Article by Leaf News
Dear Herb: What is the difference between CBD from hemp and CBD from marijuana? — Confused, But Determined
Dear CBD: Excellent question. Everyone’s talking about CBD (cannabidiol) these days: it’s a cannabinoid with therapeutic applications, but it doesn’t get you high.
Adding to the excitement is the fact that CBD can be extracted from hemp, a variety of cannabis that’s been bred for industrial purposes and contains almost no intoxicating THC. It’s possible to grow large amounts of hemp outdoors at relatively low cost, so hemp-derived CBD looks attractive from a business perspective.
(For the rest of this article, I’ll be distinguishing between hemp and “drug-type cannabis,” the kind of cannabis that’s bred for its intoxicating effects or for medical purposes. So far, Canada’s regulated cannabis industry is mostly growing drug-type cannabis indoors, not outdoors.)
Back to your question: Is there a difference between hemp-derived CBD and CBD extracted from drug-type cannabis? I asked botanist Jonathan Page, who’s the chief science officer with Aurora Cannabis.
“At a molecular level, there’s absolutely no difference — they’re completely indistinguishable. In fact, if you had CBD purified from hemp and you had CBD purified from drug-type (cannabis), and it was, say, 99.9 per cent pure, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference,” he said.
But there’s a catch, explained Page. Cannabis consumers can’t go out and buy pure CBD molecules; instead, consumers can buy whole plant extracts that contain CBD along with other cannabinoids, odiferous plant oils called terpenes, and other natural compounds such as flavonoids. According to a theory called the “entourage effect,” taking all of these plant-produced compounds together might make them more effective than simply taking one compound (like CBD) on its own.