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Synthetically and naturally derived cannabinoids

Synthetically and naturally derived cannabinoids

The first is a generally low cannabinoid content relative to dry weight. Since the average cannabidiol content in industrial hemp (EU-certified genetics) is only about 2 to 4 % and the proportion of lower cannabinoids is about 0 to 1 %, manufacturers must use large-scale extraction methods to produce extracts. This limitation has led some manufacturers to look for alternative methods to produce these cannabinoids, especially for those present in the lowest concentrations (CBN, CBC, etc.).

The second problem is the presence of THC. Due to THC's status as a scheduled substance, manufacturers must figure out how to produce CBD extracts with a compliant THC content. This challenge has led manufacturers to turn to alternative methods, whether through new technologies, simple dilution, or chemical modification, to produce extracts below the THC threshold.

While manufacturers strive to produce these extracts legally and at a lower cost, consumers remain in the dark about what is happening behind the scenes. Although most consumers assume they are purchasing products that contain cannabinoids that occur naturally in industrial hemp, it is very common for many of these products to contain cannabinoids that have been artificially produced or chemically altered from industrial hemp derivatives after extraction.

Therefore, the industry must be accountable to consumers and make a clear distinction between cannabinoids that occur naturally in hemp and cannabinoids that have been intentionally chemically modified, including synthetic cannabinoids.


Industrial hemp yields a biomass that contains an average of 2 to 4 % cannabinoids by dry weight, the majority of which is CBD. Another important cannabinoid that often has relatively high concentrations is THC, which by law must be below 0.2% by weight.

In addition to CBD and THC, there are also minor cannabinoids that are usually present in relatively low concentrations (< 1 %). Minor cannabinoids that have been identified include CBG, CBN, and CBC.

Many of these cannabinoids are related in their natural synthesis process. For example, when THC is exposed to light and heat, it converts to CBN. This is a process that occurs naturally over time in the plant in the hemp field as the THC begins to break down. However, some manufacturers have intentionally taken advantage of this natural process in order to circumvent THC regulations.


In the CBD industry, keeping THC levels within legal limits is a major challenge as manufacturers do not have the technology or expertise to remove THC. Instead of purification or separation, most processors have turned to "cooking" their extracts to chemically convert the THC.

And this is how it works: By exposing the hemp extract to heat and oxygen, the THC is chemically converted. The "cooking" of hemp extracts is a method used in the industry to chemically alter the non-compliant THC contained in CBD oil and convert it into the cannabinoid derivative CBN.

This process should not be referred to as extraction or purification, but is rather a chemical reaction. Not only is the THC subjected to this process, but the entire extract is 'cooked', meaning that this reaction is likely to affect other cannabinoids and molecules in the extract. This is problematic because manufacturers do not disclose these processes to consumers.

Cannabinoids that have been chemically altered after extraction should not be labeled as "hemp-derived". Although the precursor molecules may have been derived from industrial hemp, the final product has been produced by a different chemical process and consumers should be aware of this.


Besides the chemical alteration of cannabinoids like THC, there is another unnatural method of producing cannabinoids, which is the production of synthetic cannabinoids. Synthetic cannabinoids are the opposite of naturally derived cannabinoids because they are produced in a laboratory. Although there is nothing inherently wrong with the production of synthetic cannabinoids, the problem lies in consumer awareness and the lack of clinical testing. Customers should be informed when they consume synthetic cannabinoids, and it is the responsibility of manufacturers to be transparent about this.

The risks of using synthetically produced compounds are well documented in the pharmaceutical world, but they are also well documented in the cannabinoid industry. The most notorious synthetic cannabinoids are K2 and Spice, which are psychoactive synthetic cannabinoids that became known for their adverse health effects before they were banned.

Synthetic production of cannabinoids without complete characterization of the final extract is also risky. A natural extract from the industrial hemp plant contains a single enantiomer of THC (- delta 9 THC), while a synthetically produced extract contains both the + and - enantiomers. Since the synthetic form does not occur in nature, it can interact with the human body in unique and potentially harmful ways. For this reason, manufacturers should disclose whether or not they are using synthetic cannabinoids.

The reason why synthetic compounds are potentially dangerous is that "the human body is not equipped with the necessary tools to metabolize synthetic cannabinoids". Novel cannabinoid molecules produced through synthesis are chemically very different from their naturally derived counterparts. This means that the human body does not have the appropriate enzymes to break them down, which could be very dangerous.

There have been numerous reports and studies on adverse health effects of synthetic cannabinoids contained in CBD products on the market. This study examines more than 50 cases associated with a CBD product in the United States that contained a synthetic cannabinoid. This report analyzes the case in which an epileptic child was poisoned by a CBD product that contained a synthetic cannabinoid. In both cases, consumers did not know that the products they were purchasing contained synthetic compounds.

At Dutch Green Alternative, we never use synthetic compounds or processes to chemically alter our cannabinoids. We believe in the importance of extracting and purifying the naturally occurring compounds in industrial hemp and removing impurities and THC through scientific separation, not chemical modification.

Our process is performed without extreme temperatures or pressure. The extraction and purification of our oils at gentle temperatures ensures minimal degradation and damage to the natural cannabinoids and terpenes.

Consumers should not have to wonder whether or not their CBD was actually derived from industrial hemp. That's why we uphold the integrity of our hemp-derived cannabinoids. We believe everyone deserves access to safe, traceable, high-quality, naturally derived cannabinoids.

Consider this a public service announcement for consumers of CBD. After all, every consumer has the right to know what they are putting into their bodies. As industry leaders, it is our duty to demystify CBD for consumers.


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