Updated: May 7
Nanoemulsion technology, sometimes called submicron emulsion, is quickly gaining popularity with wellness professionals, consumers, and emerging hemp brands. This approach to the consumption of some types of molecules that display very poor water solubility, including cannabinoids and flavonoids, is complex in detail but easily grasped in general theory.
Nanoemulsion involves use of an agitative force (such as ultrasonic sound) to break up a solution containing two liquified substances (often an oil and an aqueous [water] solution) that, under normal circumstances and in traditional preparations, would not form a homogeneous mixture.
The compound of medicinal or therapeutic focus, such as cannabinoids, flavonoids, or terpenes, is infused into either an oil or a water. Cannabinoids and flavonoids, which are fat soluble but not water soluble, must be infused into a lipid (fat) or oil, while terpenes, which are water soluble, are typically infused into a water-based solution.
This marriage of oil and water, one or both of which acts as a carrier for medicinal wellness compounds such as cannabinoids, is accomplished with the assistance of a third party called an emulsifying agent.
This marriage of oil and water, one or both of which acts as a carrier for medicinal wellness compounds such as cannabinoids, is accomplished with the assistance of a third party called an emulsifying agent. This relatively technical concoction produces a "single phase" mixture comprised of extremely small particles within the nano size range.
Benefits & Delivery Forms
Nanoemulsions are liquid solutions packaged as tinctures, infused beverages, eye drops, topicals (creams, lotions, and balms), or transdermal patches containing nanoparticles. They are designed to circumvent the lengthy process of digestion by the stomach and liver, with the overall goal of improving their bioavailability.
Methods of creating nanoemulsions include sonication (the use of ultrasonic sound) and high-pressure homogenization. Nanoemulsions produce significantly greater overall bioavailability, including faster onset and enhanced potency. This is true not only when nanoemulsions are eaten, but also when they are consumed sublingually (as with topicals) or via transdermal patches.
A 2015 study entitled "Nanoemulsion: An Advanced Mode of Drug Delivery System" reported that nanoemulsions "are manufactured for improving the delivery of active pharmaceutical ingredients," adding that the process involves a "thermodynamically stable isotropic system in which two immiscible liquids are mixed to form a single phase by means of an emulsifying agent."
The improved stability of nanoencapsulated formulations makes them of significant interest to wellness professionals because they can increase the precision of dosing. This is of importance for many conditions and compounds that feature biphasic response curves or other peculiarities that can be exploited by a lack of stability.
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