Hemp, THC, and CBD... oh my!
Those exploring the cannabis market for the first time often want to know if the hemp products they buy contain psychoactive ingredients, such as THC. To that end, the following article discusses what Hemp Extract Oil is, what it contains and how the cannabinoids—like CBD and THC—work together.
What is Hemp Oil?
Confusingly, Hemp Oil can refer to two very different products:
- Oil that is extracted from the leaves, buds, flowers and stalks of the hemp plant is known as Hemp Extract Oil (Full Spectrum or Broad Spectrum) or Pure CBD Oil
- Oil extracted directly from hemp seeds (before they germinate) is known as Hemp Seed Oil
The seeds of the cannabis plant don’t contain cannabinoids, whereas the flowers, leaves and stalks are rich in cannabinoids like CBD. So, in a nutshell, Hemp Oil is not the same as CBD Oil or Hemp Extract Oil.
Hemp Seed Oil is a regular food product that grocery stores have been selling for decades. It’s popular because it contains a range of beneficial compounds from the cannabis plant, including essential fatty acids and powerful antioxidant phytonutrients. However, concentrations of CBD or THC are non-existent in hemp seed-derived oils.
Hemp Extract Oil from the above-ground part of the hemp plant, however, contains a high concentration of cannabinoids. So much so, in fact, that many brands also market it as “CBD Oil.”
If you are interested in better understanding the difference between Hemp Oil and CBD Oil, we have plenty of articles that discuss this in greater detail. But, for the purposes of this article, we will only discuss high-cannabinoid extract oil from the leaves, flowers and stalks of the hemp, not the grocery store seed-derived version.
So let’s start with the basics and dive into the two most sought after cannabinoids—THC and CBD.
difference between thc and cbd
What is THC?
THC, also called Tetrahydrocannabinol, is one of the most known cannabinoids in cannabis. Hemp cultivars only contain THC in trace amounts. However, it is much more abundant in regular cannabis sativa and cannabis indica strains.
Chemically, THC is similar to CBD. However, it has extra molecules that change how it interacts with the body.
THC is famous for its psychoactive effects. People who take it typically experience a state of euphoria and relaxation, similar to what they might feel after eating delicious food or having sex.
The reason CBD doesn’t exert the same effect as THC comes down to the way it interacts with the body. THC binds directly to receptors in the brain and nervous system, replacing the action of the natural cannabinoids produced by the human body. CBD, on the other hand, works indirectly, encouraging a higher production of the brain’s own feel-good compounds. Thusly, CBD helps to amplify the benefits of the cannabinoids our body naturally produces.
What is CBD?
CBD, or Cannabidiol, is an abundant cannabinoid found in cannabis plants, and the most abundant cannabinoid in hemp cultivars. It’s popular for its alleged wellness benefits.
Chemically speaking, CBD looks similar to the body’s naturally-occuring endocannabinoids, such as anandamide. Researchers believe that it helps to bring the body back into balance by interacting favorably with the endocannabinoid system.
Critically, unlike THC, CBD is non-psychotropic, meaning that it won’t produce an immediate “high” or euphoric feeling. However, it may still change how you feel over the long-term by bringing your body back to normality.
Does Hemp Extract Oil Have THC?
Hemp Extract Oils come from the hemp plant, a subspecies of cannabis sativa. Over many generations, growers have selected cultivars containing lower amounts of unwanted cannabinoids, such as THC, and higher levels of those they want, including CBD.
The THC content of most hemp plants is now around 0.3% or less. However, the actual THC content of Full Spectrum Hemp Extract Oils varies substantially. As always, review the label of the hemp product and the COA to confirm exactly what you are putting into your body.
What is the Difference Between a Full Spectrum Hemp Extract Oil and a Pure CBD Oil?
Full Spectrum Oil contains multiple cannabinoids from the cannabis plant. This includes trace amounts of THC and many other cannabinoids, like CBD (Cannabidiol), CBDa (Cannabidiolic Acid), CBDV (Cannabidivarin), CBG (Cannabigerol), and CBC (Cannabichromene).
Full Spectrum Oil also contains terpenes —aromatic components from cannabis plants use to protect the plant from UV light, defend against predators, and enhance pollination. These may have additional effects on the human body, ancillary to the cannabinoids themselves.
By contrast, Pure CBD Oil only contains Cannabidiol. All other cannabinoids of the hemp plant are found only in trace concentrations. And, in some pure CBD products, they may be absent altogether. It’s always recommended to review the COA when you buy CBD Oil so you know exactly what spectrum and type of product you are purchasing.
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We have crafted two Full Spectrum Hemp Extract products—an oil and gummy—to help you feel your best. All are third-party tested to confirm less than 0.3% THC.
How is CBD Extracted from Hemp?
Manufacturers extract CBD from hemp in many different ways. However, the goal is always the same: to eliminate the plant roughage, extract the CBD (and other cannabinoids) and concentrate it into an oil, topical or edible.
Here are some of the most common ways manufacturers extract CBD from raw hemp:
- Solventless extraction: Most CBD extraction techniques require the use of solvents—chemical compounds that strip hemp of its Cannabidiol or cannabinoid content. However, solventless processes use heat or mechanical processes instead. Producers begin by loading a mechanical press with raw hemp stalks, leaves and flowers. Then they apply heat and friction, crushing the hemp plant and encouraging all of the oils to naturally flow out.
