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The ABCs of CBD – helpful terminology

1 March 2022

ABCs of CBD – helpful terminology

When it comes to CBD (Cannabidiol) there are a myriad of different terms used to explain what CBD actually is, as well as how it’s grown, harvested, produced and packaged.  The ABCs of CBD – helpful terminology used when discussing the growing, harvesting and production of the end product known as CBD is important because transparency when purchasing a novel food supplement gives you trust in the product of your choice, especially when putting it into your body.

Where does CBD come from?

CBD comes from the Cannabis plant. Cannabis refers to the entire plant family, which includes Marijuana as well as Hemp.  If you didn’t already know, there are hundreds of strains of the Cannabis plant, and over time, different strains have been manipulated to be used in a variety of ways, including the extraction of the compound known as CBD.

What does CBD stand for?

CBD is an abbreviation for Cannabidiol, one of hundreds of important cannabinoids found in abundance in the Cannabis Sativa L. hemp plant.

The cannabinoids found in the Cannabis Sativa hemp plant are very similar to compounds found in the human body called endocannabinoids.  Endocannabinoids are naturally occurring molecules in the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) that help to regulate the body’s temperature, stress levels, sleep patterns, memory, pain signals, and so much more –  essentially, they help to keep your immune system run on an even keel.  

Which part of the cannabis plant does CBD come from?

Although the cannabis plant contains hundreds of cannabinoids, the two most important compounds are CBD (Cannabidiol) and THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol).

CBD(Cannabidiol) is a non-psychoactive compound extracted from the flowers of the Cannabis Sativa L. hemp plant using the supercritical CO2 extraction method. To ensure that all CBD products sold in the UK comply with UK Government Guidelines, the more controversial THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) compound, which is the psychoactive compound found in the Marijuana plant and can make you ‘high’, is removed from all CBD products sold in the UK. CBD is sold as a Food Supplement in the United Kingdom and is regulated by the Food Standards Agency (FSA), so any traces of THC found in laboratory testing of CBD products sold in the United Kingdom must be well within the 0.2% threshold allowed by Government Guidelines.

High quality CBD is all about nature’s healing powers and contains a complete terpene profile of nutrients found in the hemp plant, rather than any negative effects that could have if it contained large amounts of THC.

Full Spectrum CBD vs Broad Spectrum CBD vs CBD Isolates?

The ABCs of CBD – helpful terminology should also include the terms that are intended to indicate the amount of therapeutic chemicals present in the product, in addition to the primary cannabinoids CBD and THC.

Full spectrum CBD includes many of the cannabinoids and compounds of the cannabis plant, including negligible traces of THC.  Broad spectrum CBD contains all of the same properties as full spectrum, with the THC element removed.  CBD isolates contain CBD only and does not include any of the beneficial terpenes associated with the health benefits that CBD has become known for.

Full spectrum CBD products are known to work best when they contain all of Mother Nature’s healing properties which are found in the active terpene profile of the hemp plant.

Why are organically grown Cannabis Sativa hemp plants better?

The benefits of ‘organically gown’ should be self explanatory, however here are a couple of snippets which should steer you away from non-organic CBD…

  • it basically has to do with the soil the plants are grown in and the nutrients that are available to the plant over the course of the grow.  Anything which is added to the plant or its soil must also be organic for it to be classed as organic
  • organically grown hemp plants are free of any pesticides, mycotoxins or heavy metals
  • organic strains are grown specifically to boost the full terpene spectrum of the flower so when extracted the terpene profile within the plant is fully preserved.

The health benefits of Terpenes in CBD

The importance of terpenes in CBD cannot be over-emphasised.  Terpenes work in a synergistic fashion with other cannabinoids in the body and play a crucial role in producing what’s known as the Entourage Effect.  The ‘Entourage Effect’ basically means that terpenes, which mimic cannabinoids and produce similar pain relieving effects, may be amplified when the two are found together.

Plants naturally produce terpenes to both repel damaging bugs but also to attract pollinators.  They are what gives fragrance to your favourite flowers, from beautiful roses to the relaxing aroma of lavenders blowing in a gentle breeze.  They produce the strong scent of citrus from fruiting plants for example, together with the pungent smell of the cannabis plant.  Terpenes are major constituents of plant resin and essential oils extracted from plants.  They also play a key role in differentiating the effects of the various cannabis strains, including Cannabis Sativa L. hemp, which is the cannabis strain CBD (Cannabidiol) is extracted from.

The Cannabis Sativa strain of the cannabis plant is one of the richest sources of terpenes amongst all plants but they are also known for their anti-inflammatory and mood enhancing properties.  Terpenes are full of antioxidants as well, which we know plays an essential role in keeping our body and mind healthy.

The ABCs of CBD – helpful terminology – Decoding CBD content

If you are trying to determine the CBD concentration and what’s in a serving when you buy a CBD product, then you should consider that the strength of CBD can be easily misunderstood as it is sometimes explained in milligrams and sometimes in millilitres or percentage terms.  This can be confusing when trying to read and understand labelling, so to help you appreciate the differences here is a simple guide.

  • if one 10ml bottle is equal to 200 drops, to calculate the mg (milligrams) per drop you divide the total CBD mg (milligrams) by the number of drops
  • for example, 1000mg (milligrams) / 200drops (10ml – millilitres) = 5mg (milligrams) of CBD per drop.

The difference between Marijuana and CBD

Marijuana, also known as ‘POT’ is produced from cannabis plants such as the Cannabis Indica plant and contains high levels of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) which is the compound that can contribute to a significant ‘high’.  On the other hand CBD (Cannabidiol) is extracted from the Cannabis Sativa L. hemp plant which contains high levels of CBD but much lower levels of THC.  Extracts from the Cannabis Sativa L. hemp plant are totally non-psychoactive but contain a full terpene profile, including antioxidants and flavonoids.

The basic premise is that Cannabis contains more THC and less CBD and Hemp contains more CBD and less THC.

The restorative powers of CBD and the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

A simple explanation of the Endocannabinoid System is that it is a complex cell signalling system which plays a role in regulating a range of functions in your body such as temperature, sleep, mood, appetite, memory and general wellbeing.  There are three important components to the ECS: endocannabinoids, receptors and enzymes.

Endocannabinoids (cannabinoids) are molecules made by your body.  They are similar to cannabinoids found in the Cannabis Sativa L. hemp plant but are produced by your body and that is why Scientists are so excited about CBD’s potential, as it appears that by taking CBD as a food supplement and part of your daily wellness routine, may enhance your endocannabinoid system’s ability to fend off certain ailments.

Endocannabinoid receptors are found throughout your body and endocannabinoids bind to them in order to signal that the ECS needs to take some sort of restorative action.  The two main endocannabinoid receptors that are currently being studied by scientists around the world are CB1 and CB2.

CB1 receptors are mostly found in the central nervous system whereas CBD2 receptors, although can be found in your peripheral nervous system, are more concentrated in the immune system.

Enzymes are responsible for breaking down endocannabinoids.

When consuming full spectrum CBD (Cannabidiol) you are helping yourself to the healing powers of Mother Nature…

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