Cannabis emulsification is the process that breaks down and converts oil-based cannabinoids into very small water-soluble emulsions. The emulsification process breaks cannabinoid oils down into billions of tiny droplets that can then be suspended in products without separating. Emulsification provides the added benefit of increasing the cannabis oil surface area, which leads to increased bioavailability and quicker onset of effects.

What Is Cannabis Emulsification?

Emulsification is the process of reducing oils of cannabinoids, or any oils, to billions of extremely small, protected droplets. The emulsification process allows oil droplets to remain as individual droplets and stay separated when dispersed as opposed to adhering back together and separating from water, as oil does when dropped into water. With emulsification, the cannabinoid oils and water combination makes a new liquid where both ingredients blend nicely instead of separating. When cannabis emulsification is performed correctly, the droplets are equally distributed within the surrounding liquid and prefer to be uniformly absorbed.

If cannabinoids are left to remain in their original oil-based state, cannabis product developers trying to make a beverage, for example, would experience the oil separating from the water, and it would rise to the top as oil does. The cannabinoids would not disperse evenly throughout the beverage, which would cause the first sip to be unappealing and would not mix with the rest of the beverage at all. Cannabis emulsification is an important factor for a consistent and safe consumption experience. Emulsification allows for cannabinoid oils to disperse evenly and blend with other products, much like adding a drop of food coloring to a glass of water, which completely transforms the entire beverage with an equal dispersion.


Pharmacokinetics, Cannabinoids, and Emulsions

Pharmacokinetics (PK) is a term that refers to how the body processes drugs as they move throughout the body, i.e., the time course of absorption. Pharmacokinetic studies provide important information on how the body absorbs and metabolizes bioactive compounds and on understanding cannabis emulsion research. A pharmacokinetic study performed in 2021 by Caliper Foods and Colorado State University examined the pharmacokinetics of five different preparations of oral CBD. This study concluded that CBD emulsions were absorbed by the body much quicker than CBD tinctures or traditional isolates. This is why most edible products like cannabis Gummies can take time for users to feel effects.

Cannabis emulsions can speed up the process, although there is more to learn about gummy matrices and cannabinoid emulsions. Emulsion science is advancing with companies like Vertosa continuing to conduct research on the bioavailability of cannabis emulsions and how the body reacts to THC Gummies. Vertosa conducted an independent PK study on how the body responds to typical THC Gummies, and Gummies made with an emulsion process. The Gummies made with cannabis emulsification provided fast-acting effects, much like smoking a joint, peaking within five minutes.

Cannabis emulsification is attracting the attention of emulsion scientists worldwide, with interest in several cannabinoids, not just THC or CBD. Emulsion scientists are also working to better understand the performance and applications of cannabigerol (CBG) emulsions. They discovered that CBG absorbs in a matter much different than THC with a different absorption profile.

Continued research and cannabis emulsions will only continue to improve products like cannabis powder, which is often promoted as an alternative to traditional edibles. Powder is not new, although emulsion science is improving cannabis powder products and performance for consumers. It is important to make sure that cannabis emulsions are created with safe ingredients, homogeneity which means even emulsion dispersion without separation, stability which ensures that the emulsion remains stable over the life of the product, and accurate dosing, which is critical for consumers. When a buyer purchases a product stated to contain 20 mg of CBD or THC, they must be confident they are getting what they expect.

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