With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill and the legalization of industrial hemp production, the products available to most Americans have exploded in recent years.
The law not only legalized the production of hemp for industrial uses, but also allowed for hemp derivatives to be sold, including CBD products, hemp oil, and more. There are, however, still restrictions on the THC content of hemp products at the national level.
While some states allow higher levels of THC in hemp products, not all of them do. So, for instance, CBD is legal in New Jersey in a slightly different way from Texas. It’s important to do your research on your state's laws regarding the different hemp products you might want to try.
What Is Hemp?
The first thing to understand is how the cannabis plant can be used in general, and the difference between plants grown with a very low THC content (hemp) and plants grown with a high THC content (marijuana or cannabis). The low-THC form of the cannabis plant is used as an industrial fiber, and its derivatives are used in healthcare and wellness products such as CBD oils, hemp seed oil, and more.
To get even more specific, hemp is a specific sativa strain of the cannabis plant. Only this strain produces the quality of fiber needed for industrial uses. One side effect is that these plants have very low THC content and are usually within the 0.3% THC limit set by the Farm Bill.
It’s important to note, though, that hemp oil products only have trace amounts of other cannabinoids as well, including CBD. For this reason, products like hemp seed oil and hemp extract are popular in states that don’t allow a higher level of THC in consumer products. We’ll touch on this more in a moment.
What Is CBD?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the “cannabinoids'' found in the cannabis plant. CBD is present in both hemp plants and marijuana plants. It can be extracted from either, and this is an important thing to look out for on CBD products. If you want to avoid violating state or national laws about THC content, make sure to check all the product information for CBD products you want to use.
Cannabinoids are a family of compounds that naturally occur in the cannabis plant. Some are called phytocannabinoids and these occur in the leaves and stalks of the plant. Hemp oil on the other hand is derived from hemp seeds. Most of the well-known cannabinoids are phytocannabinoids, including CBD, THC (or tetrahydrocannabinol), and others.
These chemicals act on receptors in the body in what's called the endocannabinoid system. That’s right! Your body also has naturally occurring cannabinoids and a whole system of receptors that respond to the compounds in cannabis. We’ll discuss the endocannabinoid system in more detail below.
Why Some People Prefer Hemp Oil
So as you can probably see, this system is rather complex and is still being studied. We don't really know how the endocannabinoid system works and the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to approve CBD as a treatment for anything other than seizures.
So, it’s important to know the health risks, potential side effects, and potential medicine interactions before using CBD oil or other hemp products. Always consult with a healthcare professional before using CBD or other hemp derivatives to try and treat health issues.
That said, the reported benefits of CBD are vast and many people find pain relief, relaxation, and calm by using derivatives of the cannabis plant. Still, some people want to experience the positive effects of nutritional hemp without cannabinoids, including CBD. This is where hemp oil comes in. Hemp seed oil is derived from the hemp seed which does not contain THC or CBD but does contain omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and other beneficial nutrients.
The Legality of CBD Edibles
The other reason people prefer hemp seed oil and hemp oil gummies to CBD products is out of a concern for the legality of CBD and THC. While most types of CBD on the market only have trace amounts of THC and are within the allowable 0.3% limit, some people may want products with no THC at all.
Different people react differently to each cannabinoid compound, so finding the right mix for you may mean a little exploration. Plus, CBD products are not currently approved by the FDA to treat anything other than epilepsy, so using them for health issues may be difficult.
The only form of CBD that is regulated by the FDA and is sold as “Epidiolex” and is used to treat seizures. If you’re interested in these products, a healthcare professional can help you navigate your state’s medical marijuana programs or find out which CBD or hemp oil products may be right for you.
Full-Spectrum CBD and Other Cannabinoids
On the other hand, you may want a little THC, CBN, COA, and all the other cannabinoids that have less-studied, but intriguing positive effects. Some people report experiencing an “entourage effect” where the combination of multiple cannabinoids (such as CBD and THC) produce better health effects than just CBD alone.
So, it’s worth looking into the difference between broad-spectrum or full-spectrum CBD and CBD isolates which only contain cannabinol. Broad-spectrum CBD, instead of being an isolate, is derived from the entire cannabis plant. So, depending on the THC content of the plant, it will have a varying level of THC.
One touted advantage of this method of deriving CBD is that it preserves the other cannabinoids that many people find useful. Still, these compounds have not been well studied yet and some people react badly to them.
Health Benefits of Hemp and CBD
So what are some of the positive effects people report from using hemp oil or CBD oil? The first thing to note is that CBD is considered more effective for most of these wellness purposes. Still, hemp oil is also known to help with pain relief and both can have an anti-inflammatory effect.
Remember, hemp oil is pressed from the seeds of the cannabis plant. So hemp oil contains only trace amounts of cannabinoids, if any, and won’t work much on the endocannabinoid system. Hemp oil, while it doesn’t contain CBD or other cannabinoids, is super-rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3s are a very healthy fat, also found in fish oil, avocados, and the like. Omega-3s support brain health and function along with a whole slew of other health benefits. This is why some people take fish oil as a supplement. You can also use hemp seed oil as a healthy cooking alternative.
