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What Is Hemp Oil?

With the marijuana industry now becoming one of the fastest growing industries in the U.S., far too many people new to the subject become confused when hemp oil enters the picture. Even the U.S. Government once showed confusion about what the difference is between hemp and marijuana. It led to a ban on hemp 48 years ago under the Controlled Substance Act.

It’s not hard to see the misunderstanding when you consider hemp and marijuana are both from the same plant. However, this is one of the only similarities. What usually confuses people is the THC levels in marijuana and hemp. The latter, hemp, has less than 0.3% THC, which can give some people the wrong connotations.

Take a look at how to distinguish the two, some history, and statistics behind hemp oil use.

Some History of Hemp Oil

Did you know hemp oil cultivation goes back 10,000 years, beginning more or less where modern Taiwan is? One thing the ancients discovered about hemp is how it helped soil quality. It basically conditioned the soil for easier crop growing.

Hemp plants also absorbed water when there was excessive runoff while growing crops. Thanks to hemp plants growing tall, it also provided shade for other crops and livestock.

Eventually, hemp plant cultivation spread to China, where the Chinese were the ones who discovered the medicinal qualities in hemp. In fact, the old Yin and Yang philosophy comes from the first understanding of what the difference is between hemp and marijuana.

 

Over time, hemp growing made its way into Greece and into Ancient England during the 1500s. Early America also started growing hemp, leading later to farmers cultivating it to aid the war effort during WWII.

It was the cultivation ban in 1970 that changed the entire view of what hemp could do.

The U.S. Farm Bill of 2014

Only within the last four years have things changed in being able to buy hemp oil. Finally, the government acknowledges there’s a difference between marijuana and hemp. The stipulation is that the cultivation of industrial hemp is done for research purposes.

Now you’re starting to see hemp oil being sold everywhere with the assumption it’s legal in all 50 states. This isn’t to say there still isn’t confusion about the legality issue, with some states attempting to shut down hemp products from being sold.

How Many People Use Hemp Oil Products Now?

Researchers continue to point out hemp oil is the most unsaturated oil derived from the plant kingdom. While it’s up to you to decide efficacy, you can see the potential health benefits when consumed.

Many people believe in this, and it’s why you’re seeing statistics showing people using CBD and dropping their prescription drugs as a result. In fact, a recent survey showed 42% of those who tried hemp gave up their prior drugs. Most positively, 82% of those who used CBD regularly say it helped them feel better while suffering from various ailments.

So how is hemp oil made to make it so effective in making people feel better without prescription drug side effects?

Extracting CBD Oil From Stalks and Stems

Online retailers of CBD products, like The CBDistillery, extract CBD  from stalks and stems of industrial hemp plants. This is a process involving either CO2 or ethanol extraction.

With CO2 extraction, you filter plants through a series of chambers that control temperature and pressure. Using temperature control and units of pressure, it’s possible to isolate cannabinoids at a 90% efficiency rate.

Ethanol extraction is a more thorough method where you get a higher volume of CBD oil. Through this method, you can also remove chlorophyll, one of many unwanted components in dried hemp. Chromatography is usually the next step to remove unwanted plant phytochemicals from the extracted oil.

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Cannabis plants contain naturally occurring compounds called cannabinoids. CBD, which is short for cannabidiol is one of the many cannabinoids found in hemp and marijuana plants and is desirable among those looking for relief from inflammation, pain, anxiety, psychosis, seizures, spasms, and other conditions without disconcerting feelings of lethargy or dysphoria.

Where is hemp grown?

As previously mentioned, cannabidiol products sold in the United States can be sourced from hemp or marijuana plants grown either domestically or internationally. For legality purposes, many CBD products (containing less than .3% THC) are sourced from industrial hemp. Fourteen states within the United States can legally grow and process industrial hemp and hemp seeds. These states include California, Colorado, Kentucky, Oregon, and Tennessee.

Many CBD companies source their industrial hemp grown with organic practices, but hemp, in general, is not a USDA certified organic product. Moreover, it is recommended that you choose a CBD product made from NON-GMO, pesticide-free, industrial hemp that is tested consistently for contamination to ensure safe consumption. When selecting a CBD product, make sure the company uses a safe solvent and a verified extraction method.

Extracting CBD from hemp

CBD can be extracted from marijuana or industrial hemp plants. For legality purposes, many CBD products are extracted from the stalks and stems of industrial hemp plants which are cannabis plants with .3% THC or less so they qualify as “industrial hemp”. Once cultivated, cannabis plants are lifted from the ground and brought to an extraction facility.

Ethanol and C02 extraction are two commonly used methods for extracting CBD and are two of the cleanest ways to extract CBD for human consumption. CO2 extraction, a popular extraction method typically used when extracting smaller quantities of hemp, involves filtering plants through a series of chambers that control temperature and pressure. When different temperatures and units of pressure are applied to cannabis plants, this sophisticated system is able to isolate cannabinoids at a 90% efficiency.

An alternative method is ethanol extraction which involves introducing the solvent ethanol to the hemp plant in order extract cannabinoids. Unlike CO2 extraction, you are able to produce a very high volume of full spectrum extract with this method. Ethanol also removes unwanted components such as chlorophyll from dried hemp when performed at very cold temperatures.

Once extracted, hemp undergoes an additional step known as chromatography, a mechanism used to remove unwanted plant phytochemicals from the extracted oil. Cannabinoids like CBD have a strong interaction with chromatography media, thus traveling slower than unwanted plant material like chlorophyll which has a weak interaction. Once divided, cannabidiol and other terpenes can be isolated and undesirable plant material can be disposed of. 

Many CBD oil products also undergo what is known as decarboxylation. This involves heating the cannabinoids into a form that allows the cannabinoids to immediately interact with the endocannabinoid system making the compound more usable throughout the body. When the extracted oil is decarboxylated it is converted from CBDA to CBD, thus removing the acid form so it’s readily bioavailable.

Once decarboxylated, the CBD hemp oil can be consumed directly, however it may not have a favorable taste. Instead, this oil can be mixed with a carrying oil such as hemp seed or coconut oil, turned into CBD capsules, or processed into a powder or slab isolate form for consumer use.

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