The popularity of CBD oil has been growing exponentially in recent years. Many people are happy to use CBD oil and related products without knowing exactly where it comes from. But there’s always a curious group of people who always want to know more about CBD. One of the common questions these people ask is “what is CBD oil made from?”
Most of the CBD oil we consume comes from the hemp plant, part of the cannabis genus. Cannabis is an annual plant with two distinct classifications: cannabis indica and cannabis sativa. Hemp is one of the most common and well-known variants of the sativa species. Because the indica and sativa plants come from the same genus they share certain traits, but they are also very different.
Almost all CBD oil is derived from the hemp plant – including all of the CBD products we sell at Supreme CBD. This is to ensure the products are within the legal limit for THC content in the UK. It’s important to know the source of any CBD products your purchase in order to be sure you are on the right side of the law.
Before we look more closely at the process for extracting CBD from the hemp plant and making it in into an oil, here's what you need to know about the indica and sativa plants.
The main difference between indica and sativa plants
Though the indica and sativa plants are both part of the genus cannabis, they are different in physical appearance and chemical composition.
Indica is cultivated mainly for its high THC content. THC is the cannabinoid that gives you a 'high'. The indica plant can contain from 5% up to 35% THC. Sativa variants, meanwhile, have much less THC. Industrial hemp, for instance, contains little to no THC – less than 0.3%. This makes it suitable for producing CBD oil that meets the legal restrictions in the UK.
If you were to look at two fields, one growing indica plants and one sativa plants, the differences would be remarkable. Indica is short and bushy, while sativa is usually tall and skinny. Even the leaves of the two plants differ. Indica's leaves are broad, while sativa leaves are narrow and concentrated at the top part of the plant.
Due to its small size, indica is ideal for indoor growth and requires controlled conditions to thrive. Sativa, in contrast, grows in a variety of climates. It is hardy and does not require special growing conditions.
Growing the hemp plant
The hemp plant, a common sativa variety, grows to a height of two to four metres, and most growers favour outdoor fields. Hemp oil is used for cooking and contains more omega acids than fish oil. The protein-rich cake from the seeds is preferable to soy cake as a livestock feed as the cost of production is lower.
But what has enticed many farmers to grow hemp is the cannabinoid CBD, whose popularity does not seem like it will dissipate anytime soon.
Hemp grown for the production of CBD should have about 40 to 60 plants per square meter. For other products, they can be even denser.
The highest concentration of CBD is in the flower buds, but other parts of the plant, like leaves and stalk, also contain CBD. The seeds make hemp seed oil which should not be confused with CBD oil.
Differences between CBD oil and hemp seed oil
- Though there are several differences between the two oils, the main difference is in the CBD content. Hemp seed oil does not contain CBD, and if the label says it has it, it's only trace amounts. CBD oil should have the CBD content in milligrams listed on the bottle.
- The method of production is another area where the two differ. Cold pressing hemp seeds produces hemp seed oil. CBD oil has a more elaborate production method where you use a solvent or carbon dioxide to extract the cannabinoid. Hemp seed oil is light green to dark, while CBD oil is light golden to brown. The hemp seed oil has a more nutty flavour, while CBD oil is more grassy or earthy in taste.
- CBD oil has high amounts of CBD, and the common practice is to indicate that on the label. Any reputable company indicates the amount in milligrams.
- Production of CBD oil is expensive. As a result, the prices are always premium. If you encounter a product purporting to contain CBD oil but going cheaply, think twice. Hemp seed oil, by contrast, is inexpensive.
- Another stark difference between the two is in the uses of each oil. Hemp seed oil features prominently in the beauty industry, cooking and salads. You can find it in skincare and hair products. Hemp seed oil is rich in fatty acids and low in trans fats and considered very healthy for you.
As you can see, hemp seed oil is not the same as CBD oil. Just because a product carries a leaf on the package does not mean it’s CBD oil. Carry out due diligence and ask for third-party lab results to ensure you are purchasing a quality product. Also, learn to read product labels for a list of ingredients in the product you are buying.
CBD oil forms
Full-spectrum CBD oil
Full-spectrum CBD oil refers to an extract that contains the full profile of compounds found in the hemp plant. They include all the cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. Hemp-derived CBD oil contains THC, but only in negligible amounts.
Broad-spectrum CBD oil
This type has the same profile as full-spectrum, except for one cannabinoid – THC. Athletes, in particular, may opt not to take full-spectrum CBD, as it can potentially lead to them failing a drug test. But if they still want to enjoy all the active compounds hemp has to offer, broad-spectrum is an excellent choice.
Isolate refers to the presence of a single cannabinoid – CBD. When you do not wish to take all the active compounds found in the hemp plant, CBD isolates are perfect for you. They are also added to e-liquid to make CBD vape.
Read your label to understand the contents of your oil.
What the product label tells you
- Total CBD in the product – Written in milligrams, usually in big numbers on the front of your bottle
- Potency – The potency is the CBD in milligrams per millilitre of liquid. The total liquid will be indicated on the bottle and is usually 15ml, 30ml and 100ml.
- The label should also tell you whether it is broad-spectrum, full-spectrum or isolate. If it is not on the bottle, it should be in the third-party lab results.
- Another bit of information that should be on the label is the recommended serving size. Droppers come in two sizes: a 0.5ml or 1ml liquid per drop.
- Ingredient list – This list should tell you all the compounds that are in the liquid, particularly the type of carrier oil and any artificial colours and sweeteners.
- QR codes and batch numbers – When you scan the code, it usually takes you directly to the third-party lab results.
The bottom line
Indica and sativa are two plants under the same genus, cannabis. Though they share some similarities, they are very different. The indica plant is high in THC, which is psychoactive, while hemp is rich in CBD, which has no psychoactive effects.
From the hemp plant, we get hemp seed oil and CBD oil. Hemp seed oil comes from the seeds, while CBD oil comes from the rest of the plant. Though from the same plant, the two oils are very different. Always check the labels of your products to ensure you are consuming quality CBD oil. Learn to read the labels so as not to be misled by unscrupulous companies.