Thinking About Buying Nano CBD Oil? Read This First
What is Nano-Enhanced CBD?
How is Nano CBD different?
Is it safe?
Is it more effective than Broad-Spectrum CBD oil?
If you’re shopping for CBD oil, you may have noticed a growing selection of products that sound like they belong in a science fiction novel instead of on your nightstand:
Nano-Amplified CBD. Nano-technology-Enhanced Diols. Nano-particle Cannabinoids. Nano-OMG.
Is all this nano-business a sign of scientific progress — or just a scientistic gimmick?
Fancy Salad Dressing
In truth, nano CBD products are about as technologically-advanced as creamy balsamic vinaigrette.
Don’t be fooled by the big words (or the small ones). This article explains the ins and outs of nano-enhanced CBD oil in language you can actually understand. Learn how to judge the quality and safety of nano CBD products for yourself.
Nano-Sized Drops of CBD Oil
It may sound intimidating, but nanotechnology is just a fancy way of saying that a company is working with extremely small things.
By the normal definition, those extremely small things should be less than 0.0000001 meters — i.e. 100 nanometers.
However, in the CBD industry, “nano” is thrown around pretty loosely, frequently describing much larger things. Why? Simply because “nano” sounds so coooool.
And what are these “nano” things anyway? Little drops of CBD oil!
You can visualize a droplet of any CBD oil product as one of those carnival ball-pits full of plastic spheres. Most of those spheres are molecules of the carrier oil (coconut oil, olive oil, etc.) but there’s a much smaller number of CBD molecules interspersed throughout — mostly hidden inside the ball-pit with very little at the surface or edges.
Because your mouth and your digestive tract are moist and watery, and because oil & water don’t mix, when you swallow a CBD product it tends to stay in droplets or globules, with most of the CBD molecules hidden and inaccessible until fully digested.
(And digestion tends to break down a large percentage of any CBD you swallow — which is why we strongly recommend that you vigorously swish your CBD oil around your tongue and gums for enhanced absorption.)
Helping CBD Oil Mix into our Watery Bodies
Since oil and water don’t mix, “nano” CBD companies use one of the oldest tricks in the recipe book…
When whipping up a homemade salad dressing, recipes usually call for honey, mustard or egg yolks. This isn’t just for taste — these ingredients are natural emulsifiers, which means they help stabilize oil-in-water mixtures.
If you look at a pre-mixed salad dressing on the grocery shelf, you’ll see that it lists extra ingredients & chemicals — many of which help keep the oil & water mixed indefinitely. If you could zoom in on that salad dressing with a high-powered microscope, you would see countless tiny drops of oil suspended in vinegar (which is mostly water).
What you wouldn’t be able to see (even though it’s there) is a thin layer of emulsifiers & other chemicals coating the surface of every drop of oil. They’re what keep the oil droplets from merging and rising to the top to separate from the water.
Nano CBD products typically contains CBD oil, water and other ingredients that help stabilize this emulsion. For instance, one common nano CBD ingredient – lecithin or “phospholipids” – is the same fat in egg yolks that works great to keep salad dressings from separating.
Nano CBD: Any Benefits?
There is one true reason you might want to try emulsified CBD oil (aka nano CBD).
When manufactured correctly, emulsified CBD oil could potentially increase the amount of CBD that ends up in your bloodstream.
How is that true?
- Increased Surface Area: Your body has an easier time digesting and absorbing nutrients from oil when it’s broken down into tiny drops. The smaller those drops get, the more surface contact the oil has with your body’s enzymes and absorptive tissue. Within your digestive tract, your bod y’s natural bile salts will emulsify CBD oil and other dietary fats. However, putting pre-emulsified oil in your mouth could help your body start absorbing CBD molecules sooner.
- Penetration-Enhancers: Nano CBD products typically contain ingredients that belong to a class of chemicals called “ penetration enhancers .” These in clude ethanol, propylene glycol and other surface-active molecules that coat the tiny drops of CBD oil. These chemicals can increase the movement of CBD molecules across skin and mucous membranes.
