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Incredibly, CBD can be extracted from other plants besides cannabis and hemp. The discovery of non-cannabis CBD is poised to add a whole new sector to the CBD market. These products would provide all the same effects as regular CBD without THC and other unwanted compounds.
This would be a game-changer for regions where cannabis is completely illegal. It not only proves cannabinoids aren’t solely present in hemp and cannabis plants, but in terms of accessibility, non-cannabis CBD offers enormous benefits to consumers who may be subjected to regular drug testing.
What Non-Cannabis Plants Could Produce CBD?
All plant species belonging to the Cannabaceae family are capable of producing cannabinoids. About 170 species have been identified within almost 11 genera, which includes:
There are more plants not belonging to this family which still produce cannabinoids. One plant getting tons of attention are oranges. Research has found the molecular structure of CBD in orange peels is almost the same as hemp-made CBD. While we don’t yet understand how the two plants connect biologically, companies aren’t sleeping on the opportunity.
Non-Cannabis CBD Is A Breakthrough for Improved Health and Wellness
Formulating non-cannabis CBD products using orange peels and hops has become an increasingly popular method, even amongst international cannabis and CBD brands. Although their introduction to the CBD market is relatively slow, several companies are making strong headways.
Former NFL player Chris Hetherington is the founder and CEO of his company, Peels. Peels CBD oil is a certified THC-free and pesticide-free product and the 2021 Clean Label Project Purity Award winner. The company uses a process called Cyclic Terpene Assembly (CTA) to create a formula molecularly identical to cannabis- or hemp-derived CBD.
The terpenes from orange peels are combined with olivetol, a natural organic compound, and placed under extreme heat and pressure alongside another catalyst to produce the CBD oil. This method is also said to allow for better absorption due to the oil’s crystalline structure.
Hiro International, a company based in Japan, has been importing fruits and fruit juices since 1984. The company eventually found the CBD in orange peels from oranges imported from the U.S. was structurally identical to hemp-based CBD. So far, Hiro has developed multiple CBD cosmetic products, including hair care products, lip balm, body lotion, and make-up remover.
A spokesperson for the company, Ryousuke Koseki, believes orange-derived CBD will help expand the Japanese CBD market even further. Japan’s cannabis laws are stringent and do not allow any products containing more than .03% THC. “With Orange CBD, you get the same ingredient, same effects, and there’s no danger in terms of legality. It also provides a different story of CBD for the consumer that sounds better than being derived from the marijuana plant,” says Koseki.
Peak Health Center
Peak Health Center is an organization specializing in education and technology designed to improve human health. Many of their plant-based supplements include natural ingredients like Ayurveda. Through their work, the company discovered the kriya plant, a variety of hops local to India. Their scientists eventually began breeding the plant to produce higher levels of CBD and dubbed the extract ImmunAG.
A study by BioactiveCBD measuring the bioactivity of kriya-based and cannabis/hemp-based CBD products found ImmunAG showed significantly higher bioactivity levels. Peak Health’s hops-derived CBD oil is the only patented product on the market and is available in timed-release tablets, fast-acting MCT oil drops, and coconut oil used for cooking.
Non-Cannabis CBD Could Potentially Help Minimize The Cannabis Industry’s Carbon Footprint
There’s also something to be said about the potential positive environmental impact of creating non-cannabis CBD products using resources typically discarded as waste. Sustainable sourcing continues to be a hot topic within most industries, but even more so with cannabis. As more states allow for full or partial legalization, the role indoor grow operations play in greenhouse emissions has garnered some backlash. A study published in Nature Sustainability estimated growing an ounce of cannabis indoors is equivalent to burning 7 to 16 gallons of gasoline.
According to Jason Quinn, an engineer at Colorado State University and senior author of the study, “There is little to no regulation on emissions for growing cannabis indoors. Consumers aren’t considering the environmental effect either. This industry is developing and expanding very quickly without consideration for the environment.”
Hetherington’s company serves as a strong example of how the cannabis industry can utilize other commercially available resources to extract different cannabinoids. He commented in an article by Forbes, “Rather than using arable farmland or millions of gallons of water and toxic pesticides required to grow hemp, we found that we could use a byproduct of the citrus industry that was unused in the processing of citrus into food and beverage products.”
Non-Cannabis CBD Introduces A Legal Loophole For Areas With No Allowances For Cannabis Consumption
This is just the tip of the iceberg when looking at the effectiveness and quality of non-cannabis CBD. It’s only a matter of time before we see a push from consumers and businesses for exclusively THC-free products as non-cannabis CBD merges further into the commercial market space. While this certainly doesn’t mean an end to cannabis- or hemp-derived CBD, it’s placed a spotlight on how CBD companies worldwide can reap the benefits of cannabinoids without going against cannabis laws.