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4 Things Hemp Farmers Should Keep in Mind During COVID-19

Hemp Farmer

For many hemp farmers, daily life during the COVID-19 pandemic presents unique challenges. The obstacles they face —from strenuous situations such as keeping the bottom line to the urgent need for implementing social distancing measures— are quickly becoming a new norm in the hemp industry. 

There are many resources available to help businesses across the country better. Here’s what hemp farmers should keep in mind during COVID-19.

Protect your employees by implementing safety measures

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has an entire section addressing safety guidelines during the pandemic. Hemp farmers can implement them around their farm, ensuring the well-being of employees and aiding the overall production. These are the steps they can take to get started.

  • Constant handwashing
  • Avoiding close contact
  • Covering mouths and noses with a mask
  • Covering coughs and sneezes
  • Cleaning and disinfecting
  • Daily health monitoring

Head over to the CDC’s How to Protect Yourself & Others page to learn more.

The CARES Act

The Corona Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law on March 27, 2020. It provides fast and direct economic assistance for American workers and families, small businesses, and preserves jobs for American industries. Legal hemp farmers are eligible to seek financial help under the CARES Act, especially the new Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The PPP provides small businesses the resources to maintain their payroll, hire back employees who may have been laid off, and cover applicable overhead. 

Keeping up with the latest trends in the industry during COVID-19

Headset, a data company that provides consumer and retail trends, market intelligence, and purchasing behavior, had documented the effects of the coronavirus on the market before and during the pandemic, as Forbes first reported it. The latest data suggests that after April and May, the industry entered a new normal.

Analytical Lab Testing

While no evidence suggests the coronavirus can jump into hemp crops, there’s no reason to neglect compliance with the current regulations in the hemp space. Through rigorous lab analysis, you can provide accurate information about your hemp crop, adding transparency to your product while gaining customer trust. Seek a reliable third-party testing laboratory that can make all the difference. 
Speaking of performing lab tests, that’s what our team here at INX Labs specializes in. If you’re a hemp farmer looking to ensure your crop is compliant, get in touch with us today.

Is Dabbing Cannabinoids Safe for Consumers?

There are many different ways to take cannabidiol — but none is so new or rapidly evolving as something called dabbing.  

For those unaware, dabbing refers to smoking or vaping a cannabinoid-rich dab. What’s a dab, you might ask? It’s a type of cannabinoid-concentrate with a thick, sticky, sludgelike consistency. 

Perhaps you’re new to dabbing and are here to learn more. Or maybe your room is already full of ornate dab rigs and exotic cannabinoid concentrates. Either way, we have some good news:

Dabbing is completely safe. It may even be beneficial to one’s health, in fact — if your dabs are vaped. 

Dabbing 101

All you need for dabbing are three things: a small torch, a dab rig, and (obviously) a dab. Just take your torch, heat your dab rig’s nail, and apply a cannabinoid-rich dab while inhaling through the rig’s mouthpiece. If you’ve never dabbed before, this is simpler than it may sound. 

Quality is everything

Just as with cannabidiol oil, not all types of cannabidiol-rich dabs are created equal. 

Common types of dabs include BHO, budder, live resin, and distillate. BHO is probably the most common type of them all, but buyer beware — it’s the least preferable. That’s because it uses butane gas, a highly volatile solvent, to pull the cannabinoids out of hemp flower forcibly. This butane tends to linger around in the final product, sometimes in far higher quantities than those considered safe. 

The solution? Steer clear of BHO and butane and find a dab product that’s made with CO2 instead. CO2 can dissolve cannabinoids and terpenes without leaving any harmful residue behind. 

There’s an even better choice. According to this 2015 study, CO2 extractions don’t always ‘capture’ every terpene found in premium hemp. What’s more, only one type of dab does, the rosin-pressed variety. Rosin-pressed dabs are produced by pressure and heat, not chemical solvents, which means they contain a balanced spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes. 

How to vape dabs

In the past, dab rigs and dabs went together almost by default: you needed one to partake of the other. 

But in recent years, that’s all changed. With the advent of the handheld vaporizer has come the opportunity to dab without smoke or fire or flames. Today’s consumers can vape cannabidiol concentrates safely and discretely (and legally, of course) from virtually anywhere. 

Today’s version of vaping began with a shoutout from High Times Magazine. The year was 1989, and a mysterious contributor calling himself “Dr. Lunglife” was among the first to describe vaping’s superiority over smoking in great detail: 

“Why vaporize [cannabinoid-rich] oil?” asked Dr. Lunglife. “Chemical analysis has shown that a cigarette made of [the] raw [plant] contains at least as much tar as an equal-sized cigarette made of tobacco. […] ” 

Dr. Lunglife proceeded to describe the difference seen with vaporization, where “[cannabinoid-rich oil] is heated just enough to melt the active ingredients and transform them into smokeless vapor.” If there’s no combustion, he concluded, then there’s no cancer-causing gases or tars.  

