How to do it right: Formulating CBD Water

How to do it right: Formulating CBD Water

With the advent of cannabis regulation across more than half of the US, consumer products of every flavor are rampant. One of the most interesting, yet simple product to manufacture is water, infused with cannabinoids. One would think that anybody with access to clean water, CBD powder, and a label printer could be making money overnight but they could not be more wrong. CBD itself is not water-soluble.

Cannabidiol, CBD, is one of over 100 known cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant and is a non-psychoactive constituent, compared to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

“Although the exact mechanism and magnitude of effects of [CBD] are not fully understood, CBD has been shown to have analgesic, anticonvulsant, muscle relaxant, anxiolytic, neuroprotective, antio-oxidant, and anti-psychotic activity,” (DrugBank).

Many of the “water” products on the market are made from “water-soluble nano CBD,” but what exactly does that mean? How can oil and water mix? The short answer is, they don’t mix! Or do they?

For years, the pharmaceutical world has made emulsions of oily products that do mix in with water, but they have used the appropriate resources and taken the time to formulate these products appropriately. Unfortunately, when it comes to the cannabis industry, many players have taken shortcuts, leading to improper formulations and eventual decreased confidence in the industry.

When a formulated beverage does not meet label claim, it is usually due to a few reasons. Reason one is a phenomenon known as Oswalt ripening. Without diving too deep, Oswalt ripening, named after Wilhelm Ostwald, leads to destabilization of your emulsion where smaller oil droplets are redeposited onto larger ones.  The process is dictated by the solubility of the oil and the smaller droplets have a higher solubility than the larger ones and therefore “act as fuel for the growth of the bigger [droplets],” (Vengrenovich, et al). 

Reason two could be due to the oxidative degradation of CBD due to improper storage. CBD can be degraded by prolonged exposure to UV light and entrapped air post manufacturing. Imagine transparent water bottles containing CBD isolate sitting out in the sun during shipment.  Reason three is simply incorrectly designed formulation leading to oil-phase separation, basically an unstable formulation.

Given these facts, it is imperative that manufacturers perform the appropriate research and due diligence to ensure that they meet label claim and keep consumer safety forefront in our nascent burgeoning industry.

For more information or formulation consultation, please contact CannaSafe.



Vengrenovich, R.D.; Gudyma, Yu. V.; Yarema, S. V. (December 2001). “Ostwald ripening of quantum-dot nanostructures”. Semiconductors. 35 (12): 1378–1382. Bibcode:2001Semic..35.1378V. doi:10.1134/1.1427975

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