As I’m gearing up to release the best CBD balm you will ever use, hands down, I wanted to give you a sneak peek into our CBD. From the crop to your skin. So here goes:
Mountain Girl Harvesting is a company based in Colorado, and the owner happens to be a great friend of mine. Her crops are smaller, cleaner, and better tended than most crops, primarily commercial crops.
The CBD; It’s all about extraction:
For absolute newbies to CBD: CBD is a cannabinoid (one of many) found in hemp. The cannabinoid that gets you “high” is THC and is found in high quantities in different strains of marijuana than the therapeutic (non-psychedelic) cannabinoids such as CBD. Hemp has been a global agricultural commodity for centuries, though only recently have we embraced it for its many therapeutic purposes.
There are various ways to extract the cannabinoids out of hemp (called extraction).
First, the hemp goes through an initial process that produces something called crude oil. Crude oil is more than just cannabinoids; it also contains lipids (fats) and terpenes (water-based molecules). Crude oil is not readily absorbed by our bodies (skin or via digestion) because those fats and other molecules are bound to them in a way our body cannot effectively process. Those molecules are too big and strong for your body to breakdown. But that doesn’t stop companies from promoting “CBD” in their lotions and potions, so consumer beware. Crude oils won’t do much for you.
Crude oil is processed further using an extraction method. The three main methods are steam distillation, carbon dioxide extraction, and solvent extraction. Not all methods are created equal. Steam distillation is clean, but the high temperatures can damage and destroy delicate (and essential) molecules (like cannabinoids), so the final product is not as concentrated. Solvent distillation uses chemicals (like petroleum) to get to the cannabinoids and could leave chemical residues in the finished product, yuck. While proponents of this method claim it is clean, I haven’t seen compelling evidence to suggest it’s better than CO2 methods. CO2, on the other hand, has been highly regarded as the cleanest and best method of choice to get the most concentrated and unaltered cannabinoids out of the plant, while remaining the most environmentally-friendly method.
If you want a read more about extraction methods, this is a great article.
Distillate vs. Isolate:
The result of these extraction methods is called distillate. Distillate is full-spectrum, which means there are lots of cannabinoids in the product.
There’s a third level of extraction available that can produce a single cannabinoid from the many in distillate, called an isolate. If you only want to utilize one cannabinoid (typically, CBD), then an isolate would be the product you use. Skincare companies use isolate in their creams, but they are using them in such low quantities that the benefits, if any, would be negligible. There is also research supporting the use of full-spectrum distillate vs. isolate because cannabinoids typically do their best therapeutic work when they are together. So, by only using one cannabinoid, you are missing out on lots of potential benefits.
Brevity elected to go with a carbon dioxide extracted, full-spectrum, cannabinoid distillate. This is the absolute best product for your skin and topical therapies, hands down. Pro Tip: It’s about more than just the CBD, though. We made our balm out of some pretty incredible ingredients, and we decided not to add a single drop of essential oils. Want to know why? Stay tuned because in the next blog, I will talk all about that! Side note: Want to see the cannabinoid profile of the distillate we use in our balm? Click here.