Cannabidiol (CBD) has become one of the most talked-about wellness ingredients in decent years. It has exploded in popularity and can now be found in all sorts of commercial products. From supplements to beauty creams to even pet treats, there seems to be no industry that can’t find a use for CBD.
But as the popularity of CBD grows, so does the curiosity of consumers who want to know exactly what’s in the products they’re buying. CBD in hemp, its origins, and concentrations are just some of the information that the general public needs to know about.
What is CBD?
The cannabis plant naturally produces CBD. It’s a compound called a cannabinoid, much like its more notorious cousin THC. However, unlike THC, CBD doesn’t cause any mind-altering effects.
Much research is currently ongoing into the method of action and the extent of CBD’s therapeutic effects. But even so, there’s no shortage of people who claim that it’s been effective in reducing a variety of symptoms.
CBD in hemp is commonly used as a pain reliever, anti-anxiety, and sleep aid. It comes in many different forms and formulations, which produce different effects depending on its formulation. Some CBD oil will contain THC, and studies suggest that this produces even heightened therapeutic effects compared to just CBD alone.
Where does CBD come from?
To understand where CBD in hemp comes from, it is important first to understand the plant’s anatomy. CBD comes from the female variety of cannabis plants. As it matures, CBD becomes most concentrated in the flowers, which are also known as buds.
CBD in hemp can also be found in much lesser concentrations in the stalks and stems of cannabis. As such, the CBD buds are the most prized parts of the cannabis plant. The buds themselves can be dried and sold as-is. But for products like CBD oil, the other parts which contain CBD are also processed to maximize the total CBD yields.
Cannabis strains have THC and CBD limits
Genetics have produced cannabis strains with greater and greater concentrations of THC and CBD. However, cannabis can only have so many cannabinoids before they hit the ceiling. As THC and CBD are derived from the same gene, there are strict limits on the total possible ratios of either.
For THC, the ceiling is around 35 percent THC by dry weight. Most of the highest potency strains feature a THC content of 25 to 30 percent. For CBD in hemp, the upper limit is around 20 to 25%.
Cannabis strains that contain significant amounts of both cannabinoids have even more nuanced limits. For instance, a strain that contains 30 percent THC and 10 percent CBD is improbable, and vice versa.
Knowing a cannabis strain provides a clearer prediction of its desired effects. For example, THC-dominant strains will likely produce effects such as increased appetite, decreased energy, heightened senses, and laughter.
For CBD-dominant strains, there will not be any psychoactive effects. Instead, CBD in hemp will produce more sub-perceptual effects. For strains that contain both THC and CBD, effects will vary in terms of psychoactivity. Generally speaking, the effects are more desirable to most users as these strains tend to be more balanced than predominantly THC strains.
Calculating the content of CBD in hemp
Many dispensaries provide data on the cannabinoid content of their products so that consumers can know beforehand the percentages of THC and CBD they are taking. These figures are usually taken from lab results provided by third-party testers.
It’s easy to compute the percentage of CBD you will be taking with these provided numbers. If a gram of CBD flowers contains 20 percent CBD, you would be ingesting 20 percent of 1,000 mg or 200 mg worth of CBD.
Another critical factor about the potency of CBD in hemp is its bioavailability. Different methods of ingestion will provide different bioavailabilities of CBD. The most efficient method is smoking or vaping, with some studies estimating it at 31% bioavailability. This means that of the total CBD you are smoking or vaping, a maximum of 31% of it will reach your bloodstream.
You can CBD tincture for pain which might be from sublingually or through the sublingual gland under the tongue is the next most efficient method of taking CBD in hemp, which the same study estimates at 13 to 19%. And while taking CBD orally is one of the common methods, it is also the least effective.
CBD taken through edibles has to go through your digestive tract’s biological processes, effectively stripping away most of the CBD that eventually reaches your bloodstream. It’s estimated that only 6% of CBD taken this way makes it to your bloodstream.
This means that you would need the least amount of CBD taken via smoking or vaping while getting the most effects. You would need more CBD via tincture to get the same effects and even more CBD in hemp via other oral methods.
CBD in hemp is being cultivated to produce the highest concentrations of the cannabinoid available to general consumers. However, there is an upper limit in the sheer concentration of CBD available per cannabis plant.
Be sure to ask for Certificates of Analysis (CoA) to ensure that you receive the indicated amounts of CBD. This would help ensure that you are getting the most bang for your buck while also accurately predicting the effects of the CBD buds you are taking.
CBD is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). CBD is not meant to cure, treat, or heal any kind of medical symptom, condition, or illness and must be taken as a supplement only.