There is no grey area. Hemp is Cannabis. But there’s a whole lot more to the story.
We know it’s a plant extract, but what is CBD and where does it come from?
What is the journey like from seed to shelf? Richard Cunningham, PhD, sets the record straight.
Firstly, let’s clear one issue up before going any further because there seems to be a lot of misinformation out there. Hemp is cannabis, there is no denying it.
But there are distinct strains of the cannabis plant family, each possessing different properties, uses and benefits.
Picture an apple or a grape. There any many different varieties: red, green, sweet and so on, but the bottom line is they are all still apples and grapes.
Through generations of selective cultivation, different strains of Cannabis were developed, where specific properties were selected such as those grown to be more suitable in different environments, those which are more fibrous, and so on.
Industrial hemp, which is a variety of Cannabis sativa, is one of the fastest growing plants in the world. It has many industrial usages, such as in textiles, papers and animal feeds.
Differing from the stains of Cannabis sativa grown for drug purposes, hemp contains very low quantities of the psychoactive component Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in which strains that can be cultivated in the UK under Home Office licence have to contain under 0.2 percent THC, whereas in many US states, it is slightly higher at 0.3 percent.
Interestingly a recent publication from a research team from the University of Berkeley in California managed to bioengineer yeast to produce cannabinoids CBD and THC using only sugar as fuel. These yeast ‘factories’ in the near future may result in much more cost effective and environmentally favourable ways of producing desirable cannabinoids.
However, at the moment, we are not quite there yet. Today, CBD needs to be extracted from industrial hemp before it can be utilised.
Cannabidiol is a lipophilic phyotcannabinoid, derived from the cannabis family of plants. This means it is fat soluble.
It comes from a genus of plants called cannabis and a species called sativa, of which there are three subspecies: Indica, Rederalis and Sativa.