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Nanotechnology is taking the cannabis industry by storm. Originally designed for the pharmaceutical industry about a decade ago, Industrial Sonomechanics Patented Barbell Horn Ultra Sonic Technology (BHUT) now sees approximately 80% of its business sourced from the cannabis industry, according to Alexey Peshkovsky, the company’s President and Chief Scientific Officer.
What is Ultrasonic Liquid Processing?
When a liquid is exposed to high-intensity ultrasound, acoustic cavitation can occur. Cavitation creates a low-pressure void, or vacuum bubble, which will grow, oscillate, and then violently implode. This process causes micro-jets which create shear forces powerful enough to break up particles and cellular walls allowing oil suspension in water.
Breaking apart cannabis extract droplets to the nanometer scale. High ultrasonic amplitudes on the order of 70 – 90 microns are necessary to take advantage of this effect, and Sonomechanic’s BHUT is scalable so the same amplitude and conditions are carried through to large-scale production.
The Patented BHUT is actually Peshkovsky’s father’s original concept. He first came up with the math concept that allows high-intensity ultrasound on a larger scale without losing results. Together they patented the concept and created the device.
Peshkovsky explains how this kind of nanotechnology was originally designed for the pharmaceutical industry more than 10 years ago,
“The goal is to deliver an active ingredient into the human body, most active ingredients happen to be non-water soluble. We needed to make them ‘appear’ to be water soluble. Nano-emulsion and nanocrystals give you a way to do this.”
Cannabis an Easy Transition for Ultrasonic Liquid Processing
Once the legal cannabis market started to blend with the medical market, it didn’t take long for the world of nanotechnology to move into the cannabis sector. As Peshkovsky explains, it was an easy move into the new market. The equipment was already performing and doing what the cannabis market required, there was absolutely no redesign necessary. A couple of minor adjustments to programming and their system was ready for cannabinoid nano-emulsion.
Cannabinoid therapy is a perfect application for nanotechnology.
Benefits of Ultrasonic Liquid Processing and Nano-Cannabinoids
Cannabinoids in nano form are more effective. The onset of effects is faster and bioavailability, or how much of the cannabinoids make it to the bloodstream, is enhanced tremendously. Encapsulating the nanoparticles in water essentially allows the cannabinoids to behave like a water-soluble liquid allowing the consumer to feel the effects within about 15 minutes.
Traditional edibles, on the other hand, can take an hour for onset and up to two for peak effects which isn’t practical for most medical patients. In addition, bioavailability for traditional edibles is actually very low. The cannabinoids have to make it to the small intestine and this can be affected by the consumer’s metabolism, what they ate, and their individual biodiversity will play into the effectiveness of the cannabinoids.
Another drawback to traditional inhalation of cannabis products is dosing. Whether vaporizing hash oil or burning dry cannabis material, dosing can be difficult because the size of the consumer’s breath or inhalation cannot be easily controlled. Ideally, nothing is meant to be brought into the lungs besides oxygen in the first place, however, because of the faster onset this is sometimes the preferred method of administration. These patients could use a nebulizer which allows the water-encapsulated cannabinoids into the lungs safer than smoking or vaping.
Nano-formulation of cannabinoids makes cannabis more bioavailable and makes dosing easier, more effective, and more convenient. The end product is a colorless, odorless, flavorless liquid that patients can add to any beverage of their choice. Sonomechanics BHUT device at bench level can create 5 to 10 liters per hour, or at 20/mg per milliliter, the equivalent of twenty thousand 10 mg doses per hour. The industrial level can scale up even greater.
Ultrasonic Liquid Processing for Extraction
Peshkovsky explained to us the future of Sonomechanics is looking to use this nano-emulsification process to create a new method of extracting cannabinoids from plant material. Traditionally, CO2, butane, and ethanol have been used to extract cannabinoids which may leave harmful residual solvents. Peshkovsky’s team at Sono Mechanics is developing a way to essentially “trick” cannabinoids into thinking they are water soluble to make a solventless extraction that is completely safe and green. They are hoping to see this process available within the next six months.
Industrial Sonomechanics is clearly bringing nanotechnology and cannabis to new heights!