CBD In Canada, What You Need To Know

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Full Spectrum CBD Oil

Cannabidiol or CBD is present in both varieties of the cannabis plant, marijuana and industrial hemp, although it is present at a much higher concentration in industrial hemp. Therefore, most companies specializing in CBD extraction use industrial hemp as their biomass of choice. When manufacturers of CBD oil products begin the extraction process, full spectrum CBD oil is the first product taken from the industrial hemp biomass. Full spectrum CBD oil or whole plant extract, as its name implies, contains the entire complement of cannabinoids and terpenes that exists in the particular strain of industrial hemp used for the extraction. To put it in simpler terms, none of the medicinal properties of the hemp plant are removed when extracting full spectrum CBD oil. This allows users of full spectrum CBD oil to take advantage of the “entourage effect” created when certain cannabinoids and terpenes interact. It also means that full spectrum CBD oil products contain THC, which can be problematic in certain parts of Canada and the world.

Broad Spectrum CBD Oil

Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is legal for medicinal and recreational use in all provinces and Territories in Canada, however, there are still limitations for those who opt to consume THC-containing products. For example, some employers still submit employees to random drug testing to ensure safety or performance standards at the workplace. Although the amount of THC that is present in full spectrum CBD oil in Canada is usually as low as 0.03%, it may still show up in test results. Broad spectrum CBD oil was developed to address this concern by removing the THC from full spectrum CBD oil products. The intent behind broad spectrum formulations is that the CBD oil in the products is purified of THC using a special process capable of removing only THC but leaving the other naturally-derived cannabinoids and terpenes in the oil, so users still have a product that produces the “entourage effect.” This is a bit of a falsehood, as the same process that removes the THC can still also remove some of the other other cannabinoids and terpenes present.

CBD Isolate Oil and Powder

CBD isolate is the final product in the extraction chain. When the extraction process is taken further than it is for full spectrum and broad spectrum oils, CBD isolate, or 99% pure CBD, is the end result. CBD isolate can come in the form of a power or an oil, both containing only trace (if any) amounts of THC and other cannabinoids. If there is any concern about the consumption of THC; for example, if there is a possibility of random drug testing through an employer, if the consumer is a minor or simply if the stigma of taking THC is an issue then CBD isolate fills the void. However, CBD isolate has been shown to provide less efficacy than both broad or full spectrum CBD oils.

How CBD Works

On the Canadian market there are currently CBD oils, salves, ligaments, analgesic sticks, creams, edibles and other products, each of them a delivery mechanism of one of the three main categories of CBD oil mentioned above. Because the main reason for using a CBD product is to gain relief from some form of ailment, different delivery systems are recommended for use with different issues to achieve the best possible result.

In order to understand why CBD helps with these symptoms, it is helpful to understand how cannabidiol interacts with the body and what actually makes it work. The wide range of beneficial effects of CBD are linked to one of the largest systems of nerve receptors and neurotransmitters in our body. This system is called the endocannabinoid system (ESC) whose name is derived from the molecule that is its single most important component, the cannabinoid.

Inside the body, specifically in the endocannabinoid system, exist two endocannabinoids anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). These endocannabinoids are an integral part of the endocannabinoid system, as they bind to cannabinoid receptors and essentially send signals back and forth between the receptor ends.

CB1 receptors are concentrated in the central nervous system, with their highest density in the brain, moderating things like mood, motor function, memory and pain perception. These receptors are found in other locations throughout the body and play a role in digestion, hormone production, cardiovascular health and pregnancy.  When CBD is introduced into the endocannabinoid system, it is able to bond to anandamide and 2-AG and actually penetrate the surface of the receptor itself. It’s main goal is to increase or decrease the rate of neurotransmission to bring the receptor back to a state of homeostasis by calming overactive receptors and exciting non responsive ones.

CBD works in conjunction with CB2 receptors in much the same way. CB2 receptors are located mainly in the immune system helping the body maintain balance in systems that control asthma, arthritis, digestive issues, autoimmune disorders and inflammatory bowel disease. This is a short list, as CB2 receptors are active in many other processes. The goal of CBD in these receptors is similar to its role in the brain and central nervous system, leveling out the activity of overactive receptors.

