A Comprehensive Guide to CBD
Like other educational courses, we’ve divided up the content a bit. It’s designed to be accessed in order, but feel free to skip around as you see fit.
What Are Cannabis and CBD Oil?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound produced by the cannabis plant. It is what is known as a cannabinoid, or phytocannabinoid.
There are many cannabinoids in cannabis, with THC (or delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD being the most abundant. With the relatively recent popularity of medicinal cannabis, the cannabis plant as a whole has undergone somewhat of a transformation.
Due to a growing body of scientific research, CBD in particular is quickly gaining popularity and is headed toward mainstream acceptance. CBD oil is finding its way into a variety of products, from tinctures and drops to CBD-infused edibles and CBD balms, as well as a wide range of cosmetics. CBD oil is even becoming popular among pet owners who wish to help their pets live healthier lives. Other minor cannabinoids are also emerging with breathtaking speed.
As its popularity increases, the volume of information grows along with it. Unfortunately, so does the volume of misinformation. Let’s take a deeper look at the cannabis plant in general, and more specifically CBD.
First this important note: all hemp products should be used only as directed on the label. Consult with a physician before use if you have a serious medical condition, use prescription medications, or are pregnant or nursing. Doctor’s advice should be sought before you take any supplemental dietary product. The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the FDA. Hemp products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
What is Cannabis?
Cannabis is one of a genus of plants known as Cannabaceae. There are two basic species of cannabis that are cultivated for human consumption: Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa. A third, Cannabis ruderalis, is also noted, but that variety has primarily been cultivated for industrial hemp purposes in the past. Both Indica and Sativa varieties contain abundant amounts of cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids, depending on genetics, growing conditions and many other factors.
Cannabis has traditionally been “classified” by many as having two basic forms: marijuana and hemp. This is actually a bit of an oversimplification and a bit problematic. First off, marijuana is more of a political or legal definition rather than a scientific term, so it really isn’t appropriate in a serious botanical discussion. Plus, there is societal stigma to the term. Nowadays, cannabis is more accurately broken down into Chemotypes (or chemovars).
Like some other plants, cannabis can have wide chemical composition differences (such as cannabinoid or terpene content), while still having the same general morphological features. A good parallel would be apples. There are thousands of different “apples” out there (Honeycrisp, Red delicious, Gala), and while all have different tastes, colors and resistance to disease… in the end, they are all still biologically apples. Cannabis is similar that during cultivation, the plant can (and will) express differing cannabinoid and terpene content, while still maintaining the same general characteristics. Plants containing high levels of THC (the intoxicating molecule in Cannabis) are virtually indistinguishable (look, taste & smell) from varieties that have virtually no THC. Both will have a huge differences in effects and outcome when consumed by humans, but they are both still only one plant.
In the newer system of classification, cannabis is more accurately defined by cannabinoid expression of the plant. There are three primary cannabis chemotypes that are generally broken down by cannabinoid content of the two primary cannabinoids (THC and CBD).
- Type 1 – Cannabis containing high levels of THC, and low levels of CBD
- Type 2 – Cannabis with roughly equal amounts of THC and CBD
- Type 3 – Cannabis containing high levels of CBD and low levels of CBD.
Cannabis consumers sometimes find it easier to label based on “usability”. For example, type 1 is often referred to as Recreational Weed, and Type 3 as non-intoxicating hemp. Type 2 is often described as medical marijuana (used for medical benefit). While certainly there is some accuracy there, there is much crossover and certainly any/all varieties can be used both recreationally or medically.
The Difference Between Cannabis Chemovars and Legality
As previously stated, Type I Cannabis contains high levels of the psychoactive compound THC, the compound in cannabis that causes the psychoactive high. There are certainly medicinal qualities to THC, however high levels of THC are known to impair a person’s ability to function in a normal state. Type I cannabis is cultivated often for recreational and medical purposes. Type 2 cannabis also contains THC in abundance, but also adds roughly equal amounts of CBD. When you hear talk about cannabis ratios, this is generally what is being referenced. A 1:1 cannabis ratio means that variety has equal parts CBD and THC. THC and CBD are incredibly synergistic and many of the principles for the medical use of cannabis revolve around the different ratios of the cannabis content in the compounds in question.
The United States federal government traditionally defined marijuana as a Class I controlled substance solely based on the THC content. However, many states in the USA have instituted legislation to regulate its cultivation and allow its use as medicine. Some states have also legalized cannabis for recreational use. Many more states have regulated medical marijuana laws for medicinal use of cannabis.
While it does contain other cannabinoids, Type 3 cannabis has negligible amounts of THC and abundant CBD. This is what differentiates it from “marijuana” in the law. Since the adoption of the 2018 Farm Bill, the United States further defined marijuana as cannabis that contains more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC (by dry weight of the product). By strictly addressing only the Delta-9 THC content, the farm bill essentially legalized all other other cannabinoids found in cannabis, and even Delta-9 in minute quantities. This led to an explosion of popularity of both CBD and other cannabinoids found in cannabis. Most Type III cannabis is legal for human consumption in the US, provided the THC content is less then 0.3% by dry weight. Here at Soul Blossom, we use only USA compliant, phytocannabinoid-rich Type 3 cannabis flower extract in our formulations.
Cannabis oil is a natural oil extracted from the flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant. It is used by people all over the world for a variety of wellness purposes. Depending on the formulation of a product, it may contain other beneficial components such as omega fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. CBD Oil is generally made from Type 3 cannabis flower that naturally contain THC in minute (non-intoxicating) quantities. It is the foundation of the explosion of CBD and other minor cannabinoid formulations in recent years.
Different Types of CBD Oil
Let’s now compare some of the different types of CBD oil products. It’s important to remember that definitions have a tendency to evolve over time.
Raw CBD Oil vs. CBD Concentrate
When the essential oils of the hemp plant are extracted, the resulting product is considered raw cannabis extract. The extract can also be put through a series of filtration and distillation processes to remove unwanted compounds (waxes, chlorophyll, and pesticides) to produce various classes of oils differing in purity and CBD content. These refined oils are generally referred to as CBD concentrate or CBD distillate.
Full spectrum CBD oil: As previously mentioned, there are other classes of compounds found in cannabis called terpenes and flavonoids. Raw Type 3 cannabis extract contains these terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabinoid compounds similar to CBD, including trace amounts of THC (>.3 %). Because it retains the natural balance of cannabinoids and terpenes found in the original plant, these products are considered full spectrum oils we find these products the most beneficial for medicinal use.
Broad spectrum CBD oil: This product is very similar to a full spectrum oil. Like full spectrum CBD oil, broad spectrum CBD oil retains the original concentrations of cannabinoids and terpenes found in raw PCR hemp extract. It also has all trace amounts of THC removed in the process. This is ideal for those who want absolutely no THC in their CBD products. Broad spectrum CBD oil is the type of CBD oil used in Soul Blossom products.
CBD isolate: CBD can also be isolated and purified. Pure CBD is known in the industry as CBD isolate. In pure form, and at room temperature, cannabinoids are solid crystals. Purified cannabinoids are colorless and odorless. CBD isolate can be consumed directly or used as an additive in other preparations such as edibles and beverages. However, it lacks the beneficial terpenes and other cannabinoids found naturally in the plant.
So for the consumers, it’s important to be label aware in order to understand which type of CBD is used in the products you are purchasing and using. If the types of oil are not easy or readable on the website or label, just walk away.