Dr. Lunglife’s argument resonated, because before too long tabletop vapes simply took off in popularity. Portable, handheld vapes would be next, and to this day, they just keep getting better and better. 

As safe as vaping normally is, there are still some crucial things to keep in mind. We’d advise against buying cheap, disposable vape pens. For example, according to this source, they have a “hidden downside” in additives like PEG and vitamin E acetate. PEG can produce known carcinogens when it overheats, and vitamin E acetate is arguably even worse. Many experts suspect it was responsible for last year’s “vape lung disease.”

The best way to dab 

We don’t say this to turn you away from vaping entirely — after all, virtually every outbreak of VLD occurred in areas where black market vape pens are rampant. 

Instead, look for a vape product that’s produced responsibly. Cannabinoid-rich dabs should be lab tested and state-approved; dab rigs and vape pens should be durably made. If these two elements are there, dabbing is completely safe for consumers. 

Not to mention completely effective. Dabs kick in amazingly fast, which makes them the perfect cannabidiol product for those with anxiety and other challenges that need to be dealt with on the go. Dabs can also be used to take high doses of cannabidiol cheaply and effectively. Some people even cook with cannabinoid-infused dabs by putting them into favorite recipes! 

Hey, if you’re feeling extra adventurous, there’s no reason not to — they’ll still activate your body’s endocannabinoid system en route to providing some serious health benefits.  

Cannabinoid Receptors and the Endocannabinoid System

Cannabinoid

Have you ever wondered why cannabidiol affects different people so differently?

It’s all thanks to the cannabinoid’s ability to activate something called the endocannabinoid system, or ECS, a “master regulatory system” that all of us have. Cannabidiol’s activation of this system gives it that almost-uncanny ability to help people with whatever they’re struggling with!

So if you’ve wanted to learn more about the ECS, this article will tackle the subject. 

Endocannabinoid Function 101

What the endocannabinoid system does is simple: it helps your entire body maintain balance, or homeostasis, by allowing every other major physiological system to communicate with the rest. It’s your body’s version of a thermostat. 

“We all have an endocannabinoid system,” affirmed molecular biologist and cannabinoid expert Robert Melamede at a Harvard University speech. “The miracle of this is that the endocannabinoid system regulates everything in your body — immune, digestive, cardiovascular, skin, bone, reproductive — from your conception until your death.”

Here are some more things your body relies on its endocannabinoid system to take care of:

  • Sleep
  • Mood
  • Hunger
  • Memory 
  • Energy balance
  • Emotional stability

When was the ECS discovered?

Cannabinoids like cannabidiol were discovered way back in the 1940s, but it wouldn’t be until much, much later that scientists realized how cannabidiol worked. 

Early glimpses of understanding came in the early ’90s when the endocannabinoid system, or ECS, was first discovered. It turned out that people were responding so well to phytocannabinoids like cannabidiol precisely because they were so similar in function to the endo-cannabinoids their bodies were already producing! Suddenly cannabidiol’s role made perfect sense. It was merely getting plugged into a pre-existing system. 

But let’s focus back on the ECS for a second. Research teams from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem kept searching and discovered a first endocannabinoid, anandamide, that was responsible for regulating mood and emotional behavior. Anandamide’s nickname? The “bliss molecule.” The discovery of a second cannabinoid, 2-AG, followed soon after. 

The ECS’s many parts

The ECS is made up of three major parts: endocannabinoids, endocannabinoid receptors, and endocannabinoid enzymes. Here are the details. 

  1. Endocannabinoids like anandamide and 2-AG are synthesized from the fats we eat and secrete virtually all the time, especially when the body needs a little extra help fighting stress. 

Because they’re produced on-demand, endocannabinoids (eCB’s) can easily maintain homeostasis. They’re even involved in the “runner’s high” you might get from exercise. Endocannabinoids can bind to both CB1 and CB2 receptors in the process ‘smoothing out’ neurotransmission and helping other neurotransmitters (like GABA or serotonin) function at their best.  

  1. Endocannabinoid receptors like CB1 and CB2 receptors are what pick up the messages endocannabinoids send. They’re found throughout every region of the body but especially in vital organs (like the heart) and the central nervous system (including the brain). In fact, CB1 is the most popular receptor of its type within the entire brain! 

