CBD No.1 eye-opening guide without the hype.

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What is CBD?

CBD is short for Cannabidiol. A Phyto (plant) chemical compound first extracted from Minnesota wild hemp in 1940 by Professor Roger Adams and team at the University of Illinois. Cannabidiol (CBD) belongs to a group of chemical compounds called Cannabinoids.

What is CBD?

Cannabinoids

The word ‘Cannabinoid’ refers to any compound that interacts with cannabinoid cell receptors CB1 and CB2 found in the brain and body. Moreover, a cannabinoid can be natural in origin, called endocannabinoids when produced within the body. That’s right your body produces cannabinoids. The first two endocannabinoids discovered in the 90’s was, Anandamide (ANA) and 2–arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG).
CBD being one of over a 100 Phyto (plant) cannabinoids found in the Cannabis Sativa L. hemp plant. In a growing plant CBD occurs in its raw acid form Cannabidiolic acid (CBDa). Notably, extract from hemp plants bred specifically for high CBD may contain up to 40% CBD-CBDa compounds.

There are also synthetic forms of CBD. However, most synthetic cannabinoids are made to mimic the effects of the better-known other major cannabinoid, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, Δ-9-THC or simply called THC.
THC in CBD oil. THC is the psychoactive compound in Cannabis

THC is psychoactive CBD is non-impairing

THC in a growing plant occurs in its raw acid form Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCa). The most abundant cannabinoid in growing medical and recreational cannabis. Mainly through applied heat it converts to its neutral form THC, the main psychoactive compound of cannabis. Unlike CBD and the multitude of other cannabinoids THC has an intoxicating effect, it gets you ‘high’.

In contrast, CBD is thought to have an anti-psychoactive effect and can moderate the psychoactive effects of THC. November 2020 the EU high court ruled that CBD is not a narcotic. The court of justice stating that “CBD does not appear to have psychotropic effects or harmful effects on human health”. For the differences in Industrial Hemp vs Medical Cannabis and safety levels of THC in CBD products see our post THC in CBD products.

Why is CBD so popular?

CBD products were available prior to 2018. However, it was the 2018 US Farm bill passed at the end of the year legalising Hemp that really helped explode supply.

While CBD oil extract is the largest selling format, edibles and topicals are rising in popularity. CBD edibles include gummies, capsules, infusions with beer, coffee, water and even pet treats. While topicals include salves, moisturisers, massage oils and muscles balms aim to provide localised benefits.

There is limited and non-conclusive scientific evidence that CBD and other cannabinoids may provide health benefits. Rise in popularity is mainly due to health claims based on personal accounts rather than solid research. Consumed with the aim to promote overall balance in the body, CBD is mostly consumed for its purported benefits as a mood booster, in reducing stress and anxiety responses, promoting better sleep, relieving chronic and inflammatory pain. You will find references to studies in this article, these are mainly small and based on animal trials. Generally, there’s a lack of high-quality evidence with claims largely anecdotal for human use.

Interestingly the US Department of Health and Human Services took out a patent, filed in 1999 for the use of cannabinoids to treat a wide range of diseases. Claiming exclusive right to the use of non-psychoactive cannabinoids, including CBD, to treat Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and other states of oxidative stress.

In 2018 the FDA approved the drug Epidiolex for the treatment of two rare epilepsy disorders. The active ingredient; plant extracted cannabidiol (CBD).

Have you experience of using CBD products? Let us know about your experiences in our comment section below.

How does CBD work?

The ways in which CBD works and its interactions with the body are not fully understood. However, in researching how the body processes THC scientists discovered a previously unknown biological system. Made up of cell receptors (CB1 & CB2), chemical messengers (endocannabinoids) and enzymes. How does CBD work? They coined the system the endogenous cannabinoid system or Endocannabinoid System (ECS) after the plant compounds (cannabinoids) that led to its discovery.

The body produces chemical messengers called Endocannabinoids. Cannabinoid refers to any compound that interacts with the cannabinoid cell receptors CB1 and CB2.

