In this newsletter, pharm will take you from seed to sale and provide you with information about hemp and hemp products.
What is Hemp?
Hemp is a member of the Cannabis Sativa family that grows well in the Northern Hemisphere. It has been used for paper, textiles, and cordage for thousands of years. In fact, the Columbia History of the World states that the oldest relic of human industry is a scrap of hemp fabric dating back to approximately 8,000 BC.
Today, we are interested in Hemp because of its many uses, in particular because of its many cannabinoids, which are known to have a wide variety of effects on the human body. For instance, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana and studies have shown that CBD (cannabidiol) can help reduce anxiety and inflammation. Cannabis (and many other types of plants) also contains molecules called terpenes. It is believed that terpenes can work together with cannabinoids to produce an “entourage effect”, improving the effects of the cannabinoids and providing the therapeutic effects of the terpenes.
Generally, the name “Hemp” is given to cannabis plants with industrial uses such as seed, fiber or high CBD content, as opposed to its recreational-use cousin, marijuana. All cannabis plants are members of the Cannabaceae family and can contain a variety of cannabinoids (CBD, THC, CBG, etc). However, there is much debate about different species of Cannabis and where the species lines should be drawn. It is generally accepted that Cannabis Indica plants are shorter and stockier than Cannabis Sativa. They also have broader leaves with more serrations. Additionally, Indica plants are known to have dense flower cluster.
One of the reasons that the lines between species of Cannabis have become so blurred is human intervention. Hemp is one of the oldest domesticated crops, but years of breeding and manipulation resulted in the emergence of two varieties: one for medical and spiritual purposes, the other for agricultural, industrial and now medical use. Selective breeding has allowed cultivators to produce strains that have high CBD and low THC (the chemical that causes the “high” effect) levels, strains that are stockier and are good for producing hemp fiber, strains that are high in THC for medical or recreational purposes, and all sorts of strains in between.
Hemp has been identified as a potential new “cash crop” that can provide economic development to areas that have been suffering after the decline of the tobacco and dairy industries. Our company, pharm was started with this goal in mind. We are a small business that aims to bring prosperity to Trimble County, KY by promoting hemp farming, hemp products, and hemp education.
From Hemp to Oil
In order to remove the useful parts of cannabis plant, the biomass has to go through several processing steps. There are two main ways to extract cannabinoids (CBD, THC, CBG etc) from cannabis plants: ethanol or CO2 extraction. Ethanol extraction works by dissolving much of the cannabinoids, and terpenes of the cannabis plant. However, this method leaves behind some valuable plant material.
At pharm, we employ supercritical CO2 extraction; this is a process by which gaseous CO2 is brought to a high pressure and temperature state, such that it behaves as a liquid. The terpenes, cannabinoids, flavonoids, general plant waxes/lipids are dissolved in the supercritical CO2 and later separated from it by adjusting the pressure and temperature. The initial CO2 extraction results in what is sometimes called “crude hemp extract”.
After extraction, crude hemp extract is processed to refine the product. Through a series of cold-filtering, the plant waxes and lipids are removed, leaving behind a dark-colored full spectrum oil (see image with large mason jar) that retains the cannabinoid and flavor profile of the original plant material. Further separation processes can be run to separate the cannabinoids from the terpenes and flavanoids into a light-colored, syrupy liquid (distillate, see image with small beaker). Finally, each cannabinoid can be separated into a pure powdered form, called an isolate. Each of these products: full spectrum oil, distillate, or isolate, can be used in creating CBD products.
There are several different types of wellness products that can be created from hemp: hemp seed oil, hemp extract or full spectrum oil, and CBD oil. There are no standards for naming these kinds of products so different companies may name their products in different ways. We describe these products types here in the way that we at pharm understand them.
