Terpenes are oils. While some blend with alcohol and chloroform, they do not mix well with water. As you may already know, water molecules are strongly attracted to other water molecules, so they will instantly and tightly bond to one another. Oil molecules are also attracted to water molecules, but because of the water molecule’s tight bond, the oil molecules are unable to mix with the water molecule.
To emulsify is to force two immiscible liquids to combine in a suspension causing substances, like terpenes and water, which cannot dissolve in each other to form a uniform, homogenous solution.
There are two main types of emulsions, water in oil and oil in water. An emulsion happens when small droplets of one solution (dispersed solution) are dispersed throughout another (continuous solution)
Although terpenes and water don’t mix, we can break oil down into tiny droplets that can remain suspended in the water.
The emulsifier coats the terpenes, keeping them separate from each other. When untreated, the droplets will clump together, causing the emulsion to separate.
Emulsifiers are molecules with a fat-soluble part and a water-soluble part. The emulsifier creates an effective barrier around the terpene droplets.
Glycosylation happens naturally in the body as it metabolizes different foods. The process of glycosylation transforms naturally lipophilic cannabinoid or terpene molecules into hydrophilic (water-soluble) molecules that can be more readily absorbed into the body.
In this process, a sugar molecule is attached to the terpene. Glycosylation improves the water solubility, but may also enable selective delivery, augment side effects and change bioavailability of the terpene.
Water Soluble Terpenes have many applications. These terpenes can mix with water-based products and can be used in water-based foods, beverages,creams, lotions and perfumes. These same terpenes can represent a new class of terpene pharmaceuticals.
There are many emulsifiers being used today. Some natural examples include casein and lecithin. Safety of emulsifiers is carefully regulated and tested by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA does not take into account new developing applications for these emulsifiers.
Further research has to be conducted on changing metabolic pathways using glycosylation, however the results look promising.
Regulation is still behind in many fields. Before creating a product make sure you perform the necessary tests on the proper scientific channels, backed by academia. Do not leave it up to the regulator who up until recently, did not even let us conduct research on these life saving compounds.