What is a Liposome and How Could it Improve Hemp Absorption?

With research discovering new potential therapeutic applications for cannabidiol, the demand and availability of cannabidiol products continues to increase. If you are new to the world of hemp you may find it overwhelming with the variety of options and method of consumption that aligns with your health and lifestyle needs.

Also, what does the term “liposome” mean?

In this article we explore what is a liposome and how does it boost absorption.

You may have noticed hemp extract liposomes on the market. The reason these extracts are sold as liposomal sprays is because of the potential to improve the absorption rate. This may be due to possibly bypassing digestive secretions or acid which could impede or reduce absorption.1

The bioavailability of Cannabidiol is often low in products due to 80 percent being lost to the first-pass effect, whereby the concentration of a drug is greatly reduced before it reaches systemic circulation. The need to avoid first-pass degradation in the liver is crucial for transportation of Cannabinoids being delivered quickly through membranes and directly into the bloodstream.2 This is where liposomes has become an area of interest as a method of delivery.

Why do liposomes boost absorption?

Liposomes are sphere-shaped vesicles consisting of phospholipid bilayers. Because lipids are amphipathic (both hydrophobic and hydrophilic) they are able to mix with both “water-based” and “oil-based” substances while delivering water and fat soluble compounds to the cell membranes.3 In terms of ingestion, the general consensus in the industry is sublingual delivery offers one of the highest bioavailability.

Liposomes may improve drug delivery for pharmaceutical applications

Liposomes are extensively used as carriers for numerous molecules in the pharmaceutical industries as they have shown an ability to improve drug delivery without the same level of toxicity as traditional forms of administration.3
The use of liposome encapsulation for unstable compounds, antimicrobials, antioxidants, flavors and bioactive elements can protect and shield their functionality. Liposomes affinity for both water and fat soluble compounds can assist in reducing decomposition of the vitamin or mineral combinations, and increased stability and delivery to designated targets.3

Further studies conducted showed liposomes form a barrier around their contents, making it resistant to enzymes in the mouth and stomach, digestive juices, bile salts, and intestinal flora that are generated in the human body, as well as free radicals. The contents of the liposomes are, therefore, protected from oxidation and degradation.4

Delivery of Cannabidiol

A study on mice using liposomal Cannabidiol showed promise as an anti inflammatory. Furthermore, as Cannabidiol is a highly lipophilic molecule, it tends to accumulate within the upper skin layer, use of liposomal hemp resulted in a “significant accumulation” of the cannabinoid in the skin and underlying muscle.5 With current studies showing some promise, it is clear more research is needed to improve understanding of liposomal delivery in humans.




  1. Liposome: classification, preparation, and applications, Abolfazl Akbarzadeh, Rogaie Rezaei-Sadabady, Soodabeh Davaran, Sang Woo Joo,Nosratollah Zarghami, Younes Hanifehpour, Mohammad Samiei, Mohammad Kouhi, and Kazem Nejati-Koshki, 2013, Nanoscale Res Lett.; 8(1): 102.Published online 2013 Feb 22. doi: 10.1186/1556-276X-8-102
  2. REVIEW ARTICLE Cannabidiol in Medicine: A Review of its Therapeutic Potential in CNS Disorders, Caterina Scuderi , Daniele De Filippis, Teresa Iuvone, Angelo Blasio, Antonio Steardo and Giuseppe Esposito, 2009, Phytother. Res. 23, 597–602, DOI: 10.1002/ptr.2625
  3. Liposome: classification, preparation, and applications, Abolfazl Akbarzadeh, Rogaie Rezaei-Sadabady,Soodabeh Davaran,Sang Woo Joo, Nosratollah Zarghami,Younes Hanifehpour, Mohammad Samiei, Mohammad Kouhi, and Kazem Nejati-Koshki, 2013, Nanoscale Res Lett. 2013; 8(1): 102, doi: 10.1186/1556-276X-8-102
  4. Liposomal encapsulation technology a novel drug delivery system designed for ayurvedic drug preparation, 2011, Hemanthkumar M, Spandana V.. IRJP. 2011;2(10):4–7.
  5. Cannabidiol – Transdermal delivery and anti-inflammatory effect in a murine model, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/8577477_Cannabidiol_-_Transdermal_delivery_and_anti-inflammatory_effect_in_a_murine_model
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