Leading a natural lifestyle has been a focal point in many local households. Be it diet, nutrition or alternative forms of medicine, more households are opting for natural choices, rather than depending on chemical alternatives, largely due to the side effects. Naturopathic medicine incorporates non-invasive treatment and prevention specifically without the use of drugs by incorporating products and techniques which are deemed close to nature and less artificial or mass-produced akin to evidence-based allopathic medicine. Some of these natural products, especially essential oils and supplements, have seen unprecedented growth – especially products related to cannabidiol (CBD oil) found in the cannabis plant. Even though the usage of CBD oil for healing dates back decades ago, advances in research and availability have paved the way to better acceptance.
Since the cannabis plant is the source of CBD oil, it goes without saying that there is an immense amount of controversy associated with it. CBD oil can be extracted from marijuana or from hemp. Hemp plants are cannabis plants that contain less than 0.3 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), while marijuana plants contain higher concentrations of THC. THC is the psychoactive compound found in cannabis and causes the feeling of being “high” by binding to receptors in the brain causing a feeling of “euphoria.” On the other hand, hemp refers to non-psychoactive forms of cannabis. Although hemp and marijuana come from the same form of cannabis species, they differ genetically and are significantly distinguished by their chemical makeup and cultivation methods. “The idea is to get healthy, not high,” says Kyle Struebing of CBD American Shaman of Frisco. “The CBD compound is not psychoactive. CBD gets confused with THC. The CBD we use is extracted from industrial hemp, a cousin of marijuana. Everything in the hemp that can get you high has been taken out.”
Mr. Struebing’s stores are part of a large operation, and CBD American Shaman is a franchise with close to 500 locations nationwide. “There is strength in those numbers,” he says. “We employ doctors and chemists to ensure the safety and purity of our products. You can track all of our products from seed to shelf, and they are third party lab tested.”
Cultivation and domestication of hemp dates back thousands of years. It was identified as a renewable source of raw materials that can be incorporated into a plethora of products including paper, textile, food and organic body care.
So, what is the difference between CBD extracted from cannabis versus CBD extracted from hemp? The answer is CBD is the same, irrelevant of the source. CBD derived from hemp is predominantly isolated from the flower of the plant while the one derived from cannabis plant could possibly include other benign cannabinoids. Other than this subtle difference, at the source, the composition of CBD is the same and so is its concentration. “You want to know where the CBD comes from and that there are no pesticides being used. Also, the method used to extract the CBD is good to know. Not all methods are the same. Any reputable seller of CBD will have third party lab results,” Mr. Struebing shares.
Besides cannabis and hemp, there are several plants that produce therapeutic cannabinoids including common herbs and superfoods. Rosemary, black pepper, kava, maca, cacao, flax seeds and black truffles produce compounds similar to CBD that act as antioxidants to help regulate mood and pain perception and boost your overall system. Although these other sources have a similar effect on one’s biotic system, extraction of CBD from these other sources is yet to come to fruition.
While we can see sources and products that mimic the effects of CBD, arguably the quality of CBD oil would be a topic of interest to users and patients who opt for this alternative for medicinal needs. The two most common forms of CBD extracted are “full-spectrum” and “isolate.” Differences in these extracts are due to the parts of the plant used, the extraction process and the level of cannabinoids found in the final product. The quality of CBD oil depends extensively on the extraction process where certain premium providers use a state-of-the-art cold extraction method to maximize the cannabinoids, while discarding undesirable compounds such as pigments, tannins, waxes and chlorophyll, which affect taste and consistency. While full-spectrum CBD oils could include other cannabinoids, CBD isolate would remain more consistent, independent of the source whether it is from hemp or cannabis. Since CBD isolate is often used in clinical trials to help show that results are directly tied to CBD, users can use this awareness in deciding which oils to use.
Due to the nascent age of the CBD industry, there are not many regulations to control the manufacturing process. Low price could easily translate to cheap methods of extraction, thereby resulting in use of harmful chemicals thus defeating the purpose of being an all-natural alternative. Another factor that would influence quality is the where and how the hemp or cannabis is grown. Since hemp is a plant that absorbs anything present in the ground, one should do their due diligence in understanding where the plant is grown and how well the quality is maintained. While full-spectrum verses isolate makes a considerable difference, one should always ask for the amount of THC present in the CBD oil before making a decision. And, last but not least, before deciding on the CBD oil product, one must seek third-party lab results and data. All these factors provide a significant amount of detail to ensure high-quality CBD oils are available for choice.
Recent studies have emphasized the benefits of naturopathy and CBD oil-based therapy in children and pets, especially for those that deal with anxiety and relaxation. CBD oil and other substances in hemp and cannabis have an anti-tumor effect and have helped in fighting cancer. From seizures and epilepsy to protecting the nervous system, there have been numerous case studies that show dogs and cats have had significant benefits from CBD oil-based products and treatments.
Whether for pets or humans, CBD oils have been used over the years for relieving pain. The human body contains the endocannabinoid system which is involved in regulating a variety of functions including sleep, appetite, pain and immune system response. CBD oils, sometimes in combination of THC, may be effective in reducing pain associated with many disorders – from preserving heart health to addressing skin-related issues. From alleviating cancer-related symptoms to reducing anxiety, addiction and depression, CBD oils are deemed to have neuroprotective properties.
Rather than choosing a run-of-the-mill distributor, customers should choose the retailer that can cater to specific needs. When it comes to Mr. Struebing’s store, he says water solubility in products helps them stand out. “It uses technology to bridge the gap between us, as water-based beings absorbing an oil. Oil and water do not mix. The water-soluble product is efficient and allows for almost 100 percent absorption. That allows someone to take full advantage of the plant. That makes it easier on the environment and the pocketbook,” he says.
Some retailers have experts who can provide individual consultation and share knowledge of CBD products. Explaining potential benefits and providing product recommendations, along with providing samples of products (often for free), are key factors to consider before choosing where to purchase CBD oil. In the ever-changing dynamic of cannabis-related products, one should choose a retailer who is well aware of state and federal statutes in order to make sure the legal ramifications are addressed in their product line. Although marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level, there are provisions at the state level that are accommodative. Hemp-derived CBD products are legal at the federal level, but state laws are subject to speculation.
For Texas, House Bill 1325, which authorizes the regulated cultivation and use of industrial hemp and its associated products, as well as licenses needed to grow it, passed out of committees without any opposition in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. From an agricultural perspective, this could be a golden opportunity to grow and reap the benefits of hemp production. Needless to say, CBD oil presents an immense opportunity for local retailers and customers.