Consumers who buy products from, largely unchecked, online companies without any real guarantee of product quality become understandably frustrated by an industry that is supposedly there to help them. This is why it is so important to get the right information from the get-go and understand why the distinction between CBD, cannabis and hemp oils must be made.
So what exactly is the cannabis family?
It is important to note that both cannabis and hemp are part of the Cannabaceae family and that they differ vastly in their uses, benefits and components. Furthermore, the terms hemp and cannabis are interchangeable, and alone these terms are insufficient in determining the compounds within a product; especially when selling products without lab tests to corroborate their ingredients. The difference between these terms relies solely on what the lab tests indicate, as all definitions of hemp and cannabis may contain the same oils, minerals and nutritional values in varying amounts.
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Hemp for victory
Hemp is just another word for a cannabis plant and depending on the reason for cultivation, it naturally contains varying levels of CBD; a compound which has been found to have promising medicinal benefits. But by definition, hemp must have less than 0.2% THC (the compound found naturally within cannabis that produces psychoactive effects) in order to be classified as such.
This allows hemp to be produced as ‘industrial hemp’, which bypasses many of the laws set out to halt the sale and distribution of cannabis used for illicit purposes. Companies utilise industrial hemp to sell ‘hemp products’ that contain very small amounts of THC, while still abiding by the laws governing the legal sale of hemp products.
So what is ‘Cannabis’ then?
Cannabis is a general name used for any of the varying plants of the Cannabaceae family, which includes Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Ruderalis varieties. Cannabis plants have been bred throughout history to contain many different components, depending on what it was originally cultivated for; but a cannabis plant usually contains both THC and at least small amounts of CBD. Its components depend on the strain of cannabis, where it is grown, what is it grown for, and the health of the plant itself. Without additional laboratory testing, cannabis may have any number of compounds, minerals, oils and fats, in varying quantities and qualities.
The up and coming cannabinoid - CBD
CBD, or Cannabidiol, is a compound found within the cannabis sativa family. It is present in varying amounts within hemp, marijuana, Cannabis Indica, Sativa, and Ruderalis plants, as well as all other strains of the cannabis family. But, due to laws that inhibit the sale of products containing high amounts of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), particular strains of cannabis are bred specifically for its lower levels of THC and higher levels of CBD (used generally for the medicinal / pharmaceutical industries).
In recent times, cannabis has seen a rise in its cultivation due to the increase of recreational consumers wanting high THC levels in their cannabis, but because of the increasing amount of research into CBD, a new market for high CBD strains of cannabis (or industrial hemp grown specifically for medicinal purposes) is becoming ever more available. Generally speaking, industrial hemp is grown specifically for its lower amounts of THC, which can be used for anything from building materials, textiles, medicines, and much more.
So how exactly do we get the CBD extracts?
Though naturally present in all varieties of cannabis, CBD must first be decarboxylated, or activated, in order for users to feel any of its potential medicinal benefits. This is done by heating it, which turns the CBDa (the cannabinoid acid precursor) into CBD. There are any number of ways to do this and most instructions will talk about THC, but decarboxylation of THC is done in the exact same way as CBD and the process is fairly simple, which makes it possible to do it right at home.
By far, the supercritical CO2 extraction method is the superior method of oil extraction, as it is also the most reliable. It uses carbon dioxide at supercritical pressures in order to extract the cleanest and safest essence in products. These products come in many forms, ranging from:
- Fruit & nuts
- Omega 3 oils
- Fragrances & perfumes
- Oil extractions for beers
- Algae as an alternative biofuel
Other companies may use different methods to extract their oils, which may not give you the safest or cleanest product. Many use the oil extraction method, where carrier oils such as olive, coconut or other vegetable/ natural oils extract beneficial plant compounds. Other methods include solvent based approaches which push butane, hexane or alcohol through the plant material to extract the essential compounds. Though a more expensive process, the supercritical CO2 extraction method is by far the best option for obtaining a high quality CBD extraction, leaving you with a clean product you can trust.
Knowledge is power
With a clearer understanding of what CBD, cannabis and hemp oils really are, you are now more capable than ever to discern between the best products, both online and in shops. It is important to do your research and check out consumer review sites like TrustPilot, before buying any cannabis products.
If you want high quality CBD and hemp products, visit our endoca webshop or chat with our online support staff to find out which CBD product suits you.