Hemp Seed Oil
Hemp seed oil is sourced from the Cannabis Sativa, industrial hemp, plant seed. The hemp seed oil contains virtually no THC, CBD, or other cannabinoids. Hemp seed oil is an excellent source of protein and also used as an ingredient for cooking. Hemp seed oil contains the same nutrients as fish oil, Omega-3 fatty acids and Omega-6 fatty acids. Added to your diet, it has many benefits for the skin, including cleaning and moisturizing the face, as well as calming rashes. It’s rich in vitamin A & vitamin E.
Full Spectrum Oil
Full Spectrum CBD Oil, when extracted properly, contains the cannabinoids and terpenes that were contained in the plant material from which it was extracted. This will include both CBD and THC, as well as other cannabinoids that provide additional therapeutic value. For full spectrum hemp oil to be legal per the Federal Farm Bill, the amount of THC must be below 0.3%. pharm Full Spectrum Oil, our New Hope formulation, will be released very shortly, so stay tuned for updates!
CBD Isolate Products
Products created from hemp-derived CBD isolate contain only CBD and do not contain significant levels of other cannabinoids. Our Wises Landing Formulations are created with CBD isolate and have no detectable levels of THC. It is extremely unlikely to fail a drug test when using a product made from CBD isolate, such as Wises Landing. To improve the effects of CBD, we have added some select terpenes that our research has indicated can further help reduce anxiety and inflammation.
Hemp seed, full spectrum, and CBD isolate are used not only in orally administered oils, but can also be infused in topicals such as lotions, balms and salves, formulated into vape oil, or incorporated into other food products, like gummies or treats. The possibilities are endless! The CBD industry is exploding with new companies and new types of products. We at pharm are expanding our product line to include an oral full spectrum VERY shortly! We will also be creating some all-natural CBD topicals. As always, quality is our #1 priority, so these products won’t be released until we are sure that they meet our industry leading standards. Stay tuned!
Why is CBD so Special?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of several different compounds called cannabinoids found in industrial hemp. While CBD is similar to delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), its effects on the body are much different . For starters, CBD does not have the psychoactive effect that is experienced with THC and may actually help counteract some of the negative effects of THC such as paranoia and anxiety . Currently, there is one FDA approved medication called Epidiolex® which is made with a highly concentrated version of CBD and is approved for the treatment of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome (two rare types of epilepsy) in patients older than 2 years of age .
There are pre-clinical and clinical studies that look at its use for things ranging from what are thought of as common reasons a person may try CBD such as pain and stress/anxiety, to exploratory analysis evaluating its effects on certain cancers and different neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s Disease . It should be noted that these studies and probing analyses are far from proving that CBD is a verified wonder drug for any and all indications. However, it is a very interesting compound, and its effects on certain disease states is being heavily investigated in the scientific community.
While the World Health Organization (WHO) has concluded that CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile, it is still exceptionally important that people do their due diligence . CBD itself can affect enzymes that break down other drugs in the body and can lead to elevated or decreased levels of certain drugs in the bloodstream in some people making it vital to discuss this option with their health care representative.
The quality of the product is also a vital factor in searching for a CBD product. FDA reviews have shown that most CBD products are incorrectly labeled . It is important that the company from which you purchase a CBD product is as transparent as possible. Some good things to evaluate are:
The company does not make any health claims on the packaging
The packaging has a clear and complete list of ingredients
The CBD and THC (if present) content is clearly documented
The laboratory analysis illustrates accurate CBD amounts and a product free of contaminants
Here at pharm CBD, we pride ourselves on being one of those companies. Quality is always our top priority. It is our mission to provide education about hemp and hemp products to the general public, and we would like to hear from you about what you want to know! Please let us know what topics about hemp, CBD, or other cannabinoids that may interest you. We truly enjoy researching and sharing that information with others.
We will be launching our pharm CBD New Hope Full Spectrum Oil very shortly! Our Wises Landing CBD Oil contains only CBD and select terpenes, and the full spectrum contains additional cannabinoids and terpenes. This spearmint-flavored full spectrum oil, named New Hope, was processed in house from Kentucky-grown hemp. New Hope Full Spectrum Oil is based in MCT oil, which helps increase the bioavailability. Stay tuned for more information!