Is Nanotechnology the Future of Medical Marijuana?
Published on 2/23/21
The War on Drugs has been an incredibly taxing social fallacy responsible for a myriad of negative repercussions over the last fifty years. One of the unfortunate consequences of labeling marijuana as a Schedule I drug has been a subsequent lack of research - because marijuana has been federally illegal for so long, it has not been available for scientific study.
Fortunately, as states continue to legalize marijuana, cannabis studies have resumed in higher amounts than ever before. One of the more fascinating and practical technologies to evolve through this new wave of cannabis research has been the use of nanotechnology to help implement more effective cannabis consumption. Sounds a little confusing and really exciting, right? Here's a quick rundown of this extraordinary new tech and how it may yet prove instrumentally beneficial to many.
What is Nanotechnology?
Nanotechnology is one of the most exciting branches of modern scientific research. Its applications are endless and already widely used. Nanotech is used in medicine and pharmacology, monitoring tech, phones and computers, aerospace tech, textiles, metals, chemical sciences, even everyday personal care products and house cleaners. Nanotechnology is complicated due to it being on the cutting edge of our scientific understandings, but its definition is fairly straightforward: it is the study and application of incredibly small things. You might ask, what does medicinal nanotechnology have to do with marijuana? Well, before we answer that, we need to explain what nanoencapsulation and nanoemulsion is.
What is Nanoencapsulation?
Nanoencapsulation is the scientific intersection of encapsulation and nanotechnology. Encapsulation, on its own, is simply a process that facilitates the enclosure of active compounds within an inactive material. Following this concept, nanoencapsulation is the process of encapsulating compounds on an incredibly small scale. This process is most commonly used in pharmaceuticals, foods and cosmetics. This is considered an incredibly viable process because of how effective it is in protecting the compounds and how precise the measurements can be compared to regular encapsulation.
What is Nanoemulsion?
Nanoemulsions are delivery systems that usually involve an oil being dispersed into an aqueous system. With nanotechnology, emulsions can be conducted on a microscopic scale, allowing for heightened loading capacities and increased substance control accuracy. It is often used in pharmaceuticals because of how fast-acting the effects are, how it can be formulated for creams, foams, and liquids, and how it offers increased physical stability.
What is Marijuana Nanotechnology?
Now that we have a better understanding of nanotechnology and some of its more specific pharmaceutical applications, let's take a look at cannabinoid nanotechnology and how all of this plays into the future of marijuana. Nanotechnology allows us to easily place THC and CBD into almost any product, whether it's a drink, a topical or an edible. Moreover, because nanoemulsion uses oils to maintain the desired compound (i.e. THC and CBD), it is an incredibly effective way for your body to absorb the contents where it might not otherwise.
For example, while the most common administration method for CBD oil is via the mouth, it also happens to be one of the least effective consumption methods. When you take something orally, it is then processed through the digestive system and breaks down compounds before they can be properly absorbed in the stomach. The average CBD absorption rate, when taken orally, is only 5-10%, meaning that your body ends up not using nearly 90% of the CBD you consume. With nanoemulsion CBD oil, because the compound is being delivered through a fatty oil-based vehicle, it is much more likely to make it through the digestive system to the stomach, where it can then be fully and most effectively absorbed into the body. The same is true with other types of cannabis applications. Topical applications are directly applied to the skin where the THC or CBD then interacts with nearby cannabinoid receptors throughout the skin's surface. However, like with oral administration, the exact effectiveness of cannabis topicals isn't always very effective or precise. Through nanotech and, more specifically, nanoemulsion, an oil-based CBD can more effectively permeate the skin and interface with the appropriate receptors.
What is the Future of Marijuana Nanotechnology?
Nanotechnology is a rapidly growing science that has seemingly endless applications. As nanotech develops and compounds can be more widely delivered through processes like nanoemulsion, the cannabis industry will be able to use nanotech more readily for a wider variety of products. With marijuana continuing to be more socially accepted and legally available, nanotech will give the everyday user a more effective way to consume cannabis for specific reasons and intents. Especially as marijuana studies continue to explore its medicinal benefits, nanotech will allow THC and CBD to be applied to specific target areas of the body with increased accuracy. Nanoemulsion CBD and THC could be the future of cannabis, especially concerning medical applications. As we learn more about cannabis' medical benefits, we can then use nanotechnology to specifically target vital parts of the body in need of medical attention or alleviation.
Share with us your opinions on nanotechnology, how you think it will continue to shape the cannabis industry, and what you think will be the next big thing to come from marijuana nanotech!