Published: February 1st, 2018
As CBD becomes a dominant presence in nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industries around the world, an important distinction has arisen between products; what is the difference between those made from biological hemp vs synthetic hemp? While on the surface this question may seem trivial, it is one of the most important factors determining the quality of CBD supplements.
At Cibdol, we get asked this question often. All of our CBD products, from our golden CBD oils to our liposomal liquid, are sourced exclusively from organic biological hemp.
Down to the brass tacks. What is the difference between biological and synthetic hemp? Biological or industrial hemp is a crop nearly as old as civilisation itself, having been used by cultures such as the ancient Chinese for its fibres to make rope and clothing, as well as for various therapeutic purposes. Biological hemp is a derivation of the Cannabis sativa species, and is commonly known for retaining little to no THC, the predominant psychoactive cannabinoid. Because of this, hemp industry is based mainly on producing material for industrial use, or for CBD and hemp seed oil.
As more time, energy, and economy has been invested into the continued research of cannabis and cannabinoid supplements, it has been revealed that the phytonutrient environment within plants is substantially more powerful when all constituents are retained. For instance, in addition to CBD, hemp contains terpenes - aromatic hydrocarbons responsible for attracting pollinators as well as potentially supporting numerous physiological functions when consumed. When CBD and terpenes work in concert, they supposedly synergise. This concept is further detailed by the “entourage effect”, a theory revolutionising the development of cannabinoid supplements. Many believe that by retaining a “whole plant” complex of constituents, CBD supplements can be substantially more effective.
Synthetic hemp, as its moniker suggests, is not a biological plant that grows, but rather, is produced in a laboratory setting by scientists. Synthetic hemp can be looked at in two ways; for industrial purposes, there are numerous synthetic hemp products. These appear in the form of rope, bags, and other usable materials. Such products have nothing to do with CBD supplements or cannabinoids at all.
When most people refer to synthetic hemp, they are actually detailing synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists. Used by the pharmaceutical industry and in illicit operations, synthetic cannabinoids have come up in recent history as both a promising and dangerous advancement in technology. On the one hand, synthetic cannabinoids can be seen as a potential answer to low CBD levels that often appear in hemp. But there are also numerous downsides.
As an example, America’s Federal Drug Administration has approved medications like Marinol, which is made using synthetic forms of psychoactive cannabinoid THC. This drug is used to treat patients with a variety of ailments. Marinol contains dronabinol, a similar yet synthetic version of THC. Despite the medical backing it has received, Marinol is frequently reported to offer quite limited relief for patients and is known to produce unpleasant side effects. Many believe this is due to the lack of supportive plant constituents contained within the medicine.
Furthermore, synthetic cannabinoids have taken on a more somber reputation with an increase in illicit drugs hitting the streets. Unlike psychoactive cannabis, which has never caused a lethal overdose, many forms of synthetic cannabis like “K2” and “Spice” pose legitimate risks to those who use them, including death. Noted adverse effects of synthetic cannabinoids include agitation, nausea, and racing heart. Like biological cannabinoids, synthetic cannabinoids are agonists to receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS). CB1 and CB2 receptors can be hyper-stimulated by these substances, causing some individuals to become poisoned depending on the dose and other contributing factors.
At present, synthetic cannabinoids are the biggest group of substances monitored by the EU early warning system. Despite this, it does appear that synthetic cannabinoid use in both Europe and the US has declined since the outset of these illicit drugs in the mid-aughts. One study showed that the percentage of US teenagers aged 17 and 18 using synthetic cannabinoids was reduced from 11.4% in 2011 to only 5.8% in 2014.
Since CBD is non-psychoactive, it is not sold as a street drug. However, major concerns over the side effects and lack of efficacy of near-pure CBD isolates and other synthetic cannabinoids remain. Although there is a lot of conjecture surrounding what is fact and what is fiction, anecdotal and preclinical evidence supports the idea of whole plant supplements being superior to cannabinoid isolates in certain venues.
CBD oil made from organic biological hemp asserts itself as a potent, non-psychoactive supplement to support robust dietary health. When consuming oils made from whole plant extracts, you can rest assured that the worrying side effects associated with synthetic cannabinoids are non-existent.
When choosing which biological oils to purchase, though, there are some other important factors to look out for. In order to isolate CBD, it must be extracted from hemp. While there are numerous methods for doing so, CO₂ extraction is one of the “cleanest” as it leaves no residue in its wake and is non-toxic. At Cibdol, our mission is to be at the forefront of the legal CBD industry, paving the way with novel and beneficial techniques for harnessing cannabinoids and creating top-quality, golden CBD oils. All our oils are extracted from whole plant material, including flowers, to deliver maximum potency. Furthermore, products are thoroughly tested on-site and by third parties, so you can be confident your Cibdol CBD oil meets the strictest standards for quality.