R&B’s CBD Explainer Series #1

There’s a lot of duff information out there!

A lot of people in FMCG marketing and innovation are interested in understanding more about CBD. But, surprise surprise, you can’t believe a lot of what you read on the Internet: Intentionally or otherwise (eh, intentionally) there’s a lot of duff information out there. This leads to confusion. As an agency actually developing CBD propositions we’ve had to understand the nuts and bolts of the compound, and get to grips with the rapidly emerging marketplace for CBD products. Based on our recent experiences, and without any particular axe to grind,  R&B hereby presents a short series of articles opening up the world of CBD. The first and most obvious question, and the subject of this piece: What is CBD?

Essential background

We’re going to define and explain CBD. But first of all, to help clear up some of the confusion, let’s talk about some common terms associated with the world of Cannabis. We’re all familiar with words like Weed, Pot, Ganja, and Herb. These are all slang words, traditionally used by people smoking and / or ingesting Cannabis for recreational or medicinal purposes. These terms refer to the dried parts of the plant, once processed for use. Although its etymology isn’t clear, Marijuana is also a socially constructed word –  one carrying negative and some say racist overtones. Nevertheless, it is the name most commonly describing the strain of the Cannabis plant cultivated for use as a drug.

CBD is extracted from the Cannabis plant

The Cannabis plant has historically been cultivated for drug use, the ‘Marijuana strain’, and for industrial use, the ‘Hemp Strain’. Both plants naturally contain Cannabinoids. There are more than 100 related Cannabinoid compounds in the Cannabis plant, including Cannabinol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Because the Marijuana strain of the cannabis plant was bred for drug use, it’s no surprise to find that it yields a higher proportion of THC than Hemp, the industrial cousin.

CBD won’t make you high

THC is a psychoactive or psychotropic cannabinoid: THC is a chemical substance that changes brain function, resulting in alterations in perception, mood, consciousness, cognition, or behavior. Psychoactive substances, including THC, have been used medically and recreationally to purposefully improve performance or alter consciousness. CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid. It won’t make you high. But it does have other physiological effects, which we’ll cover in the next article – Why is CBD such a hot topic?

How is Hemp derived CBD different from Marijuana derived CBD?

This is important to understanding the CBD market.

CBD is CBD: The compound is identical whether it’s derived from Hemp or Marijuana plants. However, when CBD producers and consumers refer to CBD products – such as oils or tinctures – they are often talking about ‘Full Spectrum’ CBD. Full Spectrum (or whole plant) CBD products contain not only Cannabidiol, but also many other Cannabinoids – including THC. CBD products derived from Marijuana will contain significant THC content. Such products are available in the US but are still tightly controlled.  CBD products, legally derived from Hemp, have negligible THC content and are freely available across all US States.

Why is CBD such a hot topic?

Congress passed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (better known as The Farm Bill). This law recognised a new category of cannabis classified as “hemp” – defined as cannabis & derivatives (including CBD oils, tinctures etc.) with no more than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis. The Farm Bill removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act. This has paved the way for the commercialisation of Hemp derived CBD products. In the next article – coming on Friday – we’ll discuss the emergence and rapid growth of Hemp-derived CBD led by the US market.

What is CBD?

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