Digitalis, extracted from Foxgloves, in 1785 is widely held to be the start of modern drug based medicine. Since then pharmaceutical companies have been on the lookout for active ingredients that could be extracted from natural plants, the active compound isolated and then synthesised. Currently, pure CBD is under investigation.
The new drug would then have to go through extensive clinical trials before approval by government authorities and allowed to be manufactured and distributed to health care professionals. All of this is of course to protect the end user, the patient, from exploitation by unscrupulous businessmen and possibly harmed by the consumption of poorly tested chemical compounds.
This approach is obviously better for large drug companies, who prefer using a specifically engineered compound, which can be properly controlled and reproduced, as opposed to chucking the whole plant at a patient and then trying to determine which of the hundreds of compounds in the plant actually works.
Herb, synthetic or pure CBD extract?
All well and good, but this emphasis on synthetic, single compound drugs has made big pharmaceuticals aggressively anti the producers of CBD produced from the natural plant, and to flood the information highway with disinformation against natural producers, who prefer a more holistic approach to the plant and maintain that the oil extracted from plants contains traces of the other cannabinoids which encourage what has become known as the “entourage effect”.
Scientific research has not yet been able to ascertain whether it is better to use a single, “pure”, isolated, synthetically produced compound or whether to use a more naturally derived product that contains traces of the many compounds found in the natural plant.
Pure CBD can’t be patented
It is theoretically not possible to patent naturally occurring compounds, for obvious reasons, but the way big pharma gets around this is to create a synthetic copy of the molecule which is slightly different from the original and thereby make it possible to patent their unique copy, with obvious benefits for the producer.
Does such a thing as pure CBD exist? Type in “pure CBD” in Wikipedia’s search engine and all you get is information about CBD in general and precious little of what actually comprises pure CBD. Does it become pure when it only contains x% other trace elements? Does it become pure when it is produced in a lab and the only other element it contains is the carrier? Does it become pure when it is produced from the natural plant only, with no synthetically produced elements?
How pure is “pure”?
It is possible to produce an almost pure crystal from natural cannabis extracts that is 99% CBD. When producing CBD oil from the whole plant, the end product will contain other cannabinoids from the plant.
In an interesting study done by Luigi L Romano and Arno Hazekamp and published by the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines, the various chemical compositions of the end products of various extraction procedures and solvents were compared. It was found that no matter what the process used, there will always be compounds other than CBD in a natural extract.
Pure CBD as an alternative remedy
In preliminary trials, CBD, the non-psychoactive sister of THC, has shown promise as a treatment for a wide range of ills.
These uses remain to be conclusively proven or disproved, but many are showing an interest in CBD for health. If a synthetic version is produced, it is by definition, no longer CBD owing to changes at molecular level. For now, the closest we can get to pure CBD is the 99% pure natural CBD crystal.