Cannabinoid Confusion |
Minor cannabinoids in the cannabis industry are severely misunderstood, as well as the overall effect it has on the endocannabinoid system. There is limited information on ratios/individual effects of cannabinoids on the body, but what we can gather from the very little information we have is; that cannabinoids work TOGETHER to give consumers health benefits. As researchers begin to unveil the secrets of cannabis, they categorize the different forms of extracts based on these terms: “full-spectrum,” “Whole spectrum,” “broad-spectrum,” and “isolate.” I want to take a brief moment to introduce myself, my name is Jack, and I have graduated with a bachelor’s in computer science, currently own/operate a Hemp processing lab located in Charlotte, NC. I have made it my life’s mission to become an expert on this plant and understand how it has helped many people across the world for generations. I believe that data is the last piece of the puzzle to solving how this plant interacts with humans, Specifically, data on user experience with different cannabinoids and ratios of cannabinoids (such as 2:1 CBD to THC).
Classifications of Extracts
To start, let’s talk about the differences between the classifications of extracts. I’m not going to go into too much detail on the different extraction processes, although I may decide to go into much more detail at a later date. Full-spectrum is the latest buzz word in the CBD space, and you have most likely heard of this when purchasing distillate. Many companies like to advertise that their product is full-spectrum, this in laymen terms means that “most” of the cannabis plant is extracted and is intact and sold in forms such as distillate and crude. Some critics may argue that distillate cannot be full-spectrum due to the lack of terpenes, flavonoids, and other fats and lipids. The argument is simple; distillation is the process of converting the cannabis oil to vapor with heat and then condense it back into a solid, leaving the undesirables behind, ultimately making your product purer. While most distillate is between 75-90% total cannabinoids (undesirables remaining), most extractors are not experienced enough with the process to get 90%+. A processor will have to know how to properly winterize and filter their product to achieve higher concentrations of cannabinoids. Again, I’m not going to go into a lot of detail on these processes, but you get the idea. If your goal as a processor is to make a pure product leaving behind the fats, lipids, chlorophyll, and terpenes, how can it be full-spectrum? This idea is where there is a bit of a grey area on claiming you have a “full-spectrum product.”
Whole Plant extracts
Whole-plant extracts are plant extracts that are processed less, leaving chlorophyll, lipids, terpenes, and fats in higher concentration. Whole-plant extract distillates do not exist, and if anyone tries to sell you something that is whole-plant extract distillate, they are incredibly misinformed. There are, on the other hand, ways to extract with a water solvent, which is called bubble hash and could be considered whole plant extract, more on this at a later date. Broad-spectrum can be in the form of distillate and crude. To achieve Broad-spectrum oils, it means a processor has either added or taken away a cannabinoid from the oil/ cannabinoids profile. Most of the time, processors do this to meet state and federal guidelines. When purchasing oil, you will see advertisements saying, “Broad-spectrum oil, No THC!”—showing that a lab has performed the necessary steps to remove THC from the oil. Many of these processes to remove cannabinoids are very costly and take an immense amount of time and practice. Also, to embellish on this idea, it is challenging to remove and isolate minor cannabinoids in scale, due to similar polarities, concentrations, and molecular weights of cannabinoids.
Isolation of Cannabinoids
Lastly, let’s talk about the isolation of cannabinoids. I’m sure most of you reading have heard by now, there are no benefits from CBD isolate, but there are benefits to full-spectrum products. The reason for this is because a researcher from the University of California released documentation stating that there are limited benefits from CBD by itself. Still, with a small ratio of THC, patients showed a dramatic increase in relief from PTSD to Epilepsy. This discovery has sparked interest from multiple different universities and research institutions across the world. There is minimal information on proper cannabinoid ratios and their benefits, or if isolation of undiscovered cannabinoids can offer benefits. It is up to cannabis labs to discover techniques on the extraction of cannabinoids and test their interests. To teach others and help get a better understanding of the benefits plant. Most labs are started with one goal in mind, to make lots of money and to exploit the cannabis plant for a profit, but this, in my opinion, is why most labs fail. They are not focusing on consumers. The cannabis plant has brought people together for decades, even centuries, and it is up to cannabis labs to innovate, make discoveries, and share it with the public at a reasonable cost so they can become aware of the possibilities and the future of this business and consumption.
Author Profile: Jack Sherrie UNCC Graduate and cannabis enthusiast.
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