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Synthetic CBD vs Natural CBD: What’s The Difference?

Dangers of synthetic CBD

Over the past few years, the hemp-derived compound, cannabidiol “CBD” has become incredibly popular. It’s become highly tested by professionals and it seems like CBD is being sold nearly everywhere! 

The problem with it being sold everywhere is that there is so much information about CBD out there, and unfortunately, a lot of it isn’t the best information available. There is also so much to learn that it can be overwhelming. Should you be using broad spectrum CBD? Is there a best type of hemp to look for? What about synthetic CBD? Is synthetic CBD safe? 

We’ll break down the differences between natural CBD and synthetic CBD, as well as the dangers of using synthetic CBD. 

What Is Natural CBD And Where Does It Come From?

Natural CBD is what it sounds like. It is CBD which is sourced from natural cannabis plants, which is in most cases hemp. CBD is one of the primary compounds in the cannabis plant and does not have any psychoactive properties. This is largely why hemp-sourced CBD is legal in all 50 states. 

Natural CBD derived from hemp has the ability to have various other potentially beneficial cannabinoids and other compounds such as terpenes. Many professionals link the combination of these naturally occurring compounds to the potential benefits of CBD (Broad Spectrum CBD), rather than a CBD isolate, which is just pure CBD alone. 

Broad Spectrum: Endocannabinoids, Phytocannabinoids, And Terpenes 

Broad Spectrum CBD is CBD that has been extracted from the cannabis plant with all of the other compounds from the plant except for THC. That means it contains terpenes, essential oils, and other cannabinoids from the plant. Because there is no THC in broad spectrum CBD, it shouldn’t show up on a drug test.

Cannabinoids are naturally-occurring compounds that interact with your endocannabinoid system “ECS”. There is also a theory that all the compounds in cannabis work together, and when taken together, they produce a better effect than when taken alone, otherwise known as the Entourage Effect. 

The Dangers Of Synthetic CBD

With all of the talk about natural CBD, it’s time to change gears into something man-made – Synthetic CBD. We’ll start off with a quick definition.

Synthetic: Made by chemical synthesis, especially to imitate a natural product.

It’s very common for there to be companies out there that will try to replicate naturally occurring compounds, such as CBD, to cut corners and save money. These are man-made chemicals typically synthesized with either fluoride or bromide, and designed to emulate the effects of natural CBD and other cannabinoids. They are then branded as “just as effective” with “no side effects.”

There are plenty of news stories and studies we could quote here, but we’ll just leave you with this. In 2018, the FDA issued a statement warning the “significant health risks of synthetics cannabinoid products”. They linked the usage of synthetic cannabinoid products to “severe illnesses and even deaths” in several cases across the US. 

Is Synthetic CBD Legal? 

If the statement from the FDA isn’t enough to push you away from these man-made products, according to the CDC, most synthetic cannabinoids are illegal at the federal level. Of course, there are manufacturers of these synthetic cannabinoids that find ways to go around this issue. They will use shady tactics such as altering the chemical composition of the synthetic CBD to create “new” and “legal” compounds. 

Keeping tracking of the chemicals that are used in these synthetic cannabinoids is hard because these manufacturers are constantly changing their chemical composition to stay within “legal” thresholds. 

According to the CDC, some of the effects of synthetic cannabinoids include: 

  • Neurological symptoms such as irritability, sleeplessness, dizziness, confusion, difficulty concentrating, incoordination, stroke and seizures.
  • Psychiatric symptoms such as violent behavior, delusions, hallucinations, psychosis and suicidal thoughts.
  • Physical symptoms such as hypertension, tachypnea, tachycardia, chest pain and heart attack, severe nausea and vomiting, kidney failure, rhabdomyolysis and death.

Is Synthetic CBD Safe? 

Just say no. The dangers of these man-made synthetic cannabinoids are very, very real. It isn’t worth the risk, and you should make sure to buy natural CBD rather than anything synthetic. There are plenty of imposters out there that are trying to pass off their products as safe and legal. Make sure to find a company you can trust. A good start is finding a company that offers third-party lab reports to show what exactly is in each of their CBD products. 

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