Synthesis, Characterization and Stress-Testing of a Novel Quillaja Saponin Stabilized Oil-in-Water Phytocannabinoid Nanoemulsion

15 October 2020, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


This study describes the design, optimization, and stress-testing of a novel phytocannabinoid nanoemulsion generated using high-pressure homogenization. QNaturale®, a plant-derived commercial emulsifier containing quillaja saponin, was used to stabilize the lipid phase droplets in water. Optimization studies revealed that after 10 homogenization cycles at a pressure of 30,000 psi in the presence of 10 wt% QNaturale® (1.5 wt% quillaja saponin), average nanoemulsion droplet diameters were ca.
120 nm and average droplet surface zeta-potentials were ca. -30 mV for a lipid phase comprising 16.6 wt% CBD-enriched cannabis extract and 83.4 wt% carrier (soybean) oil. The optimized nanoemulsion proved to be stable to droplet agglomeration and phase separation upon storage under ambient conditions for 6 weeks, as well as under a variety of physical stressors such as heat, cold, dilution, and
carbonation. pH values under 2 and moderately high salt concentrations (> 100 mM), however, destabilized 0the CDCBD nanoemulsion, eventually leading to phase separation. Cannabis potency, determined by HPLC, was detrimentally affected by any changes in the nanoemulsion phase stability. Quillaja saponin stabilized cannabidiol (CBD)-enriched nanoemulsions are stable, robust systems even at low emulsifier concentrations, and are therefore significant from both a scientific as well as a commercial perspective.


high pressure homogenization


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