Increasingly studied for its contribution to health and wellbeing the ECS appears to affect many aspects of physiology. This has led to further research into the metabolic pathways of CBD and other Phyto-cannabinoids. It’s important to note that your ECS regulates various biological functions and maintains internal balance in your body with or without the influence of external cannabinoids.

CBD shows no binding activity with CB1 and CB2. Its influence on the ECS seems more indirect. For example, it inhibits THC from binding with CB1 receptors, therefore softening the psychoactive effects of THC. Some studies have looked at its interaction with other receptors involved in pain and stress responses. These receptors include GPR55, TRPV1 , A2A and 5-HT1A.

Scientist also think CBD may encourage the body to produce more endocannabinoids or at least reduce the breakdown of Anandamide. This in turn may contribute to the body’s own repair, reducing anxiety, pain and inflammation.

The Entourage Effect – The whole might just be greater than the sum of its parts.

The Entourage Effect – The whole might just be greater than the sum of its parts.

The big catch with isolated CBD, or isolated anything is that nature just doesn’t work that way. Vitamin C is only one compound in an orange, a good source of many vitamins, minerals and other micro nutrients. It stands to reason that it offers the body a great deal more than an effervescent tablet of ascorbic acid or vitamin c.

CBD is only one of a 100+ cannabinoids, and one of over 400 phytochemicals in the Hemp plant. Studies researching the effects of CBD have found that it often seems to work better with other hemp compounds rather than in isolation.

Synergy; the interaction of two or more substances to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects. In Cannabis terms referred it’s to as the Entourage effect where full efficacy is gained through a synergy of compounds. CBD has gotten so much airplay however the story is much greater than just CBD.

Other Phyto cannabinoids in Hemp

CBDa the precursor to CBD is the most abundant cannabinoid in the growing hemp plant and second to THCa in medical cannabis. Both THCa and CBDa acid forms are converted to their neutral forms of THC and CBD by a process called decarboxylation.

Decarboxylation is the removal of carbon atoms from acid compounds. This naturally happens slowly in aging and newly harvested plants. The natural process of time, drying, oxygen and UV light causes carbon dioxide (Co2) to release.

In medical cannabis high in THCa content, applied decarboxylation is used to unlock the full medical potential of THC. A side effect of which is it then becomes psychoactive. Heating to over 220°C for at least 30 minutes is used to convert THCa to THC. As this will convert all acid forms in the extraction, naturally then CBD was studied alongside THC and not its raw form.

As to whether decarboxylation of other cannabinoids is necessary for healthful benefits is debatable and discussed in more detail in this blog. In this section we will take a look at some of the more common cannabinoids starting with Cannabigerolic-acid (CBGa).

CBGa. Infographic CBGa converts to CBDa and THCa by biosynthesis, then through decarboxylation CBD and THC are created

CBGa

CBGa, literally the mother of all other Phyto cannabinoids occurring in hemp. The first cannabinoid created when geranyl pyrophosphate and olivetolic acid combine in the growing plant.

By the process of biosynthesis CBGa combines with enzymes and converts into other cannabinoids in their acid forms. It’s like stem cells in our bodies in that with combinations of other Phyto chemicals it converts into other cannabinoids. Without it the other cannabinoids would not exist.

CBGa is found in small amounts in freshly harvested raw plant material. Most extraction methods lose it in the process. However, mechanically cold pressing the crop shortly after harvest can preserve it. Some research shows in vitro that CBGa may have medicinal potential. For example, in inhibiting enzymes involved in diabetic complications this study indicated the acid forms of CBD and CBG, CBDa and CBGa had greater inhibitory effects.

CBDa

One of the top two cannabinoids derived from CBGa is Cannabidiolic acid (CBDa). CBDa is the raw version of CBD occurring in the growing plant. As with all acid forms of cannabinoids it will naturally decarboxylate, slowly converting to its neutral form. Therefore, the acid form is highest in content when freshly harvested, and juiced or cold pressed shortly after.