Just not within the brain stem. This especially sensitive area contains virtually no endocannabinoid receptors, which is why cannabinoids like tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol are almost impossible to overdose on. 

  1. Endocannabinoid enzymes do two essential things: produce endocannabinoids and break them down. These enzymes help endocannabinoid levels stay in the optimal range, at least in theory. Sometimes eCB levels still get out of wack, exactly where the importance of cannabinoids like cannabidiol comes in.

How to activate your ECS

With cannabinoids

The endocannabinoid system, like anything else in your body, can get stressed into depletion mode over time. Just think: what happens when you overeat sugar, spiking your insulin levels again and again? Insulin resistance, that’s what, which eventually leads to type II diabetes. 

In the ECS’s case, chronic stress — not sugar — is the culprit, but there’s still no need to worry. Nature has given us a practically perfect solution in the form of cannabidiol. This cannabinoid can activate endocannabinoid receptors in much the same way that anandamide or 2-AG can, conferring all sorts of potential health benefits. 

Even if all else fails, cannabidiol can also inhibit the very endocannabinoid enzymes, like FAAH, responsible for anandamide’s breakdown. Slower enzymatic breakdown = more available anandamide = more receptor activation = a healthier, happier, more balanced you! 

With terpenes

Cannabidiol’s activation of the ECS is impressive enough, but nature goes one step further. Many of the terpenes present in full-spectrum hemp oil can bind to endocannabinoid receptors, too. Some terpenes appear to change the shape of these receptors, opening them up so that more substantial amounts of cannabidiol can reach the right binding sights. 

And one of hemp’s most prevalent terpenes, beta-caryophyllene, hits CB2 receptors nearly as strongly as cannabidiol does! “[…] Daily intake of 10–200 mg of this [terpene] could be a dietary factor that potentially modulates inflammatory and other pathophysiological processes via the endocannabinoid system,” attests one landmark study

While both cannabinoids and terpenes activate the ECS, the best path forward seems to call for some combination. 

Indeed, full-spectrum hemp’s specialized blend of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, chalcones, and more provide the endocannabinoid system with everything it needs to maintain full-body balance. Studies are finally starting to back this concept up; one study found that full-spectrum cannabidiol was four times more effective than cannabidiol isolate. 

Through lifestyle

There’s one more way to activate your ECS that you should know about — and it doesn’t call for ingesting any cannabinoids or terpenes at all!  

Instead, it involves eating well and moving well. Endocannabinoids, after all, are produced by the essential fatty acids we eat, which is part of why these fats are necessary in the first place. By eating plenty of omega 3’s today, you can likely keep your ECS from getting ‘run down’ in the future. 

Movement is essential, too. Some studies have found that exercise, yoga, and even acupuncture have a mildly “cannabimimetic” effect — that is, they provide many of the same mental and physical benefits of cannabinoids. Maybe all those cannabidiol-yoga enthusiasts are onto something.

The Impact of Hemp on the Environment

Hemp is useful for many reasons. 

Industrial hemp has thousands of industrial uses. It can sub out for plastic, enrich the soil, absorb and “sequester” harmful toxins, and much more. It might not be such a stretch to say hemp could save the world! Here’s why.

Hemp vs. plastic

Plastic might be convenient, but sooner or later, our culture needs to realize something a little more inconvenient: plastic is poisoning the environment. Its production involves all sorts of harmful oils, it takes forever to degrade, and it’s hazardous to small animals. 

Thanks to hemp, however, there’s a better way. The plant’s rugged bast fibers can be made into all sorts of plastic-like composites. In the first part of the 20th century, Forbes  notes, “hemp-derived cellulose was promoted as an affordable and renewable raw material for plastics […].” 

That era was part of hemp’s first golden age, and indeed, the plant permeated mainstream awareness enough for Henry Ford to build a concept car from hemp-based materials. The vehicle was lightweight, affordable, and practically dent-proof. 

Although it was banned by conflict-of-interest-laden groups a few years later, the plant is making an incredible resurgence. Hemp is once again being used to make prototype composites, and some scientists even think it could be used to make eco-friendly, super-efficient batteries. 

Hemp for healthy soil

In other good news, hemp’s utility doesn’t begin when the plant is cut down — the plant benefits its environment even when it’s still growing! 

How, you might ask? Namely by promoting healthy soil. Hemp requires lots of nitrogen to grow; as it gets bigger and its metabolic demands rise, it actually ‘pulls’ nitrogen out of the air and into the soil. 

