Unpacking CBD: An Ingredient Breakdown

CBD — cannabidiol — is arguably the hottest ingredient in beauty right now.
Derived from the hemp plant, the ingredient is everywhere, from wellness tinctures to skin-care products to lubricant. But not all products that market with hemp ingredients actually contain CBD, so WWD asked Ryan Lewis, chief executive officer of Global Cannabinoids (a business-to-business CBD supplier) for a breakdown of common cannabis ingredients.
Most companies are asking for full spectrum or THC-free CBD, he said, and combining those products with others with the aim of providing anti-inflammatory benefits.
"Since many skin conditions of the human body can be related to some form of inflammation, CBD and cannabinoids as an added ingredient is without a doubt the hottest trend in the personal care and beauty industries," Lewis said, predicting that the trend will only become more pronounced as more research on the ingredient is done.
Hemp Oil
This covers any oil that comes out of the hemp plant, according to Lewis. It contains CBD.
"Cannabinoid-rich hemp oil is derived from the flower of the plant, which contains an abundance of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other medicinal compounds. The variety of hemp that the oil is extracted from will determine just how potent the hemp oil is. A hemp oil that is derived only from the flower will have a much higher cannabinoid and terpene profile than that derived from only the stalk, stem and seed. Stalks and stems contain only trace amounts of cannabinoids, if any."
Hemp Seed Oil
There is no CBD in hemp seed oil.
"Hemp seed oil does not contain cannabinoids, however it does contain all essential amino acids and omega 3 fatty acids and is considered a 'super food,' Lewis said. "Combining cannabis flower oil with seed oil is an excellent way to get the medicinal benefits of cannabis — hemp — with the nutritional benefits of the seed."
Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil
It means hemp seed oil, and also contains no CBD.
"Hemp is cannabis. Marijuana is also cannabis. The difference between the two is that hemp produces less than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis, and marijuana plants produce higher than 0.3 percent THC. There are two main varieties of hemp oil — one is naturally high in cannabinoids and produced only using the female plants. The other is grown for fiber and seed and produced using only the male plants," Lewis explained.
"Many companies who are risk-averse and formulating products with no cannabinoids have started to use 'cannabis sativa seed oil' as a way to cleverly market a basic hemp seed oil in an effort to capture some of the cannabis-seeking consumers looking for actual cannabinoid-rich hemp. Any product label like this most likely contains zero cannabinoids," Lewis said.
The compounds that give cannabis its smell and effects.
"Terpenes are not unique to cannabis and can be found in nearly all other plants," Lewis said. "Cannabis is unique in that it contains more terpenes than any other plant on the planet. Terpenes have evolved with cannabinoids (found only in cannabis) to be synergistic and more responsible for the way a strain makes you feel than the cannabinoids themselves."
"Terpenes play an important role in the way a cannabis plant makes you feel…Terpenes by themselves have proven health benefits and are most commonly known as 'essential oils.'"
CBD Isolate
A stripped-down version of CBD, devoid of synergistic compounds. This is what most companies are selling, according to Lewis.
"CBD by itself is relatively weak. You need all the terpenoids and secondary cannabinoids to achieve sustained relief in your body," Lewis said.
Full Spectrum vs. Broad Spectrum CBD
Full spectrum CBD contains THC, and broad spectrum CBD does not.
"Full spectrum means the full plant extract, which means the oil contains all naturally present cannabinoids, including THC, as well as terpenes. Broad spectrum refers to a cannabis extract that has no THC, but still contains other cannabinoids such as CBD, CBG, CBN and CBC," Lewis said.
For more from WWD.com, see:
The Normalization of Cannabis
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