CBD: Cannabis vs Hemp
Cannabidiol, or CBD for short, is a component of cannabis well known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-seizure actions within the body.
CBD is also important for its ability to mute down or even reduce the uncomfortable side-effects from THC such as racing heart, paranoia and psychoactivity.
CBD is abundant in CBD rich cannabis strains and can easily be extracted into edible oils or from dried cannabis taken in through vaporization or smoking.
Hemp, a cousin of cannabis, and best known for nutritious seeds and fibrous stalks, also contains CBD but in much lower amounts than what is found in the cannabis plant. A pretty good quality CBD concentrate can be obtained from large amount of hemp that have been put through an extensive extraction process. Unfortunately concentrating the CBD from large amounts of hemp plant material will also concentrate any contaminants in the plant. Hemp is grown outdoors with little control over the soil its long taproot pushes into. Any contamination in the soil will be taken up by the plant and could eventually contaminate the CBD extract.
Another issue with hemp CBD is that it may be a cheaper alternative to cannabis derived CBD, hemp based CBD lacks what is known as the ‘entourage’ effect. Whereas Cannabis derived CBD contains hundreds of other active molecules including THC that may work synergistically, improving the overall effectiveness of the product. Hemp derived CBD has very little THC or other cannabinoids and therefore lacks a complex entourage effect.
The entourage effect refers to that old saying “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” This means that whole plant cannabis products seem to be more effective to treat health conditions than extracted CBD on its own which does not contain any significant amounts of other active molecules.
The interesting thing about hemp is that fresh hemp oil has long been known to be anti-inflammatory based on its high omega 3 content. And hemp seeds are highly nutritious delivering good amounts of fiber and plant-based protein.
While this may change in the future, for now the most potent form of CBD comes from CBD oil made from a CBD rich strain of the cannabis plant.