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Understanding Nanoscale

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Welcome to our new Understanding Series. This collection of science-based articles cites dozens of peer-reviewed studies to educate students about the foundational elements of marijuana and hemp. Topics covered include molecular players such as cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids and the collection of neurotransmitters with which they interact called the endocannabinoid system.

A microscopic photo of a nanoemulsion.
What is nanoscale?

Understanding Nanoscale

There's been ample hype recently regarding the role of nanoemulsion technology to create infused beverages and other cannabis and hemp product types. However, most consumers and cannabis business space professionals do not understand the significance of nanoemulsion and how it may revolutionize the infused beverages industry.


Why? Because nanoemulsion works on an incredibly small scale. Before one can understand nanoemulsion tech, they must first firmly grasp nanoscale, which is the size range at which nanoemulsion occurs. Breaking down particles until they enter the nanoscale world achieves, from a chemical perspective, some magical goals. For example, nanoemulsion allows oil and water to finally commingle in a beautiful biochemical ballet—all while fueling the emergence of the largest industries since the dot com: Cannabis and hemp.


"A nanometer is one billionth of a meter (a meter is 3.3 feet). The root term nano is derived from ancient Greek, where it means dwarf."

One Billionth of a Meter

Understanding Nanoscale. Nanoscale (and the entire model for scientific measurement) is based upon the metric system, not the English system of inches and feet. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter (a meter is 3.3 feet). The root term nano is derived from ancient Greek, where it means "dwarf."


A micron, or micrometer, is the unit of measure directly above nano and is 1,000 nanometers (nm). To better gain a sense of the size of the nano scale, a human hair is about 75 microns (75 μm), or 75,000 nanometers, in diameter. A sheet of standard notebook paper is just slightly thicker, at about 100,000 nanometers.


According to the U.S. federal government's National Nanotechnology Initiative at Nano.gov:

  • A strand of human DNA is 2.5 nanometers in diameter

  • An inch contains 25,400,000 nanometers

  • A gold atom is about one third of a nanometer in diameter

A small Smart Car sits beside a stretch limo (Lincoln Towncar).
Measuring life in billionths.

Understanding Nanoscale: Infused Beverages

Understanding Nanoscale. Infused beverages or tinctures containing nanoemulsions of hemp or individual cannabinoids (such as cannabidiol, or CBD or cannabigerol, or CBG) are defined as chemically and physically stable liquid-in-liquid dispersions featuring relatively minuscule droplet sizes (approximately 100 nm).


"Some sources define particle or droplet sizes that exceed 100 nm to be outside the nanoscale. Thus, the 100 nm (or 1/10 of a micron) limit serves as an unofficial boundary."

Some sources define particle or droplet sizes that exceed 100 nm to be outside the nanoscale. Thus, the 100 nm (or 1/10 of a micron) limit serves as an unofficial boundary embraced by some organizations. Because it is a relatively novel encapsulation technology and only beginning to be embraced by the burgeoning hemp industry, research regarding nanoencapsulated tinctures and infused beverages is relatively scant.

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