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 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:
- Enhanced absorption of the active ingredient
- Rapid onset of active ingredient’s effects
- Optical clarity and homogenous appearance
- Reduced degradation of the active ingredient
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 the surfactant system from Axiomm Technologies. www.axiomm.com
A. uGoo product
B. uGoo + oil + water
C. filtered nanoemulsion
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.