CBD, or cannabidiol, is the well-known, non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis plants. For the last few years, this particular cannabinoid has turned heads among scientists, researchers, medical marijuana patients and their health professionals for its ability to treat a range of conditions. But as CBD-rich oils take off, it begs the question – where do you get your CBD? The oil is derived from both cannabis and industrial hemp, but that doesn’t make them equal.
CBD – A Primer
Research is linking this powerful compound to a reduction in cancer cell growth, minimized convulsions and seizures in children, decreased inflammation, pain reduction and therapeutic relief for a range of ailments. And that’s just the start. As we learn more about CBD and its therapeutic benefits through trial and error, which is how most medications are perfected, the excitement for this compound is only growing.
CBD Derived from Hemp or Cannabis – Does it Matter?
The interest in CBD and its therapeutic effects ignited the industrial hemp industry. And does it really matter if CBD oil comes from hemp or cannabis? From a molecular standpoint, no. But here’s where things change.
- CBD concentration – Hemp has an average concentration of 3.5%, CBD and less than 1% THC. Depending on the cannabis strain, CBD concentrations can reach 20% or more.
- Extraction, concentrate and formulation process – This is the biggest differentiator between CBD oil derived from hemp versus cannabis. That low CBD concentration in hemp means you need a lot of it to produce just small amounts of CBD oil. It’s cheaper and more efficient to use solvents to extract the oil, but dangerous residues can be left behind. A 2014 study conducted by Project CBD revealed significant levels of toxic solvents in a random sampling of CBD hemp oil products available for purchase online.
But There’s More
When CBD oil is extracted from industrial hemp, it’s thick and tar-like, and so requires thinning with another compound. Some of these compounds, when heated and inhaled, can convert to formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.
And then there’s the solvents used on hemp during the extraction process. Hexane is commonly used, and it’s considered a neurotoxin by the Environmental Protection Agency, causing extremity-numbness, weakness to the muscles, headache, fatigue and blurry vision.
It’s also important to know that industrial hemp is a bio-accumulator, meaning that it absorbs toxic substances from the soil. That’s wonderful for nuclear power plant meltdowns (hemp was actually used at Chernobyl following its meltdown), but not ideal for therapy.
Faking the Entourage Effect
Another consideration with hemp-derived CBD is the lack of an entourage effect. This term refers to the fact that the medical efficacy of CBD isn’t as enhanced without THC and other cannabis terpenes.
There’s also concern with “pure” CBD products, which are touted as effective isolates. Experts warn that there isn’t enough research about isolating compounds as yet, and studies show that amounts of pure CBD that are either too high or too low will negatively impact the oil’s efficacy.
Erring on the Side of Caution
Understanding the origin of the CBD oil in your medicinal cannabis products is critical. Don’t assume that a “lab-tested” label on the box is proof that all is well. Many labs are still in a trial-and-error process, so opt for those that are certified and competent. At KYND, our products are extensively tested by Certified Ag Lab, a medical cannabis testing laboratory in Sparks, Nevada. All of our CBD products are derived from CBD-dominant or 1:1 CBD plants through clean extraction methods using supercritical CO2 to avoid harmful solvents.