CBDa’s metabolic actions are different to CBD. Shortly after an injury or infection inflammatory cells express the enzyme cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). CBDa may selectively inhibit COX-2. Therefore, in blocking the enzyme CBDa may help reduce associated inflammation and pain.

Furthermore, this study suggests it may be helpful in reducing nausea and vomiting. While this study indicates CBDa reduced hyperalgesia (increased sensitivity to pain) where CBD did not. Further to that in an example of entourage at work ineffective dose levels of CBDa and THC when combined produced an anti-hyperalgesia effect and reduced inflammation.

THCa

The other main cannabinoid derived from CBGa is Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCa). THCa is the non-psychoactive precursor or raw version of THC found in the growing plant. As previously mentioned in older plants and once a crop is harvested the acid form THCa slowly begins converting to THC through decarboxylation.

THC content by dry weight determines plant classification and legality. Most extensive studies have focused on the effects and therapeutic use of THC in medical and recreational cannabis with CBD becoming popular as a result of observations from these studies.

THCa like its many other non-psychoactive cannabinoids may show medical potential but again studies are small and evidence is mostly anecdotal. Suffice to say it most likely plays its part in the entourage effect as nature intended rather than as a molecule studied in isolation.

CBC

Cannabichromene (CBC) is the third major cannabinoid synthesised from CBGa. It shows promise in its own right, with anti-inflammatory effects in vitro in rodent studies. However, its inhibiting effect on TRPV1 and TRPA1 receptors which break down endocannabinoids may be its contributing factor in the entourage effect.

Cannabinoids show promise

The above is not to make medical claims but to illustrate the potential of cannabinoids, particularly in combination. Thus, the story is much larger than CBD. In truth we do not have the full scientific picture and we may never have it. The microscope was invented in 1590, but for thousands of years all over the world folk medicine has used cannabis as a whole.

Doctors, scientists and nutritionists all agree consuming wholefoods is better than refined processed foods and/or supplements. Similarly, we favour the whole plant, mechanically cold pressing to produce our products. Our aim is to offer CBD with all the Phyto chemicals and nutrients as they naturally occur, whereby the potential for true entourage effect is available.

In the next section we will take a look at Terpenes and their contribution to the entourage effect.

What are Terpenes?

What are terpenes? Along with cannabinoids and flavonoids, terpenes are found mostly in the Trichomes. The hair like structures found on the surface of the cannabis hemp plant. Each strain of cannabis has a unique fragrance signature as a result of its unique combination of terpenes.

Terpenes are very important aromatic compounds found in plants. Believed to protect the plant from damaging insects and herbivores while attracting pollinators. They largely contribute to the taste and aromas of herbs, spices and fruits. While most of the research into the promising healthful benefits of hemp have focused mainly on CBD. Terpenes are growing in importance in their own right and prized around the world in folk medicines.

With over 20,000 terpenes identified in nature over 200 of them occur in the various strains of the hemp plant. Working in synergy with the hundreds of other compounds in the hemp plant they contribute strongly to produce the entourage effect. Here below are a few terpene examples.

What are Terpenes?

Beta (β)-Caryophyllene

Recognised as food safe by the FDA, though like other terpenes not approved for medical use. β-Caryophyllene contributes to the rich spicy odour and taste of cloves, cinnamon and black pepper, it’s also a major constituent of cannabis, hops and rosemary. If you ever got a tooth extraction or root canal you probably smelled the clovey smell from the disinfectant used. Similar to cannabinoids, β–Caryophyllene interacts with endocannabinoid receptors and may have medicinal properties.

Humulene (α-humulene)

Humulene’s distinctive ‘malty hoppy’ aroma will be familiar to any beer drinker. Found in abundance in hop flowers, in some cannabis sativa strains, ginseng and in citrusy corianders. Moreover, it’s well known in Chinese medicine and among other applications used as part of an anti-inflammatory preparation.