And that’s not all. Like other plants, hemp produces energy by ‘inhaling’ CO2 and releasing oxygen, which means it could play a vital role in slowing down runaway CO2 levels if grown on a widespread scale. Case in point: every ton of hemp grown removes an incredible 1.6 tons of CO2 from the air. 

Even the hemp that’s left in the field to decompose at season’s end has a part to play. Rich in biomass, carbon, and other essential nutrients, it contributes plenty of goodness to any farmer’s composting plans. 

Hemp and the rainforests

It might be a little stretch to say that hemp could save the rainforests, but hear us out. Right now, rainforests across the world are being cut down at an alarming rate. Much of this deforestation occurs because of the world’s demand for paper products.

And that’s precisely where hemp comes in. It reaches maturity in just four months, which means it could increase our paper-producing capabilities without increasing the number of trees we cut down—a future with hemp paper. The US constitution was written on the stuff, so it’s not inconceivable. 

Hemp for soil remediation

In addition to remediating the air, hemp can also be used to remediate the soil. Much of the world’s ground has been polluted with pesticides and herbicides by decades of unsustainable farming practices. These toxins then make their way into our water supply, food supply, and bodies!

But hemp has an incredible ability to chelate, or bind to, soil toxins. It’s so effective that it was planted in Chernobyl and surrounding areas after the city’s infamous nuclear fallout. If you want to remediate your area, plant some hemp. 

There’s also a flip side to this type of bioremediation, however. Hemp grown in poor soil is fantastic for the environment — but not-so-amazing for you. Only hemp that’s grown in verifiably pesticide-free soil should be consumed in any form, which leads us to our next point.

Hemp testing: a word of caution

The same bioremediation that makes hemp so great for our environment means that its testing needs to be taken seriously. Any pollutants present in hemp’s growing medium could very well end up within the plant and render it unsafe for consumption. 

Hemp farmers and companies who want to safeguard against this type of thing can do so by taking their lab testing seriously. Soil should be tested for pesticides and other pollutants prior to the start of each and every growing season. 

If pollutants are present, hemp can (and should!) still be grown — this hemp just can’t be consumed. Several cycles of growth should be enough to leave the soil pristine. 

If pollutants aren’t present, on the other hand, then any hemp cultivated will be safe for consumption. Those who want to hold themselves to the highest standards can run their hemp through several more tests post-harvest:

  • Mold (including mycotoxins and aflatoxins)
  • Pesticides and herbicides
  • Residual solvents
  • Tetrahydrocannabinol content

Speaking of lab tests, that’s exactly what our team here at INX Labs specializes in. If you’re a hemp farmer or processor who wants to ensure your crop benefits both the environment and its future consumers, get in touch with us today! We’ll be happy to hear more about your lab testing needs and how we can assist you. 

What Is the Entourage Effect?

Cannabidiol Oil

Did you know that cannabidiol oil contains more than just, well, cannabidiol?

Seriously — premium cannabidiol oil contains dozens and dozens of unique compounds that work together within your body. This synergy is known (and loved, of course!) as the entourage effect. This article will dive deep into the entourage effect and show you how you can harness it for yourself. 

The Entourage Effect 101

First things first — let’s dive a little deeper into what the entourage effect is. And for that, a bit more context is needed. 

An intriguing trend is surfacing within many parts of the scientific community. Biochemists and pharmacologists are learning that whole-animal/whole-plant/whole-herb supplements work better than isolated compounds. What’s more, the apparent benefits of isolated compounds don’t always play out in real life, even if they appear real in the lab. 

Here’s a practical example. Decades ago, science learned about the importance of essential fatty acids, like omega 3’s or 9’s. In vitro, the benefits of these compounds couldn’t have been much more apparent, but in vivo (i.e., in real life), the benefits of supplemental omega 3’s are much less clear. Some real-world studies done in humans have found no benefits to omega 3 supplementation, at all. Eating a diet rich in seafood, however, has been proven beneficial again and again.  

See the concept at play here? Something similar seems to happen with cannabidiol; isolated cannabidiol doesn’t always work as well in real life as it does in the lab. To really harness its power, we also need to harness the power of nature. 

And that’s done best by keeping cannabidiol within the matrix of other beneficial compounds it’s found within nature. 

Why is cannabidiol’s compound+compound synergy called “the entourage effect”? That just refers to how hemp’s other active ingredients form an entourage with cannabidiol and help shuttle it to its cellular targets. If you’ve ever felt more alive or more confident when surrounded by a group of close friends, well, cannabidiol seems to feel the same. 

