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Truly Water-Soluble vs. Nanotechnology: What's the Difference

When looking for ingredients in the cannabis industry, you’ll see the terms water-soluble and nano or nanotechnology used interchangeably. However, neither the terms, nor the products, arethe same, and the difference is essential when formulating cannabis products. This article will explain what the terms truly mean, the science behind them, and approaches to improving cannabis ingredient formulation.

What Is Water Solubility?

Water solubility is a measure of the amount of a particular substance that can be fully dissolved in water. Higher water solubility means a substance can be more efficiently dissolved. A completely clear and colorless solution will form if a substance is water-soluble. When they won’tdissolve, ingredients can separate out of the mixture, form cloudiness, and settling, .

Cannabinoids are fat-soluble molecules, meaning they do not naturally dissolve in water. When developing cannabis product formulations, different ingredients and techniques can improve the water solubility of cannabinoids.

Nanotechnology Versus True Water Solubility

Nanotechnology is a general term that refers to science or engineering at a 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, with nanotechnology, the droplets are not truly water-soluble — instead, they can separate from liquid products and separate to the bottom or form opaque milky mixtures. This separation can affect the taste, smell, and shelf life of cannabis product formulations.

Another drawback of nanotechnology ingredients is that they are not fully active — typically, only 10% to 20% of the product is functional, resulting in reduced efficiency and effectiveness.

Traditional Strategies to Improve Water Solubility in Cannabis Ingredient Formulation

Formulators can use numerous methods to force cannabinoids and other fat-soluble molecules to dissolve in water.


Sonication is a physical process that uses the high shear force of ultrasonic cavitation to break up particles into smaller, more uniform sizes. The process improves the particles' water solubility; however, the ingredients are still not truly water-soluble. With sonication, a stable homogenous suspension is produced that can stay in suspension for months. Eventually, they can settle out over time and create sediment.


Liposomes are bilayer spherical vesicles widely used as delivery systems for pharmaceutical drugs. The liposome structure encapsulates bioactive molecules into a vesicle with a hydrophobic (“water-fearing”) center and hydrophilic (“water-loving”) exterior, resulting in improved uptake and efficacy of hydrophobic ingredients in the body. However, the ingredients are poorly absorbed with liposomes because they are still not truly water-soluble at the molecular level.


Like liposomes, micelles are lipid molecules that arrange themselves in a spherical vesicle structure. They are commonly used to help the body absorb lipid and fat-soluble vitamins and essential fats, often in the small intestine. They act as emulsifiers that improve water solubility and absorption of a hydrophobic ingredient. However, like liposomes, the ingredient itself is still not truly water-soluble.

CannaSorb CB Active Goes Beyond Nanotechnology To Create True Water Solubility

Our flagship ingredient, CannaSorb CB Active, is produced via a patented process. It is perfect for developing advanced, high-performance products with better efficacy and profitability in many product categories, including ingestible, topical, beverage, foods, cannabis edibles, and vapes. While other methods aim to make a hydrophobic compound more hydrophilic, CannaSorb CB Active is made in such a way that this fat-soluble cannabinoid is converted into a water-soluble compound, optimized for absorption into the body.

To make CannaSorb CB-Active, wee start with high purity, hemp-derived CBD isolate to make a safer and more efficacious form of cannabidiol that is 100% Active and 100% water soluble. This bio-active polymer is an opaque liquid that dilutes quickly, easily, and fully into water at all concentrations to create clear, stable, and permanent aqueous solutions.

CannaSorb CB Active is fully bioavailable in the body, with emulsifying action that improves the water-solubility of other components, thereby enhancing their uptake in the body. Unlike other cannabis compounds that claim to be water-soluble yet only have 10% to 25% activity, CannaSorb SB Active is 100% active, so you need less of the ingredient to achieve better results. Our process dramatically increases the bioavailability of CBD isolate. Multiple safety and toxicity studies have received very favorable results.

Final Takeaways — Achieving True Water Solubility in Cannabis Product Formulation

Traditional methods to improve water solubility in cannabis formulations have varying effectiveness, quality, bioavailability, and actual cost. The innovative ingredient formulation in CannaSorb CB Active goes beyond nanotechnology to deliver true water-solubility that produces a stable, consistent product, making it an ideal platform for a wide range of advanced products with improved efficacy and increased profitability.

CannaSorb CB-Active has been nominated for an Allie Award for Best Active Ingredient of the year for the personal care and cosmetics industry. Synergy Life Science has joined the ranks of some of the biggest and brightest global active ingredient manufacturers also competing for the award. The winner will be announced in 2 weeks in NYC at “Beauty Accelerate”.

You're in the right place if you are looking for high-value cannabis formulation ingredients and white-label opportunities. At Synergy Life Science, our industry know-how and expert support 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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