The passing of the 2018 Farm Bill in January 2018 was a long overdue inflexion point for the U.S. cultivation of hemp, also known as the Cannabis sativa L. plant. For decades, federal law did not differentiate hemp from other cannabis plans – all of which were effectively made illegal in 1937 under the Marihuana Tax Act and formally made illegal in 1970 under the Controlled Substances Act, the latter of which banned cannabis of any kind.
When the Farm Bill was signed into law by President Donald Trump, hemp again became legal – with certain restrictions. The foremost constraint being the fact that hemp grown in the United States cannot contain more the 0.3 percent THC, short for tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the psychoactive compound responsible for making people feel “high.” Any cannabis plant that contains more than 0.3 percent is considered non-hemp cannabis – or marijuana – under federal law and would thus have no legal protection under this new legislation.
As widely heralded in the press, one of the biggest benefactors of the passing of the Farm Bill is the emerging hemp-derived cannabidiol, or CBD, industry. CBD is but one of over 140 non-psychoactive compounds found in cannabis plants that are naturally low in THC. CBD oil is generally marketed as a nutritional supplement offering relief for a wide range of illnesses and symptoms such as epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, nausea, PMS and other disorders; however the scientific community has begun extensive research on the medical benefits made possible with CBD oil and are discovering that all-natural cannabinoids may have notably broader implications in effectively treating diseases and chronic illnesses. Uneducated consumers appear to believe that CBD oil and hemp oil are interchangeable labels for the same product; and are often purposefully misled by unscrupulous companies which tout that hemp oil has comparable therapeutic value as CBD. That is simply not true – they are very different products. So, let’s set the record straight.
The Fundamental Differences Between Hemp Oil and CBD Oil
Hemp oil comes from the seeds of the Cannabis sativa L. plant, which do not contain CBD. Nonetheless, hemp oil, often called hempseed oil, still offers consumers material health and wellness value given that it is rich in nutrients, unsaturated fatty acids and essential amino acids. For instance, some studies have suggested that hemp oil, which is commonly used in cooking, helps people to maintain good cardiovascular health by improving total cholesterol, high density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides.
Conversely, CBD oil is made using the entire hemp plant, including the stalks, leaves and flowers which are cannabidiol-rich. CBD oil tinctures, which usually contain some type of carrier oil such as MCT oil or olive oil, for example, may be marketed as full spectrum or broad spectrum. Full spectrum CBD oil contains all compounds of the cannabis plant, including THC (but below the 0.3 percent threshold), as well as other phytocannabinoids such as CBG (cannabigerol) and CBN (cannabiniol). Broad spectrum CBD oil contains several cannabinoids, including CBG and CBN, however it is processed to be THC-free.
Another distinct difference between hemp oil and CBD oil is how they are produced. The processing of hemp oil generally involves the use of cold-press extraction using the hemp seeds. The result is typically a dark to light green color and a nutty flavor. CBD oil, by contract, is produced using much more technologically-advanced CO2 or solvent-based extraction using the whole hemp plant with the resulting oil being clear to dark gold in color and having an earthy, plant flavor.
The Health Benefits of Hemp Oil
Hemp oil may be used from everything ranging from enhancing the health and appearance of your hair, skin and nails to making tasty salad dressings and sauces for sweet and savory dishes, alike. You can also blend the oil into soups, smoothies or dips, such as hummus and pesto.
Data suggests that consuming hemp oil may help address certain health issues, such as inflammation and skin conditions due in large measure to the polyunsaturated fatty acids naturally occurring in hemp seeds. Fatty acids are vital for supporting good health and can have a positive impact on traumas and diseases, helping with formation of blood clots, regulation of blood pressure, secretion of gastric acid and on many other processes that are critical to human health.
In a 2016 peer-reviewed paper, the authors stated that “dietary hemp seeds contain omega-6 fatty acid, linoleic acid, omega-3 fatty acid and a-linolenic acid in a 4:1 ratio” – the ratio deemed to be “ideal for a healthy diet.” Hemp oil is also a source for many vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, zinc, calcium, iron and magnesium.
