NANOTEC-NSTDA developed CBD-loaded nanoparticles with improved solubility and efficacy. The technology is poised to support the expanding cannabis market.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is an active ingredient found in the hemp plant (Cannabis sativa L.). The interest in CBD has increased due to its medicinal properties, including therapeutic activity, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. CBD is not addictive and has low neurotoxicity.

Dr. Katawut Namdee, a researcher at NANOTEC Nanoencapsulation Research Group, said that despite CBD’s interesting properties, its medicinal application is limited. CBD has low solubility, resulting in low bioavailability and poor absorption to the body. CBD is unstable with degradation rate accelerated by temperature, light exposure, pH and oxidation. It also has low transdermal delivery potential.

“To overcome the limitations, our team developed CBD-loaded nanoparticles. With improved solubility provided by nanoparticles, CBD can be applied to a wide range of products, including cosmeceutical goods and products used in spa and wellness centers,” said Dr. Katawut. Compared to natural CBD, the CBD-loaded nanoparticles have reduced toxicity and enhanced efficacy, and thereby broadening its applications.

Products containing CBD extract have become more prevalent in Thailand since the country became the first in ASEAN to legalize the use of cannabis for medical and research purposes in February 2019. The Global Cannabis Report predicted that the international cannabis market could be worth up to USD 103.9 billion by 2024, with 60% being medical use and 40% recreational use. As global players in the food and beverage industry are looking at incorporating CBD into their products, global cannabis market is expected to grow even further.

Krungsri Research reported that in 2021, the biggest consumer of hemp in Thailand was the beverage industry using THB 280 million worth of hemp, followed by food producers (THB 240 million), medicines and supplements (THB 50 million), and apparel (THB 30 million). Thailand’s domestic hemp market was forecasted to reach THB 15.77 billion by 2025 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 126%.

To demonstrate its vast applications, the research team has used this technology to develop CBD-infused products in a variety of forms, including gel, cream and tonic. This innovation will be showcased at the 18th NSTDA Annual Conference (NAC2023) to take place from 28-31 March 2023 at Thailand Science Park.