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Advances in CBD Softgels: The Technology Behind the Medicine

Written by Alexandra Hicks

softgel is an oral form of medication that’s used as an alternative to tablets and capsules, they are believed to be more effective and easy to use. 

Softgels typically consist of liquid medication inside of a shell made primarily from gelatin along with water, opacifier, and some type of plasticiser like sorbitol or glycerin. Vegetarian/vegan options are becoming increasingly available, which instead of gelatin utilize ingredients like seaweed, starch, or Carrageenan to form the shell.

While the concept might seem relatively simple, the technology behind the medication is actually quite interesting and sophisticated. 

How Are Softgels Made?

Regardless of the ingredients, softgels are created in a process known as Rotary Die Encapsulation, invented by American Inventor Robert Pauli Scherer in 1933. The encapsulation process (AKA the form/fill/seal process) begins with two flat bands of manufactured shell material that are mended together on a twin set of rotating dies. 

The dies contain groves that cut the shell bands into the desired shape and size, as well as create a seal around the outer edge of the softgel-to-be. While the seal is being formed, a pump simultaneously fills the softgels with the correct dose of liquid medicine. 

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The injection causes the ribbons to balloon, giving the final product its rounded appearance. The softgel is then heated, sealed, dried for 2 days… and voilà, you have the modern-day softgel.

After encapsulation, the softgels are dried for two days to two weeks depending on the product.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant. It’s also the second most prominent cannabinoid, after the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is known for its mind-altering qualities. CBD can be extracted from both regular cannabis plants (those with all cannabinoids including THC, typically found in medical and recreational dispensaries) and hemp plants (classified as having less than 0.3 percent THC and often used for more industrial purposes).

When it comes to CBD products – softgels included – they will be labeled as one of the following three classifications: isolate, broad spectrum, and full spectrum. Isolate is pure CBD without any other compounds. Broad spectrum extract contains CBD and most other terpenes and cannabinoids, sans THC. Full spectrum has all of the cannabinoids and terpenes, including THC at levels of 0.3% or less. Most people opt for broad or full spectrum because of a phenomenon known as the ‘Entourage Effect’, where all the plant compounds act synergistically and play off one another .

In recent years, an increasing number of studies have surfaced that exhibit the healing potential of CBD. Initially, it was used to treat a rare form of childhood epilepsy and there is even an FDA-approved CBD-based medication for this condition.

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However, now it’s believed to help people with numerous other ailments as well including chronic pain, inflammation, anxiety, and more. The reason CBD can impact so many different physiological functions is because of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). The ECS is a network of receptors that can be found throughout the bodies of all mammals.

We naturally create cannabinoids which bond with these receptors to regulate different processes in our bodies and maintain homeostasis. The ECS helps manage things such as immune function, appetite, sleep wake cycles, pain response, and so on. Some medical cannabis researchers believe that when we are ‘cannabinoid deficient’ our bodies become destabilized and no longer function optimally. This is where supplementing with plant-based cannabinoids (phytocannabinoids) comes into play.

Why Do People Use CBD Softgels?

Softgels are formulated for people who need extended relief from chronic, rather than acute, symptoms. For example, if you suffer from ongoing back pain and want something discreet to help manage your symptoms, you should certainly consider investing in quality, CBD Softgels.

Some of the benefits of using softgels include: Fast-acting and targeted delivery, no bitter taste like with powder tablets, they are more effective for both pediatric and geriatric patients, and their gelatin exterior that protects the ingredients from oxidation, degradation, and light.

Additionally, one might choose softgels over another consumption method. Some people appreciate their discretion, because even though hemp-derived CBD is technically legal, it still bears some stigma and complications.

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About the author

Alexandra Hicks

Managing editor at Cannadelics and U.S based journalist, helping spread the word about the many benefits of using cannabis and psychedelics.

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