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Whats In Your Oil?: Hemp Vs Marijuana Derived CBD

Jul 19, 2017 • 6:36 PM EDT
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5 MIN READ  •  By Michael Berger
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Derek Thomas – Analyst

So many debates around CBD oil. Its legality. Its health benefits. Which CBD compounds are most beneficial? Is THC a necessary element for CBD bio-availability? One of the fiercest debates raging within the cannabis community has important implications surrounding the future of CBD Oil. The debate is centered around the superiority of CBD Oil when derived from industrial hemp or marijuana.

Before we take a take a look at the pros and cons of each type of CBD Oil, a little background information is important to understand the intricacies of the conversation. Hemp and Marijuana are both versions of the Cannabis Sativa plant. Industrial hemp has very little THC, usually around .03%, but does contain an extractable amount of CBD depending on the variety being grown and methods used during cultivation. CBD’s encompass around 80 different compounds that interact with the act on body’s endocannabinoid system, providing many different types of health benefits.

So, what are the supposed pros and cons of hemp and marijuana derived CBD Oil?

The benefits of hemp-derived CBD oil are numerous. If grown properly, hemp CBD oil is more environmentally friendly as it has many more growing cycles (it grows much faster than marijuana) and is grown outdoors, requiring minimal energy and less water. Due to the ambiguous federal legal status of hemp derived CBD, it is available to patients that need it nationwide and can be ordered online.

The proponents of hemp CBD oil argue that, molecularly, CBD oil is not less potent once extracted. Furthermore, these same proponents argue that the highly desirable ‘entourage effect’ – or the necessity for all the varieties of CBD compounds to be present in the oil – is still valid in CBD from hemp.

The two largest drawbacks to hemp CBD are fairly serious in their implications. And they both stem more from farmers and manufacturers than from the plant itself. As previously mentioned, one of hemp CBD’s biggest pros is ambiguous federal legislation; which also ends up being a huge negative. Hemp CBD oil is legal at a federal level, allowing companies to skirt state testing that marijuana CBD oil producers are beholden to. This has led to companies making false claims about CBD content. In some cases, products have even been found to have zero CBD in their oils.

The second major con to hemp CBD oil is the potential for bio-accumulation of toxins, heavy metals, pesticides, and other unwanted materials into the hemp as it grows; ending up in the CBD end products. Hemp is incredible at phytoremediation, or soil repair, but stores the waste it pulls from the soil in its stalk. If the CBD oil is derived from hemp that is grown in dirty soil, then it will have these undesirable elements in it.

When it comes to CBD oil extracted from marijuana, there is at least one in-arguable benefit that hemp derived CBD oil cannot replicate. Some ailments that are treated with CBD oil do require varying amounts of THC – even in certain ratios – depending on the ailment. While these are often very specific to the illness, and the general health benefits of CBD oil do not need THC, hemp CBD oil is just not capable of competing here. Some also argue that CBD oil extracted from marijuana has more varying types of CBD oil or higher quality CBD oil. This is not true, and we will discuss this further in the article.

The biggest draw-back to marijuana CBD oil is its limited availability to states where it is legal. This is a huge problem for patients outside of the states that have legalized, and in some cases, can be life altering if the illness requires that the patient’s CBD oil contain THC.

Less serious considerations include the environmental impact of CBD oil from marijuana, which is often more energy and water intensive than hemp. Finally, marijuana still has the same propensity for phytoremediation and bio-accumulation as hemp, meaning that a dirty marijuana grow would still have undesirable or even toxic elements in its oil. While this is less likely considering a typical marijuana grow, it is worth mentioning.

What really matters:

groundbreaking study from Israel documents the superior properties of whole plant CBD-rich cannabis extract as compared to single-molecule cannabidiol (CBD). Published in the journal Pharmacology &Pharmacy in February 2015, the article directly challenges a sacred Big Pharma doctrine — the notion that “crude” botanical preparations are inherently low grade and less effective than pure, single-molecule compounds.

To summarize the article; nature makes it best. The more varying types of cannabidiol compounds found in the oil, the better.

And according to that same study, and an article published by, industrial hemp is actually just as capable of producing a full spectrum whole plant CBD-rich extract. The type of cultivar (or Cannabis Sativa sub species) is the most important factor that will determine if it’s a whole plant CBD-rich extract. Smaller factors include cross-pollination with nearby plants, growing techniques, and extraction techniques.

In determining what CBD oil you should be taking, here are the three factors you should really be working through:

  1. Determine what you are taking CBD for and what outcomes you desire. Do you need a higher THC amount, for example.
  2. Ensure you a buying a whole plant CBD-rich extract that contains most of the 80+ CBD compounds.
  3. Do your due diligence into the company you are buying your CBD’s from.
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Authored By

Michael Berger

Michael Berger is Managing Partner of StoneBridge Partners, LLC and Founder of Prior to entering the cannabis industry, Michael was an Equity Research Analyst at Raymond James Financial covering the Energy Sector. Michael has been featured in publications such as The Street, Bloomberg, US Money News, and hosts various cannabis events across North America.


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