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George Washington used to grow Hemp in his Mount Vernon plantation back in the 1760s. The Hemp he grew was used for fibers, ropes, and boat sails. He also used Hemp for nets, clothes, and textiles: records show that he produced hemp nets for fishing on the Potomac.
Throughout history, people have worked with hemp and cannabis for various purposes. The stems were turned into clothing, textiles, and ropes while the flowers and leaves were used as botanical remedies. As for the seeds, they have great nutritional value and were used to add taste to foods and salads.
People did not have the scientific data or knowledge to evaluate the true benefits of Hemp and cannabinoids. Instead, they relied on their experience and anecdotal evidence to understand how Hemp, cannabis, and cannabinoids could help them lead better, healthier, and happier lives.
This article explains what cannabinoids are, including CBD and THC, and how they may affect our well-being.
What’s in Hemp?
Cannabinoids are extracted from Hemp. The world has known Hemp for thousands of years: evidence suggests that Hemp was used for rope since 10,000 BC.
Industrial Hemp, as it is known today, contains cannabinoids, flavonoids, terpenes, and fatty acids. So far, we have analyzed or uncovered over 100 cannabinoids but research is ongoing and we still have not fully understood the potential of many cannabinoids.
Industrial Hemp Plant
In order to produce CBD, the law states that only industrial Hemp can be used.
Industrial Hemp is a species of cannabis that has been specifically grown for its low content of THC—the psychotropic compound that is responsible for a sense of high. Industrial Hemp has been bred selectively because it contains under 0.3% THC in its leaves and flowers. All CBD sold in the United States must come from industrial Hemp plants to be legal.
How Do We Get CBD?
CBD is extracted from the leaves and flowers of the industrial Hemp. These are carefully picked and put through a process that extracts CBD and the other compounds from the leaves and flowers.
Several extraction methods are used, the most common being CO2 extraction and ethanol extraction. CBD products usually state on their label how CBD was extracted. For example, Synchronicity avoids harsh CO2 extraction processes to guarantee the highest-quality Hemp Oil.
Depending on the CBD product that the manufacturer wants to produce, the extraction process can go one step further to remove compounds such as THC from the final product.
CBD: the Most-Studied Cannabinoid
Among the cannabinoids found in Hemp, the most studied one is Cannabidiol or CBD. CBD was uncovered in 1940 and has been studied since then for several possible applications. CBD makes almost 40% of Hemp extract.
Other Cannabinoids in Hemp
Alongside CBD, the other famous cannabinoid is Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. THC is psychotropic and intoxicating and is still illegal to purchase at a federal level. All CBD products sold in the US are required to contain under 0.3% THC to be legal.
However, Hemp contains much more than CBD and THC. It contains potentially beneficial cannabinoids such as CBN, CBDA, CBG, CBC, CBL, CBCA, and CBGA, among many others. Several of these cannabinoids are being studied for their potential and results look promising.
Terpenes in Hemp: the Aromatic Compounds
Apart from cannabinoids, Hemp contains terpenes. Terpenes are aromatic compounds that give plants their characteristic aromas. Think of therapeutic essential oils—these are, essentially, concentrated terpenes. The Hemp plant contains several terpenes that have potentially beneficial properties, including beta-caryophyllene, limonene, linalool, myrcene, pinene, and humulene.
Flavonoids in Hemp: the Antioxidant Ones
Finally, Hemp includes compounds called flavonoids. Flavonoids are plant chemicals found in several plants, vegetables, and fruit. They give fruit and veg their bright and vibrant colors and are high in antioxidants. Hemp contains quercetin, luteolin, and apigenin.
All these plant compounds—and several more—make up Hemp. Because CBD has captured people’s attention, products have focused on that. However, the Hemp plant is brimming with nutritious compounds that hold great potential for benefitting your well-being.
Why Do Cannabinoids Make You Feel Good?
Since the 1960s, we have known that the human body produces its own cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are part of a great structure called the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)
Our endocannabinoids keep our bodies in balance and are greatly involved in several bodily functions such as metabolism, mood, appetite, reproduction, temperature perception, motor perception, memory, and the immune system.
Our endocannabinoid system (ECS) is tasked with maintaining our body’s homeostasis—our natural balance and harmony.
Whenever something is out of balance, the ECS either fixes the problem on its own or alerts us that something needs to be done by releasing endocannabinoids. For example, when your cells need hydration, the ECS alerts you by creating a sense of thirst.
Phytocannabinoids are cannabinoids produced by plants. They are closely related to our endocannabinoids. CBD, in particular, seems to interact with our endocannabinoids and to activate the same receptors as our endocannabinoids do.
