By Luke Sumpter

Liposomes have been utilised for quite some time now as an effective method for delivering drugs, nutrients, or genetic material into the body. Following a surge of interest in CBD, companies are now turning their attention toward more advanced cannabis products to keep up with rising demand and new technological innovations.


Liposomes are tiny spheres of liquid made up of one or more phospholipid bilayers. They are usually created in a lab by disrupting phospholipids so that they form small protective bubbles. What makes liposomes unique and effective carriers is that they can safely transport ingredients through the gastrointestinal tract into target areas of the body.

Phospholipids contain a hydrophilic head that attracts water, and a hydrophobic tail that repels it. When they come into contact with water, the tails turn inward and the heads turn outward, which forms a bilayer. The result is a tiny liposome bubble that safely encapsulates ingredients and protects them against degradation.

Phospholipid Structure


Unlike other drug delivery methods, liposomes transport ingredients past the intestinal membrane to specific tissues. The ingredients inside these tiny spheres are fully protected as they reach the target areas in the body. The bioavailability of nutrients delivered via liposomes is therefore particularly high. After being exploited successfully by the traditional pharmaceuticals arena, liposomes are now being championed by the nutraceutical and CBD industries.

Liposomes are very safe since they are non-toxic and non-immunogenic. They are also highly biodegradable, unlike other carriers sometimes employed for drug delivery. There are no side effects to liposomes or their consumption in drugs or supplements.


CBD is particularly well-suited for delivery via liposomes. The reason for this is that CBD is non-psychoactive—so ingesting it in its unadulterated form doesn’t have any adverse effects. In fact, liposomes allow individuals to receive the optimal amount of CBD with each dose.

CBD delivered via liposomes is possible with both oral and topical formulations. Both of these intake methods are already popular. When used for oral consumption, liposomes allow for more accurate dosing. As the CBD is safely encapsulated and doesn’t get compromised on its way to target tissues, liposomes greatly improve CBD absorption. When employed in topicals such as creams and ointments, liposomes allow the CBD to penetrate deeper into the skin for a more pronounced effect.

Liposome and Cells


Scientific studies have found that delivery via liposomes improves the bioavailability of nutrients by protecting the drug in the gastrointestinal tract and mucous membranes. They also confirm their safety. A study[1] published in 2017 states that “controllable release, which means that the loaded drugs are liberated in the right place and time, can significantly reduce administration times and avoid toxicity to other organs”.

The researchers assert that the unique form of liposomes allows them to “adhere to biomembranes, form mixed-micelle structures with bile salts to increase the solubility of poorly soluble drugs...”. This means that liposomes are well-suited for a variety of nutrients and substances that are not water-soluble.

An earlier study from 2003[2] looked at transdermal CBD delivery in particular. Researchers technically used ethosomes, which are delivery carriers similar to liposomes that enable drugs to reach deep into the skin’s layers.

The team administered the cannabinoids to a mouse model of rheumatic diseases. Overall, they noted an accumulation of CBD in the skin and muscle, providing evidence for the effectiveness of transdermal delivery. However, more studies are needed to determine if CBD offers any anti-inflammatory action through this route, especially in humans.

Liposomes For CBD Delivery


Using liposomes for the delivery of CBD is likely to result in numerous benefits for the consumer. Aside from delivering higher concentrations of CBD in general, liposomes allow individuals to use less CBD to achieve the same effect as other intake methods. Given these physiological and economic benefits, the future of liposomes and CBD looks to be nothing but bright.

External Resources:
  1. Nanoparticle-based drug delivery systems: What can they really do in vivo?
  2. Cannabidiol-transdermal Delivery and Anti-Inflammatory Effect in a Murine Model - PubMed
This content is for educational purposes only. The information provided is derived from research gathered from external sources.

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