Nano CBD is essentially nothing more than Cannabidiol (CBD) with a smaller particle size. This is made using ultrasonic frequencies; in order to bring the molecules of isolated CBD crystals – or a full spectrum hemp extract – to nano level-size. Producers and people selling this type of CBD oil often state that the bioavailability is many times higher compared to regular oils. Accordingly, sellers say this oil is also better absorbed by the body and is more effective because of that.
What is nano CBD oil?
To come to this conclusion, it is often compared to so-called liposomal vitamin C formulas. Where lecithin is also used to ensure the vitamin C is more effectively absorbed by the body. Lecithin makes sure fats can bind to certain enzymes in the body, resulting in them being effectively broken down. So at cell level, lecithin is essential for a healthy cell function. In that perspective, it’s safe to say lecithin is definitely a healthy food supplement. But will it actually aid the absorption of CBD in the body too?
Liposomal CBD oil based on Lecithin / liposomes
Over the past few years, there’s also been an increase of CBD oils being sold based on lecithin. A substance naturally found in eggs, soy and sunflower seeds and is used, for example, to make mayonnaise. Lecithin is a so-called emulsifier-agent, meaning it binds fats to water. In CBD oil formulas, lecithin is thought to help the body absorb and process the active ingredients better.
Any novel drug formula, including liposomal or nanoencapsulation of CBD, should be studied for safety and efficacy prior to being rolled out onto the market. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
While the liposomal packaging system could be harmless in one drug context, it could be toxic in another context. “Any novel drug formula, including liposomal or nanoencapsulation of CBD, should be studied for safety and efficacy prior to being rolled out onto the market,” Dr. Rae advises. “I would not recommend using a liposomal CBD formula that was not accompanied by published safety data. The risk could be small, but it’s not a risk I’d personally be willing to take.”
“Because liposomes appear to be very safe, they have been the subject of intense research for decades,” explains Dr. Rae. “However, there is some very sophisticated chemistry and physics going on with this delivery system, which is best wielded by trained medicinal chemists and pharmaceutical development experts — not your average hemp processing/extraction company.”
Liposomal products may help CBD bypass the digestive system where the bioactive compounds of CBD are broken down or rejected by the body. In a recent pilot study published in the American Journal of Endocannabinoid Medicine, CBD was detected in the blood of all 15 patients who ingested liposomal CBD after an hour. In contrast, standard CBD was only found in 40% of patients after the same time.
Are liposomes dangerous?
Nanoemulsions are manufactured to improve the delivery of active pharmaceutical compounds such as CBD. While there are limited nanoemulsion CBD formulations on the market at present, research suggests nanoemulsified CBD may offer an edge in enhanced bioavailability. Smaller doesn’t necessarily mean better, though. “There are unknown risks for nanoparticles of all sorts, including nano CBD,” says Dr. Rae. “Some of the ingredients in nano-preparations might be safe in their traditional forms, but could be toxic when made super small.”
The clear advantage of liposomal delivery is increased bioavailability. Liposomal CBD is usually intended for oral use, although some topical products also take advantage of liposome technology. When the body can more successfully access the cannabinoid following ingestion, its potential benefits can be more readily experienced.
Liposomal CBD improves the bioavailability of the cannabinoid by surrounding it with a substance that the body can more easily absorb. This novel format appears to increase CBD’s bioavailability, so its potential benefits can be more effectively delivered and distributed.
Is liposomal CBD better than other types of CBD?
“A liposome is basically a bubble that is used to package a drug,” says Dr. Adie Rae, a neuroscientist and medicinal cannabis expert. “Liposomes are typically made using materials called phospholipids, which are the exact same kind of molecules that comprise our bodies’ cell membranes.” Phospholipids can sometimes aid direct drug absorption or protect the drug from being broken down in the digestive tract.
Oral cannabidiol formulations are very popular; however, oral CBD has a much lower bioavailability than inhaled CBD. Most oral CBD is lost through the digestive tract’s metabolic process, resulting in as little as 9% CBD bioavailability.