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Here’s a quick download on the fastest-growing sector of the cannabis industry.

The Lowdown on CBD

Image credit: OlegMalyshev | Getty Images

Guest Writer

Founder and CEO, MagicalButter

5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

What’s in a name? When it comes to cannabis’ powerful components—the kind of extract you’re dealing with tells you how it’s made, what’s in it, and ultimately where it’s legal to purchase. CBD is a non-intoxicating ingredient in cannabis or hemp, and most commonly sold in the form of oils, drops, or capsules. There are several CBD extracts on the market today, used in a variety of applications. Let’s take a look at them together.

Full-Spectrum

Derived from whole-plant flowering cannabis as part of a “full” spectrum of cannabinoids that include CBD, CBG, CBN, CBG, CBC, THC, THCa, and more. In general, if a product contains more than 0.3% THC, it can only be legally purchased at a state-approved dispensary. If it contains less than 0.3% THC, it is sold as a hemp product under the 2018 United States Farm Bill and is federally legal.

Distillate

Beginning as a full-spectrum oil made from a whole-plant process, the distillate is further refined to remove or reduce specific compounds, specifically CBD, CBG, CBD, CBN, and CBC. Used by patients with anxiety, epilepsy, and more, this extract of CBD is the most common. Currently, a THC-free distillate is the most expensive extract available for wholesale purchase.

Related: How to Start a Cannabis Business On a Budget

CBD Isolate

Without any additional cannabinoids to contend with, CBD isolate is ~99.9% CBD. Isolate is white and powdery, and does not include other phytocannabinoids outside of itself. CBD isolate prices have fallen rapidly in the past 18 months.

Nano CBD

Still CBD, only smaller! In this form, certain microemulsions are stable and water-soluble. Making it easier to incorporate CBD into beverages. Smaller particles may increase absorption in the bloodstream. Not all nano CBD is equal, and most manufacturers lack the science to support any bio-availability claims.

Fake Stuff

Now that legalization has made CBD accessible nationwide in the United States, plenty of scammers and fakes are looking to profit. If you purchase CBD from a gas station, a nail salon, or a friend of a friend, it might not be the real deal. Some counterfeit products contain traces of CBD suspended in MCT oil, but many don’t contain any cannabinoids at all. 

CBD is a dietary essential

Enough substantial evidence now exists to offer fundamental strategies for using CBD as a regular dietary supplement for pain, anxiety, nausea and more. Incorporating CBD into your daily diet and supplement regimen has benefits for people in all life stages, from young adulthood into old age. The human body comes equipped with a sophisticated endocannabinoid system (ECS), complete with receptors for CBD. Every disease known to humankind interacts with your ECS, and CBD is a natural anti-inflammatory that has been shown to have a wide-reaching range of healing effects.

Related: How This Wall Street Vet Became a Billion-Dollar Cannabis Success Story

CBD has changed the legislative narrative

Testing the waters with CBD has proved successful in paving the way for progressive cannabis policy in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and beyond. With legislative progress comes expanded access to plant-derived compounds for patients. That matters, because as intelligent, collaborative international policymaking around cannabis takes place, we can work to create jobs for farmers and local laboratories while reducing black market activity. 

CBD is a new alternative for long-term pain management

CBD’s non-addictive qualities are proving effective in assisting with the opioid epidemic we are battling in America right now. I believe that with expanded access to cannabinoids, we will see even more progress. “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential,” according to the World Health Organization, a UN public health agency. Their findings state that “no evidence of public health-related problems are associated with the use of pure CBD.”  It also helps with epilepsy, anxiety and “a number of other medical conditions.”

Related: 4 Leadership Lessons From A Female Extraction Expert

CBD legalization has kickstarted a wave of innovation

I have seen an explosion of creativity from all corners of the globe concerning scientific advances and commercial applications of CBD—and it shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. From collaborative efforts between growers and manufacturers (resulting in full-spectrum CBD vapes like Quill and infused IPA-inspired sparkling beverage HiFi Hops from Lagunitas and AbsoluteXtracts) to companies like GenCanna partnering with the University of Kentucky to design CBD-only strains, the message is clear: innovation is at the heart of understanding how to utilize this incredible cannabinoid. 

As GenCanna has grown from a Kentucky-based hemp project to an international offering, funding research has been at the center of their success. “Strategic alliance is a core principle of our company,” says Matty Mangone-Miranda, CEO. He credits working with scrappy, innovative teams as part of a long-term strategy for incredible success, stating “Our mission is to collaborate with the world’s best and brightest, and we are expanding our efforts as quickly as possible.” 

Nearly anything can become a CBD-infused product

From dog treats to trail mix, industrious entrepreneurs have tried thousands of applications for CBD. Why the rush to test, build, and invest? As the wave of innovation meets capital, companies and investors are beginning to make significant strategic moves in the market. By being early with products, and offering services you enjoy and believe in, the diligent entrepreneur can walk away with substantial gains in this sector. 

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