Hemp Plant 101
Hemp is an amazingly misunderstood plant with potential across Therapy, Industry, Textiles, and more. We are truly in love, read below to find out why.
Hemp Plant & CBD Frequently Asked Questions
“Hemp” refers to the non-intoxicating (less than 0.3% THC) strain of the Cannabis sativa L plant. While hemp and cannabis come from the same plant species, they have different genetics and cannabinoid profiles. Hemp is rich in the non-euphoric cannabidiol (CBD), while cannabis produces mostly psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Hemp oil is extracted from the stalks, leaves, and flowers of the hemp plant. It will contain CBD and is typically referred to as full spectrum hemp oil or cannabidiol oil.
Unlike full spectrum hemp oil, Hemp seed oil is made from the seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant and does not contain CBD or other cannabinoids.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound found in the cannabis plant. Cannabis that is high in CBD (and has THC levels below 0.3%) is referred to as “hemp.” CBD is a chemical that acts on an important system in our body called the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
CBD does not have a psychoactive effect, meaning it does not make you feel “high.”
The ECS has an important role in regulating balance in our bodies, and CBD has been found by doctors, scientists, and patients to have a positive effect on things like pain, inflammation, sleep and anxiety.
CBD has been legal in the US since 2018.
Like CBD, THC, or Δ-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, also comes from the cannabis plant. Cannabis sativa L strains that are high in THC are scientifically referred to as “cannabis,” while strains with less than 0.3% THC are referred to as “hemp.” Like CBD, THC is a chemical that acts on the endocannabinoid system, but unlike CBD, it does have a psychoactive effect.
THC is currently federally illegal, but it has been legalized for medical as well as recreational use in many states. You can check the legal status of THC in your state here: https://disa.com/map-of-marijuana-legality-by-state.
Broad spectrum CBD products will contain more than isolated CBD extract from the cannabis plant but will contain no THC.
As the cannabis plant goes through processing, chemical components are lost or removed. The cannabis extracts that are in a broad-spectrum product will vary depending on the strain of cannabis, and the degree of processing.
For example, a broad-spectrum product could contain CBD along with several other cannabinoids and terpenes, which are the molecules that give the plant its fragrance. It is important to note that there are no regulations in the cannabis industry that define broad spectrum products, so this label is somewhat unclear. In order to know what cannabis extracts are in a product, the consumer can read the Certificate of Analysis (COA).
Full spectrum CBD products are similar to broad spectrum products, but they usually contain even more cannabis plant extracts (such as waxes and chlorophylls) and they can contain up to 0.3% THC.
The term “full spectrum” suggests that all of the components of the cannabis plant are in the product, but this is not true. The only product that will have the identical composition to the cannabis plant is the live plant. Drying, heating, and processing raw plant material in any way will change its composition. Again, it is important to note that there are no regulations in the cannabis industry that define full spectrum products, so this label is somewhat unclear. In order to know what cannabis extracts are in a product, the consumer can read the Certificate of Analysis (COA).
In contrast to full or broad-spectrum products, which contain more than one cannabis plant extract, an isolate contains a single extract. CBD isolate products don’t contain any other cannabinoids other than CBD.
There is also no THC found in Mana CBD isolate. This can be a good product for people to use if they are new to using CBD, or who want a higher or more repeatable/predictable dose of CBD.
CBD isolate products only contain CBD, while broad spectrum CBD products will contain CBD along with several other cannabinoids and possibly terpenes – the molecules that give the plant its fragrance. Neither CBD isolate nor broad spectrum products will contain THC. It is assumed that each compound in the product will exert an effect, and/or that compounds will interact synergistically, but precisely how this happens is unclear for two reasons.
First, the cannabis extracts that are in a broad-spectrum product will vary depending on the strain of cannabis and the degree of processing. Given the wide diversity in the chemical composition of different cannabis strains, it’s impossible to provide a general statement that describes how a broad-spectrum CBD product will work in the body.
Second, because most pre-clinical and clinical research has been done using CBD isolates, or CBD combined with only THC, there is a lack of evidence that describes how different cannabis-derived compounds will interact. This issue is not likely to be resolved soon, as the wide variability in the chemistry of different cannabis strains make it very difficult to experimentally assess different combinations.
While broad spectrum CBD products are widely promoted as being superior to isolates because of the entourage effect, the evidence for this is limited since research studies have not directly compared the two. Because CBD is the dominant phytocannabinoid in both isolate and broad-spectrum products, the difference in effects may or may not be significant. The best way to assess your response to different products is to keep a daily record of your symptoms.
The entourage effect states that products that contain more of the cannabis plant extracts have a more potent effect than isolated extracts because these plant extracts will work together. While this may be true for some people and some conditions, there is currently not much research that demonstrates how the components of cannabis work together.
In fact, the bulk of research to date has been done with either isolated THC, isolated CBD, or a combination of THC and CBD. You may want to experiment with an isolate first and then a full or broad-spectrum product. Be sure to carefully track your symptoms using both products. This way you will know what product works best for you.