The health benefits associated with cannabinoids are vast. CBD in particular is known to help soothe the symptoms of chronic illness in the digestive system. People who suffer from diseases like Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and other diseases claim that CBD and other cannabinoids can help manage gut motility (meaning they regulate the movement of food through the gut.)
More About the ECS
This is believed to be a result of CBD and other cannabinoids acting on the somewhat mysterious endocannabinoid system (or ECS). With receptors in the gut, brain, and central nervous systems, the ECS interacts with many different parts of the body. So, CBD can bring relief for people with many different kinds of chronic pain syndromes, people who suffer from anxiety, and those with inflammatory bowel diseases like those above.
Remember, however, CBD is only approved by the FDA to treat epilepsy. So look out for retailers who make additional health claims about CBD products. Or, research your state’s medical marijuana or medical CBD programs to learn more about treating various health issues with cannabis derivatives.
The Battle of the Gummy Bears
Now that you know a bit more about hemp oil, CBD, THC, and all the ways the cannabis plant can be used, it’s time to ask the real question: which gummy bear is better? IT really depends on what you’re using it for! If you want a healthier cooking oil, no chance of getting high, and a mild pain relief experience, hemp gummies might be right for you.
Plus they taste a lot better than a fish oil supplement. For those dealing with chronic pain, however, full-spectrum CBD gummies might be the best choice. IF you want the effects of cannabinoids like CBD, you’ll need products made from either CBD isolate, or “full-spectrum” CBD.
Thanks to the entourage effect, most people who use CBD in this way prefer full-spectrum CBD, which includes other cannabinoids. This sometimes includes THC, so pay close attention to product details and research your state’s laws and regulations carefully. The other factor to be aware of is the presence of terpenes.
Full-spectrum hemp products will also sometimes contain compounds called terpenes.And these are also added to CBD oil and other hemp products. So it’s possible to get hemp oil for instance, with terpenes added. The terpenes are naturally occurring compounds that are found in most plants.
In cannabis, they can affect the expression of cannabinoids and other compounds. So finding the right product for your needs also requires learning about the terpene content in addition to CBD and THC.
CBD Gummies and Other CBD Products
The other thing to ask yourself is whether gummies are the best way to get CBD, hemp oil, or any of these beneficial hemp derivatives. One big advantage of gummies is the flavoring, but these days there are CBD tinctures available with some pretty great flavors as well.
Some people also find that tinctures are a little easier to use at first if you want to make sure you know the exact amount of CBD you're using. Since you can use a dropper with a tincture it’s easier to tell. The other range of CBD products to be aware of are those that use CBD isolate. Unlike full-spectrum CBD oil, CBD isolates contain pure CBD, or only trace amounts of other cannabinoids.
The extraction process is different and CBD isolate products can be a great option for those who want the benefits of CBD with no risk of other cannabinoids being present.
If you decide hemp oil is more your speed, hemp gummies are here to help! One problem with hemp seed oil itself is that it doesn't taste great. So combining it with a delicious gummy bear is a great way to get your omega-3s and enjoy the other health benefits of hemp oil.
One interesting wellness trend that’s come up as more hemp products are allowed into the market is the combination of hemp oil, CBD, and similar products with supplements like melatonin. Melatonin is a naturally occurring compound that helps us fall asleep and it’s used by millions of people worldwide.
The explosion of hemp products lately has led to some pretty cool combinations, and hemp oil with terpenes and melatonin is certainly one of them.
How to Find the Best CBD Gummies
So now that you know what you want from CBD or hemp gummies, how do you find high-quality products with the right specifications? First, it can be a good idea to look online as many local retailers have a limited range of products. Plus, some products may not be available in your state yet.
Still, some local retailers have a great selection, and it’s worth shopping around a bit and getting recommendations from people in your area. No matter where you go, keep your body and goals in mind. You’re going to want to check exactly how many mg of CBD are in each product. If you’re avoiding certain sweeteners, check the labels for those.
It can be easy to get overwhelmed by the variety of products available, so decide what you want before you buy. Don’t be afraid to ask for help either, most CBD retailers are happy to work with you to find the right product, and these are only getting more and more tailor-made as the industry develops.
What to Look For In a Retailer
Getting the best CBD or hemp oil experience requires finding a reputable retailer to work with. This is especially true if you’re going to need some guidance in picking out the right cannabis product for you. Knowing you can trust a retailer to set you on the right path is important! So here’s what you should look out for when comparing options:
- Third-Party Lab Testing: Look for certification and testing by a third-party lab. This can help you confirm exactly what’s in the product, and will ensure you don’t get taken in by scams. Especially if you have bad reactions to some compounds in cannabis, make sure you know what you’re taking.
- Pure CBD: If you want pure CBD isolate make sure the retailer differentiates between this and full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD. Check labels to be sure you know what kind of CBD you’re getting.
- Bioavailability: You can also look for bioavailability ratings which are common for CBD products. These indicate how readily the compounds can be absorbed, so high bioavailability means you’ll experience greater beneficial effects.
Between hemp gummies and CBD gummies, there’s no clear winner. They both serve different but important purposes for the people who use them. This can be affected by your health needs, allergies, how you react to certain compounds or even the legality of different CBD products in your state.
The big takeaway is to think about what you want from the experience, do your research, and don’t be afraid to shop around. There’s a hemp product out there for everyone, and someone has put together the right combination for you.