Nano Solutions, Macro Possibilities

Liposomes, nanoemulsions, lipid nanoparticles and polymeric nanoparticles have all shown promise in improving the therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids, but the full potential of these therapies has not yet been unlocked. Employing nanoparticle formulation technology from the cutting edge of genetic medicine, Ascension Sciences (ASI) is developing cannabinoid nano delivery platforms and techniques for the pharma and nutraceutical industries.

    Why Nano Formulations?

    Nanotechnology for drug delivery, in this case cannabis compounds, is the use of carrier molecules (called excipients) to deliver an active ingredient. The three primary motivations for using nano formulations are:

    1. To make cannabis oil water soluble
    2. To prevent degradation
    3. To change the pharmacokinetic profile
    4. To improve bioavailability

    Lipid-to-API ratio can be used to adjust particle size and resulting drug delivery characteristics (eg. rapid release vs controlled release). Varying formulation parameters using our research screening protocols enables Ascension Sciences to reach a lead formulation in less time than incumbent methods.

    Technology & Methodology


    Microfluidic mixing provides these benefits to nanoemulsion, lipid and polymer formulations making it a very flexible and powerful research tool. By building the nanoparticles from the ground up (low energy, bottom-up method), there exists the possibility of using less energy, eliminating the effects of heat on the mixture, and enabling tighter control of the process for improved size tuning, size distribution and repeatability. 

    Within a micrometer channel that brings together two fluid paths, the excipients and payload of the formulation are brought together at specific flow rates. The minuscule mixing environment creates a condition where particles self-assemble due to the interaction of the hydrophilic (water ‘liking’) and lipophilic (oil ‘liking’) constituents. Particles are spontaneously formed with no need to break them down further. Flow rates and mixing parameters enable very repeatable tuning of particle size, while size distribution is narrow as compared to sonication and high-pressure systems.

    Nanoprecipitation via controlled solvent displacement in a microfluidic mixer for nanoparticle formulation.

    1. Organic (ethanol) phase containing excipients + cannabinoids and aqueous phase enter the mixing channel under laminar flow.
    2. Microscopic features in the channel cause fluid streams to mix in a controlled fashion.
    3. Fluids emerge completely mixed in milliseconds eliminating mixing gradients and causing the particles to form in a uniform and controlled manner.

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