WHAT IS CBD?
CBD is headed toward mainstream acceptance. The popularity of this cannabis-derived compound is growing exponentially fast, finding its way into everything from tinctures and drops to CBD-infused edibles and balms. A wide range of cosmetic products is starting to incorporate the plant compound, too. We created this CBD oil guide to help you choose the best products for your use.
Athletes are taking CBD to optimize athletic performance, and initial reports are very promising. It’s safe to say that the future of CBD as a natural alternative to traditional drugs and pain killers is bright.
Before continuing, we’d like to make an important distinction. You may hear terms like CBD, cannabinoid, cannabidiol, and even endocannabinoids being used — and we realize it can get confusing. It is important to note that hemp oil and CBD oil are not necessarily the same product.
Hemp oil refers to any oil extracted from any part of the hemp plant. It might refer to the oil extracted from hemp seeds, which is generally used for cooking and as a dietary supplement. This type of hemp oil does not contain any CBD or any other cannabinoids.
CBD oil, on the other hand, is made by extracting hemp’s primary ‘active ingredients’, which include cannabinoids, terpenes, and other active compounds, from the plant’s flowering tops. So if you see the terms hemp and CBD used interchangeably, this is why. CBD, or Cannabidiol, is arguably the hemp plant’s most important ingredient. And hemp itself is part of the larger cannabis plant family.
Q: What is CBD Oil?
A: CBD oil is a natural, concentrated oil that is extracted from the flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant. You can think of it kind of like an essential oil; what lavender Essential Oil is to the lavender plant, CBD oil is to hemp.
CBD oil is used for a variety of therapeutic purposes by people all over the world. And this use is actually nothing new and its benefits are timeless. CBD oil contains a truly amazing variety of active compounds, including cannabinoids and terpenes. Its unique blend means CBD oil gently remediates health with virtually no side effects. It’s also totally non-toxic — and therefore impossible to overdose on.
Depending on the formulation of CBD oil, it may contain additional active ingredients. These include hemp seed oil, which contains omega fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial compounds. Some products are more “full-spectrum” than others; meaning they contain more or less of the full range of compounds found in the hemp plant.
Q: What is Cannabis?
A: Cannabis is one of a genus of plants known as Cannabaceae. There are two main species of cannabis that are cultivated for human use: Cannabis Indica, and Cannabis Sativa.
Sativa plants are taller and produce more fiber; they’re the species from which hemp cultivation began. Indica plants are shorter and bushier, and therefore less suitable for industrial farming. Indicas are perfect for the production of medical ‘marijuana’ because of their density and high cannabinoid content.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HEMP AND MARIJUANA
Technically, both hemp and ‘marijuana’ are cannabis. Hemp is low-THC, high CBD cannabis, and ‘marijuana’ is the opposite: high in THC and low in CBD. But technically, it’s all cannabis!
THC, or delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, is the psychoactive compound in some types of cannabis that causes a high. The presence of this small but powerful compound in ‘marijuana’ means that it’s considered a drug. That classification is probably justified — ‘marijuana’ can be very psychoactive, after all.
At the same time, marijuana also has health benefits of its own and may be especially good for those with severe pain or PTSD. It can be cultivated for either medicinal and “recreational” purposes. Both indica and sativa strains, as well as hybrids of the two, are used to produce marijuana.
The United States federal government considers marijuana to be a Class I controlled substance. However, that hasn’t stopped many US states from introducing laws to allow regulated cultivation and medicinal use. Some states have gone a step further and also legalized marijuana for recreational use.
Keep in mind that Hemp is not marijuana. Although hemp does contain cannabinoids, it has negligible amounts of THC. In order to be legally cultivated, industrial hemp must contain less than 0.3% THC by dry volume — that’s less than one part in 300.
Industrial hemp is grown for food, for fiber, and sometimes for CBD, though sourcing the cannabinoid from it isn’t preferable.
Why? Because Industrial hemp contains relatively small concentrations of cannabinoids and terpenes. In order to extract any appreciable CBD from it, huge quantities of the plant’s unprocessed biomass have to be used. With this biomass often comes the buildup of mold toxins or environmental pollutants.
While many of the CBD products on the market are produced from industrial hemp, ours is a little different. The oil in Venga CBD products is made from a CBD-rich type of Cannabis sativa known as PCR hemp.
PCR stands for phytocannabinoid rich. PCR hemp contains as much as ten times the concentration of CBD as generic industrial hemp, while still being virtually THC-free. It’s completely non-psychoactive, so it’s doesn’t cause a high, nor is it classified as a drug.
TYPES OF CBD OIL
Let’s now take a look at some of the different types of CBD oil products. Each type has different qualities and different strengths and weaknesses. Here, you’ll get a better idea of what product type might be best for you.
