What do chocolate, deodorant, eyebrow pencil, pet food, and lattes all have in common? You can now purchase these – and dozens of other products – with added CBD. That’s right, the hemp CBD craze is in full effect across the county. But is there a difference in quality between hemp and cannabis-derived CBD? Keep reading and find out.
Hemp CBD vs Cannabis CBD: Is There a Difference?
On a monocular level? No. CBD is CBD and will always have the same set of molecules, whether it grew from a plant or was created in a laboratory. The difference comes down to how much actual CBD is in supplements you purchase and what other compounds might be in the mix.
It turns out, there’s usually a big difference.
Hemp CBD vs Cannabis CBD: Solvent Residues
While hemp and cannabis both contain perfectly good CBD, cannabis has much higher concentrations than hemp. Strains like Charlotte’s web are bred to make medicinal CBD and can have concentrations upwards of 20%, with little THC. On the other hand, hemp has around 3.5% CBD, which is puny in comparison.
No offense to our friend the hemp plant, but its low CBD concentration means you need a whole lot to make a small quantity of CBD oil.
It’s common to use solvents when processing large amounts of biomass. The problem is these solvents can leave a toxic residue that stays in the oil. Frequently used solvents like hexane can be neurotoxic, and can cause symptoms like blurred vision and numbness in the extremities. Who wants that in their medicine?
All kinds of things can end up in hemp due to its amazing ability to act as a bioaccumulator. It naturally absorbs soil toxins and can even be used to clean up contaminated soil. That’s great for the environment but bad for human consumption.
Hemp CBD vs Cannabis CBD: Whole Plant Medicine
You’ve likely heard the term “Whole plant medicine” a lot lately – and for good reason. CBD doesn’t work as well on its own. It’s much more effective when taken with other cannabinoids, terpenes, and phytonutrients that grow together naturally. A small amount of THC is known to increase the entourage effect and boost the healing power of CBD.
Hemp CBD often contains only the isolated CBD molecule — in small amounts. But medicine derived from CBD-rich cannabis has an array of healing cannabis components. And when the medical cannabis community talks about the benefits of CBD oil, they are referring to cannabis-based CBD, made from plants that are grown to provide the most benefit.
Hemp CBD vs Cannabis CBD: The Hemp CBD Loophole
We know that high-CBD cannabis strains are way better for making medicinal CBD products, so why the heck is hemp CBD getting so much attention? Good question. The restrictive cannabis laws in America leave some wiggle room for unregulated hemp-based products to be sold as a supplement.
Cannabis is considered illegal at the federal level and is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, despite it being legal in many states. But thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, industrial hemp (cannabis with less than 3% THC) is no longer part of the controlled substances act. This has opened the floodgates for a wave of hemp CBD products hitting the market. But the FDA has not recognized CBD as a dietary supplement, and many of the medical claims about hemp CBD are unsubstantiated.
These products are not regulated, so there’s no way of knowing what they contain — or if they have any CBD at all. This is not to say all hemp derived CBD products are bogus, but there’s no way to truly know what you have without lab analysis.
Who’s Buying Hemp CBD?
It comes down to access. If you are lucky enough to live in a state that allows access to cannabis, you can get cannabis-based CBD. Purchasing products from a regulated industry with rules that protect consumer safety is always a better choice — if you have it. Until the day we end cannabis prohibition, hemp CBD is all many people can get. The situation isn’t ideal, but access to hemp is at least a step in the right direction.