Over the past couple years, CBD has popped up everywhere. From oils to a skincare ingredient to gummies to dog treats to infused hamburgers. It’s an amazing compound, which continues to be researched, however not all CBD oils are the same. To help navigate the basics, we created this blog post with a frequently asked questions format. Be informed. Be well.
CBD or cannabidiol, is a naturally occurring compound found in the resinous flower of cannabis, a plant with a rich history as a medicine going back thousands of years. Today the therapeutic properties of CBD are being tested and confirmed by scientists and doctors around the world. A safe, non-addictive substance, CBD is one of more than 80 “phytocannabinoids,” which are unique to cannabis and endow the plant with its robust therapeutic profile.
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is another well-known cannabinoid within the cannabis plant. THC is the chemical responsible for most of marijuana's psychological effects. Oil from industrial hemp has less than .3% THC by dried weight, so not enough to cause typical psychoactive effects related to consuming high quantities of THC.
Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that act directly and indirectly on cannabinoid receptors inside the body, to help the body maintain stability and health. Our bodies make their own cannabinoids – called endocannabinoids – to work on cannabinoid receptors. Phytocannabinoids can be supplemented to assist in promoting overall health, wellness and homeostasis. CBD and THC are just two of 80+ cannabinoids within the hemp plant. Other cannabinoids are, Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (THCA), Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA), Cannabinol (CBN), Cannabigerol (CBG), Cannabichromene (CBC), Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), and many others typically in very trace amounts.
No. CBD is a naturally occurring cannabinoid within the hemp plant and it does not possess any psychoactive properties. THC is the only element in the hemp plant which causes the high. CBD actually help counteract the effects of THC.
Inside your body is an essential system called the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), which includes cell receptors throughout your body. These receptors are called CB1 and CB2 receptors. The overarching purpose of this system is to create homeostasis or balance. If your ECS is deficient you can manifest into a variety of ailments. You can support your ECS with healthy living choices such as minimizing stress, exercise, eating a healthy diet and supplementing it with a full spectrum phytocannabinoid rich hemp oil. Full spectrum oils contain all the beneficial elements of the plant, including cannabinoids, terpenes, chlorophyll, flavanoids, fatty acids, amino acids, etc. When properly managed, your ECS can help support sleep, manage stress and address discomfort.
Full spectrum, phytocannabinoid rich (PCR) hemp oil contains all the beneficial elements of the plant, including cannabinoids, terpenes, chlorophyll, flavanoids, fatty acids, etc. Due to its full range of elements, including cannabinoids and terpenes, full spectrum oils are known to have an "entourage effect" - a wide ranging, synergistic effect that is potentially more therapeutic than CBD isolate.
CBD isolate is a pure, crystalline powder that contains only CBD. All the plant matter contained in the hemp plant, including oils, waxes, chlorophyll, and more are removed during the extraction process, offering a finished product that's CBD and nothing more. CBD Isolate products are typically clear / odorless and can be infused with terpene mixes and flavoring (many times synthetic flavoring).
Broad spectrum is a bit of a mix between Full Spectrum and CBD Isolate. Like Full Spectrum, the other compounds found within the plant are preserved in the extract; however, like CBD Isolate, THC is completely removed. It is found in research that trace amounts of THC help agitate the cell receptors in the Endocannabinoid System for improved "entourage effects".
Micro-dosing follows the concept of "start low and go slow." There is no universal micro-dose amount of CBD recommended because every person has a unique Endocannabinoid System. Discovering your personal ideal CBD micro-dose requires some self-experimentation.
Terpenes, (pronounced tur-peens) are a large and diverse class of organic compounds, produced by a variety of plants, particularly conifers, and by some insects. They often have a strong odor and may protect the plants that produce them by deterring herbivores and by attracting predators and parasites of herbivores. These organic compounds that give plants flavor and smell are present in cannabis flowers, too. Female cannabis plants produce glandular trichomes. These glands look like small hairs that protrude from the flowers and leaves. Trichomes house crucial compounds, including cannabinoids (such as THC and CBD), flavonoids, and terpenes.
Brands selling CBD oil are making many claims, most of which they should not be making. Brands should be educating consumers, not making claims around sleep, anxiety, cancer, pain, etc. Additionally, look for a brand which follows industry standard labeling. Vitalibis labeling is a solid example of how a label should be designed. Also, look for brands who provide robust test results. Again, see our Vitalibis testing results as a solid example (Signature 600 Test Results). Finally, be wary of brands stating that their oil is organic. This can be very misleading. Yes, brands can purchase hemp biomass which is grown using organic practices, however unless you see a USDA or CCOF certified organic symbol on the packaging with supporting documentation, be wary of this as a marketing tactic. Brands you purchase from should be following the rules and acting ethically, not making claims which they cannot support.
Solvent Extraction typically involves ethanol, low-grade alcohol or butane. Ethanol extracts the cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant which makes the end product safe for consumption, but it also may lead to some unpleasant side effects. You can further process the oil, but this can significantly reduce the oil’s potency. Butane produces a stronger oil than ethanol, but it is more likely to contain solvents which most consumers are not interested in ingesting. Solvent extraction is highly flammable, and these extracts can contain harmful ingredients.
CO2 Extraction has become the most common in the industry. It requires expensive machines and those machines have a high learning curve, so operator expertise is very important. This form of CBD extraction is actually divided into two main categories: supercritical and subcritical. Supercritical is the most commonly used process.
Supercritical CO2 extraction uses pressurized carbon dioxide (CO2) to pull the phytochemicals from the plant. CO2 acts like a solvent at certain temperatures and pressures. Once the CO2 is in liquid form, the next step is to increase the temperature and pressure past the point where the liquid becomes ‘supercritical.’ This term means the CO2 is now capable of adopting properties halfway between a gas and liquid simultaneously. The supercritical CO2 is capable of filling a container (like gas) while also maintaining density (like a liquid). 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 it unfit for human consumption.
Subcritical CO2 Extraction involves lower temperatures and lower pressure. It takes longer than supercritical extraction and also produces a smaller yield. While it retains the terpenes, essential oils and other sensitive materials, it doesn’t extract larger molecules such as chlorophyll, omega 3 & 6. Subcritical extraction is less likely to damage essential terpenes than supercritical.
Both supercritical or subcritical CO2 methods use carbon dioxide under sustained pressure and temperature to isolate the oil. Since CO2 processing involves many complex steps, oil variability, taste and quality can be impacted greatly by the extractor and skill sets of the operators.
Vitalibis uses a proprietary extraction process – not solvent or CO2 – way better (in our opinion). Traditional solvent extraction was a non-starter for us based on the potential inclusion of harmful ingredients and CO2 extraction oils tended to have less efficacy, while also requiring flavoring systems due to the taste. Our extraction process uses precise bursts of heat, versus sustained temperature and pressure procedures. The extraction process we use yields a robust oil, full of cannabinoids, terpenes, etc. for a premium, safe, great tasting and highly efficacious full spectrum oil. Our hemp strains and extraction process we use are major differentiators for us.