Your Guide to the Basics on Hemp and Cannabis
What is Cannabis?
Cannabis, scientifically classified as Cannabis Indica, is a medicinal plant that has been grown for centuries all over the world for medical and adult-use purposes. This plant is extremely versatile, with the ability to grow in a multitude of climates and produce varying amounts of beneficial compounds.
Even though this plant has been around for thousands of years, it has been outlawed in many parts of the world for over a century. Today, cannabis is in an upturn with many countries and states in the United States legalizing and decriminalizing the plant.
What is Hemp?
Hemp, scientifically classified as Cannabis Sativa L, is one of the first plants utilized in recorded history and was a heavily cultivated plant up until the early 1900's. With its very fibrous stocks, hemp was utilized for textiles, building material, paper, ropes, and ship parts.
Due to the heavy regulations illegalizing and/or restricting cannabis cultivation and production, hemp has been utilized for it's CBD production.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is the 2nd most prominent cannabinoid in Cannabis and the most prominent cannabinoid in Hemp. CBD connects to the CB2 receptors of the body and is non-euphoric (does not get you high). This molecule is known for it's wide array of medicinal benefits that include:
And much more!
To read more about CBD, click the link below.
What is THC?
Tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC, is the most prominent cannabinoid in Cannabis. Connecting mainly to the CB1 receptors that populate mostly in the brain, this is the only cannabinoid that causes the euphoria ("High") you experience. This molecule is known for it's wide array of medicinal benefits that include:
Analgesic (Pain Relief)
THC does however have side effects such as:
Paranoia/Anxiety Like Effects
What are Cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are the most abundant molecules in cannabis. Although most people think of these molecules as THC and CBD, they are only 2 of over 100 cannabinoids that have been discovered.
The most widely known cannabinoids are:
THC and THCa
CBD and CBDa
What are Terpenes?
Terpenes are Organic Compounds that deter insect predation, defends plants from environmental strains, are semiochemicals that communicate with other living organisms, and act as building blocks for more complex molecules like cannabinoids.
Terpenes are known most for their aroma. The pine, lemon, dank, and/or earthy smells are all thanks to terpenes. However, their main function is to interact with each other, and the cannabinoids present in Cannabis, to provide the medicinal benefits you receive. Scientists have since coined this interaction as the “Entourage Effect”.
What is Degradation?
Degradation is the process where a molecule breaks down over time through heat, time, or light exposure.
For hemp and cannabis products, it is best to keep the products in a dry and cool area. Any exposure to light and heat will degrade the cannabinoid to another form.
Also, it is essential to utilize the product in a timely manner. The cannabinoids break down over time and with negligent storage practices.
What is Decarboxylation?
Decarboxylation is the process of changing the cannabinoids from their acidic form to it's active form through high amounts of heat or combustion.
When hemp or cannabis biomass has been cooked or combusted via vaporizer or open flame, the acidic form of the cannabinoids (ie. THCA, CBDA, CBGA) are transformed into it's active form (THC, CBD, CBG). When the plant experiences this, the cannabinoid's extra OH molecule is broken from the molecule.
What are CBDa and THCa?
THCa and CBDa (Tetrahydrocannabiolic Acid and Cannabidiolic Acid) are the acidic (non-active) forms of the cannabinoids THC and CBD.
THCa and CBDa are the original forms of the cannabinoids that are produced by the plant.
Some studies have shown that the acidic form of the cannabinoids provide different benefits than their active forms.
THCa has shown to have the same benefits as it's active form THC without the euphoric effect.
What is CBN?
CBN (Cannabinol) is the degredated form of THC and is the only cannabinoid that is not created by the plant. CBN is formed after THC has degredated through time and/or exposure to light.
CBN has a euphoric effect, but it is a very "dull" effect. However, studies have shown that CBN can be a potent aid for patients afflicted with insomnia.
What is CBG?
CBG (Cannabigerol) is the precursory cannabinoid to THC, CBD and CBC. CBG is one of the primary cannabinoids produced by the plant and is usually synthesized to create THCa, CBDa, or CBCa.
CBG itself is a very unique cannabinoid, as it is the only cannabinoid found to connect with receptors outside the endocannabinoid system.
Preliminary studies have seen it's potent effects as an anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, muscle relaxant, and analgesic. Today CBG and CBC are the newest fascination of the hemp and cannabis market.
CBG is thought to boost Anandamide, the endocannabinoid that regulates mood, sleep, appetite, and increases dopamine levels.
What is CBC?
CBC (Cannabichromene) is the 3rd most common cannabinoid in Hemp. Aside from THC and CBD, CBC is the only other known cannabinoid that is synthesized from CBG.
In Cannabis, the peak amount of CBC is pronounced around 6 weeks before harvest.
Studies on CBC have shown some promising benefits as an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent.
What are Strains, Genotypes, and Phenotypes?
The plants in the Cannabis Species are classified based on their smell, shape of plant, and farm it derived from. This method has been used for decades, but now that more research has been uncovered, classifying cannabis plants by these measures have proven to be incorrect.
The proper way to classify this species is by it's phenotype, and genotype.
The Genotype is the plant's Genetic properties (ie. cannabinoid and terpene makeup), the phenotype is the plant's physical attributes that are expressed from the genotype (ie. the smell, structure, color, resin production, etc).
What is Distillate?
Distillate is a type of concentrate utilized in vaporizer carts, tinctures, and edibles. The consistency is more akin to pine sap.
Distillate is one of the new waves of concentrates, as it is shown to be more pure of a concentrate than it's predecessors. Though, with this pure of a substance, most of the raw material is taken out of the product.
For the full entourage effect, terpenes will need to be added back to the mixture.
What is Water Soluble and Nano Emulsion?
Water Soluble and Nano Emulsion are fast growing and popular hot words in the market today. The principle ideology around these two processes is to create a higher bio-availability (the proportion of a drug or other substance which enters the circulation when introduced into the body and so is able to have an active effect) of the cannabinoids and to create a revolutionary process to incorporate a homogeneous mixture of a lipid product (Cannabis) and water.
Chemically, a lipid molecule cannot be made into a water-soluble molecule without restructuring the chemical itself, so scientists have added chemicals to the molecule to present it as such. The method surmises that, by encapsulating the molecule in a surfactant (a process used in detergents and emulsifiers), the cannabis molecules are more easily absorbed in the body and can mix thoroughly in a water-based liquid.
There is very little evidence of this process's validity.
What is an Isolate?
An isolate is the extraction of a single molecule. In this industry, the usual isolates are in cannabinoids like THC, CBD, CBG, and CBC. The favored extraction method for this process is CO2 extraction.
The upside to this is to have specific isolated cannabinoids for the formulation of unique ratios or, for the hemp cbd industry, to create a product that negates all possibilities of THC being in it.
The downside is that all other aspects of the plant (ie. the terpenes, flavinoids, vitamins, and minerals) are removed in the process as well. Those items must be reintroduced after the extraction process.
Although there is a body of supporters that believe in just utilizing isolated cannabinoids, the majority of the community backs the theory of utilizing multiple cannabinoids and terpenes to induce the entourage effect.
What is Full Spectrum and Broad Spectrum?
Full spectrum and broad spectrum products contain the full or broad spectrum of the entirety of the plant, including the terpenes, flavinoids, vitamins, and minerals.
The favored method of producing this type of product is through ethanol extraction.
What usually separates a full spectrum product from a broad spectrum is the presence of THC. Broad spectrum products remove THC during extraction.