Studies show that CBD mimics closely one of our endocannabinoids, called 2-AG, and works in a similar fashion. Instead of replacing 2-AG, however, CBD seems to be making our body more responsive and more sensitive to its own cannabinoids. This has the indirect effect of helping our ECS and, therefore, our bodies work more efficiently.
What Are the Benefits of Cannabinoids?
The scientific world is trying to understand how cannabinoids might make us feel better and healthier.
While research has so far focused mostly on CBD and THC, it is gradually extending to the other cannabinoids as well.
These are early days and there is still a lot we do not know about cannabinoids and Hemp. So far, research suggests that cannabinoids may be helpful in alleviating chronic pain, depression and anxiety, inflammation, PTSD, epilepsy, nausea, and addiction.
Some findings are anecdotal while others are more conclusive. For example, the FDA has already approved a CBD-based medicine for treating some forms of childhood epilepsy.
Interestingly, some studies suggest that cannabinoids may work better when used together. It would appear that they enhance each other’s performance and produce a final result that exceeds their individual potential. This is the so-called entourage effect.
What Is Different between Hemp Oil Products?
If you take a look at the Hemp Oil market, you will discover thousands of products: edibles, gummies, drinks, coffees, chocolates, pills, capsules, gels, tinctures, oils, vapes, and topical creams, to mention a few.
CBD producers use several terms to describe their products. For example, consumers must choose between Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil, broad-spectrum Hemp Oil, and CBD isolate. Each of these has different characteristics and contains different cannabinoids.
Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil
Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil contains everything the Hemp flowers and leaves produce. Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil products contain all the compounds found in Hemp, including CBD, THC, and the other cannabinoids, alongside all the flavonoids, terpenes, and fatty acids.
In the US, Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil needs to contain less than 0.3% THC to be legal. Therefore, full-spectrum CBD contains up to 0.3% of THC.
Broad-Spectrum Hemp Oil
Broad-spectrum Hemp Oil is THC-free but still contains most cannabinoids, flavonoids, terpenes, and fatty acids of Hemp. This is thanks to a special extraction process that removes any traces of THC from the final CBD product.
People undergoing drug tests for their work or those who simply don’t wish to consume even traces of THC opt for broad-spectrum Hemp Oil. Broad-spectrum Hemp Oil offers most of the potential benefits of CBD without the harmful aspects of THC.
CBD isolate is 100% CBD. It contains no other cannabinoids, flavonoids, terpenes, or fatty acids. CBD isolate is produced through an extraction process that only keeps the CBD extracted from Hemp flowers and leaves while removing any other compounds.
CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD. However, CBD isolate does not provide any entourage effect and, therefore, may lack the potential benefits and therapeutic possibilities offered by the Hemp plant.
What Are Hemp Extracts?
We also find Hemp extracts in the market. How are Hemp extracts different from CBD?
CBD is produced from the flowers and leaves of the industrial Hemp plant. As mentioned before, these contain the potentially beneficial cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other natural compounds.
However, the Hemp plant also produces seeds. When these are pressed, they give us an oil similar to sunflower oil, avocado oil, or even olive oil. The oil produced from Hemp seeds is called Hemp extract or Hemp seed oil.
Hemp seed oil or extract does not contain any CBD or any other cannabinoids, as only the flowers and leaves of the Hemp plant contain CBD and cannabinoids. Therefore, Hemp seed oil is different from CBD oil in its content and potential benefits.
What Are the Benefits of Hemp Extract?
Hemp extract is highly moisturizing and great for the skin. Many cosmetic and skin products contain Hemp extract for its softening and moisturizing properties.
Hemp extract is also used in food preparation, sprinkled on salads, or served with food. It contains precious fatty-acids, similar to the ones found in fatty fish. These protect the heart and help our brains remain young.
Finally, Hemp extract could be valuable as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. However, it does not contain any cannabinoids and, therefore, its value is distinct from CBD.
Why Should I Be Careful when Buying Hemp Extract and CBD Extract?
CBD extraction and Hemp extraction are two very different processes. They also involve two very separate plant parts.
CBD products are more expensive than Hemp extracts. Therefore, you need to be sure about what you are buying when shopping for Hemp or CBD products. Hemp extracts should be cheaper than CBD products and the label on both products should clearly state what is contained.
What Are Terpenes?
Terpenes are the aromatic essential oils found in Hemp. Have you ever smelled basil, cloves, oregano, cinnamon, and black pepper? If you feel they have a similar aromatic under-tone, then you’re spot on. These plants share the same terpene, namely beta-caryophyllene.
