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With such a variety of CBD products available on the market, brands and manufacturers are constantly seeking innovative ways in which they can gain an advantage and supply superior products to their competitors. Nanotechnology is increasingly becoming more apparent in the CBD market with various products across a range of delivery methods implementing nanotechnology to optimise the efficacy of the CBD.
Nanotechnology and Bioavailability
Bioavailability is used to describe the effectiveness of a substance when it is absorbed into the body. With very few exceptions everything that the body consumes is fully digested. This applies to the body’s ability to digest food and liquids and the ability to accept medicinal drugs. An instance of this is when you are eating raw vegetables, the cellulose that the cell walls of the plant consist of is normally indigestible by the human stomach.
With medicines, this process happens on a much more microscopic level. When a substance is first ingested it is transferred to the liver where it is then broken down into different elements that your body can use. An enzyme called CYP3A4 instigates this process and is responsible for turning the conventional chemical composition of medicines into some that causes an effect within the body.
The bioavailability of medication is what determines what percentage of the substance that can be used by the body. The bioavailability of CBD is normally very low, often as low as 6% when taken orally. There was a recent study undertaken to investigate the bioavailability of CBD. It can be found here.
This may make you concerned about the efficacy of your CBD dosage, the limited bioavailability is well known to manufacturers and products are often tailored to ensure that the desired effect is obtained by using the product. This means that if the bioavailability of CBD is increased, far less CBD is needed to have the desired effect.
Nanotechnology is a solution many scientists and manufacturers are turning to.
What is Nanotechnology?
Nanotechnology is the reduction of size of something to nanoscopic dimensions. A single molecule of CBD is around 4440 nanometres in diameter. This means that when particles are shrunk down to the size of nanoparticles means that there is a reduction in size of 4440%. The logic behind this is that by reducing the size of the particles the body is more easily able to break it apart and transform it into compounds that can be used to interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system.
While this sounds intriguing and revolutionary, there are still many questions as to whether the shrinking of the particles down to nanoparticles actually increases the CBD’s bioavailability.
Xenobots are less than a 1mm wide and composed of just two things: skin cells and heart muscle cells, both of which are derived from stem cells harvested from early (blastula stage) frog embryos. The skin cells provide rigid support and the heart cells act as small motors, contracting and expanding in volume to propel the Xenobot forward. The shape of a Xenobot's body, and its distribution of skin and heart cells, are automatically designed in simulation to perform a specific task, using a process of trial and error (an evolutionary algorithm). Xenobots have been designed to walk, swim, push pellets, carry payloads, and work together in a swarm to aggregate debris scattered along the surface of their dish into neat piles. They can survive for weeks without food and heal themselves after lacerations
In January of 2020, scientists repurposed living frog cells and compiled them into entirely new life forms. The Xenobots can head towards a target and heal themselves after being damaged or cut. These living machines are neither a traditional robot nor a known species of animal. They are in fact a new class of artifact, a living, programmable organism. The Xenobots have the potential to pick up a payload such as a medicine that needs to be carried to a specific area within a patient.
Many technologies are made from steel, concrete or plastic. That can make them strong or flexible. However, they can cause ecological and human health problems. The downside of using living tissue is that it’s weak and biodegrades.
In future clinical applications, such as targeted drug delivery, Xenobots could be made from a human patient’s own cells, which would bypass the immune response challenges of other kinds of micro-robotic delivery systems. Such Xenobots could potentially be used to scrape plaque from arteries, and with additional cell types and bioengineering, locate and treat disease.
There are concerns about the implications of rapid technological advances and complex biological manipulations. As there is a capacity for them to be used for nefarious means.
CBD & Nanotechnology
Nanotechnology is prevalent across a number of industries and is by no means limited to the cannabis industry. The research carried out into Nanotechnology is to establish an understanding of how the efficacy of drugs could be improved. There are many instances of potentially creating nano-machines that have the capacity to alter matters within the body on a subatomic level.
There is a claim that CBD nanotechnology works because of the smaller particle size makes it easier for the CBD to be carried by the blood. This ensures that the CBD will reach the liver. A study into lipid nanoparticles as an emerging platform for cannabinoid delivery, had many interesting findings. The study suggested that the main reason nanoparticles are effective is due to their lipophilic qualities. Molecules can be either hydrophilic or lipophilic. Some particles can naturally attach themselves to water based molecules and other particles can connect themselves to lipid based molecules.
There are a select few molecules that have the capability to do both, they operate as a double ended particle, possessing both a hydrophilic and lipophilic end. This enables the particle to act as a bridge for molecules that wouldn’t usually be able to connect. This is vital when assessing CBD because cannabinoids are lipophilic but are also hydrophobic. Therefore, a CBD molecule will try and repel water molecules that try to bind with it. This is an obvious problem when consuming CBD as the body operates a hydrophilic system.
This is the fundamental reason why the bioavailability of cannabinoids is so low. Cannabinoids do not naturally bind with water molecules; this means that a lot of the cannabinoid gets wasted and is unable to be correctly processed. This is noticeable when you study the bioavailability of CBD when mixed with MCT oil. MCT oil tends to get caught in the gastrointestinal system causing it to be digested at a slower rate. This allows the body more time to absorb the CBD.
Once the size of the cannabinoid particle is decreased the manner in which it behaves changes. Decreasing the size of the CBD molecule down to nanoparticle size causes the CBD molecule to act differently when compared to larger molecules. Scientists have yet to determine the mechanisms that cause this effect but what is known is that by breaking down CBD molecules to nanoparticle size, they are able to bind more easily with lipids and water.
A 2016 study published in the European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics, looked into the efficiency of cannabinoid drugs when encapsulated. Researchers used a method to encapsulate cannabinoid drugs in nanostructured lipid carriers (NLCs).
Nanostructured lipid carriers (NLCs) is a smarter drug carrier system made up of physiological, biodegradable, and biocompatible lipid materials. NLCs is used for pharmaceutical applications for various routes of drug delivery, including oral, topical, ocular, etc.
A drug with NLCs can help overcome complicated absorption issues, increase active bioavailability, decrease degradation, and target active tissue delivery.
This carrier system allows multiple routes of administration and offers advanced therapeutic efficacy and safety for more difficult-to-deliver drugs.
What are the risks of Nano CBD?
Nano-emulsified CBD can deliver increased levels of CBD into your bloodstream faster. However, there are several things to consider when contemplating using nano CBD.
- Dishonest Advertising – unfortunately the nano CBD industry is full of fraudulent claims and information. Many CBD brands advertising their products use scientific language as a smokescreen. If the advertising for the product isn’t clear it is best to contact the com
- Added chemicals – Nano CBD can be manufactured with and can contain chemicals that are not healthy. Every drop of nano CBD is mixed with an array of chemicals and ingredients and there are many variations of how different chemicals are combined to create emulsions to carry the nano CBD.
Tips for choosing the best Nano CBD products
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.
The main ingredients should be H2O, CBD oil and a few extra ingredients to stabilise 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.
Ensure you check the company’s website and read some customer reviews to ascertain whether you feel that the company is legitimate and has their customers best interests in mind.
There is still a great deal of evidence that needs to be provided for CBD nanotechnology to be considered effective and a definitive method of improving the efficacy of CBD.
It is an extremely interesting area and as technology develops it is not unthinkable that in the near future it will be possible to provide patients with specifically designed cannabinoid treatments to best treat the ailment the patient is suffering from. The use of nanotechnology will decrease the cost of CBD products in the long term which will make CBD more accessible to those who would feel the most benefits from using CBD.