And the entourage effect isn’t just something subtle, either. Cannabidiol works a lot better when taken in natural, whole plant form. One study out of Israel found that a cannabidiol-rich cannabis extract performed four times better than cannabidiol isolate. In addition to being more effective, this extract was easier to dose, in the sense that side effects weren’t observed even at suboptimal dosing. And in case you’re wondering, yes — this study was done in real people.  

It is likely that other components in the extract synergize with [cannabidiol] to achieve the desired anti‐inflammatory action that may contribute to overcoming the bell‐shaped dose‐response of purified [cannabidiol].

Overcoming the Bell‐Shaped Dose‐Response of Cannabidiol by Using Cannabis Extract Enriched in Cannabidiol. Pharmacology & Pharmacy

The critical role of terpenes

This is all good stuff, you may be thinking, but how does the entourage effect work? 

Once we move past metaphorical descriptions, the inner workings of the entourage effect get pretty complicated. But most of its mechanisms go back to one particular group of “other components” — the terpenes.  

You can think of terpenes as hemp’s specialized scent molecules. They give the plant its characteristic earthy, skunky, forest-y smell. They also give hemp extracts like cannabidiol oil much of their power.  

How do terpenes contribute to the entourage effect? Possibly by changing the way cannabidiol binds to CB2 endocannabinoid receptors. Think of these special receptors as little baskets that cannabidiol can sink into, and think of terpenes as smaller molecules that weigh down the baskets so more substantial amounts of cannabidiol can sink in. Scientists call this effect conformational change

Terpenes are also known “permeability enhancers” that may help cannabidiol absorb more deeply through the mucus membranes, digestive tract, or skin. A hemp-derived terpene called limonene, for example, may be especially effective at boosting cannabidiol’s transdermal absorption. Other terpenes, like myrcene or linalool, have impressive anti-inflammatory benefits of their own.

Another thing to keep in mind: full-spectrum cannabidiol oil doesn’t just contain one or two terpenes. It contains dozens of them, at least. Science has yet to ascertain how all these compounds might work together fully, but we do have the 4 x more powerful figure from the Israel study to look to. 

What you need to know about flavones

Another class of molecules that contributes to the entourage effect is the flavones. Also called flavonoids, these compounds are found throughout nature. But hemp is unique in that it contains at least two flavones — cannflavin A and cannflavin B — not found anywhere else.

And these trace compounds may be some of hemp’s most potent. Research from way back in the 80s found that cannflavin A and B’s painkilling properties were 30 times more potent than aspirin’s. They seem to inhibit the very formation of inflammatory molecules, called prostaglandins, en route to holistically reducing pain. Some researchers today even hope that the cannflavins will be used to replace opioids.

Does all cannabidiol oil create the entourage effect?

The short answer is no. 

That’s not surprising if you think about it. Only cannabidiol oils that feature an entourage of additional ingredients, above and beyond cannabidiol, can harness the entourage effect. 

We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again: not all cannabidiol is created equal. Only oils that feature a full spectrum of hemp’s cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavones fully engage the entourage effect. Some scientists think that tetrahydrocannabinol is also needed, and, like the terpenes mentioned earlier, it may also ‘open up’ endocannabinoid receptors so that cannabidiol can bind to them more fully. And if that’s the case, even broad-spectrum cannabidiol oil wouldn’t be ideal. 

To put it simply, the more active ingredients present, the better. Cannabidiol + tetrahydrocannabinol + trace cannabinoids + terpenes + flavones + chalcones + plant waxes = far more plant power than cannabidiol itself. 

Interpreting new research

As great as the entourage effect is, not everyone is a total believer. Some scientists called it into question in an appropriately-titled 2019 study called “Absence of Entourage…” The study found that many of hemp’s most important terpenes didn’t change cannabinoid receptors enough to make any difference in tetrahydrocannabinol’s absorption. Though this study seemed set on proving its title was correct, its authors did acknowledge that cannabinoids and terpenes could work together through other pathways. 

And why wouldn’t they? Real-world review studies have found that cannabinoids and terpenes can improve one’s mood when coupled together. These compounds must be working through other pathways. Indeed, both cannabinoids and terpenes can affect TRPV receptors, GPR155 receptors, Adenosine A2A receptors, and leptin receptors serotonin receptors, dopamine receptors, GABA receptors, PPAR’s, and more. Suffice to say that the “Absence of Entourage” study fell far short of grasping the scope of hemp’s activity. 

For now, there’s not much we can do but trust real-world results over incomplete studies and await some better data. In the end, after all, nature is usually proven right.

5 Tips for Traveling with Hemp-Derived Products Without Problems

Though cannabidiol oil is legal in the United States, traveling with it, on the other hand, isn’t always as simple as you might think. Here’s what you need to know. 

