Let's be clear: Technically speaking there is no such thing as true "water soluble CBD.” The reason for this is CBD is a molecule that itself is not water soluble. In order for it to be water soluble, one would have to change the structure of the molecule to something else, which in turn would mean it is no longer CBD.
So what is water soluble CBD, then? For this question we turned to Levi the owner of Discover CBD and an 18 year veteran of the cannabis industry as well as a leading expert in CBD products and development. When we asked Levi "What is water soluble CBD?" this is was his response:
"When people or companies use the term "water soluble CBD" what they are really talking about is a CBD based product that will homogenize with water or a water based product (ie:vegetable glycerin)." - Levi
Many companies use inferior water soluble formulas, based on lecithin and synthetic polymers, and not all types are equivalent. The formulation Active CBD Oil uses for our water soluble tinctures and capsules are called colloids. This formula combines nanotechnology and encapsulation. The formula is used in our water-soluble tinctures and capsules.
What exactly is nano? It is a measurement scale. Anything measured in nanometers, or 10^-9 meters, meaning 1/1,000,000,000 meters, is technically nanoscale. For CBD products, this generally refers to the delivery mechanism’s particle size. For CBD, these are droplets suspended in fluid - which are completely different than solid nanoparticles also referred to as nanotechnology. For a size comparison, colloid CBD nanotechnology (the type Active CBD uses) has particle diameters of less than 1000 nm, while the average human cell is approximately 25,000 nm in diameter.
Encapsulated CBD formulas are some of the most interesting CBD products regarding biological delivery. Essentially, the CBD molecules are packaged inside a “bubble” which consists of a hydrophobic (fat-like) interior with a hydrophilic (water-like) exterior. Essentially producing a very fine emulsion, all the tiny bubbles disperse evenly throughout the solution. Blood, milk, and egg yolks are examples of common emulsions in biology.
These encapsulated CBD products are some of the best absorbing CBD formulations, especially when swallowed, providing increased bioavailability over swallowed oil-based CBD. The drawback however, is that these all require additional ingredients known as surfactants to be added to the CBD product. Soap is an example of a surfactant, as it allows lipids (fat/oil) to be dissolved into the water via an emulsion, allowing the lipid to be rinsed away during washing. It is possible to use all natural ingredients as surfactants for CBD products. Unfortunately, surfactants can be difficult to formulate due to causing an increased bitter taste of the CBD extract when used in large amounts.
Various methods exist for encapsulating CBD, which differ between the “shell” that surrounds the CBD molecules and the size of the “bubble.” The different configurations vary in the amount of cannabinoids that can be packaged inside. Micelles contain a single layer membrane (shell), but most are normally too large and unstable to be used in CBD products. Liposomes consist of a bilayer membrane with water packaged inside, similar to the membrane configuration of plant and animal cells. Due to a water interior, these are limited in their ability to deliver cannabinoids.
Image from: https://www.slideshare.net
The micelle diameter for colloids is within the nanometer size range, between 1-1000 nm, producing benefits of both technologies. These colloids consist of a single membrane encapsulating an oil-like hydrophobic interior. Colloids have a greater ratio of the oil interior to surfactant ratio compared to lecithin based liposomes. This means more CBD can be packaged inside while requiring fewer ingredients using colloids. These are currently the most advanced and effective water soluble CBD options available. Colloids bypass the rate-limiting step of oil-based cannabinoid absorption in the digestive tract, increasing bioavailability and absorption rate.
These colloid CBD formulas absorb more efficiently because the hydrophobic, or water insoluble, cannabinoid is unable to effectively cross the intestinal membrane alone, which has a coating of water preventing absorption. Your body must break down ingested lipids (fats and oils) using bile salts into micelles before they can be absorbed across the intestinal lining. To absorb cannabinoids after being swallowed, they need to be packaged into these micelles prior to absorption - normally a slow biological process. This is the aspect of ingesting a high fat meal that aids in cannabinoid absorption - packaging cannabinoids bonded to the lipids into the micelles naturally so that the body can absorb the cannabinoid more easily and quickly. The water soluble CBD formulas have already packaged the CBD into micelles, so they are readily absorbable without the body's natural processing having to occur before absorbing the CBD, or needing a lipid meal for the micelle packaging to aid absorption.
We have scientific research on the specific nanotechnology used in our water soluble formulas, in which the water-soluble formula was directly compared to oil based delivery. To be completely transparent, the studies used hydrophobic molecules other than CBD, but once packaged inside the colloids, the delivery mechanism is the same. Similar results have been demonstrated via four pharmacokinetic studies delivering four hydrophobic molecules with similar increases in delivery. Each showed nearly seven times peak concentration levels and indicated overall bioavailability for our water soluble delivery mechanism increased five times compared to the oil based delivery mechanism, i.e. an MCT oil solvent formulation. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19284181
In this image, the water soluble delivery mechanism used for our Active CBD Oil products is shown in yellow. The red-line would be similar to bioavailability based in oil, such as the MCT tinctures. Green and blue lines are two other commercially available water-soluble formulas.
As an example of why water soluble capsules are far superior for the money compared to gummies (or other swallowed oil-based CBD for someone who needs a decent dosage), here is some math (for an average adult):
Regular CBD Bioavailability (swallowed): approximately 10% = 0.1 absorption factor
Water Soluble CBD Bioavailability (swallowed): minimum 50% = 0.5 factor
10 mg oil-based CBD gummy x .1 absorption factor = 1 mg absorbed into system
25 mg water soluble capsule x .5 = 12.5 mg absorbed into system
This means 12.5 gummies ($20 cost per 12.5 gummies with 25 count gummies) must be eaten to equal 1 capsule ($2.67 cost per with 30 count capsules) in terms of absorbed CBD!
For more information, reach out to us at our customer service number 719-358-7553, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact one of our locations on the map below.