Considerations when choosing emulsions for infused cannabis or hemp products
Bioavailability: Emulsions will generally increase the bioavailability of cannabinoids; however, the degree of how well they improve bioavailability will vary for different emulsion systems used. Ingredient list: Many cannabis emulsions are made using synthetic ingredients that may be prohibitive for products that require a clean label. However, some emulsions such as Realize TM emulsion delivery system can be made from all-natural and organic ingredients.
Flavor profile: Many cannabis emulsions are extremely bitter and use chemicals that impart a soapy taste into the infused product. However, few systems exist that mask bitterness and are virtually tasteless. The RealizeTM emulsion delivery system was designed to mask the bitter taste of cannabinoids.
Shelf life: Not all emulsions are stable, and hence, they will degrade overtime. This instability can cause issues for products such as RTD beverages that require a long shelf life and are prone to oil separation. Choosing the right emulsion system that has sufficient stability and product compatibility is essential.
Cost: Emulsions can be expensive to manufacture and difficult to scale up making them cost prohibitive for certain products.
Reducing onset time of cannabinoids
An interesting finding from the PK Oral CBD study is that the emulsion delivery system achieved a higher plasma concentration of CBD (342 ng/ml) in 15 minutes compared to the maximum plasma concentrations achieved for CBD without a delivery system (26 ng/ml at 60 minutes) as well as CBD in a lipid delivery system (134 ng/ ml at 60 minutes).
How do emulsions improve bioavailability?
O/W emulsions are dispersions of oil droplets in an aqueous solution that are stabilized against separation by emulsifiers creating micelles or liposomes. Micelles are small particles that have a hydrophobic (water repelling) core surrounded by a hydrophilic (water compatible) shell. Liposomes are vesicles having an aqueous core surrounded by a lipid bi-layer with a hydrophobic interior and a hydrophilic exterior.
What happens when CBD is ingested without a delivery system?
When ingested, CBD has an extremely low bioavailability compared to the lipid delivery system and emulsion delivery systems
How can cannabis oral bioavailability be increased?
It is possible to increase the oral bioavailability of cannabinoids by using drug delivery systems that promote solubilization.
What causes the low oral bioavailability of cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are lipophilic (fat soluble) and have low aqueous solubility [8, 9]. Lipophilic drugs with low solubility, such as cannabinoids often have low oral bioavailability . A deeper look at the body’s digestive system reveals that there is an unstirred water layer (UWL) that lines the gastrointestinal tract (GIT). The UWL acts as a barrier to the absorption of lipophilic materials such as cannabinoids. Thus prior to reaching the absorptive surfaces of the GIT a cannabinoid must become water dispersible allowing it to permeate the UWL. Naturally this process of cannabinoid solubilization is inefficient leading to low oral bioavailability.
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Infused products have low bioavailability
Cannabis edibles and oral dosage forms suffer from low bioavailability of cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are the active ingredients found in the plant and it's extracts. When taken orally only 4%-12% of the total cannabinoids consumed reach the bloodstream . In comparison smoking cannabis can reach a bioavailability above 50% within minutes of inhalation [2-5]. Furthermore, the poor bioavailability of cannabinoids results in delayed onset; effects are typically felt between 60 to 120 minutes before .
Why is bioavailability important for cannabis infused products?
Bioavailability directly influences the effects of cannabis infused products impacting their time of onset, intensity and duration. Designing products with bioavailability in mind aids in creating optimal dosages while minimizing any unwanted side effects.
Bioavailability is the proportion and rate a drug or active ingredient enters the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream it can access the site of action and illicit a physiological response.