“Hemp extract” is a term that can be confusing. While there is no standard definition, it is generally used to refer to oils found primarily in the flowers and leaves (aerial parts) of the hemp plant. These oils contain the cannabinoids found in hemp and are used by many people who report that they experience positive results from their use.
The Benefits of Hemp and Whole-Plant Hemp Extracts
Many people integrate hemp into their health routine for a variety of reasons. Hemp extract can contain different portions of over 113 cannabinoids that can be extracted from hemp. Among the many benefits that people have reported are: a sense of calm for focus; relief from everyday stresses; help in recovery from exercise-induced inflammation; and support for healthy sleep cycles.
Research has shown different cannabinoids to be effective for many conditions, though government approval has not followed the science as yet. While some cannabinoids remain listed as Schedule I controlled substances, there are now FDA approved prescription medications that are made from CBD and THC. Additionally, the 2018 Farm Bill allowed for the sale of hemp extracts containing less than 0.3% THC, the cannabinoid associated with the “high” from cannabis.
Scientists have found that in many cases these plant compounds have an enhanced effect on the body when they work together, rather than alone. This is known as the entourage effect. Think of your body’s cannabinoid receptors as a lock and cannabinoids as keys. Each cannabinoid fits in the lock a certain way and activates it to do something. Combining different cannabinoids changes the shape of the key and how it fits in the lock, and therefore alters the way it activates the cannabinoid receptors.
The Difference Between Hemp Oil and Hemp Extract
Some people refer to “hemp oil” when speaking about hemp seed oil while others use it to refer to an oil that carries hemp extract. Oil from hemp seeds is primarily composed of dietary fats, which means it can provide benefits for skin but does not include all of the same plant compounds found in the aerial parts of the plant. These phytocannabinoids are found naturally in the leaves and flowers of hemp.
Cannabinoids are extracted from plant parts using various methods, including CO2, ethanol or other solvents, or even ice water. The resulting hemp extract retains a full range of the phytocannabinoids present in the plant, and depending on the extraction method, may also contain terpenes, and flavonoids – other beneficial compounds that are found naturally in hemp. This extract may be diluted with a carrier oil to make a finished product, or may be refined further to isolate specific cannabinoids like CBD.
Hemp and a Drug Test
Any full-spectrum cannabinoid extract may legally contain a trace amount (less than 0.3%) of the cannabinoid THC. Much like the consumption of poppy seeds may lead to a positive drug test for opioids, the consumption of certain hemp products may lead to a positive drug test for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) because THC is inherently present in trace amounts in hemp plants.
The underlying science behind the conversion of certain cannabinoids to other related cannabinoids when consumed is not yet fully understood. If you are subject to drug testing, we strongly suggest consulting your health care provider before consuming any hemp products. Individual biochemistry, the potential for the conversion of cannabinoids, and the possibility of trace, but legal, amounts of THC inherent in hemp products are all factors to consider.
The human body has a vast network of receptors, called the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) which has just recently been documented and evaluated by medical providers and researchers The purpose of this system is to regulate the body’s homeostasis — all systems working together to provide a stable internal environment. CBD and other cannabinoids interact with the Endocannabinoid System, helping the body complete its efforts to keep us in good health by supporting many of the body’s physical processes.
How will hemp extract make me feel?
It depends. Meaning, it depends on what your body needs. Each body is different, so everybody will have a different response. Since CBD extracted from hemp supports the function of the body’s Endocannabinoid System, the effect is personalized based on what is going on internally. Some people report a feeling of relaxation, while others note that hemp extract helps them feel focused. Because the ECS was discovered so recently, medical science is still catching up, and a real understanding of prescriptive dosing for addressing different symptoms with CBD is still being developed.
The best way to know how hemp extracts will affect you is to do your research on how a product was made, and allow for some trial and error. Because CBD production is not regulated at this time, it is important to choose a product processed in a cGmp certified facility with full traceability and testing to ensure product safety. However, it is also critical to examine any possible interactions CBD might have with pharmaceutical medications you are taking before beginning to introduce CBD into your daily routine.