Natural CBD and synthetic CBD

Natural CBD and synthetic CBD

To isolate CBD solely from a plant is difficult. Whether the product is naturally grown or derived in a laboratory setting, to claim CBD content it does require laboratory intervention. There are various ways of manufacturing CBD as summarised below. The methodology will vary, so may the composition of the products and extracts. This in turn should be taken into consideration in the risk assessment of plant-based CBD products.

To derive CBD from plant sources the following extraction techniques are available.

  • Using liquid solvents such as alcohols
  • Supercritical fluid extraction
  • CO2 extraction
  • Oil extraction
  • CBD nano-delivery
  • Decarboxylation

Synthetic cannabinoids are manufactured artificially and are designed to mimic the DNA of CBD in the plant.

There is a growing trend towards synthetically derived CBD for the following reasons:

  • No reliance on weather or soil conditions which affect yield.
  • No intra batch variability.
  • Free from pollutants (insecticides or pesticides).
  • Scalable, no shortages.
  • Free from other cannabinoids and terpenes that are practically impossible to remove from the plant, all having their side effects profile.
  • Ultra-pure CBD (selectivity and guaranteed purity).
  • More control process in eliminating the presence of THC.
  • Synthetic CBD is produced under chemical process; it must be synthesised in a pharmaceutical plant which assures the raw material has been produced under the highest quality level possible.
  • Guaranteed no psychoactive properties. CBD is available in two common forms: (-)-CBD and (+)-CBD. (-)-CBD only stimulates the CB2 receptor (primarily expressed on immune cells). (+)-CBD has affinity for both receptors and has the potential to display effects similar to THC (psychoactive response). With synthetic you can carefully design the correct negative enantiomer (-)-CBD compound therefore being CB2 selective to guarantee no psychoactive effects.
  • Odourless; there are pungent smells from the plant – this is likely due to the presence of terpenes – and this will affect the taste of the product, therefore impacting patient compliance.
  • No risk of contamination of plant impurities using synthetic raw material. With plant-based material, other cannabinoids and terpenes can come through; these have been major issues (there are scientific journal summaries which outline these issues).

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