3 Important Differences Between CBD from Hemp and Cannabis CBD
We don’t usually like to be the bearers of bad news, but if you are purchasing your CBD from your local drug store or health food store, what you’re buying is not medicine. It’s not the real deal and it can be toxic. Yes, CBD has amazing health benefits, but the kind made from hemp is a total ripoff- even the type labeled “full spectrum”. We believe that consumers have the right to know what they are purchasing and, unfortunately, most CBD companies are not being honest about their products. The more you know about your CBD source, the better.
Here are 3 important differences between hemp CBD and cannabis CBD that you need to know about:
1. Hemp CBD is Preferred by Big Box Retailers and the Government
Today, big box stores such as CVS, Whole Foods, and even Wal-Mart are pushing CBD products made from hemp and it’s not a coincidence. Corporate America didn’t suddenly have a change of heart. What actually happened is that, after over 100 years of labeling hemp as a dangerous drug, the government recently and curiously reversed its position.
A significant reversal occurred a few years ago with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which authorized industrial hemp growing in the US, but only as long as the plants contained less than 0.3 percent of the psychoactive cannabinoid THC. THC is the cannabinoid that is responsible for many of the fantastic medical breakthroughs attributed to cannabis. However, the government doesn’t like THC and insists on keeping it illegal.
Look, hemp is arguably one of the most adaptable and useful plants on Earth. Its fibers can be used to make almost anything- except medicine. Historically, hemp was cultivated in the U.S. until the passing of the Marihuana Stamp Act in 1937 which made it illegal and completely decimated a thriving industry. After hemp farming became legal again, it allowed savvy businesses to capitalize on the trending interest in CBD as medicine and market their products to uneducated buyers who are not aware of the distinctions between hemp and whole-plant CBD. Who can blame them? The hemp CBD market is set to grow five-fold, from $967.2 million in 2020 to $5.3 billion by 2025!
2. Hemp CBD can be Toxic
Since hemp contains less cannabidiol (CBD) than high-resin cannabis, a large amount of industrial hemp must be used in order to extract a small amount of CBD, which increases the risk of contamination. The hemp plant is a well-known bioaccumulator- meaning that it naturally draws toxins from its surrounding soil. This is fantastic for cleaning up environmental contaminants via the process of phytoremediation but it’s terrible for creating medicinal oils. Oil extracted from industrial hemp is likely to contain just as many toxins as CBD.
CBD oil is usually a byproduct of industrial hemp which has been cultivated for another primary purpose other than medicine. What often happens is that hemp farmers earn extra cash by finding a buyer for their unused hemp biomass. These buyers then use the hemp leftovers to create CBD products, often with absolutely no regulations, and the hemp biomass leftovers are often tainted with residual pesticides and industrial solvents. Also, because industrial hemp is grown to contain less resin than cannabis, it is prone to more pest and mold infestation.
3. Hemp CBD Simply Just Isn’t as Effective as CBD from Cannabis
Even though on a molecular level, CBD from hemp and CBD from cannabis appear to be identical, there are major differences. With hemp, you won’t find the beautiful crystal-covered flower buds typically found on cannabis. Any flowers that are visible on the hemp plant are drier and stringer with far fewer crystals. Trichomes, those little crystals you can see on the underside of cannabis flowers and leaves, are used to make medicinal cannabis oil. Terpenes, which give the plant its flavor, scent, and therapeutic effects, are found inside those tiny crystals. When a product is marketed as a “CBD isolate,” it contains only CBD terpenes isolated from hemp and nothing else from the plant.
CBD isolated from hemp is a very lucrative product, but the studies show that it is not as curative as CBD oil made from the cannabis plant. This is attributed to a phenomenon known as the “Entourage Effect” where the terpenes and other cannabinoids (mainly THC) all work in synergy to provide the user with a more robust and complete treatment. It would be like asking your partner for an orange and they instead provide you with orange Tang powder. Both contain vitamin C, your partner argues, but obviously the whole orange is preferable and healthier than the vitamin C isolate.
Why the Entourage Effect is Important
The Entourage Effect is believed to be the reason why CBD oil made from cannabis is able to treat health issues such as seizures, pain, and insomnia. Even tiny amounts of the cannabinoid THC, when found in oils made from whole cannabis plants, increase and fortify the effects of CBD when compared to CBD oil made from hemp. Studies have shown that this is true for pets as well as for humans. Hemp CBD retailers who promote their products using industry buzzwords such as “whole molecule” or “full spectrum” are disingenuous. Yes, they may be using whole hemp plants in their oil extraction process, but the quality of the plant is very low in terpenes and the beneficial cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant.
When considering CBD medicine, it’s important not only to use quality medicinal-grade CBD from the cannabis plant, but to also consider its source. There are many products on the market ranging from oils and salves to edibles and even dog treats and the choices can seem overwhelming. Make sure to only use safe and organic products which have been independently verified by a third-party testing facility. Please consult with a qualified medical cannabis practitioner before introducing CBD products into your health routine and please do not use toxic and unregulated CBD products made from hemp.