Limonene

Yes, you guessed it, Limonene has a ‘citrusy’ aroma. Used extensively as a natural flavouring in foods. Second to Pinene (another aroma in the name) as the most abundant terpene. I’m sure you can guess some of the plants to find it in. Its aroma has an uplifting affect and shown to boost serotonin. Limonene’s many potential healthful benefits are widely studied.

Terpinolene

A woody, herbaceous and citrus aroma; think of pine cones, sage, rosemary and cumin. Terpinolene is also present in Tea Tree, it is antimicrobial, antifungal, antibacterial. While is little clinical evidence, Terpinolene has been used for hundreds of years used as a folk medicine in treating insomnia.

Myrcene (β-Myrcene)

A fruity terpene found abundantly in indica strains of cannabis, though less so in sativa. Associated with the smell of freshly cut mangos, it has an earthy, musky aroma, like red grapes. Also found in many plants including mango fruit, hops, cardamom, bay leaves, eucalyptus and lemongrass. Research suggests promise in supporting the immune system and pain management.

Linalool (β-linalool)

This floral terpene provides the aroma in lavender plants. So, it might not be so surprising to find out it is used in traditional medicine for thousands of years as a sleep aid and in the treatment of anxiety. Analgesic and anticonvulsant properties of Linalool have also been studied. It occurs in hundreds of plants including coriander, lavender, citrus, rosewood and basil.

β-Sitosterol

Beta-Sitosterol plant sterol ester used in making medicines, food supplements and as an additive in foods. Most commonly used in margarines as part of a cholesterol-lowering diet and for preventing heart disease.

Terpenes play their part in the entourage effect

The above is just a quick peek at the variety of terpenes occurring in different strains of the Cannabis stevia hemp plant. We are only beginning to understand the potential healthful benefits of Hemp and its many constituents including the hundreds of terpenes.

We test for a range of terpenes in our products, and include their profiles in our test results. By mechanical cold pressing we retain these volatile compounds in our products. The abundance of terpenes occurring naturally along with all the other constituents from organic hemp offer a complexity of taste and aromas like no other.

Polyphenols and Flavonoids

Polyphenols including Flavonoids are phytochemicals, biologically active compounds in plant-based foods. They are the highest antioxidants found in a plant diet. When consumed on a daily basis they may contribute to gut health and the prevention of many chronic conditions.

Think of a Mediterranean diet, fresh fruits, green leafy vegetables, coffee, red wine and extra virgin olive oil; all full of polyphenols. Another power house for polyphenols is Cocoa. Cocoa also contains Anandamide the first discovered endocannabinoid also known as the bliss molecule for its impact on mood. It could be one reason why cocoa rich chocolate is so irresistible.

As part of our quality testing we analyse the polyphenol and flavonoids content that naturally occur in our products.

Chlorophyll

Chlorophyll gives plants their green pigment. It absorbs sunlight to convert it to energy for the plant by the process of photosynthesis. In its own right chlorophyll is consumed as a food supplement for blood detoxification, gut health and immune system support.

Most extraction processes will remove chlorophyll and CBD marketeers tout this as an advantage in that it removes chlorophyll’s earthy taste. Nevertheless, we do not remove chlorophyll for the simple reason that this may impact the true entourage effect of the plant’s compounds.

There are many other micro nutrients that occur in the hemp plant including essential fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. Keep it as close as nature provides that’s our philosophy.

Difference between isolate, board spectrum, full spectrum and whole plant extracts

CBD products can differ widely in terms of what hemp compounds are contained in the product. Isolate is extracted using supercritical CO2 then refined to leave only the CBD devoid of other hemp compounds. As it became more widely accepted that including other hemp constituents may lead to improved synergy other formats have become popular.

Broad spectrum contains many hemp constituents, but no THC. This is typically isolate and ingredients then added back but excluding THC. While full spectrum products contain many of the hemp plant compounds without removing THC.

Finally, we have whole plant extract sometimes interchanged with full spectrum, however with mechanical cold pressing no molecular change is applied, none of the plant’s constituents are removed or refined. We consider this in the true sense whole plant extract.

