Is Cannabis the Only Source of CBD?
Over the past few years, the legal status of cannabis and hemp has been slowly shifting throughout the world. Recent stabs at federal and nationwide deregulation from the United States and Canada have gone a long way towards cementing hemp’s status as an agricultural commodity rather than an illicit – and highly scheduled – substance.
Now, historic hemp producers have ramped up their cultivation, with licensed growers producing millions of dollars worth of crops every year. With the legal status of cannabis still under question in most countries, some CBD fans wonder if cannabis is the only source of CBD.
What Does CBD Come From?
CBD, dubbed cannabidiol, is the most frequently occurring chemical compound that comprises cannabis and hemp.
Hemp is a specific type of cannabis plant, known as the Cannabis sativa strain, that is high in cannabinoid concentration with less than 0.3 percent THC content. Under the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp was reclassified as an agricultural crop that can be legally bought, cultivated, sold, and distributed among general consumers. In the states, almost all legal CBD comes from industrially certified hemp, which uses careful extraction processes to derive pure cannabinoids like cannabidiol.
That said, CBD can also be derived high THC marijuana; however, these products are only legal in select states within the United States. Cannabis with more than 0.3 percent THC content is considered illicit in most states, as well as any CBD derived from it.
What Else Can CBD Be Extracted From?
Aside from hemp and cannabis, researchers have been looking into alternative plants and lab-made goods that CBD could be extracted from. Chemists have had the ability to artificially synthesize CBD in the lab for over four years, though the cost of it is prohibitively expensive and the resulting product is highly federally controlled.
Some chemists have claimed that they can synthesize CBD from hops and yeast, which can apparently simulate the chemical processes required for creating the cannabinoid. By manipulating specific strands of DNA, some companies have crafted proprietary CBD through complex bioengineering.
These recent developments make many wonder why anyone would try and craft CBD the hard way, through employing sophisticated lab technology. The simplest answer is that cannabis and hemp plants require a large volume of water and energy intensive cultivation in order to grow properly indoors. If there was a cheap way to produce CBD, it could mitigate the environmental impact of farmers’ pesticides and other externalities associated with cannabis production.