Ultrasonics and Cannabis
Cannabis extracts (CBD, THC) are hydrophobic (not water soluble) molecules. In order to overcome the immiscibility of cannabinoids in water to infuse edibles, beverages and creams, a proper method of emulsification is needed.
Ultrasonic processors use the mechanical shear force of ultrasonic cavitation to reduce the droplet size of cannabinoids to produce nanoparticles. Ultrasonics is a widely used technology in the pharmaceutical industry for making stable water soluble nanoemulsions.
- Create translucent nanoemulsions
- Increase bioavailability
- Ensure accurate dosing
Ultrasonic Emulsification systems – Qsonica offers two systems to meet the needs of small batch as well as production scale processing.
Oil/Water Cannabis Emulsions – Nanoemulsions are emulsions with small droplet size which have several attractive properties for cannbinioid formulations including a higher degree of clarity, stability and low viscosity. Also, nanoemulsions produced by ultrasonic processing require lower surfactant concentrations allowing for optimal taste and clarity in beverages.
To assist the absorption of the active substances of cannabis into the digestive system vegetable oils (i.e. coconut or olive) can be used. For optimal absorption, cannabis extracts are mixed into oil and then further processed into an emulsion. For cannabis oil emulsions, lecithin is a common emulsifier.
For a more thorough description of a nanoemulsion, to learn about surfactants/emulsifiers and how sonication can help, please review our Nanoemulsion Workflow Document.
A liposome is a hollow spherical nano-structure inside of a cell that has a membrane made up of a Phospholipid bilayer (see photo*). Liposomes work with the phosopholipids in the semi-permeable membrane of our body’s cells to transport nutrients into the cell. Liposomes are also used as a protective vehicle for the transfer of pharmaceuticals throughout the bloodstream.
Liposomes can be created artificially by sonication to encapsulate active compounds (such as CBD, THC, etc.) and is a very effective method of pharmaceutical delivery. When ingested, the pharmacokinetic properties of liposome intestinal absorption override the usual absorption pattern of the encapsulated compound. For example, the delivery of a supplement with a typically slow or regulated pattern of absorption, such as vitamin C, may be accelerated when encapsulated within a liposome.
These vesicles can encapsulate both water soluble (hydrophilic) substances in their hollow aqueous centers, as well as fat soluble (hydrophobic) nutrients within the lipid bilayer membranes.
Overhead stirrers are ideal for many mixing applications including homogenizing, suspending, dissolving and emulsifying. Stirring can be beneficial when sonicating large sample volumes to improve mixing of material in holding tanks or reservoirs. Qsonica stirrers are quiet, dependable, maintenance free and ideal for continuous use. A 3-year warranty is standard.
Publications and Protocols
Frequently Asked Questions
Vessel Shape and Size - A narrow vessel is preferable to a wide vessel. The ultrasonic energy is generated from the tip and is directed downward. As a sample is processed the liquid is pushed down and away in all directions. If the vessel is too wide it will not mix effectively and some sample will remain untreated at the periphery. Twice the volume in a narrow vessel takes a shorter time to process than the same volume in a wider vessel. In addition, the probe should never touch the sides or bottom of a vessel.
Visit the FAQ section for answers to more questions about sonication.
*Image reproduced with kind permission of Malvern Panalytical - https://www.malvernpanalytical.com