Natural CBD vs. Synthetic CBD

Natural is always better, and synthetic is simply a cheap imitation, right? In fact, the answer may not be as simple as it seems. In this article, we will tackle this question by taking a closer look at the key differences between natural and synthetic CBD.

Major difference

These two kinds of CBD differ in how they’re obtained: natural CBD comes directly from cannabis sativa plants, while the synthetic version is created from chemical or biological processes in a lab (such as with the use of yeast). Synthetic compounds are often used to manufacture drug products. Synthetic CBD takes the form of a crystalline powder that might remind us of natural CBD isolate

Legal status

Apart from the most basic differences between natural and synthetic compounds, there are some other important aspects that deserve our attention. Generally speaking, synthetic CBD has less strict controls than the natural type, which is controlled by the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Substances under Schedule IV. CBD products with a THC level of less than 0.2% are removed from international control. You can read about the latest UN decision on CBD in one of our articles. On the other hand, synthetic CBD is not subject to international control as a narcotic, as the Convention specifically mentions “the flowering or fruiting tops of the cannabis plant”.

What do the studies say?

Let’s look at these two types of CBD from a scientific perspective. One study underlines that synthetic CBD might become a reasonable alternative to natural CBD. This study demonstrates that synthetic CBD is generally well absorbed orally. However, a later study states that synthetic CBD might have more side effects in comparison to the natural version. Moreover, chronic use of synthetic compounds has been associated with severe health problems.

Cost of production

Indeed, synthesising CBD has a number of advantages. In fact, this process involves fewer chemicals than CO2 or gas extraction (you can learn more about the ways CBD is extracted in one of our previous articles). During the manufacture of synthesised CBD, the risk of getting any residual substances like fungus or herbicides in the final product is avoided. So, synthetic compounds will be fully identical and pure.

As for the difference in the cost of long-term manufacture of both compounds, unfortunately, so far, no research has been conducted to measure it. Nevertheless, it’s commonly believed that the manufacture of synthetic chemicals is less consuming and saves water and land resources. After all, most of the synthetic products on the market appear to be cheaper, as the production process is less sophisticated and quite efficient.

Final thoughts

As you might now see, the debate around synthetic CBD is still far from being closed. However, we also notice that the general attitude of “natural is good and synthetic is bad” is quite misguided. We hope that further research and clinical studies will help us to learn more details and bring clarity to the issue, but for now, there’s not much for us to do except stay on the lookout for any evolution. If you have any further questions about this topic or others related to CBD, please don’t hesitate to contact our team of professionals for assistance.

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