What Is CBD Water, and Should You Drink It?
Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is a popular product that has garnered increasing attention over the past few years.
Health shops have begun carrying CBD-infused capsules, gummies, vapes, and more.
CBD water has also become widely available recently, drawing praise and criticism.
This article examines CBD water to help you determine whether it’s worth buying.
CBD is a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant.
Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is not psychoactive. Thus, it doesn’t produce the same high that’s associated with THC or marijuana ( 1 ).
CBD has been well studied for its medicinal properties. Research suggests it may relieve chronic pain and help reduce anxiety and inflammation ( 2 , 3 , 4 ).
You can now buy a variety of CBD products, including oils, capsules, and gummies, among other edibles.
CBD water, which is made by infusing water with CBD particles, is one of the newest forms to hit the market.
Manufacturers claim that drinking it can be an easy way to get your CBD fix and reap its potential health benefits.
CBD is a compound found in cannabis that has been associated with many health benefits. CBD-infused water is now available, alongside an array of other CBD products, including oils, gummies, and capsules.
One of the main problems with CBD water is that most brands contain very little CBD.
The amount in each serving fluctuates by brand, but most provide around 2–5 mg.
Although dosage recommendations can vary, most studies evaluating this compound’s beneficial effects have used doses of at least 15 mg per day ( 5 ).
Many companies justify their products’ low CBD content by claiming that they use nanotechnology to decrease particle size and boost your body’s ability to absorb and utilize CBD.
Research on the effects of nanotechnology on CBD absorption is limited. However, one study found that lipid-based CBD nanoparticles may be better absorbed by your body ( 6 ).
More studies are needed to determine whether using nanoparticles in CBD water has any effect on absorption.
CBD water usually contains low doses of CBD. Many brands claim to use nanotechnology to increase absorption, but it’s unclear whether this it’s effective.
CBD is a highly unstable compound that requires careful preparation and storage to help preserve its medicinal properties.
In particular, exposure to light and air can cause it to break down, negating its potential beneficial effects.
Most CBD water is stored on grocery shelves under bright lights in clear containers for days or even weeks, degrading its CBD content.
One study evaluated the effects of certain storage conditions on cannabinoids and found that exposure to light caused the greatest loss of CBD ( 7 ).
Temperature had no effect, but exposure to air also led to significant losses in cannabinoid content. Therefore, as soon as you open CBD water, the little CBD it contains immediately begins to break down ( 7 ).
Although more studies are needed, these findings suggest that CBD water is unlikely to have much of a medicinal impact.
Light and air can cause CBD to break down, negating its potential health benefits. CBD water is often sold in clear bottles, so the CBD inside may have already broken down significantly by the time you drink it.
If you’re looking to try CBD, drinking CBD water is one of the most expensive routes to take.
A single 16-ounce (473-ml) serving can cost around $4–7 USD, excluding tax and shipping.
Buying in bulk can help you save money, but each bottle still comes out to at least $3 USD.
This is significantly more pricey than other forms of CBD.
For example, CBD oil typically costs around $35–40 for about 30 servings, which equates to less than $2 per serving.
CBD capsules, gummies, vapes, and creams can also provide a good amount of CBD for a lower cost per serving.
CBD water is more expensive than other forms of CBD, including capsules, gummies, vapes, and creams.
CBD may offer various benefits, but CBD water contains minimal amounts.
Also, it’s more expensive and likely less effective than most other CBD products.
In fact, given that this compound loses its medicinal properties when exposed to air or light, CBD water is unlikely to provide any benefits at all.
It’s best to stick to other CBD products to take advantage of its medicinal properties.
CBD oil, capsules, gummies, and other edibles that come in dark-colored bottles are convenient and more cost-effective alternatives to CBD water.
Is CBD Legal?Hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws. Marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level, but are legal under some state laws. Check your state’s laws and those of anywhere you travel. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved, and may be inaccurately labeled.
