First of all, cannabinoids are not water-soluble by nature, but there are processes to get cannabinoids such as CBD into a water-soluble form that can be mixed. CBD oil is only absorbed by the body to a small extent because it is hydrophobic and thus repelled by water. However, eating foods with fatty acids or high levels of “good fats” - triglycerides, such as medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) - can allow CBD to be absorbed more quickly by the body.
Research has found ways to improve CBD absorption by making it more bioavailable. Bioavailability can be defined as the amount of a substance that enters the bloodstream. Higher bioavailability results in the CBD becoming very effective even at lower dosages. CBD in its traditional oil form resists absorption into the bloodstream, which delays the onset of its effect on the user. There are many different processes for producing water-soluble cannabinoids. They can be offered as a nano- or microemulsion or as a liposomal concentrate.
One process involves refining, e.g., CBD into microparticles and emulsifying them, converting them into a more absorbable form. CBD molecules can be further atomised in the form of nanoemulsions. This makes them even easier to absorb and allows them to interact directly with the body’s tissues and enzymes. Compared to microemulsions, they require ten times less the number of surfactants, which are responsible for the dispersibility of the CBD oil in the body. However, the term “water-soluble” is inaccurate, as CBD molecules never dissolve completely in water, but can only be converted into a more water-compatible form.
Liposomal cannabinoids are cannabinoid molecules that are surrounded by fat molecules. Those so-called micelles, also used in washing detergents, form small spheres that are lipophilic on the inside and water-soluble on the outside. This way, they can more easily fuse with cells and release the contained cannabinoids.
Water-soluble CBD can be taken in all kinds of forms: the product range extends from edibles to drinks, sprays, and powders and thus offers great flexibility in intake. As it can be easily mixed into water-based drinks, in most cases manufacturers do not need to make any changes to their existing formulations. The powder is almost flavour-free and can be added to smoothies, for example, without changing their taste or texture.
With water-soluble products, the body absorbs more cannabinoids than it would with an oil-based product. Especially when taken orally, absorption takes place more quickly, which leads to higher effectiveness.