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You’ve heard of CBD oil, but what about water soluble CBD? Unlike CBD oils or most CBD consumables, water soluble CBD doesn’t rely on a carrier oil.


If you know that CBD is lipophilic or fat-soluble, this may have you scratching your head. How can the body absorb CBD without the carrier oil? Water soluble CBD requires a process known as nano-emulsions. 


Now, you may be wondering: Is this legit? Does this really work? Read on to find out with The Brothers Apothecary!

What Makes CBD Water Soluble?

To make CBD water soluble, the CBD molecules are isolated and then binded to these little bubbles (micelles) manufactured with water-soluble materials to make them hydrophilic.


This is called nano-emulsions. Because the blood is mostly water, nano-emulsions allow the CBD to dissolve into the bloodstream, releasing its effects without the need for oils to make it absorbable.  

How Does Water Soluble Differ From Conventional CBD?

CBD is naturally lipophilic, meaning that it breaks down in fats. Naturally, CBD is not water soluble, so it must be paired with a fatty substance to break down into a form that the body can absorb.


The amount of a substance a body can sufficiently absorb is called bioavailability. 


On its own, CBD has a naturally low bioavailability. If you take CBD on it’s own without any fat content, it would be metabolized and passed through the body without getting absorbed into the bloodstream and would not cause any of the desired effects. 


But, there are ways to boost a substance’s bioavailability. Traditionally, that has meant adding fat content to CBD products or – more recently – using a process to create a water soluble form of CBD. This is what we’re focusing on today here at The Brothers Apothecary!


Water Soluble CBD vs. CBD Oil

Water soluble CBD can also dissolve into drinks easily, whereas oil will sit atop a non-fatty drink, staying separated. It’s harder to mask the taste of CBD oil when incorporated into food or drink. 

The way that water soluble CBD and CBD oils reach the bloodstream varies slightly.


Both move through the digestive tract, but water soluble molecules are absorbed through the small intestine walls. From there, they move into the hepatic portal vein and travel that into the liver. 

First-pass metabolism takes place in the liver, meaning that some of the CBD is metabolized, reducing the amount that reaches the bloodstream and the ECS.

Large fat-soluble molecules such as CBD oil reaches the liver through the lymphatic system. Basically, these molecules are carried by chylomicron molecules through the lymphatic system, and then those chylomicrons can carry the molecules through the bloodstream to the liver, after which first pass metabolism takes place. 


So, what makes their bioavailability different?


When consuming fat-soluble CBD, bioavailability relies heavily on other forms of nutrients to become more bioavailable. For instance, CBD’s bioavailability may only be around 6% when taken on an empty stomach, whereas it is 4x that when taken with a fatty meal.


On the other hand, water-soluble CBD appears to be absorbed well, even on an empty stomach. 


Some studies suggest that water soluble CBD may even bypass first-pass metabolism, meaning that a higher percentage of the CBD makes it into the bloodstream. This is because the emulsified water-soluble CBD may be small enough that it can be absorbed directly through membranes in the mouth. It is worth noting that CBD oil can also be absorbed through blood vessels in the mouth when held under the tongue rather than mixed into food or drink. 

What Are the Benefits of Water Soluble CBD?

Better Absorption

Early evidence suggests that water soluble CBD is absorbed into the body faster, and that the bioavailability is higher than CBD oils. 


Because the bioavailability is higher, more CBD is absorbed, which can produce more potent or concentrated effects.


Effects likely kick in faster, as the water-soluble molecules are more quickly absorbed into the bloodstream and some of them may even be absorbed before reaching the liver. 

Less Product Needed

With higher bioavailability, you can feel more effects with less product. And since it isn’t as affected by outside factors, such as taking it with a meal, you don’t have to worry as much about taking it more or less depending on your meal. 

How Is Water Soluble CBD Made?

Water soluble CBD is made by isolating CBD molecules and wrapping them in hydrophilic molecules that the body can absorb. 


Those molecules form little bubbles that can carry the CBD into the bloodstream, rather than having them pass through the digestive tract unused as would happen to non-water soluble CBD without a carrier oil.

How Long Does It Take for Water Soluble CBD To Kick In?

Water soluble CBD can kick in quicker than other consumables, as some may be absorbed directly through blood vessels in the mouth. Typically, it takes between twenty minutes to an hour until the effects of water soluble CBD kick in. 

What Does Water Soluble CBD Feel Like?

Water soluble CBD often comes in the form of a powder or crystal. 


Like all other forms of CBD, it can help ease tension, promote full-body relaxation, calm the mind, and soothe physical discomfort. And, since it is quickly absorbed, it can bring about those beneficial feelings even sooner!

What Does Water Soluble CBD Taste Like?

One of the main benefits of water soluble CBD is that it is easily mixed into other food and drink. It is relatively tasteless, as there is no carrier oil involved, and the naturally earthy taste of CBD is easily masked as it dissolves into your coffee, salad dressing, or anything else you choose! 

How Long Do the Effects of Water Soluble CBD Last?

The effects of water soluble CBD can last for between four and eight hours, depending on potency, dose, and consistency taken.

What Is the Highest Quality Form of CBD?

Water soluble CBD and CBD oil are both effective forms of CBD. 


Here at The Brothers Apothecary, we make our teas using healthy fats along with maltodextrin derived from organic Yucca Root. The maltodextrin serves as an emulsifier, which helps combine water and fat. This allows the CBD from the dried hemp leaves to mix easily into the water when steeped and allows for a high bioavailability and absorption rate.

The Bottom Line

Water-soluble CBD is a great option if you’re looking to incorporate your CBD into food or are sensitive to oils. However, because water and oil don’t mix, we use an emulsifier with coconut fat in products, like our teas, capsules, and more!


Check out all of our high-quality, organic, and third-party tested CBD products at The Brothers Apothecary shop!



Therapeutic Potential of Cannabidiol (CBD) for Skin Health and Disorders | NIH 

Chemical Digestion and Absorption: A Closer Look | Anatomy, and Physiology 

Human Cannabinoid Pharmacokinetics | NIH 

Jesse Richardson, Health & Wellness Advocate
Ambassador of Teas, CEO

Jesse Richardson is the co-founder of The Brothers Apothecary. He's an avid tea drinker and the primary creator behind The Brothers' products. An undergraduate of UCLA for Political Science, Jesse currently studies Medicinal Plants at Cornell University and The International School of Herbal Arts & Sciences.

Meet the Brothers.

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