We are frequently asked how to minimize the bitter taste of products made with cannabis extract nanoemulsions (a.k.a., water-soluble CBD and THC). Infusing beverages with CBD and/or THC-containing translucent nanoemulsions (ideally, averaging ~20 nanometers in droplet size diameter) offers a very convenient, discrete and effective consumption method. The infusion does not change the original appearance of the beverages while instantly enabling them to provide a very rapid onset of action and high bioavailability of cannabinoids as well as of any other incorporated active ingredients. With this pharmacokinetic profile, the experience a lot more similar to consuming an alcoholic beverage than a typical cannabis-containing edible, which provides a myriad of attractive options for the vendors and consumers. In many cases, however, the infusion results in a bitter taste, which can range in intensity from virtually undetectable to quite unpleasant and makes it important to understand and manage.
There are many ways to administer medical and recreational cannabis, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. One common feature, however, is that only a certain (generally small) percentage of the consumed cannabinoid content, defined as "bioavailability", can be absorbed into the bloodstream with each method. This stems from the fact that cannabinoids are not water-soluble and, therefore, not readily compatible with the predominantly water-based human body. Water-soluble compounds such as ethanol, on the other hand, can be quickly and efficiently delivered to the bloodstream via a variety of alcoholic beverages, eliminating the need for other delivery methods. Wouldn't it be great if the same could be done with cannabis?
This is a second article in the series on the principles of formulating water-compatible cannabis extracts and isolates, also known as water-soluble CBD and THC. The first article showed multiple advantages of nanoemulsions over the other two water-compatible formulation classes: microemulsions and liposomes. Here I will demonstrate the importance of using a carrier oil in your cannabis extract or isolate nanoemulsion. I will also explain how to select the proper carrier oil among the available choices.
Industrial Sonomechanics is launching a series of blog posts dedicated to describing the main principles of developing water-compatible cannabis extract formulations, also known as water-soluble CBD and THC. As explained in our earlier blog post, since medical marijuana extracts are oils and, as such, not soluble in water, they have to be specially formulated in order to become water-compatible and acquire the appearance of being water-soluble. There are three formulation classes that can provide this property: microemulsions, liposomes and nanoemulsions.
The cannabis (marijuana, hemp) plant has been used for medicinal purposes for millennia. In addition to terpenes and flavonoids, over 100 types of therapeutically active compounds known as cannabinoids have been identified in these plants . The two most important and well-known cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) . Cannabinoids have the ability to directly and/or indirectly affect receptors in our cells because they mimic endocannabinoids produced by our own bodies endogenously, for example, in response to injury .
Cannabinoids (CBD, THC, etc.) are hydrophobic (water-hating) oily substances and, as such, not water-soluble. They can, however, be formulated to be water-compatible and appear water-soluble.
The term "water-soluble CBD" has lately been extensively used throughout the medical cannabis industry. "Water-soluble" means able to homogeneously incorporate into water by separating into molecules or ions (dissolve like sugar, alcohol or salt). Oily substances, however, are repelled by water, which forces them to stay separate from it.
Medicinal uses of the cannabis plant (e.g., medical marijuana, hemp) have now been legalized in most US states. In addition to terpenoids and flavonoids, the plant may contain over 85 different types of therapeutically active compounds known as cannabinoids, the main two of which are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). In recent years, medications based on concentrated cannabis extracts have become popular because they allow many routes of administration that are preferable to smoking the plant itself.
One of the main challenges in the food & beverage industry is the inactivation of microorganisms (pasteurization). Thermal treatment of such products as milk and fruit-based beverages (generally, at over 70 °C) is currently the most commonly applied pasteurization method. Unfortunately, this approach causes significant deterioration of many of these products' attributes, such as flavor, color and nutritional quality. Alternative, non-thermal pasteurization methods that can not only ensure the microbial safety of the products, but also preserve their quality are, therefore, of great interest to this industry.
In our previous blog post on ultrasonic cavitation in liquids, we described it as a cloud of low-pressure voids (a.k.a., vacuum bubbles or cavities) that grow, briefly oscillate and finally asymmetrically implode with great intensity. This effect causes extreme local temperatures and pressures, which can produce free radicals and give rise to many chemical (sonochemical) reactions. It also generates extremely powerful micro-jets and enormous shear forces, which promote a variety of physical (mechanical) processes. In some instances, these effects can be clearly seen as they occur. In this post, we provide such visual examples of chemical and mechanical processes.
Liquids exposed to high-intensity ultrasound can undergo acoustic cavitation. This phenomenon can typically be seen as a cloud of bubbles forming in the vicinity of the ultrasonic source (e.g., ultrasonic horn) and heard as an intense hissing noise. Cavitation is the formation of low-pressure voids (a.k.a., vacuum bubbles or cavities) in the liquid, which grow, briefly oscillate and then asymmetrically implode with great intensity.