and foods are also very popular in the market, but have a relatively low bioavailability as well. The reason for this is the necessity for the CBD to pass through the digestive system before reaching the bloodstream. Because of this, only an estimated 5-20% of the available CBD in the consumed product will actually reach the bloodstream to have the desired effect. Do they work? Yes. Are they the most effective method of CBD ingestion? No.
CBD tinctures are among the most popular CBD products on the market, and for good reason. These products are intended to to be used sublingually, or placed under the tongue. The reason for this is the higher number of capillaries under the tongue that can more readily absorb CBD into the bloodstream. By holding the tincture under the tongue for at least 60 seconds, the CBD can pass through the capillaries into the bloodstream at roughly 12-35%. This drastically improves the effectiveness of the CBD when compared to ingestion or topical administration.
Inhalation has, by far, the most effective bioavailability as high as 56%. This is because the sacs in the lungs called the alveoli directly absorb the CBD through vaporized or smoked products bypassing the digestive tract and the liver. Of course, the drawback to this method is that inhaling smoke or vapor can be an irritant to the lungs, or at worst, damaging to the lung tissue. So, it is important to use these CBD products with caution and with a full understanding of the risks and benefits.
How Water Soluble CBD relates to Bioavailability
Now that we’ve explained what bioavailability is and why it matters in CBD products, we can more accurately discuss the new fascination with nano CBD, and whether or not it is a breakthrough product, or simply a fad.
Water Soluble CBD Bioavailability
As we discussed previously, ingested CBD has one of the lowest bioavailabilities of any application. In an attempt to solve this problem, producers have tried to formulate a water soluble CBD product that will help to permeate the barriers of the digestive system and make nano CBD more efficient in its bioavailability. Why is this hoped to work?
Because CBD is a hydrophobic molecule, it does not mix well with water, which is a large part of the digestive system. Because of this, the vast majority of the CBD consumed will not mix within the digestive tract until it is fully digested in the intestines. By this point most of the CBD will be lost. The attempt to solve this problem lies in the size of the CBD particles in the product. While it is not possible to rid CBD of its hydrophobic tendency, the smaller size CBD particles are more easily digestible and absorbed by the digestive tract. This does mean that a properly formulated water soluble CBD product would, in fact, have a higher bioavailability and be more effective in theory than traditional ingestible CBD products.
Nano CBD: Fad or Innovation?
So, all that being said, what is the verdict on Nano CBD? Is this the most breakthrough innovation in the CBD market? Or just another marketing ploy to make consumers want the next best thing? The simple truth is that it’s a little of both.
While research does show some promise that Nano CBD formulations may have increased bioavailability, thus making it a more effective product. However, the fact of the matter is that the research conducted is ongoing, and there are other methods and products that are certain to have more effect than ingestible CBD products right now. That doesn’t stop many brands from marketing their new Nano CBD products. While there may be some truth to the science behind these products, it is very likely that marketing is in the forefront of the minds of these brands when it comes to Nano CBD, so proceed with caution.