CBD From PCR Hemp vs. CBD From Marijuana
Essential oils can be extracted from marijuana, the same way they can be extracted from hemp. The essential oils made from marijuana are correctly referred to as cannabis oil. Cannabis oil is only legal in states which allow the cultivation of marijuana. While extracts made from marijuana may contain some CBD, they also contain enough THC to cause a high. It’s for these reasons that cannabis oil is considered to be a controlled substance.
Of all CBD oil’s possible sources, CBD that’s been extracted from phytocannabinoid-rich hemp is by far the best. Marijuana-derived CBD oil contains too much THC, while CBD oil from industrial hemp is too poorly regulated. PCR hemp-derived CBD, on the other hand, is what Venga CBD uses, and it’s also what we’ll be focusing on from this point forward.
Raw CBD Oil vs. CBD Concentrate
When the hemp plant’s essential ingredients are first extracted, the resulting product is considered raw hemp extract. This raw extract can then be filtered and distilled to remove unwanted compounds like waxes and chlorophyll. Depending on the level of filtration, various classes of CBD oils result, some more purified than others. These refined oils are referred to as CBD concentrate or CBD distillate.
Whole Plant/Full Spectrum CBD Oil
CBD is the primary active ingredient in CBD oil, but it’s not the only compound responsible for the health benefits of CBD oil. In fact, full-spectrum CBD oil contains hundreds of other helpful compounds. And while these other compounds are only present in CBD oil in trace amounts, their combined synergy contributes to what’s called the entourage effect.
Full-spectrum CBD also includes small amounts of other cannabinoids, like CBG, CBN, CBDa, THC, and THCa. That’s a lot of abbreviations! It isn’t important that you know them all — it’s just important to remember that these trace compounds have a big impact when taken together.
Earlier we mentioned another class of compounds called terpenes; these are the compounds that give cannabis its unique smell. Full-spectrum CBD oil is full of terpenes, and they also synergize with trace cannabinoids to engage the entourage effect.
Overall, the balanced blend of cannabinoids and terpenes found in full-spectrum oils is true to the original composition of hemp — but contain trace amounts of THC.
Broad-Spectrum CBD Oil
After initial extraction, some CBD companies (like ours) remove all of the THC from their products, while retaining the other cannabinoids in the formula. This is typically called broad-spectrum CBD.
Broad-spectrum oil is an excellent choice for consumers who desire the full entourage effect of all the hemp plant’s cannabinoids, but do not wish to consume even trace amounts of THC.
CBD can also be purified and isolated from other cannabinoids. In this form, it’s known as CBD isolate. Usually, it comes in a white, crystalline form, as cannabinoids are colorless solids at room temperature. And unlike full or broad-spectrum oils, CBD isolate is devoid of terpenes and lacks much of a smell.
CBD Isolate’s lack of additional terpenes and cannabinoids means it’s not quite as powerful, per unit, as a full-spectrum oil would be.
CBD isolate can be consumed directly or used as an additive in oils, edibles, or infused products. It may be effective for those with mild health concerns, but its lack of additional terpenes and cannabinoids means it’s not quite as powerful, per unit, as a full-spectrum oil would be.
CBD-rich oil is another common term used to describe certain hemp extracts. It is generally used to label a CBD oil that has gone through some initial filtration and distillation steps. This oil will have most of its chlorophylls and waxes removed. The resulting product has a higher CBD concentration and purity than the raw extract it came from. It will probably be partially full-spectrum.
The term CBD-infused oil can be used to describe one of two things:
- A product that has been infused with purified CBD isolate, or
- A product that has been infused with a CBD-rich, full-spectrum concentrate.
Keep in mind that any properly labeled product will specify which ingredients it uses. If the ingredients include “CBD” or “CBD isolate,” then the product is not full-spectrum.
If the ingredients include “CBD-rich hemp oil (or extract),” “full-spectrum CBD oil,” or “whole-plant CBD,” then you can have confidence that you’re getting a full-spectrum product. This difference may seem subtle, but it’s important.
TYPES OF CBD OIL EXTRACTS
To summarize, there are a variety of CBD extracts, and not all are created equal. Each type of extract contains varying levels of CBD, other cannabinoids, and terpenes.
Full-spectrum oil – oil that contains all cannabinoids and chemical compounds naturally present in cannabis.
Broad-spectrum oil – an oil that contains all cannabinoids and chemical compounds naturally present in cannabis, minus the THC.
Raw PCR hemp extract – a high quality, full-spectrum source of CBD oil.
Hemp oil – oil produced from any part of the hemp plant; may not contain CBD.
Raw industrial hemp extract – a low-quality source of CBD oil. Always check the hemp source of any CBD product you use.
CBD concentrate – a full-spectrum oil with unwanted compounds filtered out.
CBD isolate – purified CBD isolated from other beneficial terpenes and cannabinoids.
CBD-rich oil – full-spectrum CBD oil that’s been partially filtered.
CBD-infused oil – a product infused with either pure CBD or a full-spectrum product.