Chitosan-Coated Alginate Microcapsules of a Full-Spectrum Cannabis Extract: Characterization, Long-Term Stability and In Vitro Bioaccessibility

doi: 10.3390/pharmaceutics15030859.


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Aitor Villate et al.




Cannabinoids present in Cannabis sativa are increasingly used in medicine due to their therapeutic potential. Moreover, the synergistic interaction between different cannabinoids and other plant constituents has led to the development of full-spectrum formulations for therapeutic treatments. In this work, the microencapsulation of a full-spectrum extract via vibration microencapsulation nozzle technique using chitosan-coated alginate is proposed to obtain an edible pharmaceutical-grade product. The suitability of microcapsules was assessed by their physicochemical characterization, long-term stability in three different storage conditions and in vitro gastrointestinal release. The synthetized microcapsules contained mainly ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-type and cannabinol (CBN)-type cannabinoids and had a mean size of 460 ± 260 µm and a mean sphericity of 0.5 ± 0.3. The stability assays revealed that capsules should be stored only at 4 °C in darkness to maintain their cannabinoid profile. In addition, based on the in vitro experiments, a fast intestinal release of cannabinoids ensures a medium-high bioaccessibility (57-77%) of therapeutically relevant compounds. The full characterization of microcapsules indicates that they could be used for the design of further full-spectrum cannabis oral formulations.


SEM characterization; cannabinoids; in vitro drug release; medicinal cannabis; microencapsulation; storage stability.

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