In the world of CBD, industry expansion has been enormous. Medical claims, exaggerated claims, licensing, FDA rules and regulations, new companies seemingly emerging daily.
When we first started the research three or four years ago for personal use products, uses for our aging dogs, as well as for skincare, massage, and retail in our wellness centers, there were only a handful of companies to deal with without real guidance.
The resulting research was tedious as much of the information was overlapping and contradictory, changing almost daily.
The research I will share will begin with a little history of hemp. Then some methods of extracting the cannabinoids. Lastly, what to look for in the product you choose to use, in particular, the 7 cannabinoids to look for that are being studied and tested the most.
At this time, the testing has revealed a possible 113 cannabinoids, about 15 of them that we know more about the benefits and interactions and only seven or eight that may be the most important to explore their medicinal values within the hemp extract itself.
By no means is this a definitive study as some crucial factors like terpene profiles, which will be an entire article in and of itself, and determining the strength of the product.
You may know what terpenes are because terpenes are what give the hemp and cannabis plant it’s a distinct aroma, or an orange its citrusy smell, and that pine tree fresh and unique aroma. They may even be responsible for the relaxing effect of lavender.
We’ll leave the terpene and “entourage” talk for another time, but here is a study from Ethan B. Russo and published in the National Institute of Health resources offering some continuing insight. Still, I will break it down in another article. Let’s move on.
IN THE BEGINNING
According to the ministry of hemp, the first traces of hemp were found way back in 8000 BCE in the Asian regions that are now modern-day China and Taiwan. The oldest remnants discovered to date are hemp cords used in pottery, and records show that hemp seed and its oils were used as food in China.
In the USA, hemp was introduced and grown in 1606. American farmers grew hemp that had uses across multiple different product lines such as paper, lamp fuels, and ropes. In the 1700s, farmers were even legally required to grow hemp as a staple crop; or be fined!
METHODS OF CBD OIL EXTRACTION
Even as the regulations begin to mount from the FDA, they are still only recognizing two cannabinoids in testing; CBD and THC, and seem more involved with issuing warnings about testing results; I guess it’s a good thing, huh?
I believe the independent testing labs are doing a better job in testing, educating, and expanding the search criteria over and above what the FDA requires. They are in the business of getting it right, so the consumer has the correct information to make a buying decision of the best product to use for a particular need.
Without getting too deep into the testing methods, I’ll have more details later, here’s a brief outline:
The primary method initially used to extract CBD was through the use of alcohol. Like many other types of medicinal plants, soaking in alcohol can change their biochemistry.
There is also water vapor extraction, ethanol extraction, olive oil ( the easiest and a popular home option), experimental ultrasonic methods, and dry ice, which leads to CO2.
Within the CO2 realm of extraction, there are the mid- critical, sub-critical, and supercritical categories.
When CO2 is in its supercritical state, it is ideal for chemical extraction because it won’t cause the denaturing or damage that would make the CBD unfit for human consumption.
NOW THE CANNABINOIDS
Cannabis Sativa is an herbaceous flowering plant that has a psychoactive constituent known as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Yes, the pot plant! A cannabinoid.
Besides THC, another cannabinoid produced by some plants is cannabidiol (CBD). These are the two most prolific cannabinoids
As I mentioned, research has identified at least 113 cannabinoids to date.
When searching for a CBD product to use, a full spectrum identified and tested product is a must.
A full-spectrum “hemp extract” CBD oil, as opposed to an “isolate,” will contain all the natural hemp compounds like aromatic terpenes, flavonoids, omega acids, phytonutrients, and other phytocannabinoids like CBG and CBC.
Here are the 7 cannabinoids you may see on labels and testing data sheets included in the Full Spectrum CBD oils.
These, at least for the moment, are the 7 cannabinoids to look for in CBD testing, the ones that show some promising health and medicinal benefits when used in a full spectrum product. They are CBD, CBDA, CBG, CBN, CBC, CBDV, and CBDV.
CBD-Cannabidiol. Non-Psychoactive. An antagonist to the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain. Can effectively treat symptoms of Post-traumatic stress disorder, Chronic pain, Cancer, Inflammation, Seizures (Including Epilepsy)
CBDA-Cannabidiolic Acid. Non-Psychoactive. It naturally transforms into CBD, especially when exposed to sunlight or slightly heated in a process called decarboxylation.
CBG-Cannabigerol. Non-Psychoactive. CBG Is transformed into CBD (and to a lesser extent, THC) via chemical processes. As a result, most end-user CBD oils have low levels of THC. It is anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory, as well as promising for tumor and cancer cell growth—possible effective treatment for MS, IBS, and Glaucoma.
CBN-Cannabinol. Mildly-Psychoactive. Produced when THC degrades and leads to CBN. It is believed to have a higher affinity for CB2 receptors compared to CB1 receptors. May have a mild sedative effect.
CBC-Cannabichromene. Non-Psychoactive. Data is still limited as to it’s isolated therapeutic benefits, but research continues to be promising for pain, inflammation, reduction of cell growth in tumors, and bone growth.
CBDV-Cannabidivarin. Non-Psychoactive. Early-stage research showing progress in the management of Epilepsy.
THCV-Tetrahydrocannabivarin. Non-Psychoactive. Testing continues on THCV, as it’s minor structural variance to THC gives possible benefits in reducing panic attacks, appetite suppression, and bone growth.
The main takeaway is that as the research continues showing the benefits of extracting and consuming cannabinoids from the cannabis/hemp plant, it is all positive. When choosing a CBD product, ensure it is of the highest quality, the best extraction method superior testing, and, most important, that it contains the full spectrum of cannabinoids promoting the “entourage effect” for the most significant benefits for your needs.