We’re standing in a laboratory greenhouse on the campus of the University of Colorado Boulder looking at ten hemp plants that Kane recently procured for research purposes. They’re spindly, stalky little things, like gangling teenagers, a far cry from the lascivious crop that Hague had shown me. These plants, like nearly all hemp varieties, carry extremely low levels of THC.
Because it takes a significantly larger amount of hemp stalks to produce hemp oil, there is an increased risk of contamination of toxins contained within the plant. This is a result of hemp's strong bio-accumulator properties, where it pulls toxins from the soil it grows in. Many hemp oils are also known to lack the full spectrum of terpenes and other cannabinoids that are believed to act synergistically with the CBD, meaning that consumers receive less of a benefit. That being said, there are some brands that test rigorously to make sure that the CBD content, as well as the terpenes and other cannabinoids, are up to par. It's a good sign if they offer to provide a certificate of analysis, which will tell you what kind of compounds are in the hemp oil and in what concentrations
Typically, pharmaceutical companies making cannabis-based medicines have sought to isolate individual compounds from the plant. But Mechoulam strongly suspects that in some cases those chemicals would work much better in concert with other compounds found in marijuana. He calls this the entourage effect, and it’s just one of the many cannabis mysteries that he says require further study.
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