How to take CBD – delivery formats

How to take cold pressed CBD oil. Close up of dropper and bottle of CBD oil. Seshat HempOil+ CBD comes in many product formats; the best-selling is CBD oil. The oil format offers flexibility in terms of dose or serving size, by using the bottle dropper to measure out how much is taken. Also, it offers the ability to incorporate it into your own edibles or topicals.

Sublingual (under the tongue)

Absorption through the mucous membrane under the tongue (sublingual) helps bypass the environment of the digestive system. Therefore, it’s probably the most efficient way to take the oil with compounds quickly diffused into the bloodstream.

Squeeze the amount required under the tongue and let it absorb for a minute or so before swallowing the remaining oil.

Edibles

Alternatively, you could add the oil to a smoothie, yogurt, salad dressing, hummus or other foods particularly with an oil base. This lets you mask the taste or enhance the flavour of your food, depending on how you look at it and again you decide how much to add.

Nevertheless, the ‘first pass effect’ affects absorption, whereby the digestion system and liver partially breakdown the oils compounds. It therefore, takes longer with less absorbed when consumed as an edible rather than sublingual. The same applies to any other edible formats like CBD gummies or capsules. However, some people may want these product formats as they are discreet, mask the taste and they are a specific serving size.

Topical (External skin absorption)

While the external skin doesn’t absorb as efficiently as sublingual, it’s not affected by the first pass effect. Topicals aim at localised relief in soothing sore muscles or areas of inflammation.

You could experiment with rubbing a few dropper squeezes of oil directly to an affected area or incorporate them in your own moisturiser, muscle balms, slaves or massage oils. Topical products infused with CBD oil are commonly available. However, do check the CBD content. I have seen muscle balms with big bold CBD lettering front and centre on the label while only having a total of 50mg of CBD in a 60ml product! So, if you are experimenting with topical products check CBD content and rub in a generous amount.

Vaping & smoking (inhaling and absorbing via the lung tissue)

Both vaping CBD containing vape liquids or smoking dried plant material have the benefit of a high absorption and are quick to enter the bloodstream. However, they both have the drawback of introducing other compounds to the lung tissue including carcinogens from smoke and carrier liquids like propylene glycol, vegetable glycerine, flavourings and other additives.

In the US vape products have seen a bit of a decline. This may have resulted from vaping related lung illnesses and the identification of synthetic cannabinoids in some unscrupulous vape products marketed as containing natural cannabinoids.

Dosage, how much CBD should I take?

In the EU product labels are required to provide a recommended daily dose, EU Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011. However, this is set by the product providers, there is no hard and fast rule in CBD dosage. WHO have reported CBD as generally well tolerated with a good safety profile.

Depending on the condition and body weight of a patient the dosage of Epidiolex could be 500mg-1000mg and more a day. Most CBD products on the market contain these kind of quantities for consumption over a month. Bear in mind the Epidiolex is a CBD-isolate based drug and specifically targeted at treating two rare epilepsy disorders.

You may be looking to CBD for quite different reasons. Some people consume CBD and hemp related products in support of their general health and wellbeing. While others have more specific health goals pursuing relief from conditions where CBD has shown anecdotal promise.

The FSA UK advises a healthy adult should take no more than 70mg of CBD a day without medical direction. Also, that it could be risky for those who are pregnant, breastfeeding or taking any medication. Therefore, if you fall into one of these vulnerable groups it may be wise to talk to your healthcare practitioner before taking any products containing CBD.

Experimenting with CBD dosage is best done with a format that’s flexible like oil with a dropper. Our own product Seshat CBD+ contains a minimum of 1000mg of CBD-CBDa. As a result of mechanically cold pressing partnering cannabinoids, terpenes and micro nutrients are also present. We believe this provides the best possibility for bio availability and true entourage effect, a little may just go along way. Using total CBD (CBD+CBDa*0.87) as the bench for dosage our daily recommendation is 15 drops, about 1/2 a pipette of the product which contains a minimum of 25mg of total CBD.

