An Introduction to Cannabidiol
Now that we’ve spoken about the general history of cannabis, let’s turn our attention to CBD itself. After all, this book is about Cannabidiol.
CBD was first discovered in 1940. One of over 113 cannabinoids found within the cannabis plant, CBD makes up for roughly 40% of the full-plant extract, however, with modern growing techniques the percentages can be altered. Initial clinical research into CBD were focused on anxiety, cognition, movement disorders and pain.
As time passed, CBD faded into obscurity and while a handful of researchers were still conducting trials, the vast majority of Americans [and the world], completely forgot about CBD.
It wasn’t until cannabis re-surfaced in the late 1990s that the emphasis on the particular cannabinoids became more prominent. In fact, the United States holds several patents on both research regarding both THC and CBD - US6630507B1. That's pretty amazing when you think about it!
These days, there are two main “types” of CBD oil people can get their hands on. These are Hemp-derived CBD and Marijuana-derived CBD. Before we get into this, let’s talk about the difference between Hemp and Marijuana.
The Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana
There are very few plants in nature that expresses their sexuality in a physical sense. For instance, if you look at a blade of grass, how would you know if it’s male or female? There is no distinctive characteristic that separate the sexes.
However, when we’re talking about cannabis, there is a clear distinction between male and female. The Female Plant (commonly referred to Marijuana) begins producing small white hairs on its branches known as Pistils. The Male plant (commonly referred to as Hemp) produces small pollen sacks.
While both the male and the female plant share many cannabinoids and terpenes, the difference lies in the ratio of these cannabinoids. For instance, a female marijuana plant contains more THC than it does CBD. If the female plant never gets pollinized by the male plant, the THC count goes up. This is because THC production stops when pollination occurs. This is also the reason why modern cultivation techniques focus on separating male and female plants to increase THC production.
The hemp plant on the other hand, contains very little THC. In fact, it has less than 0.3% THC in it, and as a consequence has more CBD within its cannabinoid profile. Hemp also has a lot of industrial purposes. There are an estimated 50,000 products that can be made from this plant, from food, medicine, textiles, clothes, paper and even construction material. The plant is truly a versatile resource that has only recently been re-legalized in the United States.
Nonetheless, both plants do contain CBD in them. However, there is a lot of debate surrounding which extraction is ‘better’ for your health. Below we will delve into the differences between Hemp-derived CBD and Marijuana-derived CBD.
Hemp vs. Marijuana CBD
The major difference between marijuana and hemp extracts comes down to legality. Certain States within the US still prohibit marijuana. This means that cannabis oil, derived from the marijuana plant, contains THC [more than the legal limit of hemp]. Thus, having this type of oil in a prohibition state is illegal. This is because THC is considered a Category I drug under the Controlled Substance Act and, according to the law, “holds no medical value and has a high potential for abuse”. Obviously, as research continues this status will not hold.
Hemp derived CBD on the other hand is legal in all fifty states due to the lack of THC in the oil. Containing less than 0.3% THC bypasses the Schedule I status of cannabis and allows retailers to sell the oil without fear of prosecution.
This is the main difference between the two extraction methods. However, even when we take a closer look at CBD extracts, there are more factors to consider.
Different Types of Oils
Not all CBD oil is created equally. It comes in different forms. In this section, we’ll be taking a closer look at the different type of CBD oil you can get.
Raw CBD vs CBD Concentrates
The first level of extraction from either the hemp or marijuana plant is considered RAW. These extracts still contain the plant’s terpenoids and flavonoid profiles. Once the initial extract is re-introduced into other distillation processes, the term then becomes “concentrates”. There are different forms of concentrates to look at
Full Spectrum CBD Oil
A Full Spectrum CBD Oil extract contains not only the cannabinoids, but includes the terpenes, flavonoids and other compounds similar to CBD. This maintains the natural balance of these compounds and thus are referred to as Full Spectrum Extracts.
The next category we’ll be looking at are isolates. As the name suggests, this occurs when the CBD is isolated from the rest of the cannabinoids, terpenes and the rest. In their purest form, these isolates turn into white solid crystals. There is no smell or color when we’re talking about purified cannabinoids.
These isolates can be used for infusion purposes, or consumed directly. The major issue with isolates however, is that it lacks the synergistic interactions of other cannabinoids and terpenes. The benefit of isolates however allows people to use it as an “ingredient” within their concoctions. For example, Chefs are finding great use for isolates to infuse their dishes with pure CBD. Considering that Terpenes are found in many other plants, utilizing the isolate allows them to chemically enhance their dishes.
It is important to understand that CBD-Infused Oil isn’t the same as CBD Oil. The term can be used to describe a product that has been infused with CBD isolates or concentrates. For example, the main “base” of the oil might be coconut with CBD isolates infused into it. This is why it is important to look for specific keywords on the label to make sure that you’re getting the product you desire.
For example, when looking at the ingredients, if it says “includes CBD” or “CBD isolate”, it will indicate that the product has been infused with the isolate. If on the label you see the words “CBD-Rich Hemp Oil” or “Full Spectrum” written on it, rest assured that you’re getting “full spectrum CBD oil”.
Over the next 18 months’ people will be exposed to more CBD related products than ever before. It’s important to understand the differences in products, whether CBD is the main component or merely an ingredient in a concoction of other essential oils.
Full vs Broad Spectrum
To ensure that we are all on the same page, it’s important to make the distinction between full spectrum CBD and Broad spectrum CBD. Full Spectrum, means that the integrity of the cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids are all the same as in the raw form of the extract.
However, when we talk about Broad Spectrum CBD oil, it’s not made with CBD-rich extracts. Rather, the CBD isolate is combined with other essential oils and the original integrity of the cannabinoid profile when extracted directly from the plant. In many cases, producers use terpenes from non-cannabis sources. This makes the process cheaper; however, it may affect the quality of the oil.
Needless to say, it’s always better to have CBD oil that is “Full Spectrum”.
In the next section we’ll be taking a closer look at the different health conditions that can be treated with CBD. By no means are we saying “cure”, however, CBD does alleviate symptoms of the following conditions.
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