Know Your Rights

Cannabidiol users, understand this: cannabidiol oil is fully legal in all 50 states as long as it contains less than .3% tetrahydrocannabinol. The 2018 Federal Farm Bill made such freedom possible, so know your rights. According to Brookings, the bill’s provisions include:

  • The transfer of hemp-derived products across state lines is allowed for commercial or other purposes.
  • There are no restrictions on the sale, transportation, or possession of hemp-derived products, so long as the items are produced in a manner consistent with the law.
  • The bill recognizes the importance, diversity, and opportunity of the plant and the products that can be derived from it.

Pack Light

If you’re flying with cannabidiol, you might run up against some restrictions. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has arrested people for carrying cannabidiol oil in the past. And though they’ve taken a few steps forward since then —such as recently affirming that they stand by the Farm Bill’s allowances—, it might be a good idea to pack light and only carry however much oil you need for your trip. 

You can read TSA’s full take here. Thankfully, fliers who need to carry the cannabidiol-based medication Epidiolex with them can now also do so.   

Carry COA’s

Want to be on the safe side when traveling with cannabidiol products? Then consider bringing some documents along on your trip. If you have the certificate of analysis (COA) for your cannabidiol product of choice, bring it. This document will verify that your product contains less than .3% tetrahydrocannabinol — it’s essentially proof that your cannabidiol is legal. You might also pack a copy of the Farm Bill section most relevant to cannabidiol’s legality, section 10113.

Plan Ahead

While it is legal in the US and most other developed nations, some areas of the world, notably Asia, take a very different approach towards cannabidiol. Don’t bring cannabidiol anywhere near Malaysia or Taiwan, where anything remotely related to cannabis can bring about harsh legal penalties. 

Hemp’s legality is also under fire in Japan — so much so that Japanese scientists have opted to try making cannabidiol from orange peels.

Change Your Plans

If you’re traveling to (or flying through) an area less friendly towards cannabidiol, don’t worry. You may be able to plan and get some oil shipped to your final destination. That way you don’t have to travel with any potentially-illegal products. 

Cannabidiol oil is likely to be ‘safer’ and more permitted in a public area than it is in the airport. Consider obtaining your usual product(s) of choice when you reach your destination. 

And even if you have to go without it for a while, don’t worry. Some research shows that a single dose of cannabidiol can trigger lasting neurological benefits. After cannabidiol has built up in your system, you may not need to take it every day.

Full-Spectrum, Broad-Spectrum, Isolate, and PCR Oil: What’s the Difference?

As great as cannabidiol is, not all cannabidiol is created equal. 

There are three major types of cannabidiol oil out there: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate. And then there’s the term PCR, or phytocannabinoid-rich, which is used to describe some types of oils but not others. 

In your quest to find the right product, you may have come across any or all of these terms. Maybe you’re wondering which one is best. In this article, we’ll be diving deep into precisely that. Here’s what you need to know. 

What is Full Spectrum Cannabidiol Oil?

To put it simply, full-spectrum hemp oil is a type of cannabidiol oil that contains the fullness of hemp’s most active ingredients. 

These ingredients include cannabinoids (like cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol), flavonoids, terpenoids, chalcones, chlorophyll, and more. Yes, full-spectrum cannabidiol oil does contain some tetrahydrocannabinol, though by law, its concentration must stay under .3%. All told there are over 300 active compounds in the hemp plant, and a genuine full-spectrum extract will capture many of them. 

How it’s made

Making full-spectrum cannabidiol oil is pretty simple. It involves taking dried hemp flower, placing it into a specialized, airtight machine, and running what’s called a solvent through it. This solvent strips hemp’s fat-soluble compounds (i.e., all the good stuff we mentioned earlier) away from its plant material. 

Typical solvents include CO2 and ethanol. The final product is a concentrated extract that, once diluted and bottled, it’s good to go.

Bear in mind that verifying that your cannabidiol oil of choice is solvent-free is very important. That’s why we’ve rounded up the six essential analytical tests you should know in this nifty article.

Full-Spectrum Pros

The best thing about full-spectrum cannabidiol oil is an obvious one: it remains as close to nature’s design as possible. 

Scientists have shown that full-spectrum oils are more effective, per unit, than any other type of hemp oil. They’ve also discovered that full-spectrum cannabidiol was four times more effective than cannabidiol isolate on an mg-for-mg basis. It turns out that the full spectrum’s trace ingredients help cannabidiol work better, thanks to the entourage effect.

Full-Spectrum Cons

There’s only one downside to full-spectrum, however, and it’s a rare one. In some cases, people can be allergic to it. 

