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What Are Fast-Acting “Nano” Cannabis Products?

Nanotechnology sounds like something straight out of sci-fi, but it’s a very real thing transforming cannabis beverages, edibles, tinctures, and topicals. This technique is said to result in a faster-acting and more potent product. Is nanotechnology worth the hype?

What is cannabis nanotechnology?

Nanotechnology is used in cannabis to create water soluble cannabinoids that can be easily mixed into water-based solutions, such as beverages, gelatin, condiments, and more. These infused products are known as nanoemulsions1

Water soluble cannabinoids are made by using an emulsifier (just like in cooking or baking) to get cannabinoids to bind together in clusters. These clusters contain particles that don’t mix well with water (like cannabinoids), which group together on the inside of the cluster. They also contain particles that do mix well with water, and these tend to group together on the outside of the cluster, closer to the water.

Once these clusters are created, they are shrunk down to size using pressure, heat, or sound waves. Making these clusters smaller evenly distributes them throughout the solution, leading to a more consistent consumer experience and possibly enhancing the bioavailability of the cannabinoids.

Select Squeeze is a fast-active drink additive that can be found in many markets.

Why does nanotechnology matter for cannabis products?

Nanotechnology affects your consumption experience in two major ways: How quickly the effects are felt and the bioavailability of the phytocannabinoid content. Here’s what you need to know:

Nanoemulsion products tend to be faster-acting2 than conventional ingestibles, tinctures, and topicals. Whereas the average edible might take 45 minutes to 1 hour to kick in, a nanoemulsion product could get to work in just 15 minutes. 

More Potent
Nanoemulsion improves the bioavailability of phytocannabinoids3, so more of them enter your bloodstream and interact with your endocannabinoid system (ECS). This means a more potent experience with smaller amounts of product. Several studies have demonstrated that nanoemulsion can improve bioavailability; one 2005 study published in Pain Research & Management found that nano particles can reach an absorption rate as high as 100%4

This characteristic could have implications for some therapeutic uses. For example, effective CBD amounts5 for certain symptoms, such as anxiety, have been estimated by researchers to range from 300mg to 600mg. It would be a challenge to achieve these levels with conventional CBD products. With nanotech emulsion products and their increased bioavailability, you can more easily achieve the intended therapeutic effects.

Which cannabis products can be made with nanoemulsions?

Nanotechnology has both reinvented classic cannabis products and opened new possibilities for emerging product categories to take flight. Here are some common product types made with nanoemulsion:

  • Gummies and other edibles: As gelatin-infused products, nanoemulsion more evenly disperses the phytocannabinoids throughout the gummy, leading to a more consistent experience. Other foods get a similar treatment, offering a predictable and expected amount of phytocannabinoids with each delicious bite.
  • Beverages: Cannabis-infused beverages are taking off thanks to nanotech. Where once there were thick, syrupy sodas are now a wide range of infused drinks, including soda, water, and seltzer, which look, pour, and taste just like their non-infused counterparts.
  • Beverage additives: Beverage additives are products – such as elixirs, concentrates, or powders – that can be mixed into hot or cold drinks, reconstituting as a nanoemulsion once blended. Like the manufactured beverages mentioned above, these powders offer a fast-acting experience and have the same bioavailability benefits as other nanoemulsion products.
  • Topicals: Lotions, gels, and other topicals offer more bioavailability and rapid absorption into the skin. In some cases, nano topicals may pass into the bloodstream, unlike most conventionally manufactured topicals that are not transdermal products. This is important to know because it may cause some systemic effects, including intoxication, so take care when trying a nano topical.
Cantrip fast-acting seltzers can be found in many markets.

How to consume nanoemulsion products

Nanotech emulsion remains a relatively new discovery, but already this technique is being applied throughout the cannabis industry with great results. Just like any new cannabis product, the mantra “start low and go slow” applies: Try a very small amount of a nanoemulsified product and wait to see how you feel before trying again.

Importantly, remember that a very small amount goes a long way. Where it may be typical to ingest a full dropper of a tincture, for example, nano products may only require a quarter-dropper or even just a few drops. It may be tempting to glug an entire can of infused seltzer at once, but the cannabis effects may come on too quickly and strongly. Don’t dive in without knowing precisely how these products take effect.



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