With technological advances and growing consumer interest in CBD / THC-infused beverages, Industrial Sonomechanics (ISM) has seen significant activity and business growth in its technology for making water-compatible CBD and THC formulations, as well as the manufacture of finished nanoemulsions products. ISM’s technology is a complete solution that includes high amplitude ultrasonic liquids on laboratory, laboratory and industrial scale Processors in connection with several All-In-One NanoStabilizers® Formulations.
With this solution, ISM’s customers are fully able to commercially manufacture translucent water-soluble nanoemulsions of cannabis extracts that can be easily infused into water and other beverages cannabinoids.
A typical nanoemulsion concentrate produced with ISM technology contains between 10 and 50 mg / ml cannabinoids, which are suspended in the form of nanoscale droplets with an average diameter of around 20-30 nm, which ensures permanent water tolerance, translucency and long-term stability . When about 0.2 – 1 ml (depending on the concentration and required dose) of nanoemulsion is infused in water (see pictures below), the translucency turns into complete transparency and results in a clear cannabinoid-infused water-based product.
ISM’s technology also enables the production of water-soluble CBD and THC powders and tablets as well as a wide range of water-compatible nanoemulsions of aromatic oils and many other hydrophobic bioactive ingredients.
Trends in bioactive ingredients
We look at the ingredients of cannabis beverages from two consumer-oriented perspectives. First, what is the desired cannabis beverage consumer experience? Is the consumer interested in the therapeutic benefits of just relaxing in the evening, both? Second, what is the vehicle for consumption and the desired look and taste of the product? With today’s nanotechnology, consumers can take advantage of infused bioactive ingredients like CBD and Delta-9 THC, and we are seeing a significant increase in the rating of Delta-8 THC properties.
Based on these perspectives, manufacturers can formulate CBD and / or THC products with the desired effects. As a result, consumers can determine what they want and expect from their product, so that companies, with the right equipment and formulations, produce high quality products that allow short exposure times with predictable and reproducible potency.
At the beginning of the CBD / THC infused beverage market curve, we saw many low quality emulsions with large droplet sizes (in the hundreds of nanometers) and the appearance of absorbing milk that were not readily available to the body. With the advancement of industry, made possible by high amplitude ultrasonic devices and better emulsifier formulations, translucent nanoemulsions with much smaller droplet sizes quickly began to replace milky emulsions. Translucent nanoemulsions are in great demand because their extremely small droplet sizes enable high bioavailability, short action times and predictable duration of action. They also have the advantage that they do not change the appearance of the drink, as they become transparent when diluted.
We are currently also seeing a rapidly growing demand for water-soluble CBD and THC powders that, when added to a beverage, reconstitute to their original nanoemulsified state (just like adding sugar to coffee). Powders also enable a wide range of applications and finished products – for example, they can be compressed into tablets that break down immediately in the mouth and dissolve in saliva, or they can be formulated as effervescent tablets that dissolve quickly in beverages.
While it’s not always obvious, cannabis extracts are bitter. It is important to remember that the taste of a substance cannot be felt if the substance is not dissolved in saliva. Refined CBD and THC extracts, distillates, and isolates may not appear bitter when tasted directly because they do not dissolve in water (or saliva). The formulation as a nanoemulsion makes it compatible with water and thereby increases its bioavailability, but also enables our taste buds to perceive its bitterness.
We see two different preference trends in terms of taste. Many consumers enjoy and are still looking for a “homegrown flavor” in which they can taste the terpenes and flavonoids of the original plant in the drink. This comes as a surprise to some, but others want to identify deeply with what they are consuming. Of course, there is a second preference where consumers want to try something that they really like, but not necessarily related to the flavors of the original plant. In other words, you want to mask the taste of the extract and / or cover it with other flavors. To this end, we constantly see requests for masking agents and water-soluble flavor additives. We have recently started offering such products.
Cannabis drinks can be a bit like alcoholic – an acquired taste. Some consumers like the natural taste of cannabis, similar to those who love a peaty scotch. Others find the taste unpleasant and would rather suit the hard seltzer drinkers of the world. The industry is learning that not every taste in the CBD / THC beverage space is monolithic. If there is a market for a particular flavor profile or flavor, the industry will adapt. Given the tools and product options, the branders, designers, and marketers will be there to meet this need.
Technological innovation trends
In our opinion, the most important technology trend in product development is particle size. Water-compatible nano-emulsified beverage products with a focus on small particle sizes are at the core of the future market introduction of THC / CBD products, as they enable consumers to trust their quality, effect and taste.
The trend is towards nanoemulsions with the smallest possible droplet sizes. This applies to liquid nanoemulsions as well as water-soluble powders and tablets, which reconstitute themselves in water (or saliva) to form nanoemulsions. Droplet size has a direct impact on all of the major benefits of nanoemulsion-based products, including translucency, bioavailability, and onset of action. In order to absorb oils and fats from our food, the digestive system usually first “reforms” them into mixed micelles – droplets with mean droplet diameters around 20 nanometers. This is what our small intestine can absorb most efficiently. It is therefore important to keep the droplet sizes in nanoemulsion-based products close to this value for maximum benefit.
ISMs Barbell horn® ultrasound technology-based processors and NanoStabilizer® formulations enable its customers to easily produce nanoemulsions with droplet sizes of only 20-30 nm CBD or THC absorbed into the bloodstream very quickly and completely. Our processors can output extremely high ultrasonic amplitudes and operate at any scale, allowing manufacturers to quickly move from a laboratory to a production environment to meet the growing (and ever-changing) consumer interest in infused beverages.
In the next two years, there is likely to be rapid advancement in the CBD and THC infused beverage market. Companies have to act quickly and with agility when they bring new products onto the market that are reliable and of consistent quality. Technology needs to be coupled with consumer education, which in turn is supported by research. Science-oriented institutions, technology companies and informed consumers will be great partners in advancing technology and innovation in the beverage industry.
About Industrial Sonomechanics, LLC.
Industrial Sonomechanics, LLC (ISM) is a research and development, equipment design, and process consulting firm specializing in high-intensity ultrasonic technology for fluid treatment. Our mission is to support companies in optimizing their ultrasound-based processes and implementing them in commercial production. Learn more about ISM at sonomechanics.com.