- Solvent-based CBD extraction: Solvent-based extraction works by effusing a solvent—usually ethanol—through CBD plant matter to extract the cannabinoids and terpenes. Ethanol baths cause the oil content of the plant to precipitate out of the plant’s cells and join the solvent solution. Manufacturers then remove any remaining hemp and evaporate the solvent, leaving the CBD and other cannabinoids (like THC) as residue.
- Supercritical CO2 extraction: The last CBD extraction method involves the use of supercritical CO2. In this state, carbon dioxide has the properties of both a gas and a liquid. When pumped through raw plant materials under high pressure, it extracts cannabinoids and terpenes without the need for solvents or chemically altering their properties. At the end of the process, it simply evaporates away, leaving the final product contaminant-free.
Each CBD extraction method offers various pros and cons. Solventless extraction is popular because it makes use of the whole hemp plant and is one of the cheapest extraction methods to set up. However, it offers low yields and doesn’t allow producers to control the purity of their CBD Oils as much.
Solvent-based extraction is popular because it is a cheap, tried-and-tested technology that allows producers to achieve high purity levels. However, working with solvents is difficult. And they can sometimes contaminate CBD Oils if producers fail to take adequate precautions. Furthermore, high extraction temperatures may damage terpenes and other beneficial compounds from hemp.
Supercritical CO2 is a state-of-the-art technique that allows producers (like Veré) to extract the cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids without the need for any additives or contaminants. When exposed to regular temperatures and pressures, any remaining CO2 simply evaporates into the environment. The only downside is that extraction method is the most costly. However, it yields the highest-quality and safest Hemp Extract products, so Veré is happy to make the investment when producing our Full Spectrum Hemp Extract products.
How is THC Removed from CBD Oil?
Hemp is naturally low in THC, so extracting it from a Full Spectrum Hemp Extract Oil or CBD Oil is often unnecessary. Full Spectrum CBD Oils usually contain less than 0.3% THC which isn’t enough to produce noticeable psychoactive effects in most people.
However, some users prefer to take CBD Isolate—a special type of CBD Oil where manufacturers remove the other cannabinoids as well. This type of oil is popular among people who want to know the precise concentrations and CBD doses they are taking. This is a Pure CBD Oil.
As mentioned, our Veré hemp undergoes a CO2 extraction method, where carbon dioxide separates the CBD from the hemp plant. This is the safest and cleanest extraction method on the market, and is the same process used for decaffeinated coffees and teas. This method maintains the phytocannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids present in the original hemp plant to create our true Full Spectrum Whole-Hemp Extract Oil and gummies.
Our Broad Spectrum Hemp Extract Tincture and Pure CBD Oil are further developed through additional winterization and cannabis distillation techniques using chromatography. In this technology, naturally occurring trace amounts of THC are identified and removed.
Please note that all Full Spectrum CBD products must contain less than 0.3% THC to legally sell as over-the-counter food supplements. And all of Veré products adhere to these regulations.
Is CBD Oil With THC More Effective?
Research suggests that CBD and THC may work better together. This is termed “the entourage effect”. Research for instance in the British Journal of Pharmacology found that combining multiple endocannabinoids and terpenes may have favorable effects on a range of common medical conditions. There’s also studies showing that CBD may neutralize some of the unwanted effects of THC, such as sedation, hunger and anxiety.
So, what have we learned? We discovered that:
- Hemp Extract Oil contains cannabinoids, such as CBD and THC
- There are several processes for extracting CBD and THC from hemp plants
- CBD and THC tend to work better when taken together
- Full Spectrum Hemp Extract Oil is different from CBD Isolate (Pure CBD Oil)
- Hemp is a subspecies of cannabis, selected for its low THC content
- THC and CBD have different effects on the brain and nervous system
More articles related to CBD
Put simply, hemp, marijuana, weed, and cannabis are part of the same species of plant. It’s the level of THC in the plant that determines its appropriate name. For instance, hemp is a legal term to describe cannabis plants that contain less than 0.3% THC. Weed is just a slang word for cannabis, and marijuana refers to cannabis plants with more than 0.3% THC. In this article, we will break down the naming conventions further and will delve into their historical references.
CBD can’t get you high by itself. It doesn’t contain compounds that directly bind to the nervous system and create sensations of euphoria, joy, or deep relaxation. While CBD will not get you high, it depends on whether other constituents of the cannabis plant are present in the oil, like THC. We clear up some of the confusion surrounding Cannabidiol, including how some CBD-containing products may get you high, even if CBD itself does not. Let’s explore this further and how CBD, THC and other cannabinoids interact with your body.
The difference between Full Spectrum CBD Oil (also referred to as Full Spectrum Hemp Extract Oil) and CBD Isolate (aka Pure CBD Oil) lies in the cannabinoid profile. Full Spectrum CBD Hemp Extract includes a myriad of cannabinoids—like CBD, CBC, CBDa, CBDV, CBG and CBN—plus terpenes and flavonoids. This full spectrum of hemp compounds delivers a powerful entourage effect; whereas CBD Isolate only contains CBD. It is pure CBD.