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Are Cannabinoids Water-Soluble?

What Does Water Solubility Mean?

Water solubility is the scientific term for the maximum amount of a particular substance or solute that can be dissolved in water as the solvent. The higher the substance's water solubility, the more efficiently it can dissolve in water. If a substance is genuinely water-soluble, the mixture will be completely clear and colorless. If substances are not water-soluble, they can separate from the mixture and form cloudiness, settling, or layers.


Are Cannabinoids Water-Soluble? Is THC Water-Soluble? Is CBD Water-Soluble?

Cannabinoids are not naturally water-soluble molecules. They are fat-soluble or hydrophobic, which means they do not naturally dissolve when mixed with water. Therefore, formulators must use different ingredients and techniques in cannabis product ingredient formulations to get cannabinoids to dissolve in water-based mixtures.


Are Traditional Methods to Make CBD and THC Water-Soluble Effective?

Traditional methods to improve the water solubility of cannabinoids for product formulations, such as THC and CBD, only work to a certain extent. The cannabinoids are still not truly water-soluble because traditional methods do not fundamentally change the molecular structure of cannabinoids.


Sonication involves physical agitation to break up particles and distribute them more uniformly in water. Eventually, the particles settle out of the solution and create a sediment layer.


Liposomes are bilayer spherical vesicles encapsulating THC and CBD in a bubble with a hydrophobic center and a hydrophilic exterior. However, the cannabinoids within the liposomes are still not water-soluble at the molecular level.


Micelles are lipid molecules that arrange themselves in a bubble. They can act as emulsifiers that improve the water solubility of a hydrophobic ingredient. Like with liposomes, the ingredient itself is still not genuinely water-soluble.


Are Nanotechnology Cannabinoids Water-Soluble?

Nanotechnology generally refers to the microscopic level — on the scale of molecules or atoms. In cannabis ingredient formulation, nanotechnology refers to the dispersion or emulsion of tiny oil droplets in water. However, nanotechnology cannabinoids do not fully dissolve in water. They make milky mixtures and often have ingredient settling.


Why Do Cannabinoids Need To Be Water-Soluble for Bioavailability?

Bioavailability is a pharmaceutical term for the extent to which a medication or substance reaches the intended site of action in the body. It is affected by the chemical composition of the substance, methods of product formulation, and physiological state.


Reliable medical efficacy in cannabis product formulation depends on delivering a consistent dose of cannabinoids to the intended physiological site of action. Increasing the water solubility of cannabinoids improves absorption, resulting in more significant amounts of cannabinoids delivered to the body's site of action.


Therefore, improving the water solubility of cannabinoids in product formulations reduces the quantity of ingredients needed for the same physiological effect, enhancing the consumer experience and reducing ingredient costs in product formulation.


How Does Cannabinoid Water Solubility Affect Product Formulations?

In addition to bioavailability and efficacy, the cannabinoid water solubilization method used in cannabis product formulations will affect shelf-life, consumer experience, and cost. For example, in the increasingly popular cannabinoid beverage market, incomplete solubilization will cause ingredients to settle and separate to the bottom of the container. Bubbling beverages get nixed when consumers must shake products to get ingredients to dissolve. Furthermore, incompletely dissolved cannabinoids create a noticeable flavor and aroma that is difficult to mask.


How Does CannaSorb CB Active Create True Water Solubility?

Our flagship ingredient, CannaSorb CB Active, is made via a patented process akin to polysorbate chemistry. While other ingredients aim to make hydrophobic compounds more hydrophilic, CannaSorb CB Active is made by chemically reacting a fat-soluble compound and converting it into a water-soluble compound. This process creates an opaque liquid that dilutes quickly, easily, and fully into water to create a clear, stable, permanent solution.


Unlike other ingredients that claim to be water-soluble yet only have 10% to 25% activity, CannaSorb CB Active is 100% active. Therefore, less CannaSorb CB achieves better results. CannaSorb CB is fully bioavailable in the body, dramatically increasing the bioavailability of CBD isolate and other components.




You're in the right place if you seek high-value cannabis formulation ingredients and white-label opportunities. Our industry know-how and expert support at Synergy Life Science will help you get your high-quality products on the retail shelves efficiently and affordably. Contact us here to find out more.


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