Terpenes define plants. Just by smelling a flower or plant, we know what plant it is thanks to its aromatic characteristics. These fragrant compounds were developed over thousands of years to attract pollinators, ward off predators, or protect plants from harmful germs. Some terpenes were even developed as a way to help plants recover from damage. Terpenes were nature’s way to help plants propagate, heal, and protect themselves.
Hemp contains several terpenes, including beta-caryophyllene, myrcene, pinene, limonene, terpinolene, and linalool. As you can guess from the names, pinene conveys the aromas of pine trees and conifers while limonene gives lemons their familiar citrus fragrance.
Do Terpenes have an Effect on the Body?
Terpenes are attracting medical attention for their health potential. Aside from their wonderful and distinctive fragrances, it would appear that terpenes may hold therapeutic properties as well:
- Pinene has been found to help with inflammation and to have antioxidant qualities that can help fight free radicals and oxidative stress.
- Beta-caryophyllene seems to be anti-inflammatory and antioxidant and could prove beneficial in chronic pain and pain relief in general.
- Limonene appears to be anti-inflammatory but also relaxing and anti-microbial.
- Myrcene could be valuable for pain management, while linalool seems to have relaxing sedative qualities.
How to Choose a CBD Product
With so many CBD products in the market, consumers can find the product that best fits their needs.
People who want to experience the full potential of Hemp can choose Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil products.
Those who feel concerned about a possible drug test might select a broad-spectrum Hemp Oil product that contains no traces of THC.
Consumers who only want to experience CBD in its full strength could opt for CBD isolate.
And to add a little bit of extra taste and beneficial properties to your diet, you can always sprinkle Hemp extract on your salads and food.
Should I Aim for the Entourage Effect?
As mentioned above, research is increasingly showing that consuming the whole range of cannabinoids, flavonoids, terpenes, and fatty acids may provide more benefits thanks to the entourage effect.
Some researchers have illustrated this finding in a whimsical mathematical way, describing the entourage effect as “1+1= 5.” Each cannabinoid, flavonoid, and terpene has its own potential benefits. When taken together, the ultimate result is more than the sum of each benefit on its own.
If you want to experience the full potential of Hemp, then a CBD isolate would deprive you of the entourage effect.
However, and while research is pointing to the possibility that Hemp compounds work synergistically to boost each other and the final effect, we are still a long way from having definitive answers.
What Should I Look for When Buying CBD Products?
The Hemp Oil market is still largely unregulated. CBD products are legal throughout the 50 states but are only sold as food supplements. Therefore, the FDA has no jurisdiction. Similarly, the FDA has not issued any recommended daily allowance or other guidelines regarding CBD consumption.
If you are looking to buy a quality Hemp Oil product, then it’s best to remember a few tips:
- Always buy from reputable and trustworthy brands. Look online for reviews and even call them to get a feel of their ethic.
- Ask where the Hemp came from. Hemp absorbs heavy metals and pesticides from the ground. Some countries, especially in Asia, use it for bioremediation—i.e. to clean up polluted soils. You definitely don’t want your Hemp Oil product to contain such harmful substances.
- Look for a Certificate of Analysis (CoA). This shows that the Hemp Oil producer has tested the product and clearly labels the contents. A CoA, ideally from a third-party lab, displays how much CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids are found in the product. They also list other ingredients such as carrier oils.
- Choose American Hemp Oil products. Hemp Oil producers are regulated and supervised. When they buy their hemp from certified American Hemp growers, you can be sure of the high quality of the end product. And, of course, by buying American Hemp Oil products you are helping your country and economy!
We Have a Lot to Discover in the CBD World
Hemp contains hundreds of cannabinoids whose benefits could prove highly valuable. Cannabinoids like CBD may help you feel better and happier. They may offer novel treatments for debilitating diseases and conditions. And they may offer welcome relief from pain and ailments.
However, we’re still a long way from having medical proof of CBD’s efficacy. That’s why you should be skeptical of extraordinary Hemp Oil claims. Not only is more research required before we use CBD to treat specific illnesses, but we also need to determine the ideal CBD dosage for each person and condition. This matters immensely because research suggests that CBD may be biphasic—i.e. have one effect at small doses and its opposite at large ones.
Even so, initial findings are promising. While CBD has attracted the most attention, there is still much to discover in the world of CBD and Hemp. Terpenes, other cannabinoids, and flavonoids are here for us to unearth their potential. It is an exciting time to live in!
Here at Synchronicity we avoid harsh CO2 extraction processes, use sustainable farming practices for all of our plants, and oversee the gentle hand-pressing and coconut oil fusion of our products. We work with third-party testing facilities to ensure that everything we create is safe and reliable. Synchronicity—the passionate Hemp Oil producers.