Science is an ever-changing and eternally-evolving presence in our modern lives. Over the past few decades, there have been a sea of horticultural advances that have led to more GMOs and artificial lighting being used in greenhouses. How we grow plants is changing at a fundamental level.
It comes as no surprise, then, that we’ve progressed to a point where we can synthesise the many different cannabinoids found in the hemp plant in a lab. But, you may be wondering, how does synthetic CBD compare to the naturally-made version? That's what we're going to discuss today.
When you buy CBD, it's important to know what you're buying and what the differences between products are. We guarantee that all BeYou oils are truly natural, top to bottom, but you should still read on to learn how to tell the difference between synthetic and natural CBD oils so that you can be as informed as possible.
What is CBD?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of over 100 different cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. It’s commonly contrasted with THC, the primary psychoactive substance in cannabis. The quickest way to distinguish between them is that THC gets you high, while CBD doesn’t.
For our purposes, it's important to understand that cannabinoids like CBD don’t just occur in the hemp plant. In fact, our body has a system called the “endocannabinoid system”, which produces cannabinoids directly similar to CBD naturally.
This endocannabinoid system is really important! It’s found throughout your major organs, your immune system, your nervous system—just about anywhere really. It’s role? To monitor key parameters like temperature, pH, and pressure, and ensure these systems are all working at the right level.
But when was CBD synthesised in a lab for the first time? If it's naturally made in our bodies, then when did people realise that they could synthesise it for themselves? Well, it was pretty recent, to be honest! In 1965, scientists began to realise that they could create synthetic cannabidiol in labs. Let's take a look at how this works, shall we?
Recreational synthetic cannabinoids
Synthetic cannabinoids were first popularised for the purpose of creating legal highs. People decided to produce cannabinoids that were simply altered versions of THC. This was done because these individuals wanted to get around the regulations of banned substance lists and get high without the risk of fines or jail time.
These synthetic products, which had names like Spice and Black Mamba, were largely untested. Because of this lack of regulation, the side effects that these compounds had were often much more severe than those of their natural counterparts.
Synthetic CBD is different from these synthetic cannabinoids because synthetic CBD directly emulates CBD rather than having its structure changed. While legal highs from synthetic cannabinoids were being produced with little regulation, most synthetic CBD production is now occurring in accordance with health and safety practices.
Medical synthetic cannabinoids
Not all cannabinoids are synthesised in order to get you high. One of the most well-known medically synthesised cannabinoids currently, called Nabilone, is similar to THC.
Nabilone has been through copious amounts of testing, and it was approved by the FDA for medical use way back in 2006. You can read the full report here. This shows that when the appropriate process is followed, synthetic cannabinoids can be produced with good motives in mind.
The question remains whether naturally occurring cannabinoids and synthetic cannabinoids interact with the body differently from each other. BeYou always think the natural path is best with our CBD products. Let's take a look at why this is the case.
Synthetic CBD vs. natural CBD
You’ll sometimes see CBD isolates referred to as “synthetic”, although this is not an accurate description of what's being sold. Since CBD isolates can be created from both natural and synthetic sources, this just isn't a correct statement. While all CBD synthetics are isolates, not all isolates are synthetic. It's sort of like how all thumbs are fingers, but not all fingers are thumbs!
Synthetic CBD is an Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) that has exactly the same chemical structure as naturally produced hemp-derived CBD. The form it takes, as with most isolates, is a crystalline powder. Typically, this powder will be mixed with a carrier oil.
So, what makes synthetic CBD significant? The answer is that it acts as a direct analog of the original iteration of cannabidiol. This includes CBD-like compounds that are also found in the hemp plant, including cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) and nor-cannabidiol (CBD-C4).
The entourage effect with CBD
The argument against synthetic CBD, despite it appearing identical, has two facets. First, even if CBD produced in a lab mirrors the hemp-derived version, why wouldn’t you go for the natural option it’s trying so hard to mimic? We believe that natural CBD will always be superior for use in a CBD oil.
The second reason is even more important. CBD is one part of a whole host of collaborative compounds found in the hemp plant. These additional cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes have always grown together naturally, meaning that they work best when taken alongside each other.
This hypothesis is referred to as “the entourage effect”. It was first proposed by S. Ben-Shabat and Raphael Mechoulam, who suggested that hemp compounds work best in collaboration rather than in isolation. This natural approach is at the root of BeYou’s ethos.
Buy natural CBD with BeYou
Since synthetic CBD is cheaper to produce, we’re already seeing a rapidly expanding portion of the market made up of these products. As a hemp-loving community, we need to make sure we’re asking the right questions about what that means. Determining and accurately assessing the pros and cons of synthetic CBD is essential.
At BeYou we have faith in the natural properties of hemp. Our guiding mentality is a belief in the fusion of natural practices with scientific ones. At the same time, we’re always open to discovering new pathways to reaching our goal. Having conversations with you guys is what's most important when moving forward.