Other scientific studies have asserted a myriad of health and wellness benefits of hemp oil – particularly for skincare. One 2014 study concluded that hemp oil is a potent and potentially universal anti-acne treatment which requires further investigation to determine how best to take advantage of its benefits. A 20-week study in 2005 determined that dietary hemp oil resulted in the improvement of eczema symptoms, while another 2015 study showed that hemp oil may be beneficial in the treatment of psoriasis.
The skin-related benefits of hemp oil may be attributed to the fact that hemp oil is a non-comedogenic oil, meaning that it will not clog pores. Lipids found in hemp oil mirror the ones naturally produced in the human body, which helps to ensure that they work in tandem with one another without adverse reactions. Hemp oil is also known to be a natural humectant, meaning it attracts moisture to the skin. It can penetrate the skin, unlike other oils, which may sit on top of the skin when applied, thereby reaching the cells to effectively strengthen and moisturize them.
With the aim of improving their health and fighting the ravages of aging, consumers have reported positive results when using hemp oil as a massage oil, bath oil for infants, soap scrub, finger and toenail and cuticle treatment, general skin moisturizer, acne cream, hair conditioner and as an all-natural makeup remover.
The Health Benefits of CBD Oil
CBD acts in some experimental models as an anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, antioxidant, antiemetic, anxiolytic and antipsychotic agent, and is therefore a potential medicine for the treatment of neuroinflammation, epilepsy, oxidative injury, vomiting and nausea, anxiety and schizophrenia, respectively -- this may just be the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
Many believe, and several preliminary tests show, that CBD can also help with arthritis, cigarette smoking addiction, acne, diabetes, fibromyalgia, PTSD, chronic pain, depression, heart disease, Crohn’s disease and insomnia, among other ailments. But, let’s dive a bit deeper into actual studies that show great promise and hope for those suffering.
Treatment of Epilepsy
One of the most promising on the medical treatment front appears to be CBD’s effectiveness for treating epilepsy. In January 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first CBD-based drug, known as EPIDOLEX®, to treat rare, severe forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravel syndrome, in patients two years of age and older. EPIDOLEX is also currently under regulatory review by the FDA for treatment of seizures associated with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex, a rare multisystem autosomal dominant genetic disease that causes non-cancerous tumors to grow in the brain and on other vital organs such as the kidneys, heart, liver, eyes, lungs and skin.
The same company behind pioneering EPIDOLEX, GW Pharmaceuticals, has also commercialized the world’s first plant-derived cannabinoid prescription drug, Sativex, which is approved for the treatment of spasticity due to multiple sclerosis (MS) in numerous countries outside the United States. GW is now commencing a pivotal clinical program with the goal of submitting an NDA for Sativex® with the FDA for the treatment of spasticity due to MS and spinal cord injury.
According to a medical study conducted in September 2012, researchers reported that CBD oil may help those who suffer from anxiety to manage panic-like responses to high stress situations. In the animal study, results revealed that cannabidiol may change the way the brain’s receptors respond to serotonin, a chemical linked to mental health. Receptors are tiny proteins attached to cells that receive chemical messages and help cells to respond to different stimuli.
In an earlier study published in the peer-reviewed Neuropsychopharmacology in February 2011, researchers concluded that pretreatment with CBD administered to individuals who suffer from Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) “significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort in their speech performance and significantly decreased alert in their anticipatory speech. In this preliminary double-blind study, researchers compared the effects of a simulation public speaking test on healthy control patients and treatment-naïve SAD patients, who received a single dose of CBD or a placebo.
Neurodegenerative disease is an umbrella term for a range of conditions which primarily affect the neurons in the human brain, including insidious diseases such as Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Prion, Huntington’s and Spinal muscular atrophy. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, there are more than 600 neurologic disorders with approximately 50 million Americans affected each year.
