What is Nano CBD? Is it Legit or a Scam?

Nano CBD: Legit or Scam? infographic

As the author of a book about CBD and a long-time expert in the world of supplements and herbs, there’s one thing I know for sure: Not all CBD products are created equal.

And as it currently stands, it's up to us—the consumers—to separate the good from the bad, the legit from the not-so-legit, to make sure we’re getting a high-quality product that is not only safe but actually works.

Lately, one group of CBD products has been standing out from the rest. They’re called “nano” CBD oils and they’re making major waves (and claims!) when it comes to absorption rates and efficacy. Here’s the full intel on nano CBD and why it might benefit your health.

What is nanotechnology—and what does it have to do with CBD? 

You’ve probably heard the word “nanotechnology” at least once before. The nano field is new, rapidly growing, and it involves way more than just CBD. So, what is nanotechnology, really? According to a New York Times article titled Nanotechnology’s Future, “Nanotechnology involves industrial products and processes in the realm of nanometers...That is also the scale on which all living cells—and the things that nourish or kill them—operate.” In other words, it involves things that are really, really, really tiny. 

Most commonly, nanotechnology is used in the context of the pharmaceutical and medical industries to help deliver compounds to our cells. It’s also been used in the beauty industry to get the ingredients in our lotions and face serums through the skin. The supplement industry is also taking advantage of nanotechnology by using specific delivery methods that protect ingredients from degradation in the digestive tract.

The pros and cons of nano CBD 

When it comes to CBD, nanotechnology is being used—in extremely simple terms—to make sure the CBD you’re taking is actually getting where it needs to go. According to Cade Turland, CEO and co-founder of Hemple—an Australian-owned hemp and CBD product company that’s big on nano CBD—it’s all about speed, efficacy, and cost-effectiveness. “When you break the math down: If you have a 10 mg product of regular CBD oil, the max you’ll actually absorb into your cells is about 2 mg. But if you’re taking a nano-emulsified product, you can actually get absorption before the digestive system and as much as 8 mg to the cells.” According to Turland, nano has the potential to match the absorption rate that you get from smoking. Hemple uses an extraction system called N-Osmo™ that uses ultrasonic therapy to shrink the CBD molecules to a more cell-friendly size.

Nanotechnology is also used to make CBD, which is by nature a fat-soluble compound, more water-soluble. This means that any company, like Recess—the La Croix-cannabis hybrid everyone’s talking about—that’s infusing CBD into beverages is using some type of nanotechnology to create their products. Otherwise, the CBD would just be floating on top or sticking to the sides of the bottle or can.

Is nano CBD the future of CBD? 

According to Scientific American, “By 2015, products incorporating nanotech will contribute approximately $1 trillion to the global economy. About two million workers will be employed in nanotech industries, and three times that many will have supporting jobs.” It appears that nanotechnology will play an important role in the future of the medical industry, supplement industry, and from the looks of it, the CBD industry as well—especially if consumers notice a measurable difference in the benefits of nano CBD versus regular CBD, which seems to be the trend.

 That said, working on that small of a scale is a challenge, even in 2019. For context, a nanometer is about one billionth of a meter and the typical bacterium, which can’t be seen without a microscope, can be as big as 300 nanometers in size. There’s still a lot we need to learn about this emerging field—especially to justify the higher price tag of most nano products—so keep an eye out for high-quality peer-reviewed research studies that prove *just* how much better nano CBD really is. 

If you’re interested in testing some nano CBD products, remember that not all nanotechnology is the same; don’t just assume that if it’s labeled “nano” it’s automatically better; still look for full- or broad-spectrum products that are third-party lab tested for quality, potency, and purity. And as always, keep an eye out for companies making claims that sound too good to be true. 


Written by Gretchen Lidicker

Senior Health Editor & CBD Expert or Contributing Health Editor and CBD Expert. Gretchen is a writer, researcher, and author of the book CBD Oil Everyday Secrets: A Lifestyle Guide To Hemp-Derived Health & Wellness. She has a masters degree in physiology and complementary and alternative medicine from Georgetown University and is the former health editor at mindbodygreen. She’s been featured in the New York Times, Marie Claire, Forbes, SELF, The Times, Huffington Post, and Travel + Leisure.

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