Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is big business. Commonly derived from the hemp plant, CBD is famous for not getting you high. The compound’s non-intoxicating nature means companies have greater freedom to sell various CBD products as long as they come from industrial hemp.
Of course, the primary draw to CBD and its products is the potential therapeutic benefit they can provide. Scientific studies suggest CBD could help with things like chronic pain, anxiety, and even insomnia.
Hemp-derived CBD comes in different forms. One of the most popular is CBD oil, wherein the cannabidiol compound is extracted from hemp before being infused in a high-lipid content carrier oil (such as MCT oil).
Recently, however, a growing number of companies are catching on to the idea of CBD water. By its natural chemical nature, CBD is hydrophobic – meaning it does not dissolve in water. However, using a special process called nano emulsion, companies claim they can suspend cannabidiol molecules in water and increase the compound’s rate of absorption in the human body.
Are these claims justified, or is “nano CBD water” just another new industry buzz term? Let’s take a closer look.
CBD Water Overview
- Nanotechnology potentially increases the bioavailability of the CBD
- It provides an interesting alternative to CBD oil
- Most users say it is refreshing, and CBD water is now available in various delicious flavors
- No evidence of major adverse effects
- You know how much CBD is in each serving, assuming the brand includes third-party lab reports
- Nanotechnology isn’t well studied, so you shouldn’t take CBD water claims at face value
- It is extremely expensive
- CBD water in clear plastic containers degrades
- The CBD water industry is poorly regulated
- There’s no clear guide on what constitutes a ‘useful’ dosage
- Most brands use CBD in isolation, so you don’t benefit from the entourage effect
- Interacts with drugs that carry a grapefruit warning
What is CBD Water?
Most manufacturers that sell CBD-infused water use a process called nanotechnology. This process essentially breaks the cannabidiol compound down into its smallest molecular form. In theory, this process would expose more of the body’s intestinal lining to the CBD, thus resulting in a greater level of bioavailability.
Nanomaterials are extraordinarily small, measuring in billionths of a meter (nanometers). The tiny particles are supposed to help the CBD get through the body – and its cell structures – more efficiently because the relative surface area of the CBD oil is a lot higher. It is an interesting method of consuming CBD, and some say it is even better than the traditional forms of consumption.
The issue of bioavailability is a crucial one, as it determines the efficacy of CBD. For example, if you consume the compound via an edible, up to 90% of it is lost because of poor bioavailability. With CBD water, the theory is that practically every part of it goes to where it needs to be, meaning you need far less to feel the benefits.
Is CBD Water Good for You?
CBD water potentially allows for rapid bioavailability and increased absorption of the CBD. Some CBD water is infused with additional antioxidants, which can give your immune system a boost. Possible benefits include:
- Faster recovery time
- Reduced muscle pain
- Painkilling effects
- Anxiety relief
- Antipsychotic properties
We should point out that research into CBD’s benefits is ongoing. At present, brands are not allowed to make any medical claims whatsoever. The FDA sends warning letters to companies that break these rules.
In terms of flavor, there shouldn’t be much of a taste because you’re effectively only drinking mineral water with CBD in it. Most brands add up to 25mg of CBD to a bottle of water, so you’re aware of how much of the compound you’re consuming. Also, CBD water is non-intoxicating, and you may feel energetic and refreshed after drinking a bottle.
CBD Water Side Effects
Assuming it comes from a reputable brand, CBD water will have relatively few side effects. Indeed, research to date indicates that humans can tolerate a substantial amount of cannabidiol with only minor adverse effects at worst. In general, cannabidiol consumption could lead to the following:
- Dry mouth
- Decreased appetite
However, you should not mix CBD water or any cannabidiol product with medications that carry a grapefruit warning. Like grapefruit, CBD interacts with CYP450 enzymes, which break down a large percentage of prescription drugs. Using the compound with a drug such as a blood thinner could increase or decrease the efficacy of the medication.
Apart from the above, the biggest risk relates to the quality of CBD. The market remains poorly regulated and is awash with low-quality products. A study published in Missouri Medicine in 2020 looked at mislabeling and contamination in cannabidiol products. It reviewed other research and uncovered some disturbing findings.
One came from the Journal of the American Medical Association. It found that only 30.95% of the 84 CBD products reviewed were accurately labeled. Others contained excessive amounts of THC or levels of CBD that didn’t resemble the brand’s claims. There are also issues with products containing heavy metals, pesticides, lead, and other chemicals.
Therefore, please make sure you only purchase CBD water from a reputable brand that offers up-to-date third-party lab reports with their products.