CBD water is among the latest CBD-infused products to hit the market, drawing praise and criticism. This article details CBD water to figure out if it's worth buying.
Is CBD water-soluble?
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- What is water-soluble CBD?
- CBD bioavailability
- How is water-soluble CBD made?
- The science behind water-soluble CBD
- Does CBD oil have to be water-soluble?
- How long does water-soluble CBD stay in your system?
- How can water-soluble CBD be taken?
- How is water-soluble CBD isolate made?
Think back to grade school, when you first experimented mixing oil and water. You’ll likely recall that oil sits on the water but doesn’t combine. Cannabidiol (CBD) oil has a similar reaction. CBD oil is hydrophobic, meaning it is repelled by water, and resists absorption by the body, leaving up to 90% of the cannabinoid to pass through the body unused.
Enter water-soluble CBD products. CBD is more compatible with water when it is formulated as a water-soluble product such as a nanoemulsion, liposomal product, or microemulsion. The CBD does not truly dissolve in water but water-soluble CBD is helping to unlock the cannabinoid’s potential by making it more effective and versatile.
What is water-soluble CBD?
In water-soluble CBD formulations, the CBD molecules are manipulated to dissolve better in water. However, the term water-soluble is inaccurate, since CBD molecules will never fully dissolve in water, but can be transformed into a more water-compatible form.
“It isn’t that the chemical composition of CBD is changing to be more soluble in water, because then it wouldn’t actually be CBD anymore, but CBD can be packaged in a more easily absorbable vehicle,” explained Matthew Halpert, Ph.D. Halpert is a lecturer in the Department of Pathology and Immunology at Baylor College of Medicine, and a CBD researcher at Medterra, a manufacturer of CBD products.
When CBD molecules are incorporated into water using an advanced process that breaks the oil particles into tiny molecules, the body is able to derive more benefits from the product. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
When producing water-soluble CBD, the oil particles are separated into tiny molecules by an advanced technological process. The molecules are then coated with a carrier or surfactant to stabilize them and keep them suspended in water. Smaller particle sizes allow the CBD molecules to disseminate more easily throughout water.
When CBD molecules are incorporated into water in this way, the human body is able to derive more benefits from the product. The human body is composed of up to 60% water so it makes sense that the more water soluble a product is, the easier it is for the body to transport and absorb it.
To fully understand the benefits of water-soluble CBD, it’s essential to understand the bioavailability of CBD. Bioavailability can be defined as the quantity of a substance that enters the bloodstream. CBD in its traditional oil form resists absorption into the bloodstream, which delays the onset of its impact on the user.
Another issue that limits oral CBD from reaching the bloodstream is a phenomenon called the first-pass effect. The concentration of the compound is greatly reduced before it can circulate throughout the body’s system because it can’t progress past the liver when ingested as an oil. This reduction in concentration also results in a decrease in bioavailability.
Reduced bioavailability affects some of the most common and convenient forms of CBD such as capsules, soft gels, tinctures, and edibles. Vaping CBD oil can yield more benefits because the molecules are transported by vapor particles and are therefore more easily absorbed by the lungs.
How is water-soluble CBD made?
Ultrasound is used to create vacuum bubbles in the CBD molecules, which causes them to implode, hit surrounding bubbles, and break into smaller droplets. Water-soluble CBD is generally either prepared as a liposome, nanoemulsion, or a microemulsion.
“Water-soluble” CBD boasts a rapid onset and greater efficacy. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Liposome: Liposomes are a potent way of delivering nutrients to the body. With liposomal CBD, the CBD molecule is surrounded by or attached to a fat.
Once the liposome reaches its destination and fuses with the cell, it releases the CBD. Liposomal CBD droplets measure between 100 and 5,000 nanometers.
Nanoemulsion: Nanoemulsions atomize CBD molecules even further, making them easier for the body to absorb. Smaller drops create a larger surface area to interact with the body’s tissues and enzymes.
