Industrial Hemp vs Medicinal Cannabis: How much does your CBD source matter?

Article by Michael Williams, Skunk Magazine

Industrial Hemp vs Medicinal Cannabis: How much does your CBD source matter?

IN RECENT YEARS, the medical cannabis community has been buzzing about cannabidiol, a.k.a. – CBD, and its ability to bolster many health benefits while being free of an intoxicating, psychoactive affect. There are numerous conditions for which scientific and clinical studies have shown the efficacy of CBD as a therapeutic medicine: chronic pain, cancer, anxiety, diabetes, epilepsy, rheumatoid arthritis, PTSD, sleep disorders, and alcoholism – just to name a few! CBD works with receptors throughout your endo-cannabinoid system to fight convulsions, inflammation, and even cancerous tumors. 

CBD is non-toxic; it does not leave its users feeling drugged or “stoned,” rather it acts quickly to provide relief to an assortment of ailments. Today, we find CBD available in a seemingly infinite variety – anything from topical salves to chewy, salted caramels to top-shelf dabs – an ocean of possibility for the consumer to navigate. With so many different products, what is your best option? Educating yourself! You will then be able to make a well-informed decision as to what medicine is best for you.

How do those of us in the industry produce CBD medicines? We are left to choose between two main options for sourcing our CBD medicine. One option is to produce CBD as a byproduct from industrial hemp varietals that have been bred and cultivated for their vegetative or seed producing properties. The other option is to produce CBD medicines as a primary product from cannabis flowers that have been bred and cultivated for their medicinal properties – this second option is, without a doubt, preferred  because the quality of medicine is miles above what we can produce as an industrial hemp by-product.

The CBD that can be harvested from industrial hemp IS valuable, and it IS worth capturing, however, it pales in comparison to what can be produced from cannabis flowers that were primarily cultivated for medicine, not cultivated for fiber or seed stock, and processed for medicine as a secondary use. Hemp grown commercially for fiber or seed is limited in the amount of THC it can produce – limits were set to reduce the possibility of hemp fields being pilfered by individuals for its psychoactive properties. To be classified as industrial hemp, the flowers must maintain a THC level below .2%  – this low THC requirement prevents the synergistic effect of THC and CBD together. Furthermore – extracting the cannabinoids after having processed for hemp or seeds means the material will have suffered, causing an amount of degradation to the cannabinoids, as well as the terpenes, before we even begin to extract medicine from the material.

At Seed 2 SoulTM Farms, we choose to make our CBD medicine from cannabis flowers that have been purposed for healing. In doing this, we receive back everything we put into it. There is simply more to work with when using medicinal cannabis flowers. Within the CBD-rich cannabis strains we find anywhere from a 1:1 CBD:THC ratio up to a 20:1 CBD:THC ratio, with levels of resin being produced that can yield high quantities of medicine from a relatively small amount of flowers. Furthermore, these flowers, and the medicine they produce, are much more likely to provide a full spectrum medicine – allowing an array of cannabinoids and terpenes to work together, synergistically, to provide a greater benefit – the whole is indeed greater than simply the sum of its parts.

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