Nano CBD: Risks & Downsides?
Although nano-emulsified CBD can deliver higher levels of CBD quickly into your bloodstream, there are a few things you should consider before buying a nano CBD product:
- Added chemicals: Nano CBD products are manufactured with chemicals you might not want in your body. For instance, propylene glycol is a common additive in shelf-stable emulsions th at was recently named “Allergen of the Year” by the American Contact Dermatitis Society. Each miniscule drop of C BD oil is literally coated with these ingredients, and different companies will choose different chemicals to create these emulsions.
- Dishonesty: Unfortunately, the nano CBD world is rife with fraudulent products and misinformation . You’ll need to do some detective work to find a trustworthy company. Beware: Many nano CBD companies love to use scientific-sounding language as a smokescreen to keep you from noticing red flags. If you don’t understand what they’re saying, they’re probably confusing you on purpose.
Deciding Whether to Buy Nano CBD Oil
Whether or not you should try nano CBD depends on why you were drawn to it in the first place.
Most of the benefits promised by nano CBD products can be found from less-adulterated CBD products for a much lower price.
Here are our thoughts on a few popular reasons people consider taking nano CBD:
- Are you buying your first CBD product and just stumbled on nano CBD? You might want to start simple and try a high-quality CBD oil on its own. You can use that as a baseline to see how — or even if — you would want to improve that experience.
- Have you found other CBD products ineffective? First triple check that the CBD products you previously bought came from a reputable company. (This new, minimally regulated industry is full of hype and snake oil, so it’s easy to be sold fake products whether you’re buying nano CBD or natural CBD oil.)
- Do you wish your CBD oil was stronger or want to feel it quicker? Before giving away your bottle of non-nano CBD oil, there are natural tricks you can try to enhance your body’s ability to absorb CBD. For instance, try eating a nice meal full of healthy fats before taking the CBD oil. To speed the flow of CBD into your bloodstream, try vigorously swishing CBD oil around in your mouth for a few minutes before swallowing — not only does this spread the oil out across many absorption areas in the mouth, it also emulsifies the oil somewhat. You could even include a natural emulsifier like a spoonful of honey. For more tips, see our article on getting your CBD dosage right .
- Do you already love CBD and just want to try the newest thing? Well that sounds reasonable. However, make sure to scrutinize your options and choose a nano CBD company that treats you like an intelligent person while prioritizing your safety. We don’t currently recommend any specific products, but we do have some advice to help you navigate the hype.
Tips for Choosing the Best Nano CBD Products:
- Don’t get distracted by their promises: First and foremost, make sure they are using an organic, high quality, full-spectrum or broad-spectrum hemp extract. They should say where and how the plants were grown. Unfortunately, very low-quality CBD can end up in nano products.
- Check out the ingredient list: If they don’t have an ingredient list, run away. The main ingredients should be water, hemp extract/CBD oil and a few extra ingredients to stabilize the emulsions. Just like the foods you eat, the more chemicals they have listed, the more wary you might want to be of the product.
- Nano CBD is not an ingredient: Nano CBD means the company is unwilling to tell you what extra chemicals were used to create stable little drops of CBD oil. Don’t trust this on an ingredient list.
- Only oil ingredients: If the main ingredient is simply oil, it is not a nano-emulsified CBD product. The company is just taking advantage of the popular term “nano” in order to sell you normal CBD oil in a spray bottle.
- Website & Certificate of Analysis: Are they just throwing large words at you in order to confuse you? Don’t fall for this trick – scientific jargon is not a sign that they know what they’re talking about. You’d be better off purchasing from more straightforward companies that explain their products clearly and make their full ingredient list and test results available to the public.
- Nano Water: The main benefit to nano CBD is increased absorption in your mouth. Because your digestive system naturally emulsifies oil, consuming products like CBD water which don’t spend much time in your mouth before being swallowed won’t be worth the money. Look for a more concentrated product that you can hold in your mouth for a few minutes.
Does Foria Offer Nano-Enhanced CBD?
