Cannabidiol (CBD) -- What we know and what we don’t
Are hemp and marijuana the same, and where does cannabidiol come from? – very common question nowadays The least processed form of the cannabis plant is hemp. Hemp contains most of the CBD that people use medicinally. Hemp and marijuana come from the same plant, Cannabis sativa, but the two are very different. Over the years, marijuana farmers have selectively bred their plants to contain high levels of THC and other compounds that interested them, often because the compounds produced a smell or had another effect on the plant's flowers.However, hemp farmers have rarely modified the plant. These hemp plants are used to create CBD oil.
So, what exactly is the difference between Cannabis, Hemp and Marijuana?
Cannabis is a family of plants with two primary classifications — Indica and Sativa. Hemp and Marijuana are species of Cannabis that are both members of the Cannabis Sativa family.
Because Hemp and Marijuana both derive from the Cannabis Sativa family, they do share certain similarities; however, due to each plant’s biological structure, they have several very distinct and crucial differences.
Hemp – A plant primarily cultivated outside the United States (although a few U.S. states allow it to be grown for research purposes) for use in clothing, paper, biofuels, bioplastics, dietary supplements, cosmetics, and foods.Hemp is cultivated outdoors as a large crop with both male and female plants being present to foster pollination and increase seed production.
Legally imported industrial hemp contains less than 0.3% of the psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In fact, legally imported hemp will usually specifically eliminate any extracts from the plant’s dried flowering tops.
Marijuana (Cannabis sativa) specifically cultivated to enhance its THC content to be used for medicinal or recreational purposes. Marijuana plants are typically grown indoors, under controlled conditions, and growers remove all the male plants from the crop to prevent fertilization since fertilization lowers the plant’s THC level.
This slight variance causes THC to create a psychoactive effect, while CBD does not. This fact means that when you ingest CBD for medical purposes, you will more likely experience a relief of your unwanted discomfort, with little or no noticeable effect on your cognitive abilities.
How CBD works
All cannabinoids, including CBD, produce effects in the body by attaching to certain receptors.
The human body produces certain cannabinoids on its own. It also has two receptors for cannabinoids, called the CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors.
CB1 receptors are present throughout the body, but many are in the brain.
The CB1 receptors in the brain deal with coordination and movement, pain, emotions, and mood, thinking, appetite, and memories, and other functions. THC attaches to these receptors.
CB2 receptors are more common in the immune system. They affect inflamation and pain.
Researchers once believed that CBD attached to these CB2 receptors, but it now appears that CBD does not attach directly to either receptor. Instead, it seems to direct the body to use more of its own cannabinoids. CBD is available in several different forms. This allows people to tailor their method of use to their specific need.
It’s easy to confuse CBD from other cannabis-based oils, but there are significant differences.
- The seeds of industrial hemp are cold-pressed to create a nutty-like oil. Only small traces of cannabinoids, including CBD, are present. Hemp seed oil is high in monounsaturated fats and vitamin E. It’s used for cooking, skin-care products and bio-fuels.
- Cannabis oil is typically made from marijuana with a high THC percentage. Therefore, it must be purchased in an area where marijuana is legal or can be obtained with a prescription. The amounts of compounds, including CBD and THC, will drastically vary from product to product. Commercially produced cannabis oils will have more controlled concentrations of CBD and THC for medical purposes.
One more distinction you may see on CBD oil products is whether it’s full spectrum or isolate.
Full spectrum or whole plant CBD contains all other 100+ cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, including trace amounts (up to 0.3%) of THC, whereas CBD isolate contains 100% CBD.
Is CBD oil Legal?
CBD oil is legal in all 50 states of the U.S., Canada, and all of Europe (except for Slovakia).
Those in Australia can only obtain CBD oil via prescription.
However, the legality of your CBD product depends on its source and where you live.
If the CBD is derived from the hemp plant, which contains no more than 0.3% THC, it’s legal across the board. On the other hand, if it comes from marijuana, which can contain as much as 30% THC, it’s illegal in most states without a prescription.
Each state has its own laws, which are constantly in flux. Some have specific restrictions on the plant’s THC levels or its medical purpose.
There are a few things you should consider when buying CBD oil. The first of them is the extraction method. There are various techniques manufacturers use to extract CBD from the cannabis plant. Not all of these methods provide CBD oil that is beneficial and risk-free. For example, it is relatively common that companies try to save money on extraction.
Thus, they will use methods that include toxic compounds such as butane, hexane, and propane. Although they might tell you that these toxins don’t reach the end user, a high number of medical experts state otherwise. According to them, this method can cause a lot of health issues to the user, including respiratory and cardiac problems.
On the other hand, the Supercritical CO2 extraction ensures high quality of the end product. It is more expensive than the procedure mentioned above. The higher price is a result of a complicated extracting process and the pricey equipment it requires. However, if you buy this product, you’ll get the best results while also avoiding getting in contact with any toxic solvents.
The quality of CBD oil also depends on its source. If you’re planning to buy CBD oil online, you should check for additional information on the brand’s website. Some of the questions you could ask are where and how their hemp was grown and what cannabis species they used. The type and quality of soil, climate, and other relevant information should all be available on the manufacturer’s website.
European countries have the strictest regulation of organic hemp standards. Thus, choosing the companies that get their cannabinoids in Europe would be a safe bet. Their products are more likely to be natural and made from hemp not contaminated by pesticides and heavy metals.
Cannabis genotype also plays a significant role in the effects of the CBD oil. However, there is no “one size fits all” solution. You should pick the species that best suit your specific needs.
Not all CBD oils have the same amount of actual CBD in them. Moreover, some oils were sold as high-quality oils, yet research showed they had zero percent of CBD. Therefore, you must make sure you buy a product that has at least four parts CBD to 1 part THC.
To ensure that the CBD dosage stated on the bottle equals the strength of the active CBD, buy from a trustworthy provider. Brands which disclose their manufacturing process will most likely offer products with the highest bioavailability.
In the end, to ensure you will get the best product, buy from the brands that sell their CBD legally. Their extraction method, sources, and bioavailability should all be transparent. You might pay a bit more for their products, but the high standard of production is crucial to get the most out of your CBD oil treatment.