CBD extracts have become not only one of the fastest growing products in the hemp industry, but they have also become one of the fastest growing consumer goods in the United States as a whole. As legislation continues to become more relaxed and as producers continue to keep finding new ways of innovating, the popularity of CBD extracts is something that can be expected to perpetually increase.
Because the production of CBD extracts is a relatively new phenomenon, there are still many things that consumers—and even sometimes producers—are trying to fully understand. Fortunately, this well-researched industry is fully prepared to provide answers. This article will examine the most important components of the full spectrum CBD extract industry including its processes, its various forms, and how the industry works to satisfy consumer needs.
What are CBD Extracts?
The hemp plant is one of the oldest domesticated crops in the entire world. Initially, hemp varieties were admired for their usefulness in clothes, paper, and other fiber products. However, eventually it became known that the plant offers numerous physical benefits when consumed. While some individuals admired the psychoactive properties of THC, others admired the wellness properties that could be derived from CBD and other cannabinoids.
Cannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds that can be found directly in the industrial hemp plant. Currently there are 113 known cannabinoids in existence. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the most well-known cannabinoid and has distinctive psychoactive properties. CBD (cannabidiol) has much less of a psychoactive effect on its users but is still very highly demanded because of its potential wellness purposes.
As time has gone on, scientists have become more capable of deciding which particular cannabinoids to include in a given product. Similarly, and just as importantly, they have also learned how to control which cannabinoids are excluded as well. CBD extracts are products that come straight from the industrial hemp plant and focus on achieving optimal levels of CBD. CBD extracts come in many different forms and can be used for both wellness and recreational purposes.
Fractional distillation is a process that begins by taking the hemp plant (in the form of hemp) and turning into a liquid form. Because the various cannabinoids that can be found throughout the liquid have different boiling points, the mixture will then be gradually heated up in an effort to separate them. Then, once these cannabinoids—or in this case, fractions—have been successfully separated from one another, producers will have be able to deliberately make products with various combinations of cannabinoids.
Isolates versus Distillates
An isolate is a hemp product that attempts to focus on one cannabinoid in particular. Distillates, on the other hand, may include many different cannabinoids. For example, in the recreational marijuana industry, consumers frequently look for products with the highest levels of THC they can possibly find. THC isolates are particularly concerned with purity. As time has gone on, producers have come closer to yielding the pure THC molecule in isolation.
Similarly, CBD focus on maximizing levels of CBD to the greatest extent that they possibly can. Though other cannabinoids, such as CBN or CBC, may still be found in these isolates to some degree, their effect is minimal and their presence is not a primary focus. Isolates are considered particularly valuable for individuals who may be just starting out using hemp extracts and want to know which cannabinoids can best satisfy their needs.
THC Free Distillates
Due to their comparatively high costs, 100% THC-free distillates are usually not the most popular. However, for individuals who believe that the absence of THC is the most important quality you will find in a hemp extract, THC-free distillates may be exactly what they are looking for. Though the amount of THC that you will find in CBD isolates and other variations of non-THC hemp extracts will usually be quite low, it will still likely be present to at least some extent. THC-free distillates require a few extra steps in the distillation process in order to make sure that the cannabinoid is completely removed.
Full Spectrum Distillates
Over the past few years, full spectrum distillates have been increasing in popularity at a tremendous rate. The producers of full spectrum distillates—which contain a “full spectrum” of complementing cannabinoids—realize that each of the 113 known cannabinoids has distinctive properties. Consequently, when different combinations of these cannabinoids are used, consumers can experience a wider range of benefits.
There are many different ratios of full spectrum distillates that are currently available. Some will focus on THC as the primary cannabinoid while CBD, CBN, and CBC are included only for the sake of enhancement. Others will feature CBD as the base ingredient and include a variety of other non-psychoactive cannabinoids. Though it is possible to create a full spectrum distillate with minimal levels of CBD and THC, at least one of these cannabinoids will almost always play an important role. CBD, generally, is the cannabinoid that is considered to be the most important.
Regulation of the hemp industry originally began at the federal level. However, numerous different local initiatives have gradually caused the regulation of these industries to be shifted to state-level decision makers. Whether the product you are considering buying contains THC, CBD, or any other active ingredients, it is important to be aware of the laws that will directly affect you.
In general, marijuana based products that contain significant levels of THC are typically subject to the widest range of legal restrictions. Currently, only 9 states (AK, WA, OR, CA, NV, CO, ME, MA, and VT) allow the recreational consumption of THC-heavy strains. Several additional states allow the consumption of THC-heavy marijuana for medical use. Full spectrum extracts and other low-THC, hemp-based, products are currently legal in a much wider range of states. For the time being, this means that the number of farmers will be allowed to grow hemp will be greater than the number of farmers who are allowed to grow marijuana.
There are many different potential benefits of choosing full spectrum distillates and numerous reasons why more people have been choosing these distillates over comparable alternatives.
- Full spectrum distillates offer users the benefit of the “entourage effect” which makes the sum of the product more valuable than its individual components
- Full spectrum distillates usually have an acceptably low level of THC, meaning they can often avoid expensive or restrictive regulations
- Full spectrum distillates cost less than hemp extracts that are 100% THC free, meaning that they can be more reasonably accessed by consumers
Overall, the future of the full spectrum distillate industry is something that seems to be quite bright. As time goes on, scientists, farmers, and distributors will continue to refine their skills and will be able to offer consumers a much wider range of options.