While not to the cannabidiol itself, of course, some of the terpenes featured may potentially cause allergic reactions. For example, people with an allergy to pine may have a hard time with full-spectrum cannabidiol oil because of its sometimes-high pinene content.

What is Broad Spectrum Cannabidiol Oil?

Broad-spectrum cannabidiol is cannabidiol that contains, well, a broad-spectrum (not a full-spectrum) of hemp’s most active ingredients. Most often, it contains everything full-spectrum cannabidiol does…just without any trace of the psychoactive compound. 

This type has risen into popularity in the last couple of years because they offer the best of both worlds — trace compounds and the freedom from stigma.  

How it’s made

Broad-spectrum starts just like full-spectrum does. First, hemp is extracted to form a full-spectrum extract, at which point advanced techniques like fractional distillation or mass spectrometry are employed to remove the extract’s psychoactive compound component precisely. Further procedures, like winterization, may be used to remove fatty acids or chlorophyll and improve the consistency of the oil. 

In simple terms, broad-spectrum cannabidiol oils are processed twice before being diluted, bottled, and sold. 

Broad Spectrum Pros

Broad-spectrum cannabidiol oils engage the entourage effect nearly as well as their full spectrum counterparts do — they’re super-effective! They may also have a refined — yet still earthy — taste.  

Finally, broad-spectrum cannabidiol is a favorite of those who need to pass drug tests thanks to its nonexistent psychoactive compound values. 

Broad Spectrum Cons

As good as broad-spectrum cannabidiol is, there’s some evidence that its lack of psychoactive compounds leads to diminishing returns. The psychoactive compound serves to ‘open up’ specific endocannabinoid receptors en route to helping cannabidiols work better; once this psychoactive compound is removed, cannabidiol has to fly solo and bind to receptors on its own. 

What is Cannabidiol Isolate?

Cannabidiol isolate is the third and final type of cannabidiol oil product. As its name implies, it is pure, isolated cannabidiol. There’s no psychoactive compounds, no terpenes, no flavones — nothing at all!

Isolate takes the form of pure, whitish powder. The purer the isolate, the more crystalline this powder can get. Furthermore, cannabidiol isolate is also tasteless and scentless.  

How it’s made

Cannabidiol isolate starts as other cannabidiol oils do, but it’s refined even further. Sometimes harsh solvents are used to separate cannabidiol molecules away from everything else, so opt for a cannabidiol isolate manufacturer that provides comprehensive lab tests, such as INX Labs.

Cannabidiol Isolate Pros

When done right, cannabidiol isolate can be really good!  It mixes into virtually anything, and it’s both fat and water-soluble. It also seems to provide plenty of help to those with anxiety. Finally, cannabidiol isolate has been very well-studied; scientists often prefer analyzing isolates over natural, whole plant forms. 

Cannabidiol Isolate Cons

Even then, cannabidiol isolate isn’t as powerful as other types of cannabidiol oil. It misses out on the entourage effect — and because it doesn’t contain any trace compounds to modulate things, it can also be hard to dose. Those who are desperate for relief may unwittingly take too much cannabidiol isolate and experience mild side effects like dry mouth.   

What is PCR Oil?

PCR oil, or PCR hemp oil, isn’t so much a type of product as it is a broad umbrella term. 

PCR is often used so consumers know they’re getting the type of hemp oil that contains cannabidiol, not the kind that comes from hempseeds. Full-spectrum cannabidiol, broad-spectrum cannabidiol, and cannabidiol isolate are all examples of PCR oils. 

Why? Because they’re all rich in phytocannabinoids! If you’re looking to activate your body’s endocannabinoid system and improve your health, PCR hemp oils are the way to go. 

Want to make sure the quality of your hemp-derived products is the best one for your business? INX Labs’s goal is to deliver our clients quality analytical data with reasonable pricing and rapid turn-around time of test results. Set up an appointment or give us a call today: https://inxlabs.com/contact/

How Common is Toxic Mold?

Are you worried that something in your home or workplace could be making you sick? More than 200 species of toxic mold are potentially poisonous and could cause serious health effects.

How common is toxic mold?

Molds are ubiquitous in homes and buildings where they grow and spread in damp conditions. Toxic molds are usually found indoors and can be white or greenish or, in the case of Stachybotrys atra, black, which gives it the more commonly-used name Black Mold. Indoor mold can often be found in attics, behind drywall, under carpets, in insulation, fabrics, leather, and foods. 