Seshat CBD+ 30ml bottle contains approx. 600 drops with 3 drops containing approximately 5mg of total CBD, you can then adjust accordingly.
Less might be just what you need

If you are experimenting best to start with a low dose as it is an individualised experience, for some ‘less is more’. Observe over a few days then if needed increase your daily amount. Observe, adjust, until you find what feels best for you. If you are getting the results you are looking for great! Leave a comment, let us know how you get on.

CBD for Pets

CBD for pets. Is CBD and hemp related products of benefit to your furry companion? Well for dogs and cats even horses CBD is growing in popularity. There are pet specific products like CBD dog treats or oils with a higher dilution on the market. Do they offer anything more than simply adding the desired dosage from a bottle of CBD Hemp oil to your pet’s food? Probably not, they are just different formats. Generally, though does CBD Hemp products help?

What we do know is that the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is found in all vertebrates, that is any species with a spinal cord surrounded by cartilage or bone. Also, that Phyto cannabinoids interact with cell receptors in the body including the ECS, which is involved in maintaining balance in the body and keeping it in a normal healthy state.

Therefore, our beloved furry friends are likely to respond to Phyto cannabinoids. Is that response likely good? Their response will be instinctive so any noticeable changes will not be placebo in nature. You will have fairly definite feedback good or bad. Unless your pet is a mouse or rat, just like for human consumption there is too little substantiated evidence to make health claims for our animal friends. Nevertheless, there is enough to claim that cannabinoids are well tolerated. Your pets might just benefit from a few drops in their food.

Whether for pet or human consumption it is critical to check for independent safety testing to keep you or your pets safe and ensuring good quality.

9 things to look out for when buying CBD

With a boom in consumer demand CBD containing products have become widely available. You can find them all over the internet and in bricks and mortar stores; dedicated and pop up CBD shops, health food stores, pharmacies, even petrol stations. While availability and variety can be of benefit, caution should be taken. Here are 9 items to consider when buying CBD products.

1. Vulnerable groups

While considered to have a good safety profile by WHO and generally well-tolerated, CBD products may carry some risk for vulnerable groups. CBD can inhibit enzymes involved in drug metabolization, therefore slowing absorption and staying in your system for longer than prescribed.

Just like grapefruit. If you are on blood thinners or any medication recommended to avoid grapefruit you might also need to avoid CBD products. At the very least your medication dosage will need monitoring.

As a good rule of thumb, if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or taking any medication consult your healthcare practitioner before taking any products containing cannabinoids.

2. CBD may cause side effects

CBD may cause some unwanted side effects, including dry mouth, diarrhoea, reduced appetite, drowsiness and fatigue. However you’ll find the most extensive research is on the use of the drug Epidiolex which uses CBD isolate in its formulation.

Epidiolex daily doses can in many cases be greater than the content of a whole bottle of CBD oil intended for use over a month. For most Epidiolex patients the side effects are most noticeable as dosage rises over the first few weeks, then subsiding as dosage is stabilized. Lowering the dose is also found to reduce side effects. So yes there may be side effects when taking CBD, however they seem to primarily occur where high doses are consumed.

Beware of inferior products, masquerading as quality.

Every marketeer will claim quality, that goes without saying. But as we know, though can easily forget not all products are created equally!

Things to look out for when buying CBD

3. Medical claims:

If a brand is claiming direct medical benefits, beware. Some consumers desperate for results want to believe the hype, and marketeers know it. You don’t want to be buying snake oil that claims all sorts of benefits without substantiated evidence. If it’s not an approved medical drug, medical claims cannot be made, it’s illegal in the EU and US period.

4. Shopping on Price:

Shopping on price high or low is not necessarily a good indicator of quality. However, if it’s cheap relative to market, then it’s probably ‘cheap’. Higher quality, purity and extensive lab testing come at a cost.

5. High quantity CBD does not mean high quality:

CBD content of products can vary widely. From batch to batch the CBD content of the plant will change due the cultivar used, growing conditions and timing of harvest. Therefore, an extraction will be tested for its % CBD levels.

