What is the difference between organic and synthetic hemp?

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As CBD becomes a dominant force in the nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industries around the world, an important distinction between products is emerging: what is the difference between those created from organic hemp and those made from synthetic hemp? Although this question may seem trivial at first glance, it is one of the most important factors in determining the quality of CBD supplements.

At Cibdol we are often asked this question. And all of our CBD products, from our golden oils to our liposomal liquid, are sourced exclusively from our bio-based organic hemp.


Let’s get down to business, what is the difference between organic and synthetic hemp? Biological or industrial hemp is a crop almost as old as civilization itself, and it has been used by cultures such as that of ancient China due to its fibers to make rope and clothing, as well as for its various therapeutic purposes. Organic hemp is a derivative of the Cannabis sativa species, and is commonly known to contain virtually no THC, the predominant psychoactive cannabinoid. That is why the hemp industry is mainly focused on producing material for industrial use, or for CBD oil and hemp seeds.

As more time, energy, and finances have been invested in ongoing cannabis and cannabinoid supplement research, the phytonutrient environment of plants has been found to be significantly more potent when all of its components are retained. For example, in addition to CBD, hemp contains terpenes, which are aromatic hydrocarbons responsible for attracting pollinators, as well as potentially providing numerous physiological functions when consumed. When CBD and terpenes work together, they seem to create synergies. This concept is further explained by the “entourage effect”, a theory that has revolutionized the development of cannabinoid supplements. Many believe that by retaining a complex of “whole plant” components, CBD supplements can be substantially more effective.


Synthetic hemp, as its name suggests, is not a naturally-grown, biological plant, but rather is produced by scientists in a laboratory setting. We can look at synthetic hemp in two ways. There are numerous synthetic hemp products for industrial purposes, and they can take the form of rope, bags, and other useful materials. Such products have nothing to do with CBD supplements or cannabinoids at all.

When most people talk about synthetic hemp they are actually referring to receptor agonist synthetic cannabinoids. Used by the pharmaceutical industry and in illegal activities, synthetic cannabinoids have emerged in recent years as a technological advance that is as promising as it is dangerous. On the one hand, synthetic cannabinoids can be understood as a potential response to the low levels of CBD that often appear in hemp. But it also has numerous disadvantages.


The US Food and Drug Administration, for example, has approved the use of drugs like Marinol, which is created from synthetic forms of the psychoactive cannabinoid THC. This medicine is used to treat patients suffering from a number of diseases. Marinol contains dronabinol, a synthetic version of THC. Despite the medical support it has received, Marinol is often cited as offering rather limited relief to patients, and has been known to produce unpleasant side effects. Many believe this is due to the lack of supportive plant compounds in the drug.

Furthermore, synthetic cannabinoids have earned a dubious reputation due to the increased circulation of illicit drugs. Unlike psychoactive cannabis, which has never caused a fatal overdose, many forms of synthetic cannabis such as “K2” and “Spice” pose a real risk to those who use them, possibly even causing death. Some of the known adverse effects of synthetic cannabinoids include feelings of restlessness, nausea, and a racing heart. Like biological cannabinoids, synthetic cannabinoids are agonists of receptors in the endocannabinoid system. These substances can hyperstimulate CB1 and CB2 receptors, resulting in some users being poisoned depending on the dose and other determining factors.

At this time, synthetic cannabinoids constitute the largest group of substances that is being monitored by the EU early warning system. Despite this, it appears that the use of synthetic cannabinoids in both Europe and the United States has declined since the appearance of these illegal drugs in the middle of the last decade. A study has revealed that the percentage of adolescents between the ages of 17 and 18 has been reduced from 11.4% in 2011 to only 5.8% in 2014.

Since CBD is not psychoactive, it is not sold as a street drug. However, there are still reasons for concern about the side effects and ineffectiveness of virtually pure CBD isolates, as well as other synthetic cannabinoids. While there is much speculation about what is true and what is not, anecdotal and preclinical evidence supports the idea that whole plant supplements are superior to cannabinoid isolates in certain ways.


CBD oil derived from organic hemp is presented as a potent, non-psychoactive supplement that supports sound dietary health. By consuming oils created from extracts of the whole plant, you can be sure that the worrisome side effects associated with synthetic cannabinoids do not manifest themselves.

Instead, when choosing which organic oils to purchase, there are some relevant factors that you should take into account. In order to isolate CBD, it must be extracted from hemp. Although there are numerous methods for doing this, CO₂ extraction is one of the “cleanest” since it leaves no residue behind and is non-toxic. At Cibdol, our mission is to be at the forefront of the CBD market, paving the way for novel and beneficial techniques to harness cannabinoids and create high-quality, golden CBD oils. All of our oils are extracted from whole plant material, including the flowers, to provide maximum potency. In addition, the products are carefully tested in our own facilities and by third parties, so you can be confident that your CBD oil meets the strictest quality standards.

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