Despite being microscopic, liposomes breathe new life into supplements, wellness formulas, and more by protecting and preserving active ingredients. Keep reading to learn how these tiny vesicles work.
While initially discovered by Alec D Bangham and RW Horne in 1961, liposomes' viability as a non-toxic means of targeted drug delivery wasn't fully realised until 1965. Since then, the pharmaceutical industry has increasingly used liposomes to safely deliver drugs into the body while improving their efficacy.
But what is it about liposomes that makes them the ideal carrier for CBD, melatonin, and thousands of other active ingredients?
The concept of liposomes is actually a lot simpler than scientific journals make it sound. Essentially, liposomes are like a microscopic personal delivery service, forming a protective bubble around active ingredients while repelling harmful elements (such as digestive enzymes). You can put a whole host of components inside a liposome so they can travel to the circulatory system without being damaged.
Now, we shouldn't completely downplay the sophistication of liposomes, as they represent a significant breakthrough in drug delivery. Many supplements, medications, and wellness formulas wouldn't be nearly as effective without them.
The value of liposomes is partially to do with increasing bioavailability—the extent to which a given substance reaches its destination (the bloodstream), measured out of 100%. Bioavailability is crucial for substances such as CBD, because you want as much of the cannabinoid to reach systemic circulation as possible given a specific dose.
Not only does the greater bioavailability of liposomes mean more of the active ingredient reaches the bloodstream, but the influence is also greater—so less is needed to achieve the same effect. In other words, a lower-concentration CBD formula could exert a similar influence to a higher-concentration product, simply by protecting said CBD molecules with liposomes.
Liposomes offer several key benefits. What follows are some of the most noteworthy:
• Liposomes are very safe, non-toxic, and biocompatible.
• These tiny vesicles deliver active ingredients to the site of action, making them the perfect partner for CBD and other natural ingredients.
• As liposomes do not disintegrate until the active ingredients have reached their destination, they provide peace of mind to manufacturers and consumers.
• Active ingredients reach cells in their pure, unadulterated form, allowing consumers to achieve the desired effect using smaller doses to a comparable non-liposomal formula. This saves money in the long run.
• Liposomes have excellent pH stability, making them ideal for withstanding the harsh conditions of the gastrointestinal system.
There are many facets to the creation and use of liposomes, as they've been carefully constructed with an express purpose in mind—the delivery of active ingredients.
1. Liposome comes from the Greek words “lipos”, meaning “fat”, and “soma”, meaning “body”. The core can hold both fat-soluble and water-soluble solutions.
2. To create a stable and protective bubble around the core, liposomes use two membrane layers of phospholipids (lipids). You can imagine these phospholipids looking somewhat like tadpoles.
3. With a head attracted to water (hydrophilic) and a tail repelled (hydrophobic), a bilayer is created when the tails of the phospholipids face each other.
4. The main structure of a liposome will have the active ingredient in the centre, surrounded by the head of our tadpole-like phospholipids. The tail then binds with the tail of another layer of phospholipids to create the liposome’s outer layer.
5. When a liposome enters the body, the spherical outermost layer (made up of the lipid heads) prevents substances from entering the core.
6. Simultaneously, the innermost layer (also made up of lipid heads, but this time facing inward) holds the active ingredient, keeping it secure as the liposome travels through the body.
7. Finally, the outside of the liposome is positively charged (cationic) to ensure a smooth uptake by cells.
The hydrophobic nature of CBD is another reason why pairing it with liposomes is an ideal solution. Because CBD repels water, it can be directly combined with the liposomes during vesicle formation, often achieving a trapping effectiveness of 100%. None of the CBD is lost or damaged during this process, leading to a far superior product for the consumer.
Besides bolstering immune function, vitamin C contributes to health and wellness in several other ways. The water-soluble vitamin is required for biosynthesis of collagen, the main component of fascia, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, bones, and skin. Vitamin C also acts as an antioxidant, helping to neutralise free radicals responsible for DNA damage.
With so many proposed benefits, it makes sense to maximise the influence of vitamin C with liposomes. When taking a conventional vitamin C supplement, much of the compound is damaged or broken down before it reaches the bloodstream. Fortunately, liposomes offer the perfect protection, boosting vitamin C’s bioavailability notably.
We’ve addressed how liposomes are capable of delivering CBD in significantly higher concentrations compared to conventional formulas. This in turn allows users to lower the dosage required to achieve the desired effect, saving them money over time. But what are the best ways to deliver liposomal CBD?
For the most part, the partnership between liposomes and CBD falls into two main categories: topical and oral.
The topical category is vast, and includes products such as creams, salves, lotions, oils, and balms. When CBD and other natural ingredients are applied locally, they are absorbed by the skin, allowing them to interact with the ECS.
By adding liposomes to topical formulas, the result is a product that delivers the active ingredients deeper into the skin and allows for slower metabolisation. And thanks to their highly effective, all-natural method of transportation, you need fewer applications to get the best out of them.
Liposomes are especially important for those looking to use CBD and nutrients for health and wellness purposes. These tiny structures deliver far higher percentages of active ingredients compared to other delivery methods.
Moreover, evidence increasingly suggests that CBD has a high level of efficacy when used in higher doses. In fact, maintaining a consistent level of CBD in cells is often associated with positive effects.
Liposomes make the upkeep of CBD in the bloodstream much simpler and cheaper for the consumer, especially as oils and capsules—both forms of oral intake—remain the most popular forms of CBD.
Liposomes have become a pillar of the pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industries. Not only do they greatly improve the bioavailability of active ingredients, but they are safe and, most importantly, non-toxic. This sophisticated delivery service carries natural compounds directly to cells so we can reap the maximum benefit.
Of course, not all substances need the support of liposomes, but for those that do, they offer a dramatic rise in bioavailability. To ensure your cells can readily absorb liposomes, they should be a particle size of 20–250nm, usually achieved via sonication or extrusion.
As we can see, going to the effort of adding liposomes to existing skincare and oral formulas can pay dividends. There's no doubt that liposomes will only play an increasing role in boosting the efficacy of future natural wellness products.
Ready to explore a comprehensive wellness range backed by liposomal technology? Then why not browse the Cibdol store? Or, to learn more about the active ingredients highlighted throughout the article, visit our CBD Encyclopedia.
 Akbarzadeh A, Rezaei-Sadabady R, Davaran S, et al. Liposome: Classification, preparation, and applications. Nanoscale research letters. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3599573/. Published February 22, 2013. Accessed April 20, 2022. [Source]
 Davis JL, Paris HL, Beals JW, et al. Liposomal-encapsulated ascorbic acid: Influence on vitamin C bioavailability and capacity to protect against ischemia-reperfusion injury. Nutrition and metabolic insights. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4915787/. Published June 20, 2016. Accessed April 20, 2022. [Source]
 Cannabidiol in bioavailability study of ... - Curesupport. https://www.curesupport.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/NEOCURE_Study-result-1.pdf. Published 2021. Accessed April 20, 2022. [Source]