CBD Oil is extracted from hemp plants in much the same way that sunflower or soy oil are obtained from sunflower seeds and soybeans. Through a distillation process, CBD oil is produced and being an oil, it is naturally insoluble with water.

So why is a water-soluble CBD oil important and how is it made?

Water-soluble CBD oil is a key ingredient in formulations that need to be homogenous to work. For example, if a beverage were to contain regular CBD oil, there would be oil droplets visibly present. A water-soluble formulation, however, allows for a beverage to contain CBD oil without noticing a difference in appearance.

Additionally, in terms of bioavailability, when a product consumed orally is more water-soluble it increases the bioavailability or uptake of that particular product. Thus, a CBD water-soluble product would have the same effect.

Water-soluble CBD oil can be made through several different types of technology. The preferred method is nanotechnology, a technique that is widely used in medicine, solar panels, water filtration, and even cell phones. It is a method that breaks down the CBD oil into nanoparticles between 1-100 nanometers. The micro-sized particles then disperse evenly into water. The smaller the nanometer, the more translucent the water-soluble CBD oil. Many ways exist to achieve water-solubility, but these are the top 3 within the CBD market:

  1. Nanoemulsions

    This method breaks down the CBD oil into nanoparticle droplets ranging from 1 to 100 nanometer droplets. This technology is believed to be the best method to create an effective water-soluble CBD product with high bioavailability.

  2. Microemulsions

    Microemulsions are made by using a chemical process that “solubilizes” the oil in water by using high amounts of a chemical compound called surfactants ranging from 100 to 5,000 nanometer droplets. Surfactants tend to have unwanted side effects making this method undesirable.

  3. Liposomes

    Liposomes are bioavailable due to their water-containing structures and range from 50 to 5,000 nanometer droplets. The bilayer membrane is where CBD extract resides, and the internal hydrophilic compartment entraps water-soluble ingredients. This is the most complex method to formulate which is why nanoemulsions are preferred.


As water-soluble CBD grows in popularity, so does technology and new methodologies. Now that you understand the science behind water-soluble CBD, we hope this helps guide your CBD selection.

Nanotechnology citation: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2890134/