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Liposomes: All You Need to Know

Green Shoppers Written by Green Shoppers
Updated on July 19, 2019

Welcome to the world of CBD, where you’ll need to learn all the lingo to fit in as a true CBD user. Newcomers to CBD products often feel overwhelmed by the litany of new terms they face; cannabinoids, endocannabinoid system, terpenes, THC… the list goes on!

Occasionally, a new term is added to this enormous list, and everybody in the community has to learn it. This time, it’s ‘liposomes.’ The CBD industry has been around for quite a while now, but liposomes are a fairly new product that is just beginning to increase in popularity.

If you have come across liposomes and found yourself wondering what on earth they are, then you have come to the right place. This article will explain absolutely everything you could possibly want to know about CBD liposomes, including how to use them.

What are CBD Liposomes?

If you are at all familiar with the Greek language, then you might already have an inkling as to what liposomes are. This compound comes from two Greek words; lipos, meaning fat, and soma, meaning body. In other words, liposomes are – you guessed it! – a body of fat.

Liposomes are not unique to the CBD industry. They are essentially microscopic bodies of fat that are attached to another tiny molecule; in this case, that molecule is CBD. The fat is wrapped around the CBD molecule like an outer shell.

Why would anyone want to do this?

Scientists see liposomes as a more effective means of delivering nutrients. They are often used in medicines as a means of delivering active ingredients in a more efficient manner. This is because the human body, as you may know, is around 60% water, and many of the substances we consume are hydrophobic. In other words, they cannot dissolve in water and therefore cannot be processed well by the body.

Cannabinoids, including CBD, are lipophilic. Basically, they dissolve in fats and not water. As such, it can be hard to process CBD efficiently when we consume it, and much of the CBD we take is lost. Luckily, CBD liposomes can help this.

Are Liposomes and Nano-CBD the Same Thing?

Liposomes are not the only way to increase water-solubility. Nano-emulsion technology is also a way to this, and this is why some users become confused about the difference between CBD liposomes and nano-CBD.

Manufacturers have found a way to reduce CBD particles to “nano” size, increasing their surface area but allowing them to disperse easily through water. Nano-CBD is also a very effective method of CBD consumption, and it is becoming used more and more by CBD companies. Liposomes, however, tend to be a bit cheaper.

It is currently debated as to which is more effective out of the two methods, but you should be aware that they are not the same thing. Nano-CBD is basically tiny CBD particles, whereas liposomes are CBD particles coated in a layer of fat.

How Liposomes Increase Bioavailability

Bioavailability refers to the amount of a substance that is actually used by the body after it is ingested. Only intravenous administration (i.e., injecting it into the veins) provides 100% bioavailability. Otherwise, much of a substance can become lost and excreted without actually being used.

The bioavailability of CBD changes depending on the method of administration. Vaping is highly effective, providing you with much of the CBD that you inhaled. However, taking CBD sublingually or ingesting it in capsule or edible form leaves a lot to be desired. Some estimates suggest that you are only getting 20% of the CBD you consumed, due to factors such as metabolism. Of course, the hydrophobic nature of CBD is also a barrier here.

Liposomes help with ingestion because they transport the CBD past the intestinal membrane, allowing the CBD to access specific tissues. The fatty layer essentially acts as a protection or a shield. Through this method, liposomal CBD has a higher level of bioavailability compared to traditional methods of consuming cannabidiol.

The Studies on Liposomes

Liposomes can be used in a variety of ways. Researchers from the famed (amongst the cannabis community at least) Hebrew University of Jerusalem published an article in 2003 investigating liposomes in topical application. Mice with rheumatic diseases were given topical CBD treatments containing liposomes. The researchers found that CBD was effective when delivered via protective capsules such as liposomes.

In 2017, researchers in Beijing published a study which stated that “controllable release, which means that the loaded drugs are liberated in the right place and time, can significantly reduce administration times and avoid toxicity to other organs.” In other words, liposomes release the compound contained within the fat at the right location, allowing the CBD to impact the endocannabinoid system without becoming stopped by digestive mechanisms.

Users of CBD liposomes also suggest that they are effective, finding that they need less CBD to achieve the same effects. Obviously, this is because less CBD is being lost when it is delivered to the ECS in liposomal capsules.

How to Use CBD Liposomes

The most common liposomes currently on the market come in liquid form. This comes from consumer desire to drink CBD or add it to food.

Cooking with CBD is a very popular option, and most people opt to use CBD isolates for this purpose. CBD oil is not ideal for cooking, although it can be drizzled on a salad if you don’t mind the taste. However, the hydrophobic nature of CBD does make it difficult to cook with sometimes. Often, CBD chefs will have to first make a CBD butter or other product before cooking, in order to ensure that the meal is properly infused with cannabidiol.

CBD liposomes get around this problem because they will dissolve in water. Manufacturers often make flavoured liposomes; you can add these to a glass of water, which will make for a delicious and easy-to-use CBD drink. There are also plenty of unflavoured options that you can simply take as a sublingual oil, be it more effective than a traditional oil.

Of course, if you purchase a liposomal CBD oil, you can also try making your own CBD gummies or CBD capsules. You can incorporate liposomal CBD into your favourite methods of consumption pretty easily.

Final Thoughts on CBD Liposomes: Better Than CBD Oil?

It cannot really be denied that CBD liposomes are more efficient than regular CBD oils. They offer an increased rate of bioavailability, which means you’re getting more bang for your buck. That being said, liposomes tend to be quite a bit more expensive than regular CBD oils.

Elixinol, for example, is one of the leading manufacturers of CBD liposomes. The 300mg bottle of hemp CBD oil costs $39.99 ($0.13 per milligram), whereas the liposomes cost $59.99 for 300mg ($0.20 per milligram). This is an even bigger disparity when you consider that the regular CBD oil is in a 15ml bottle, whereas the liposomes are in a 30ml bottle – the regular oil has a higher potency and is still cheaper. This price difference simply comes down to manufacturing costs.

If efficiency is important to you, then there are plenty of UK retailers stocking CBD liposomes now. Be sure to check out Cibdol and Evolution Organics, which appear to be very popular for their liposomal CBD options.