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Solubilizer for full spectrum cbd oil

Nanoemulsions: mixing CBD oil into beverages

CBD water is a recent newcomer to the health foods market, taking its place amongst oils, capsules, gummies and edibles as a new and convenient way to consume cannabidiol.

Difficulties with CBD infused water

For those who are just exploring this growing market, creating a quality water product can be challenging.

Simple mixing of the non-soluble CBD oil with water creates a cloudy liquid. Not only is this less attractive aesthetically, it can also result in a less shelf-stable product as the oil and water will separate over time.

The way to introduce or ‘solubilize’ an oil-based ingredient is by creating a nanoemulsion. The nanosized droplets haven’t changed in solubility but are now dispersed in the beverage and appear to be dissolved.

Creating water-soluble nanoemulsions

The best nanoemulsions achieve not only the target particle size, but also a tight particle size distribution. Nanoemulsions are made by reducing the size of the oil droplets and suspending them in an aqueous phase stabilized by emulsifier which creates a stable liquid. This makes them suitable for adding to a water-based beverage.

Using nanotechnology to make CBD infused water will give your beverage the following advantages:

  • reduced risk of oil and water separation
  • a transparent appearance
  • shelf stability

Industry-leading nanotechnology

Microfluidizer ® technology is an efficient and cost-effective way to make quality nanoemulsions.

Trusted by food and pharmaceutical manufacturers for decades, our food-grade, cGMP compliant Microfluidizer ® processors are simple to operate, and proven to deliver particle size reduction.

Here’s how Microfluidizer ® processors help you harness the power of nanoemulsions:

  • Specialized Interaction Chambers ™ subject the oil and water to extreme, but constant, shear forces, reducing the oil droplet size to the nano level and creating the suspension
  • Oil droplets in the suspension are reduced to a narrow particle size distribution
  • Remove the unpredictability from your process, with reliable, repeatable results every time
  • A full suite of models to cover all capacities, from lab-scale R&D batches, to thousands of liters per shift
  • Linear scalability by increasing the number of micro-channels inside the Interaction Chambers ™

Microfluidics: trusted experts in nanoemulsions and more

As industry leaders in nanoemulsions, Microfluidics have the expertise to help you create a stable nanoemulsion for your CBD drinks product.

Our team of application specialists understand how to harness biotech at the nano level and provide R&D support.

Committed to helping our customers unleash the potential in their manufacturing chain, we call on the expertise of our sister companies, Quadro and Fitzpatrick, for support with manufacturing challenges at all stages of production, from milling plants for extraction to sensitive milling of isolate products.

Please note – Microfluidics information and literature is intended only for the use of its equipment in jurisdictions where such activities are legal.

Sonomechanics Blog

Water-Soluble Cannabis Oils: Microemulsion, Liposomes or Nanoemulsion?

[fa icon=”calendar”] Nov 24, 2016 9:00:00 AM / by Alexey Peshkovsky, Ph.D.

Industrial Sonomechanics is launching a series of blog posts dedicated to describing the main principles of developing water-compatible cannabis extract formulations, also known as water-soluble CBD and THC. As explained in our earlier blog post, since medical marijuana extracts are oils and, as such, not soluble in water, they have to be specially formulated in order to become water-compatible and acquire the appearance of being water-soluble. There are three formulation classes that can provide this property: microemulsions, liposomes and nanoemulsions.

Microemulsions and nanoemulsions are described in our earlier article as well as in this free eBook:

However, due to a large number of questions we have been receiving on this subject, we though that it deserves to be expanded upon in this separate article.

Oil-in-water emulsions are visually homogeneous mixtures that combine the properties of both oil and water, wherein water is the continuous phase and oil is the dispersed phase, stabilized by at least one surfactant (emulsifier). There are three main types of oil-in-water emulsions: macroemulsions, microemulsions and nanoemulsions. Liposomes can be used to create similar types of oil and water mixtures with some notable differences, as explained below.

Macroemulsions are common emulsions with droplets averaging over 1 micron in diameter and generally having wide droplet size distributions. They are unstable and tend to separate into an oil layer at the top and a water layer at the bottom, sometimes with a mixed layer in between. Due to their lack of stability, macroemulsions are generally not suitable as water-compatible cannabinoid delivery vehicles.

Microemulsions are translucent and thermodynamically stable mixtures of oil, water and surfactants having average droplet diameters below 100 nm. They can be spontaneously formed by “solubilizing” the oil in water or a beverage by very high amounts of surfactants – substantially higher than the amount of the oil. Because of many undesirable side-effects caused by concentrated surfactants (health issues, taste deterioration, etc.), the use of microemulsion-based, water-compatible cannabis oil formulations is disadvantageous. Furthermore, it is frequently impossible to achieve the desired cannabinoid concentration in a beverage without exceeding maximum permitted surfactant levels.

