Like peanut butter and jelly, the advanced science of nanotechnology and the emerging science of cannabinoid therapy were simply meant to be together. As science uncovers the molecular-level marvels of cannabis, technology is providing the means to make the most efficient use of the nutraceutical and pharmaceutical capabilities of the plant. CannabisTech spoke with CBD Living COO, Sean McDonald about how they use nanotechnology to provide a better consumer experience.
One Tiny Advantage with Huge Benefits
Understanding the scope of nanotechnology requires a little imagination. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter. To put that into visual perspective, if a standard marble represents the size of a nanometer, a meter would be about the size of the Earth. Nanotechnology allows scientists to manipulate and control atoms and molecules.
To better explain the advantages of nanotechnology in pharmacological applications and dietary supplements, McDonald provided a unique analogy. “Imagine eating a steak. Although the steak likely has 40 grams of protein, because of the digestive process, you will only actually absorb a fraction of that,” McDonald explained. “By nanosizing the protein down to a molecular level, the protein is more easily absorbed into the body, thus increasing the bioavailability to 90 to 100 percent.”
In orally consumed cannabis products, the consumer typically only achieves between four and twenty percent bioavailability according to research. So, therefore, if you’re eating a 100mg edible, your body is probably only utilizing 4-20mg, and the rest is wasted through the process of digestion. In topical applications, the absorption rate is even less.
Honey, We Shrunk the Cannabinoids
Nanotechnology isn’t new in the realm of pharmaceutical applications. In fact, many believe nanotechnology may revolutionize modern medicine. Research, into the ‘nano-attack’ of aggressive diseases like AIDS and cancer, is proliferating as well.
Although it may sound like something out of a science fiction movie, nanotechnology doesn’t actually shrink the cannabinoids. Rather, using a process called sonication, the cannabinoids are broken up at a molecular level and emulsified into a solution. In doing so, these tiny particles of matter, measured at 100nm or less, absorb easier because of their size. Ultimately, research has shown nanosized particles can see as much as 100 percent absorption rate.
With nanosized cannabinoids, when the consumer takes a 20mg dose, they can absorb the entire dose. This increased bioavailability results in achieving the same results using a much smaller dose. “In other words, you get more bang for your buck,” McDonald proclaimed. Additionally, because the smaller particles are more easily absorbed, the consumer experiences faster onset than usually expected with oral ingestion.
What is Sonication?
Last year, CannabisTech interviewed Dr. Alexey Peshkovsky about the use of ultrasonic liquid processing in the cannabis industry. By using high-frequency sound waves, at 20kHz or higher, the alternating pressure of the sound waves causes physical vibration of particles and ultimately breaks them apart. The higher the frequency, the greater the agitation.
The sonicator itself is highly specialized lab equipment which uses an ultrasonic electric generator to power a transducer. Then, piezoelectric crystals convert the electrical signal into a mechanical vibration which is preserved, amplified and transferred to a probe which in turn agitates the solution.
Throughout the process, the alternating pressure forms microscopic vacuum bubbles in the mixture causing a reaction known as cavitation when the bubbles collapse. When this occurs, it creates an immense amount of energy in the cavitation field disrupting the solution at a molecular level to separate particles and facilitate mixing.
While McDonald attributes their success to constant innovation and proprietary processes including CO2 extraction and chromatography isolation, starting with quality, organically-grown hemp sourced from Colorado can’t hurt either. McDonald also claims a constant drive for product improvement sets them apart from their competition. Five years after introducing their first formula for CBD-infused water, the recipe is about to change for the third time, to an alkaline solution containing 5mg of CBD. Additionally, CBD Living now offers a wide variety of products from concentrates to topicals, and everything in between, including nano-infused suppositories coming to their product line soon.
If success is measured in market depth and sales figures, then CBD Living has clearly taken advantage of high tech processes to harness success within the chaos that defines the present CBD industry. Today, more than 40 CBD Living products are available on a global level and currently sold in more than 2200 stores worldwide.