A dilution factor is then applied, adding hemp seed oil, MCT coconut or olive oil to produce the desired standardized levels in the final product. That’s the norm, however, in most cases where the CBD content in the product is very high its most likely bumped up with isolate. If you are ok with isolate perfect, if not verify with the supplier what the make-up of their product is before purchase.

6. Look for organic:

Cultivated for many uses including clothing and textiles, bio plastics and building materials industrial hemp has been around long before health products were the reason to grow. Hemp is also great for mopping up chemicals and heavy metals from ground water and soil, a process called phytoremediation.

Hence, if you are going to consume hemp extractions look for products derived from organic industrial hemp. Organic soil and seed mean chemical sprays and synthetic fertilizers are not used in the process and organic food is often more nutrient rich. We mechanically cold press our oils so we want the best.

7. Independent lab testing:

The importance of independent lab testing should not be overlooked. A study in 2017 found that of 84 CBD products bought online more than 25% contained less CBD than labelled and further to that 18 products contained high levels of THC.

Synthetics have also found their way into unscrupulous CBD products. Furthermore, just because CBD or other cannabinoids are in big letters doesn’t means it’s the main ingredient. It could be marketing spin like the muscle balm I saw in a very well-known supplement store, 50mg of CBD in a 60ml jar!

Check for independent test results. At the very least testing should include cannabinoid profile / potency to back up the label content claims. Following that more comprehensive quality testing will include Terpenes, and other nutrients. While cannabinoid and terpene content inform you of what is claimed in the product it does not equal safe.

Look for safety testing for each batch. Safety from contaminants; heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides, aflatoxins, mycotoxins, microbials and solvent residues, where a solvent based extraction is used. No point taking a product for health and wellbeing if it includes unwanted nasties!

Look for products with up to date test results available to view and download.

8. THC content:

Whether you are buying isolate, broad, full spectrum or whole plant products you want the profile testing to confirm the THC content.

Furthermore, if you are concerned about work place drug testing it may be best to avoid hemp extracts altogether. While non-psychoactive, THCa shows up as an indicator for recreational drug use and unless you are consuming test verified isolate, THC could quite possibly be in the product.

See our other blog for more on THC safety and other observations by authorities.

9. Methods of extraction

There are a number of different methods to extract hemp compounds. With solvent based methods including butane, propane, ethanol, isopropyl, CO2, and supercritical CO2 (sometimes referred to as solventless, but in truth CO2 is a solvent). Non solvent based methods include lipid infusion, which uses Olive oil or MCT oils, temperature and pressure to absorb the Phyto chemicals from the plant material. The other non-solvent based method is mechanical cold pressing.

In the EU the only extraction method considered suitable for food, or food supplement is mechanically cold pressed. Without solvents or toxins, it is a traditional safe food extraction method. Using only mechanical pressure the plant material is pressed or juiced to extract CBD and all its partnering constituents as a whole. We believe this provides the best possibility for true entourage effect.

All other methods come under the umbrella of novel food. Novel food status is a contentious issue as 98%+ of CBD products are extracted using supercritical CO2. Considered a clean method and sometimes referred to as a ‘cold pressed’ method. Plant material is mixed with CO2 in its supercritical state (between a gas and a liquid). Tuning with temperature and pressure the specific compounds for extraction are targeted.

This method produces a consistent high yield precursor ready for further refining into final products. For high volume production it’s the go to method for producers. If you are going to choose products extracted using solvent methods at the very least ensure solvent residual testing is carried out.

Last word

Our philosophy is to consume as close as nature provides. That’s why we have taken the less popular road of products based on mechanical cold pressing to retain as much of the plants compounds without altering their molecular structures. This we believe is where the true entourage effect of the hemp plant may reside.

We do hope you have found this an informative and as much as possible balanced article, though we are a little bias towards the whole 😉 Many thanks for taking the time to read through, we wish you good health and happiness. If you have any thoughts or questions on this article please feel free to leave your comments in the section below.

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