When trawling through the internet to find the best CBD products, you may see the possibilities as endless. The market for CBD has quickly become very crowded and unfortunately, not all CBD products are created equal.
This is why it is important to know the differences between natural hemp oil and synthetic cannabinoids, and whether they contain CBD or THC, because unfortunately there has been a rise in ‘designer’ versions of cannabinoids that have been known to have devastating side effects. Without enough knowledge on how these synthetic cannabinoids work on humans, we are moving into dangerous territory that could in fact tarnish the reputation of CBD.
So What Do I Need To Know About Synthetic CBD….. What is it?
CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is just one of hundreds of cannabinoid compounds found naturally within the cannabis plant, with CBD and THC being the most well-known of them all. Synthetic CBD is created in laboratories to mimic the exact chemical structure of the natural CBD compound. The cannabinoid CBD in particular is chosen for its therapeutic value and its zero psychoactive properties. The scientific community believes that synthesising CBD could potentially give more control over its potency, effectiveness and pharmacokinetic properties, making it stronger for medial drug use.
Although the purpose of producing synthetic CBD is to increase its power and potency, there has been little evidence to show the advantages of synthetic CBD over natural, hemp-derived CBD. There are no known studies that have looked in-depth at the effects of synthetic CBD on humans, however what can be found are synthetic CBD vs natural CBD animal testing results.
A report by scientist Paula Morales looked into the effectiveness of both natural and single molecule synthetic CBD on diseases that cause inflammation, Crohn’s disease and epilepsy. Some results showed marginally better pharmacodynamic effects on direct binding and stimulation of the CB1 receptor and proved there to be more stimulation of other cannabinoid receptors.
This was a mild improvement to that of natural CBD, which only indirectly effects CB1. Although results were promising, they did not directly challenge the known effects of natural CBD and no further studies were undertaken to bring these results to further testing.
Overall in the few tests that have been carried out on animals, the results have shown a far more superior result in favour of natural CBD. Synthetic CBD has been shown to have limited responses in its therapeutic potential. The dosage of synthetic CBD would have to be extremely specific in order to receive its full benefits and is described as having a ‘bell curved response’.
If dosing is too high or too low, the results seem to be ineffective. Some results of synthetic CBD studies did prove it to be effective on convulsions, seizures and pain relief, however lower doses of natural CBD proved to be just as effective.
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Nature is Its Own Scientist
Studies have shown that there is significant value in using the full spectrum of CBD compounds, found naturally in the cannabis plant. Natural CBD is derived from cannabis, which can be made into extracts that still preserve its phytocannabinoids that work in synergy with CBD to give it its therapeutic effects. Minor phytocannabinoids, like CBC, CBG and CBN to name a few, combined with a rich cocktail of terpenes, such as limonene, myrcene and pinene, give natural CBD its superior results.
Even though there is some chemical process involved in making CBD extracts, this type of CBD is still considered natural. If done correctly by using CO2 extraction, natural CBD can still maintain its vital cannabinoids and terpenes that make the plant work so well.
Nature’s formula seems to be winning the race in effectiveness and this plant’s perfect formula cannot be patented.
The Future of CBD
The buzz that surrounds CBD at the moment is exciting for those that have been passionately advocating for the approval of CBD and its therapeutic qualities. However, where there is growth, there are often those who are willing exploit the positive.
With the rise of other synthetic cannabinoids or ‘designer drugs’ on the horizon, we are seeing a trend that has the potential to divert the conversation surrounding CBD into something more sinister. In just doing research for this article, there were a number of confusing and contradictory views on synthetic CBD that were linked to natural CBD, with quite a few reports that claimed synthetic CBD and ‘designer drugs’ to be one in the same - which it’s not!
Synthetic CBD is a copy of the compound cannabidiol, it has zero psycho-active properties and its potential is for therapeutic use. Other synthetic cannabinoids like ‘spice’ are THC-based synthetic cannabinoids. Unfortunately, synthesising THC cannabinoids generally increases its negative psychoactive side effects and is attractive to recreational users. This designer drug in particular has been known to have dangerous and extreme side effects, including agitation, tachycardia (abnormally rapid heart rate), drowsiness or lethargy, vomiting, induced psychosis, confusion, and even death in some cases.
For the majority of CBD followers that know the difference between natural and synthetic, these reports may seem worrying in terms of the protection of CBD. There is a danger that the negative publicity of these dangerous synthetic cannabinoids could risk moving the conversation about CBD in a negative direction.
The already challenging battle of de-stigmatising cannabis is somewhat protected by the promotion of its therapeutic qualities by members of Congress. However there has already been attempts by government agencies like the DEA to try to criminalize CBD.
As it stands, CBD in its natural form has no known side effects. But for those that think all cannabis products are the same, we run the risk of being painted with the same brush.
Research into developing CBD drugs and its synthesis is still in its infancy. At present, there is only one CBD drug that is on its way to be approved by the FDA. Epidiolex is not synthetic, but CBD-derived and aims to treat epilepsy in children. Other tests have tried mixing CBD with other chemicals like chlorine, bromine and fluoride with promising results as an anxiolytic, antidepressant, antipsychotic, and anti-convulsive.
It is important to be extra vigilant when navigating the tricky and somewhat confusing waters of CBD. So remember, natural CBD is derived from nature and so far it seems impossible to top nature’s own.