Not enough research has been done on shelf-stable nano-emulsified CBD yet, so at Foria, we are not convinced that the benefits of nano CBD are worth the risks — or the expense — of added chemicals, and we do not currently offer these products.
Just because the verdict is still out does not mean that nano CBD is not safe or effective — but we prefer to be cautious when it comes to the purity & safety of our products. If you enjoy Foria products and know of good research on or ingredient sources for natural nano-CBD, please let us know via hello (at) foriapleasure.com!
Fortunately, there are plenty of natural, inexpensive tricks people can use at home to increase their absorption of CBD oil.
Getting More out of Your Broad-Spectrum CBD
According to some customer testimonials, Foria’s CBD Tonic seems to absorbs faster than competing products — likely because the carrier is MCT coconut oil.
Alternately, a high-quality CBD vaporizer can increase absorption speed & efficiency for a relaxing & clarifying effect most people notice within minutes.
If you’re shopping for CBD oil, you may have noticed a growing selection of products that sound like they belong in a science fiction novel instead of on your nightstand. Nano-CBD – OMG!!! Is all this nano-business a sign of scientific progress — or just a scientistic gimmick?
WTF is Nano CBD? We asked some experts.
CBD, more formally known as cannabidiol, is everywhere. Given the incredible enthusiasm, you would never guess that CBD is not exactly legal, leaving CBD purveyors in a legal grey area. This lack of federal oversight has created a lot of wiggle room for companies seeking an edge or niche in an increasingly crowded and competitive space. One such niche is the very sci-fi sounding name nano (or water-soluble) CBD, touted as being more effective and bioavailable (the degree to which a nutrient is available for the body to use) than other formulations.
CBD is non-intoxicating and reported to ease a wide range of conditions, and consumers are flocking to the cannabinoid to help relieve chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia, and even skin conditions like psoriasis and acne. Even restaurants and cafes are jumping in on this wellness trend, adding it to smoothies or mocktails for a few extra bucks, while chefs are adding CBD to their menus (though officials in cities like New York are cracking down on the practice). Even mainstream stores like Walgreens and CVS are jumping on the bandwagon, stocking their shelves with CBD products.
this is the nano CBD cocktail I made with grapefruit and rosemary. I am with the company so I did some promo shots for them because I am a nice lady who would like to be rich one day pic.twitter.com/sGrnNzaFFY
— mommy’s special computer time (@sistersleaze) December 31, 2019
But nano CBD exists in a world with such a confounding range of CBD products available that can be found in the oddest of places — like the neighborhood bodega, alongside the condoms and Five Hour Energy packets — it begs the question: Is nano CBD a genuine innovation, or a gimmick to help companies differentiate themselves from the pack?
The technology used in Nano CBD isn’t new.
Dr. Itzhak Kurek, Ph.D., is the co-founder and CEO of Cannformatics, a Northern California biotech company using saliva metabolomics technology to personalize medical cannabis treatment. Weedmaps spoke with Kurek to learn more about nanoparticles and the science behind them.
Kurek begins by noting that nano-sized delivery technologies are not unique to CBD and are widely used by pharmaceutical companies to ensure bioavailability. “Nano CBD is a CBD molecule coated with very small particles, such as liposomes or lipid nanoparticles (LNPs), that stabilize the CBD and can move in our blood faster than ‘naked’ CBD, to effectively reach the target,” he explained.
Kurek adds, “Nano CBD is a CBD molecule packaged in nano-carriers that are the size of about 100 nanometers — or one-billionth of a meter — which allows the “package” to stay in the body for a longer time and to slowly release the intact CBD in the targeted tissue.” To illustrate his point, he mentions a 2017 study that reported a 600% increase in bioavailability of oral Nano CBD compared to CBD in a rat model.
What this means is that, theoretically, a person who consumes nano CBD as opposed to regular CBD may feel the effects more quickly. Dr. Mary Clifton, an NYC-based MD specializing in internal medicine, is also a CBD and cannabis expert and has worked with medical marijuana patients for more than 20 years in Michigan and New York State respectively.