The Trouble with CBD Water
The main issue with CBD water relates to nanotechnology itself. While most scientists agree that it enhances bioavailability, there is a concern about increased toxicity. There are established upper limits for vitamin and mineral consumption, but no such guidelines exist for phytochemicals and other non-nutrients.
So-called ‘nanoceuticals’ can help bypass the body’s protective barriers and expose it to higher biochemical quantities that it isn’t used to. Admittedly, studies on humans show we can consume up to 6000mg of cannabidiol without suffering adverse effects of note. Nonetheless, we’re still unsure as to the effects of nanotechnology on the body.
As it is an unregulated industry, nanoceuticals have yet to be properly tested. As a result, there is an element of risk associated with CBD water.
Then, of course, there is the small matter of the ‘entourage effect.’ This term is used to describe how various cannabinoids and terpenes in marijuana work together to promote a positive outcome. When you use isolates (such as CBD by itself), you’re potentially reducing the effectiveness.
Therefore, depending on the effects you are looking for, consuming a full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD product may have a better effect than isolated cannabidiol. Most companies add nothing but CBD to their water, which means it may lack the full-spectrum qualities available in some other CBD oils.
Does CBD Water Have Enough Cannabidiol?
Another major concern over CBD water is whether it contains enough of the cannabinoid to prove effective. Many of the studies that show CBD’s efficacy involve doses of well over 100mg of cannabidiol. In general, CBD water contains 10-25mg of the compound per bottle or can.
Brands such as American Shaman claim the nano-technology it uses means the CBD is ten times more effective than standard oral consumption methods. Therefore, the 10mg of CBD you get from its water is as useful as 100mg of CBD oil. Even if this is true, and the jury is very much out, you still only get 9-10mg of CBD at a maximum.
Also, light and air degrade CBD. There’s a reason why most CBD brands ensure their oil comes in opaque glass containers! An old study published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology in 1976 found that exposure to light caused the biggest loss of CBD. It also found that cannabidiol is affected by air exposure. Therefore, the cannabinoid starts breaking down as soon as you open the bottle of water.
When you consider that CBD water often comes in clear plastic bottles stored on the shelves of a supermarket or warehouse, it is easy to see the problem.
Online publications in the CBD industry have not helped matters. In 2018, Green Rush Daily wrote that the World Health Organization (WHO) conducted research into CBD water’s efficacy and said it was useful. However, a WHO spokesperson later said the organization was unaware of this research and wanted to see the report mentioned by the website.
Who Are the Leading CBD Water Brands?
The CBD water niche is a relatively new one, but there are already a couple of clear market leaders:
- CBD Living Water: This company has quickly earned a reputation for being one of the most popular in the industry. It uses nanotechnology to deliver CBD in tiny drops and infuses them in 7.4 pH water.
- CBD Naturals: This firm claims a team of doctors creates its CBD water. It also points out that engineered nanomaterials are already added to conventional food and drink.
- Canna Nano: This is another eco-friendly company that purifies its water by relying on nature. It mimics the evaporation, condensation, and precipitation process before adding high-quality CBD to the mix.
Which Is Better, CBD Water or CBD Oil?
At present, CBD oil remains the most popular method of consuming cannabidiol, but is CBD water likely to catch up? Both have their pros and cons. For example, CBD water excels in the following:
- Bioavailability: If the science behind nanotechnology is accurate, there is no comparison. While a reasonable percentage of oil gets through your system, the body likely uses a higher percentage of the CBD in water. As a result, you may need far less CBD through water than CBD via oil.
- Taste: CBD water has a more refreshing taste than oil. High-quality CBD oil will taste bitter unless manufacturers add flavoring.
- Speed: You can theoretically rely on CBD water to work a lot faster than its oil counterpart, which is ideal if you need quick pain relief, for example.
However, this doesn’t mean you should ditch CBD oil, as it has the following advantages over CBD water:
- Cost: Although CBD water is more effective in terms of bioavailability, it is extremely expensive. For example, it isn’t unusual to pay up to $4 for a single bottle containing 10mg of CBD.
- Safety: There are many concerns about nanotechnology, and the testing standards of the potency and purity of CBD water are up to the manufacturers. A higher percentage of CBD oil makers show evidence of lab testing, and as the market is better known, it is under a greater degree of scrutiny.
- Full Spectrum: While the water products may only contain CBD, oil usually includes additional cannabinoids and terpenes. By using the whole plant, CBD oil may be more effective than CBD water at achieving certain outcomes.
Where Can I Buy CBD Water?