These illnesses are yet incurable and debilitating conditions that result in progressive degeneration and/or death of nerve cells. However, in a paper published in February 2009 by researchers at the University of Naples and the University of Rome, it was noted that “among cannabis compounds, cannabidiol (CBD), which lacks any unwanted psychotropic effect, may represent a very promising agent with the highest prospect for therapeutic use” in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.
High Blood Pressure
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, affects 33% of adults over the age of 20. Those numbers double to 55% for adults that are over 65 years old and contribute to over 400,000 deaths annually.
In a 2009 study, rats were subjected to stressful situations that caused their blood pressure and heart rate to elevate. However, after a dose of CBD, both were lowered. Then, in June 2017, researchers published a study involving nine healthy male volunteers who were given a single 600 mg dose of CBD oil in a “randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover study.” The data showed that acute administration of cannabidiol reduced resting blood pressure and the reduced blood pressure response to cold stress and isometric exercise. In other studies, scientists have determined that CBD’s anti-anxiety and analgesic effects helps to relax blood vessels.
CBD Oil as a Nutritional Supplement
Clearly, the vast scope of investigative research on cannabidiol helps to distinguish CBD as a highly promising all-natural therapeutic approach to health and healing. As a nutritional supplement, CBD is a great protein source, containing all 20 amino acids that complete the protein chain. CBD also contains B-complex vitamins, including B6, B12, riboflavin, niacin and thiamine. CBD also has high amounts of iron, helping to keep hemoglobin levels in tact and assisting with oxygen transportation throughout the human body.
Just bear in mind that not all CBD products are equal. If you to choose to consume CBD oil, make sure you are getting the best possible quality.
How to Tell the Difference When Shopping for CBD Oil or Hemp Oil
The best way to determine whether or not you are purchasing CBD oil or hemp oil is to read the label and list of ingredients.
Products that contain CBD and/or other cannabinoids will have labels reflecting the actual amount of milligrams of CBD per serving. Responsible CBD oil companies intent on marketing premium quality CBD products publish or make readily available to consumers third party test results in the form of a Certificate of Analysis, or COA. The COA details how a CBD oil product performed when tested for CBD and THC concentration levels and for the presence of harmful contaminants, such as pesticides and heavy metals. Hemp oil products are usually not subject to third party testing and do not contain CBD, so they should be easy to spot as hemp seed oil, not CBD oil.
As we’ve endeavored to clarify in this article, CBD oil and hemp oil are not the same, despite some marketing claims. Nonetheless, both oils offer unique nutritional and wellness benefits that the medical and scientific community are just now coming to fully appreciate and advocate. Depending on your personal health-related goals and objectives, both high quality CBD oil and hemp oil are widely available for purchase in the United States – both online and via retailers. If it is not glaringly evident by reading the label whether you are buying CBD or hemp oil, simply choose another brand.
About Bespoke Extracts, Inc.
Bespoke Extracts, Inc. was formed in 2017 to introduce a proprietary line of premium quality, all natural cannabidiol (CBD) products in the form of tinctures and capsules for the nutraceutical and veterinary markets. All Bespoke Extracts’ flavor-infused tinctures and capsules are formulated using pure, all natural, phytocannabinoid-rich (“PCR”) hemp-derived CBD sourced from one of the largest, fully and vertically integrated producers of PCR hemp oil. All CBD isolate and oils are authenticated by an independent third party via issuance of a Certificate of Analysis (COA), which cannabinoid content and profile, microbiological content, heavy metal content, pesticide content, and residual solvent content. Bespoke recognizes the importance of compliance and is partnered with one of the industry’s leading CGMP certified extraction facilities. This ensures the consistency and quality of Bespoke’s product line and brand. Bespoke’s products are distributed through its direct-to-consumers ecommerce store, found at www.bespokeextracts.com; and through select specialty retailers, pharmacies/dispensaries and care providers.