Clifton says that she remains undecided about nanotechnology, but she says that some of her patients are enthusiastic about the formulations. “A number of my patients swear by the use of nanotechnology to make their CBD more effective,” she said. However, she notes that the human data on CBD nanotechnology is pretty much nonexistent, though cellular data shows promise.
Like any trend, nano CBD has its skeptics.
Project CBD is a California-based nonprofit dedicated to promoting and publicizing research into the medical uses of CBD and other components of the cannabis plant. Their Chief Science Writer, Adrian Devit-Lee, is somewhat skeptical of nano CBD formulations. He agrees with Kurek that the nanoemulsion theoretically makes CBD easier for the body to absorb, but that it doesn’t mean it is “practically” easier to absorb.
Devit-Lee zeroes in on how people consume cannabis compounds generally as potentially altering its bioavailability regardless of formulation. “The way the problem [with nanoemulsion] is often framed is ironic because it’s framed around potency,” he said. “When you eat CBD, if you take it first thing in the morning before food, you might absorb 3-6 percent. If you take it with a fatty food, you might absorb more of it.”
Acknowledging that the onset of nanoparticles takes about half as long as regular CBD, he also notes that the molecule spends about half as much time in your system. “Practically speaking, is that much different than taking a stronger dose? I don’t know that consumers would find it [nano CBD] much different.”
And this is assuming that the CBD product in the bottle is exactly what’s reported on the label, something that some CBD companies are wont to do. In 2019, the FDA issued several warning letters to CBD firms for products that did not contain the amount of CBD they purported to contain, and for using language that suggested CBD could cure, treat, or prevent disease, a big FDA no-no.
Another area of concern lies in the safety of nanoparticles — when particles are made smaller, there may be unintended consequences. The increased use of nanotechnology in biomedicine, agriculture, and consumer products has led to the rise of nanotoxicology, the study of how engineered nano devices and structures may affect people. In reporting an explainer on weed wine for Weedmaps News, Josh Lizotte, founder and CEO of Rebel Coast, cautioned against the process of using nanoemulsions in cannabis-infused wine because “we don’t know the health effects of nanotechnology, and how such small particles [interact with] the body.”
To nano or not?
Corona, California-based CBD company CBD Living utilizes nanotechnology for their flagship product, CBD Living Water, as well as topicals, gummies, and others. Chief Operating Officer Sean McDonald said that the company decided to utilize nanoemulsions because of its reported ability to increase bioavailability and speed up the absorption rate. And the customers, he said, feel better, quicker.
A challenge with cannabinoids generally — regardless of how they’re processed — is cannabinoid degradation. Once cannabis is harvested it begins the degradation process, meaning that the potency of the product, whether it is water or an edible, will decline. Many factors contribute to this process, but the top four are UV light, airflow, humidity, and temperature.
Though most CBD products come in packages designed to keep out light, the simple act of opening and closing the container will reduce its efficacy. McDonald says that the nanoemulsion process itself insulates their products from degradation — though it should be noted the research backing this is scant — and all their packaging, with the exception of water, is opaque to keep out light.
But clear CBD water bottles that could sit on store shelves for weeks or even months under the blazing lights of a grocery store aisle might be CBD-free by the time they’re purchased and consumed.
Devit-Lee also notes that every state has different testing requirements, and each lab has a different formulation for detecting drugs. In other words, just because it says something on the label doesn’t make it so. “If you have a good product that has some terpenes that help with absorption and with medicinal effects — if it’s a good quality product in general you don’t need to do this nanoformulation. But if you have bad quality hemp products, maybe [nano] can help them stand out,” he added.
The bottom line is that there just isn’t much research for a persuasive argument either way. The only thing consumers can really do is to shop thoughtfully for CBD — nano or not — and buy from U.S. companies that can easily show you their third-party lab results and certificate of analysis.
Featured image: a 3D rendering of nanoparticles on a white background (Photo: Shutterstock)
Is nano CBD a genuine innovation, or a gimmick to help companies differentiate themselves from the pack?