Contrary to what you might believe, CBD is not legal throughout the United States. We wish it were clear cut, but unfortunately, the country’s differing state and federal laws make matters confusing.
An Indiana resident named Mamadou Ndiaye, for example, was charged with marijuana possession for owning and using CBD oil. His case was thankfully dismissed, but it only serves to outline the confusion over CBD law.
In the United States, cannabis plants that exceed 0.3% THC are classified as marijuana. Plants containing less than this threshold are considered industrial hemp. The 2018 Farm Bill included a provision legalizing the cultivation of hemp amongst farmers with the right licensing. Meanwhile, marijuana and anything derived from it remain Schedule I drugs on a federal level.
While most people believe that CBD oil is legal because of the 2018 Farm Bill, this isn’t necessarily the case.
While hemp is legal, CBD and other cannabinoids are not (Epidiolex, a pharmaceutical drug with CBD as a major ingredient, is legal for certain medical purposes, however). Therefore, CBD water isn’t necessarily ‘legal in all 50 states,’ as some sites claim.
The DEA has admitted that it won’t actively pursue people who use CBD oil, yet certain states continue to frown upon the use of cannabidiol. More importantly, the FDA prohibits adding CBD to food or beverages, which technically outlaws CBD water. Yes, it is every bit as confusing as it seems! Realistically, you should check your state’s laws, although few, if any, bother people who buy any form of cannabidiol.
In any case, you can purchase CBD water directly from the websites of the companies mentioned above. They continue to ship to virtually every state without any fear of legal ramifications.
What Is the Best CBD-Infused Water?
At the moment, it is much of a muchness in the CBD water industry. It is hard to prove that nano-technology increases the bioavailability of CBD to the level claimed by brands. Likely, the process ensures that a greater amount of cannabidiol gets to your bloodstream than with orally or sublingually consumed CBD products.
Even so, there is no standard CBD ‘dose.’ Research indicates that relatively large doses of CBD, over 100mg a day, could have benefits. However, there isn’t much data that says the same for the 10-25mg of the compound found in a serving of CBD water.
If it is ten times more effective than CBD oil, cannabidiol-infused water arguably contains enough of the compound. Whether water and CBD are even an effective combination is another matter entirely. Remember, CBD is not soluble in water.
In any case, apart from the three brands we mentioned earlier, other notable sellers of CBD water include:
- Recess Sparkling Water
- Miraflora Naturals Sparkling CBD Beverage
- Wyld CBD Sparkling Water
- Kind Water
- Endo Water
- Mountjoy Sparkling
- Canna Nano CBD Plus Water
- CBD Fusion Water & Hemp Springs
American Shaman used to sell CBD water, but it isn’t currently available on its official website.
How Much CBD Water Should I Drink?
This is a tricky question to answer for a couple of reasons. First, no research outlines what constitutes an ‘effective’ dose. Second, there is no data that tells us how much CBD water is safe to consume.
The truth is, CBD affects everyone differently, and you may need more to help with epilepsy than anxiety, for instance. The makers of Epidiolex, GM Pharmaceuticals, recommend beginning with 5mg of the drug per kg of body weight daily if you’re using it to reduce seizures associated with Dravet syndrome or Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. For someone weighing 154 pounds (70 kilograms), this means consuming 350mg a day!
If a bottle of CBD water contains 10mg of the cannabinoid and is ‘ten times more effective’ than Epidiolex, you would still need to consume 3.5 bottles a day. If you buy a 24-bottle case of CBD Living’s water for $84, this equates to an expenditure of approximately $12 a day!
Apart from not knowing the long-term effects of drinking so much CBD water, the sheer cost makes it an unrealistic proposition for most people. Therefore, it is generally best to stick to a single bottle or can a day. Even then, it is expensive in the long term.
Final Thoughts on CBD Water
CBD water is a potentially exciting product. It enables you to consume cannabidiol in the knowledge that it may get through your system more efficiently. Also, it is a cool alternative to CBD oil if you can’t stand the taste of hemp tinctures and is also extremely refreshing!
However, CBD water is also very expensive, so you’ll have to decide if it is worth paying considerably more than you would for oil. Also, there are still concerns over the safety of nanotechnology, especially when it comes to food and drink. Only a few reputable companies are selling it at present, and you still have to be careful not to fall foul of the law!
Most importantly, there isn’t anywhere near enough evidence to suggest it is an efficacious product. CBD water isn’t something worth consuming each day, given the number of unknowns and the price tag. Instead, it is best to treat it as a trendy novelty product. If you’re serious about your cannabidiol, CBD water is probably not for you.