Materials & Use

5 Top Hemp CBD Facts

Gabi Antunes

Sep 8, 2019

Cannabidiol (CBD) is now a household name. The cannabinoid derived from industrial hemp plants, has made its way into a cornucopia of consumer products in states that permit them. But what exactly is hemp-derived CBD? In an environment where hemp CBD is increasingly popular and regulators are hotly debating how to govern the newly legal industry, it can be difficult to find facts that cut through all the noise. What is hemp CBD, how does it work, and why does it seem it is everywhere you look?

What is Hemp CBD?

Cannabidiol is one of many other compounds, known as cannabinoids, which are found in various cultivars of the plant species Cannabis sativa L. Hemp CBD is likely the second most commonly known cannabinoid, next to its intoxicating cousin Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Hemp-derived CBD is derived from the Cannabis Sativa L. variant referred to as hemp or industrial hemp, bred to contain 0.3% or less THC and high levels of hemp CBD.

High demand for hemp CBD-infused products has led to a booming young industry. As hemp-derived CBD starts to become a mainstream ingredient in a range of consumer products in legal markets, it is more critical than ever that consumers have the information they need to make better buying decisions.

Full Spectrum Hemp CBD vs. Hemp CBD Isolate

When discussing hemp CBD products, it’s important to know the difference between full-spectrum hemp CBD and hemp CBD isolate. These two types of extracts are distinct, with significant differences between them.

Full spectrum hemp CBD refers to a whole plant extract. This means that the cannabinoid was extracted from industrial hemp, and the resulting extract contains all the other naturally-occurring compounds found within it. That extract was then used to infuse whatever full spectrum product you are examining without additional refinement. A full spectrum product includes not only hemp CBD, but all the other cannabinoids found within the plant, plus the terpenes and flavonoids which impact flavor and aroma. A version of full-spectrum hemp CBD extract, called “broad spectrum,” contains all cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids except for THC.

By contrast, hemp CBD isolate products contain only that single cannabinoid in a purified form. Isolates come from the same type of extracts as full spectrum products, but the extract goes through extra refining and purification processes to strip it of all material that is not hemp CBD. Isolate products will not contain other cannabinoids and compounds found in the source plant.

Facts About Hemp CBD

We’re learning more about hemp-derived CBD all the time. More research is being done on cannabinoids and how they potentially interact with the human body but a lot is left unclear. Here are some of the most essential hemp CBD facts you need to know to better understand the cannabinoid and how it works.

1. Cannabinoids Interact with the Endocannabinoid System

All cannabinoids, including hemp CBD, primarily influence bodily functions and the central nervous system through what is known as the endogenous cannabinoid system, or endocannabinoid system for short. The endocannabinoid system is present in all mammals and consists of a series of receptors throughout the brain and body.

These receptors broadly break down into two types: CB1 receptors, which interact with the central nervous system, and CB2 receptors, which interact with the peripheral nervous system, digestive system, and immune system. Research is ongoing into the precise effects cannabinoids may or may not have on the endocannabinoid system, but the endocannabinoid system is believed to play a vital role in maintaining homeostasis within the body.

The key to understanding the extent of hemp-derived CBD’s applications for the human body lies in better understanding its interaction with the endocannabinoid system, which brings us to our next hemp CBD fact.

2. There is a Distinction Between Hemp-derived CBD and Cannabis

The difference between full spectrum and isolate products is not the only distinction to monitor. Since hemp CBD is found in industrial hemp plants and cannabis plants, it’s critical to know from which type of plant the cannabinoid was extracted. In fact, the difference could determine whether a product is even legal.

Industrial hemp is legally defined as any cultivar of Cannabis sativa L. that contains 0.3% or less of the intoxicating cannabinoid THC. Extracts mimic the compound profile of the plant from which they are derived, so any full spectrum, industrial hemp-derived CBD extract will also contain 0.3% THC or less. Only hemp-derived CBD below this threshold is not considered “cannabis extract” and therefore legal under federal law. Cannabis products come from a plant that does not contain less than the federally legal limit of THC. While cannabis products might be legal in certain states, they are federally illegal under the Controlled Substances Act.

3. Industrial Hemp CBD Derivatives were Federally Legalized in 2018

The 0.3% THC limit and the legal distinction of industrial hemp-derived CBD was established by the 2018 Farm Bill. That legislation cleared up long-standing confusions around regulatory oversight, placing industrial hemp and hemp-derived CBD squarely in the jurisdiction of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Cannabis plants that contain more than 0.3% THC are considered marijuana, which is illegal under federal law and subject to Drug Enforcement Agency oversight. This limit also applies to any extracts derived from a cannabis plant, so hemp CBD oil, for example, must always contain 0.3% THC or less as well.

Although the 2018 Farm Bill legalized the cultivation and distribution of industrial hemp and hemp-derived CBD products, the precise rules of what types of products can be infused with hemp CBD remains patchwork. From state to state, the regulations differ; a hemp CBD product that is legal in one state might not be legal in another. It’s important to always be aware of your local and state laws when dealing with hemp CBD products.

4. The Hemp-derived CBD Market is Growing Quickly

Hemp CBD is one of the fastest growing segments of the cannabis industry. Not only did hemp CBD sales grow faster than overall sales at legal cannabis dispensaries since 2014, the global market is predicted to eclipse a value of $20 billion by 2024. Some estimates anticipate the hemp CBD market will grow by 700% through 2019 alone.

The short-term success of the market suggests these projections have some merit. In 2014, the global market was worth about $108 million. By 2018, that number had ballooned to $1.34 billion. Moreover, the growth is expected to continue and even accelerate – Grand View Research projects that the global market will experience a compound annual growth rate of 32.6% through 2025.

While future market growth is largely dependent on government regulations around the world and continued consumer education, the boom in demand for hemp CBD products is a clear indicator of the market’s potential.

5. There are many Hemp CBD Products Available

Along with the growth of hemp CBD sales, producers have developed a variety of new products containing hemp-derived CBD in states that allow a variety of hemp products. Of course, there are hemp CBD oil tinctures, as well as hemp CBD vape liquids which can be inhaled using an electronic vaporizer in states that permit these products. Other infused products may include moisturizers and creams, sprays, foods, beverages, and even pet treats. However, as regulations evolve to catch up with the hemp CBD industry, it is unclear if some types of products will remain available in all markets. Infused foods and beverages, for example, have become the subject of debate in the U.S., where the FDA is working to craft the rules for the hemp CBD industry.

The Hemp CBD Industry is Constantly Evolving

There’s quite a bit to learn when it comes to hemp-derived CBD and infused products. Amidst an evolving regulatory environment, growing industry, and ongoing scientific research, there’s always more information for the educated consumer to obtain. These hemp CBD facts only scratch the surface of all there is to know about the cannabinoid, and as time goes on our collective knowledge will only increase. Consider hemp CBD class in session!