THC has medicinal effects throughout the body as well but it interacts with the CB1 and CB2 receptors differently than CBD. Both CBD and THC are able to bind to the CB2 receptors but CBD only attaches to the neurotransmitters anandamide and 2-AG and uses them as a vehicle to penetrate the receptor, while THC is able to bind directly to the surface of the receptor itself. In some cases, THC activates pathways in the central nervous system, essentially stopping pain signals from getting to the brain. In this interaction, THC is not moderating the pathway but simply turning it on.

CBD Canada

Now that we have reviewed what CBD oil is, the difference between each CBD oil product, and how CBD works to affect the body, we can discuss the Canadian market in general. Because CBD is still relatively new, the market is commonly filled with falsehoods and misinformation, but careful research will help steer consumers in the right direction. There are a number of producers, as well as online and in-store retailers, of full spectrum CBD oil in Canada, but the number of those companies that are legally licensed to produce and sell is quite small. At this time, full spectrum CBD oil and all CBD products in Canada are regulated by the Cannabis Act. This is the same legislation that governs marijuana and all cannabis products produced and sold, whether they are a hallucinogenic drug or a holistic remedy. All producers and sellers must apply to the Canadian government to receive a license in order to conduct business, meaning full spectrum CBD oil products sold legally in Canada must be produced in a licensed facility from biomass that was grown on a licensed industrial hemp farm and distributed through a licensed supply chain. Because of this, finding the BEST full spectrum CBD oil products in Canada can be a bit of a challenge.

Some of Canada’s best producers of CBD oil products are unfortunately not licensed. Not because they are trying to be devious in any way but because licensing is extremely time-consuming, political and expensive to undertake. The government still contests that CBD and THC are essentially the same thing, stating that because they come from the same plant family, they must both be classified as a controlled substance to protect citizens from the unlicensed and sometimes criminal practices of the marijuana industry. This leaves out the good, small-scale producers who believe that full spectrum CBD oil in Canada should be treated the same way that it is in the US and other countries who have delisted CBD and deemed it a holistic remedy or a natural healing product. Government regulation has made it difficult and unviable for some very capable, high quality producers to function as licensed entities, and they are therefore not included in the legal CBD market, leaving consumers to have to further educate themselves about CBD sources. That process is already challenging enough with so much misinformation and misdirection by companies attempting to grab a “piece of the action.”

For example, some full spectrum CBD oil companies in Canada advertise full spectrum cbd oil that is THC FREE. As explained, there is no such thing as full spectrum oil that is THC free because the process that removes THC also removes other cannabinoids and terpenes. This should be listed and sold as a broad spectrum but isn’t because they are trying to compete for market share. Other companies boast on their websites that CBD is legal to make and sell in Canada. This is true, but there are licenses’ needed and the companies advertising how legal CBD is, don’t have them. Can CBD products be purchased at regular retail outlets and health food stores? Again, the answer is yes, but the full spectrum cbd oil or “hemp” oil that they are selling is not licensed to be produced, nor are they licensed to sell it. The government fast tracked licenses’ for dispensaries and producers that were already growing and producing medicinal marijuana, so the full spectrum CBD oil that you are buying there may not be the best either, it is just the only legal CBD you can buy.

To select a quality CBD product from a company that follows proper scientific processing practices, labels truthfully and has third party product testing available upon request, look for Canadian companies that already have full USDA Approval. Even though CBD has been delisted, the USDA keeps strict standards and demands continuous testing of products. They also regulate packaging and advertising so consumers know that what they are reading on the label, as far as content, potency and quantity can be trusted. It may seem strange to be looking for Canada’s best full spectrum CBD oil from a company that is regulated by the USDA but those companies are selling in a global market and follow set out standards and guidelines to be able to compete. It only stands to reason that their product lines can be trusted on both sides of the border

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