Any time an area of a house has been exposed to a leak or moisture, it should be thoroughly verified for the presence of mold, which presents as fuzzy, foul growths of differing colors. Mold breaks down and destroys any fabric or material it grows on and can affect the safety of a building. If you notice a new water stain on a wall, bowed buckled floorboards, or black or white specks on a surface, it is time to investigate. 

How does toxic mold affect your health?

Allergic reactions to mold are the most common health effects of mold and are, therefore, the most significant health risk related to mold. It may cause asthma attacks in people who have a history of asthma and are allergic to mold. Even in some nonallergic individuals, mold can cause symptoms of irritation in the skin, eyes, and airways. The “black mold” Stachybotrys, along with some other types of mold, produces toxins known as mycotoxins that can irritate the skin and airways in susceptible individuals.

The presence of molds may lead to allergic reactions, and the reactions may happen immediately or develop after the following exposure. Symptoms and signs of mold allergy may include:

  • sneezing
  • runny nose
  • coughing
  • wheezing
  • watery eyes
  • redness of the eyes
  • itchy eyes
  • skin irritation, or rash

Where does mold grow in homes?

Bathrooms, shower stalls, and basements are usually moist areas prone to mold growth; any damp area in the home can be moldy. Other examples of areas in the house that can harbor mold with the right growing conditions are drywall, ceiling tiles, furniture, ductwork, carpets, roofing, under sinks, and the areas around plumbing pipes. Mold spores from the outdoor air can enter the building through open doors, windows, and vents. It can also attach to clothing, shoes, and pets and, therefore, be carried indoors.

How do you remove mold from your home?

Mold clean up procedures are somewhat dependent upon the extent of the problem and the type of surface contamination. There are some solutions available such as the INX Labs Do It Yourself Mold Air Test Kit that gives a solid understanding of the contaminants you’re breathing in and the health effects that may result from that exposure. The kit also provides insight into what microbes you may be blowing throughout your home. This mold test gives you a cost-effective alternative to expensive third-party complete home mold inspections. 

Be sure to discuss any health problem with a healthcare professional before attempting to remove and clean mold if you have an allergy or are sensitive to molds. Use rubber gloves when washing with soap and water. Avoid touching moldy surfaces with bare hands.

If using bleach and harsher cleaning agents, use nonporous gloves (for example, natural rubber, neoprene, nitrile, polyurethane, or PVC) along with protective eyewear. Wearing an N-95 respirator can further limit exposure to airborne mold or spores when cleaning. 

After mold removal, it is essential to prevent mold further by keeping affected areas as dry as possible.

10 Facts About Pesticides That Will Help Your Hemp Crop

If you’re growing hemp commercially, these are the things to bear in mind when working with pesticides.

  1. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates pesticides under the 1996 Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. The act provides regulation of pesticide distribution, sale, and use. All pesticides must be registered by EPA to be distributed or sold in the United States.
  2. Through a scientific, legal, and administrative procedure, the EPA examines the ingredients of the pesticide, the site or crop where it is to be used, the amount, frequency, and timing of its use, and storage and disposal practices.
  3. Risk assessments are essential to evaluate the potential for harm to humans, wildlife, fish, and plants, and contamination of surface water or groundwater. 
  4. Active ingredients are the chemicals that help control the pests. Active ingredients must be identified by name along with the percentage by weight on the pesticide product’s label. 
  5. There are three categories for active ingredients: biopesticides (types of ingredients derived from specific natural materials), antimicrobial (substances used to destroy or suppress the growth of harmful microorganisms on inanimate objects and surfaces), and conventional (all ingredients other than biological and antimicrobial pesticides).
  6. On the other hand, pesticides contain at least one active ingredient, and other intentionally added inert ingredients. Inert ingredients, which are chemicals, compounds, and other substances, are combined with active ingredients to make a pesticide product.
  7. All inert ingredients play vital roles in pesticide effectiveness and must be approved by EPA before they can be included in a product. These can, among other things, act as a solvent to help penetrate a plant’s leaf surface, protect the pesticide from degradation, and extend the product’s shelf-life.
  8. Under federal law, the identity of inert ingredients is considered confidential business information. Only the total percentage of all inert products must be disclosed on the product label.
  9. The EPA also evaluates and approves the language on each pesticide label, ensuring that the directions of use and safety measures are appropriate to any potential risk.
  10. EPA may limit the amount of each inert ingredient in the product if the pesticide is applied to food or animal feed. The agency requires food tolerance for each inert ingredient.

Did you know that INX Laboratories performs Pesticides Testing? While hemp yields are valuable, you may be forfeiting thousands of dollars by losing crops to mites, mold and other pests that try to consume the plant. Call us today to speak with our experts: (352) 429-3181.