The average size of a droplet of nano-emulsified CBD is 25 nanometers. Nanoemulsions are usually mixed with penetration enhancers to help spread the CBD further. They can be taken either orally or topically, with uptake occurring almost immediately after administration. This should result in higher potency and faster onset of action for lower doses.
Microemulsion: CBD microemulsions are also available but are less common. Microemulsion droplets measure between 100 and 5,000 nanometers, which means they can penetrate a larger surface area, but they require the use of surfactants to dilute the compound.
Microemulsions require ten times as many surfactants as nanoemulsions. A surfactant is a substance that helps to reduce the surface tension of CBD oil, increasing its ability to spread and disperse. Less is more when it comes to surfactants in products which will be ingested, which is why nanoemulsions are more popular.
All of these formulations increase the bioavailability of CBD so it can be better absorbed by the body.
The science behind water-soluble CBD
Both liposomes and nanoemulsions have been well-researched with a range of compounds.
“There are decades worth of scientific research that provide evidence of liposomes increasing the bioavailability of molecules not easily taken in by the body,” Halpert said.
Liposome, nanoemulsion, or a microemulsion formulations increase the bioavailability of CBD so it can be better absorbed by the body. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
However, research on liposomal CBD and CBD nanoemulsions is still in the early stages. There are a few published studies which suggest promising results.
A 2018 review published in “Molecules” found that the lipophilic nature of CBD rendered it a good candidate for nanotechnology drug delivery strategies.
A 2019 pre-clinical study investigated the efficacy of a CBD nanoemulsion in rats. The researchers found the nanoemulsion improved bioavailability by about 65%, and accelerated the onset of action of the CBD.
A 2018 study published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences investigated the bioavailability of Sativex oromucosal spray compared with a CBD/THC nanoformulation in 14 healthy male volunteers. On the days that the volunteers received the nanoformulation, they experienced faster absorption and improved bioavailability of the product.
Does CBD oil have to be water-soluble?
CBD can still offer benefits when administered as an oil. For those who prefer their supplements in a more familiar form, CBD oil will likely eternally hold appeal, although it doesn’t have the bioavailability of water-soluble CBD. It is likely, however, that the trend will continue towards more CBD products that utilize the nano-emulsification process.
CBD can still offer benefits when administered as an oil. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Halpert does stress, however, that not all water-soluble CBD is necessarily better. It can actually be worse if made using poor production techniques.
How long does water-soluble CBD stay in your system?
The absorption rate, the degradation rate of the CBD, and the receptivity of the individual to the product will all contribute to the length of time results are felt.
“The jury is still out on how long water-soluble CBD can remain in the body,” Halpert said.
Although there is no hard and fast answer, it is worth noting that high-quality, third-party tested, water soluble CBD boasts quicker onset and greater efficacy. Water soluble also requires a smaller dose due to its enhanced bioavailability, meaning the same size bottle of CBD should last longer.
How can water-soluble CBD be taken?
Water-soluble CBD is highly versatile and is often sold in liquid or powder form. It’s also available in oral, topical, and nasal spray forms. Nanoemulsified CBD is translucent, meaning it is visually undetectable when stirred into beverages. It can also be incorporated into food, allowing it to be widely used in everyday life.
Water-soluble CBD is also particularly useful when applied as a topical formula. While oily CBD creams sit on the skin, water-based serums can more effectively soak in by penetrating the spaces between cells.
How is water-soluble CBD isolate made?
CBD isolate is created when CBD molecules are subjected to a more complex process of extraction than full-spectrum CBD oil. The end result is CBD isolated into a crystalline form, without additional cannabinoids or terpenes.
Even CBD isolate, a highly purified form of CBD, is still hydrophobic. Nanotechnology is needed for CBD isolate to become more compatible with water.
“Water-soluble CBD isolate is the exact same CBD isolate as before, but it just goes through this extra process of packaging on the nano-scale,” Halpert said.
Is CBD water-soluble? Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents What is water-soluble CBD? CBD bioavailability How is water-soluble CBD made?