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Cannabis extracts thc are hydrophobic water soluble molecules. in order to overcome the immiscibility of cannabinoids infuse edibles beverages creams and other infused products a proper method emulsification is needed. ultrasonic processors have been used pharmaceuticals industries for making stable emulsions over half century.
Through the powerful forces created by ultrasonic cavitation, Sonicators have the ability to achieve nanoparticle sizes which other emulsification technology cannot. With sufficient processing, particle sizes under 100 nm are often achievable (see particle size data). What this smaller particle size means for your cannabis infused products is:
THC/CBD Nanoemulsion Protocol (1L batch)
THC/CBD Nanoemulsion Protocol (10L batch)
Oil/Water Cannabis Nanoemulsions are emulsions with small droplet size which have several attractive properties for cannabinoid formulations including a higher degree of clarity, stability and low viscosity.
A variety of cannabis inputs, including distillate, isolate and full/broad-spectrum oils can be processed to form nanoemulsions.
Sonicators can reduce particle size of an API (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient) to 30-90nm (depending on the formulation). Sonication creates a concentrated nanoemulsified solution to accurately infuse their final product (e.g. beverages, edibles, etc.) with a known concentration of API. For cannabis applications, concentrate formulations typically contain 10-50mg/mL API load.
For a more thorough description of a nanoemulsion, to learn about surfactants/emulsifiers and how sonication can help, please review our Nanoemulsion Workflow Document.
Beverages infused with a stable nanoemulsion offer:
Nanoemulsions can also be consumed directly in what is commonly referred to as a tincture. Viewed as a flexible means of consuming cannabinoids, tinctures are a popular product format for nanoemulsions loaded with cannabinoids. They can be flavored or unflavored, and loaded up to typically 10-50mg of active ingredient per gram of nanoemulsion (approximately 50mg/mL); though you can achieve higher loads at the expense of particle size.
Lotions and serums can also benefit from the use of nanoemulsions, as they can enhance the delivery of active ingredients through the skin. While more difficult to conduct stability tests on due to the opaque nature of most lotions, a stable nanoemulsion has potential to dramatically improve a consumer’s ability to absorb active ingredients in a nanoemulsion format. Rapid onset, enhanced absorption and reduced degradation of the active ingredient are all reasons to consider using nanoemulsion-infused topicals.
Sonicators, together with an effective surfactant system, allow you to drive the active ingredient’s average particle size down to well under 50 nanometers, maximizing absorption in your topical product.
Effective nanoemulsions require a mixture of water, your active ingredient (CBD or THC) and a surfactant formulation. Many talented chemists are capable of developing their own formulation. For those who do not have the time or expertise to engage in their own R&D/formulation, a high quality surfactant/stabilizer system is readily available.
Qsonica recommends a surfactant system from Cannasol Technologies.
Cannasol Technologies www.cannasoltechnologies.com
Ultrasonic homogenizers are also used to increase the efficiency of small-scale cannabinoid extraction while decreasing the time required to perform extraction, leading to more yield per pound of flower with less waiting. You can still use ethanol for the extraction, only instead of waiting overnight, you extract on the spot with a Sonicator!
Please note that the largest Sonicators have a maximum batch processing volume of approximately 50 liters, so ultrasonic-assisted cannabinoid extraction is only suitable for batches with total volume (flower + ethanol) 50 liters or less.
The flower should be ground up as much as possible. Add 5 to 10 volumes of solvent for every volume of flower. Process for roughly 10 - 20 minutes at 70% amplitude, ensuring to keep the vessel cold. Strain first through a mesh sieve to remove large particles of flower, then through a micropore filter (i.e. filter paper) to remove remaining solids. Remove the solvent with rotary evaporation.
Shorter processing durations will yield comparatively more terpenes, while longer processing durations will yield comparatively more THC / CBD.
Nanoemulsion: an advanced mode of drug delivery system
Jaiswal, Manjit et al. 3 Biotech, 2015 Apr; 5 (2): 123–127.
An overview of Ultrasonically assisted extraction of bioactive principles from herbs
Vinatoru et. al., Ultrasonics Sonochemistry, 8, 2001, 303-313