Natural vs. Synthetic CBD – Wait, What is Synthetic CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive compound of the cannabis and hemp plant, is more popular than ever.
Unlike the psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD provides a therapeutic alternative for people seeking relief from anxiety, insomnia, depression, stress, and inflammation without getting high. It’s widely used in numerous different types of wellness products ranging from oils to topicals, edibles, and even beverages.
According to data by Statista, sales of CBD products reached around 5 billion US dollars back in 2020. Meanwhile, CBD sales are expected to reach a cool 17 billion USD by 2025. Their report also states that vitamins are the most popular segment of CBD products in convenience stores around America, while balms and lotions piqued the most interest. Despite the popularity of CBD, it still continues to penetrate the American market.
Having said that, when people buy CBD especially for the first time, it’s important to get to know the types of ingredients you’re consuming. Not all CBD products are made alike, so if you want to maximize the therapeutic effects of this powerful cannabinoid, knowledge is your best friend.
Synthetic CBD does occur in some kinds of products out there.
As its name suggests, this kind of CBD is synthesized in a lab. In most cases, they can be using dangerous chemicals to make synthetic CBD such as bromide or even fluoride. If you buy your cannabis off the streets, from illegitimate dealers, and from the black market, these are places where you will most likely come across fake and synthetic CBD.
Additionally, synthetic CBD is considered an Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API), which is made to be chemically identical to hemp-derived CBD, which is natural. It takes on a crystalline powder form, similar to many CBD isolates sold in the market, and sometimes they are added to carrier oils. Other API products are pharmaceutical drugs, which are regulated and designed to be stable for human consumption. However, there really is no way to tell if the synthetic CBD you are consuming is safe; it will likely have some side effects just like other pharmaceutical drugs.
Be wary of synthetic CBD; better yet, avoid it. Synthetic cannabinoids including CBD can be dangerous and pose serious health risks including increased heart rate, seizures, vomiting, and even death. Because they are cheaper to make and malicious dealers and manufacturers can make a quick buck out of selling synthetic CBD, there is still a proliferation of these out there, so consumers have to make a conscious, data-driven decision. The FDA still has not come up with regulations to oversee the sale of CBD products, which is dangerous.
Some states ban the sale of synthetic CBD but that has not stopped illegal dealers from selling them.
There are also some reasons why people fall for fake CBD products: they are sold at extremely low prices, they tout tall promises of being able to treat all health conditions, and they have claims that they can’t be detected in drug tests. If you have tried CBD products that meet all these conditions, you may have been duped.
What you want to be consuming is natural CBD derived from the hemp plant.
Natural CBD is manufactured through a variety of processes involving oils and CO2 extraction among others. Depending on the desired end product, CBD may be processed even further to result in broad or full-spectrum CBD, capsules, tinctures, topicals, or edibles. There are also high-CBD strains that consumers can smoke or vape.
Aside from the health benefits we mentioned earlier, many people consume CBD as a means of supporting overall wellness and immunity. It can be taken in capsule form just like the rest of your vitamins and supplements daily, to give your immune system a boost, fight oxidation and inflammation. Not only is authentic, natural CBD safe to take every day, but it’s also the best way to make the most of its therapeutic benefits.
How To Tell The Difference
The best way to tell if the CBD you are consuming is natural or synthetic is to read the labels.
While there are some products that will openly indicate that they are using synthetic CBD, most do not. It isn’t surprising that many synthetic CBD manufacturers will try to disguise their product. Look for a Certificate of Analysis (COA), which is a test conducted by independent third-party labs verifying its ingredients and authenticity. Many reputable brands out there display a COA on their product, which consumers can access simply by scanning the QR code using your smartphone. Some retailers also show the COA on their websites. It’s also good to note that since the FDA doesn’t regulate CBD products, the presence of a COA is your best bet to determining the authenticity of the product.
You will also want to research the brand or company that is selling the product before you buy. In addition, check out the cannabinoid profile of the CBD product. An authentic broad or full-spectrum CBD product would normally list other cannabinoids in its ingredients including CBC, CBN, or CBDA.
Furthermore, legitimate companies will provide you with information about the CBD product such as where the hemp was grown, and their website can tell you details about the certification, processes, and ingredients used to give their customers peace of mind. When it comes to CBD oils, many of them use a carrier oil which is acceptable, not necessarily a dubious ingredient.
We hope this information has armed you with the knowledge you need to buy CBD products conscientiously. Remember, just because a product is sold as CBD doesn’t mean that it actually is real CBD: doing your homework is essential.