What Is Water Soluble CBD? – The Science Behind CBD’s Bioavailability

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Is your dog or cat actually absorbing all the CBD you’re giving them? Concerns over CBD’s bioavailability is mounting as more and more people are dishing out money on CBD for themselves and their four-legged fluffballs.

Today, we are going to explore a new method researchers and companies are using to create a CBD product that the body can completely absorb. It’s called water-soluble CBD, and it may just be the future of our CBD products. At the same time, it may barely make a splash in the water.  

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What is Water-Soluble CBD?

If you try googling water-soluble CBD oil near me for pet, you’re unlikely to come up with many results.

That’s because this version of CBD is rare because in its natural state CBD is not soluble in water. This means the phytocompounds in it stick together and don’t spread throughout water — think how oil and water don’t mix.

Because mammals’ bodies, especially the brain, cells, and blood, are predominately made of water, there is a focus on making drugs water-soluble, so the body absorbs all it’s given.  

The more water-soluble something is, the less the body needs, and smaller dosages mean money saved. This is why companies are trying to create CBD oil that is in some part water-soluble. Especially because as we are coming to find out, when left alone the body struggles to absorb all the CBD you’re giving it.

Does making CBD water-soluble actually help? We’re cover that in a bit, but first, we need to talk about CBD’s bioavailability.

Exploring Bioavailability

In its natural state, CBD is fat-soluble and often mixed with a fatty carrier oil to improve the body’s ability to absorb it. Even then, research shows that CBD’s bioavailability isn’t that great.

Fat-soluble cannabinoids like CBD are best absorbed when administered through inhalation. Studies show around 2-56% is absorbed depending on the users — with most people falling on the higher scale. Unfortunately, until they evolve our dogs and cats aren’t going to partake in smoking or vaping with us.

This brings us to oral delivery methods such as sublingual (absorption through the soft palate) and ingestion by swallowing. Studies show that with these methods of delivery, the body on average only absorbs around 10-20% of the available beneficial cannabinoids in the CBD products. Some studies show a mammal’s body can flush out 94% of the CBD it’s given — using just 6%.

Think how much less CBD you would have to give your pet if it had 90% bioavailability due to a company making it water-soluble!

Making Water-Soluble CBD

There are three ways we can make fat-soluble CBD into a water-soluble compound.

Nanoemulsions – This process breaks the molecules into smaller compounds allowing immediate absorption in the stomach — the molecules are so small the stomach doesn’t have to break them down first before absorbing them. Nanoemulsion is the most popular way to make CBD water-soluble, and it’s often mixed into foods and drinks because it has little flavor.

Microemulsions – This process is similar but less popular than nanoemulsion as it relies on using more surfactants. Surfactants remove the surface tension of the liquid the CBD extract is placed but can’t dissolve in.

Liposomes – Liposomes are an effective way to deliver drugs into the system faster and more efficiently. A liposome is a microscopic ball containing water that easily attaches to bilayers such as the cell membrane. Many drugs use liposomes to improve bioavailability, however, they appear not as effective for CBD.

Benefits of Water-Soluble CBD

It’s easy to see the main benefit of water-soluble CBD. Currently, your pet is only absorbing between 5-20% of CBD it’s given — you as well unless you inhale it. However, you’ll often see water-soluble CBD products claim that up to 90% of the CBD will be absorbed.

The truth is . . . no one knows for certain and the science behind CBD’s water-solubility is in its infancy.

In theory, making CBD water-soluble is a great idea, but there is not much research showing how effective it actually is. In fact, we don’t have a lot of information on what happens to a cannabinoid when it becomes water-soluble meaning it could have stunted therapeutic effects.

For the most part, we are applying research that was undertaken on other drugs, and what works for one might not work for another. A lot more research is needed, but the promise is there.


The big thing we learned in this article is CBD has a big problem, and that’s most of it is going to waste because you, your dog, and your cat aren’t absorbing it. Because of this, there is now a big rush to solve this issue, and making CBD water-soluble is just one of the potential solutions. Now you must know how much is CBD oil for dogs cost?

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