A typical microemulsion precursor (before the addition to a beverage) formulation is presented below [1]:

  1. Active ingredient (e.g., cannabis oil extract) ————- 10.00 %
  2. Carrier oil (e.g., Miglyol 812) ——————————- 30.00 %
  3. Surfactant 1 (e.g., oleic acid) ——————————- 15.00 %
  4. Surfactant 2 (e.g., Tween 80) ——————————- 33.75 %
  5. Surfactant 3 (e.g., Cremophor RH 40) ——————– 11.25 %

For a typical cannabinoid dose of 10 – 15 mg, about 20 – 30 mg of cannabis oil extract (assuming 50 – 70 % cannabinoid concentration) needs to be mixed into a beverage. With the microemulsion-type formulation, the same beverage will also end up with about 120 – 180 mg of surfactants, making it taste soapy and (for many surfactants) bitter, as well as potentially leading to regulatory compliance issues.

Liposomes are spherical structures with diameters from about 50 to 5000 nm formed by one or more concentric phospholipid bilayers with an aqueous phase inside and in-between the bilayers. Liposomes can entrap water-soluble (hydrophilic) active ingredients in their internal water compartment and water-insoluble (hydrophobic) active ingredients in their bilayer membrane. The latter property makes it possible to use liposomes to formulate water-compatible cannabis extracts. This, however, involves complex preparation procedures and, as with microemulsions, very high surfactant (lecithin phospholipids) concentrations. In addition, it is difficult to produce liposomal formulations using natural cannabis extracts, requiring the use of synthetic or isolated cannabinoids instead.

A typical liposome precursor (before the addition to a beverage) formulation is presented below [2]:

  1. Active ingredient (e.g., synthetic cannabinoids) ——– 18.90 %
  2. Surfactants (e.g., lecithin phospholipids) —————– 75.60 %
  3. Encapsulant (e.g., sodium alginate) ———————— 5.50 %

Nanoemulsions are emulsions with narrow droplet size distributions centered below approximately 250 nm. Nanoemulsion-based formulations in which all droplets are smaller than 100 nm are optically translucent, achieving progressively higher degree of clarity as the droplet sizes are diminished. These formulations have several attractive properties, including low viscosity, high interfacial surface area and long-term kinetic stability. Nanoemulsions are made using significantly (about 10 times) lower surfactant amounts than microemulsions or liposomes. They are completely water-compatible and can be easily mixed into water or any beverage.

A typical nanoemulsion concentrate (with some water, but before the addition to a beverage) formulation is presented below [3]:

  1. Active ingredient (e.g., cannabis oil extract) ————- 5.40 %
  2. Carrier oil (e.g., olive oil) ———————————— 7.20 %
  3. Surfactant (e.g., Quillaja saponin) ————————- 2.00 %
  4. Water ———————————————————–85.4%

For a typical cannabinoid dose of 10 – 15 mg, requiring 20 – 30 mg of cannabis oil extract to be present in a beverage, a nanoemulsion-type formulation will only contain about 7 – 11 mg of surfactant, making the beverage much easier to bring into compliance with regulations and helping it retain its original taste. In addition, nanoemulsions can be produced using natural surfactants (formulation shown above), which avoids having any synthetic ingredients in the resulting products.

The reason that cannabis oil nanoemulsions require much lower surfactant concentrations than the alternatives is that the driving force for their formation is mainly mechanical instead of chemical. Nanoemulsions can be produced by utilizing ultrasonic cavitation-derived high shear forces, able to break the oil droplets down to nanometer sizes.

Laboratory, bench and industrial-scale ultrasonic liquid processors specially designed for the production of high-quality nanoemulsions are available from Industrial Sonomechanics. We also offer help with the development of formulations for “nano-cannabinoids” starting from different types of cannabis extracts or cannabinoid isolates.


  1. Supersaxo, A., M.A. Weder, and H.G. Weder, Microemulsion Preconcentrate, Microemulsion and Use Thereof. 2012, Vesifact AG, Baar (CH): U.S. Patent #8,158,134.
  2. Winnicki, R., Cannabinoid Formulations. 2014, Full Spectrum Laboratories Limited: U.S. Patent #8,808,734.
  3. Peshkovsky, A., S. Leibtag, Data Obtained at Industrial Sonomechanics, LLC. 2016.
Written by Alexey Peshkovsky, Ph.D.

Dr. A. Peshkovsky is a co-founder and President of ISM. He is responsible for setting the overall strategic direction for the company as well as for overseeing equipment and applications development. Dr. Peshkovsky holds a B.A. in Chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Columbia University. He is the author of over 40 scientific papers, patents and presentations as well as two books on ultrasonic liquid processing.