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First, a quick reminder: cannabidiol, or CBD, is sourced from the hemp plant, a member of the Cannabis Sativa L. family. But unlike the marijuana strain of the cannabis plant, hemp contains very low levels of THC – the ingredient in cannabis that is associated with a 'high'. As such, CBD is safe, legal, and has no addictive or psychoactive effects.
For CBD products, Healthspan only uses EU-approved industrial hemp plants that are bred specifically for nutritional purposes. Grown legally under licence in Europe, our hemp is cultivated without the use of pesticides or herbicides, or any other GMO ingredients.
Choosing the right hemp is just the start. The oil needs to be carefully removed from the plant (more specifically the leaves) to prevent damaging the delicate compounds within. The most common methods of extraction use liquid solvents such as butane or ethanol, but these can leave trace impurities and potentially toxic residue in the oil.
To make Healthspan CBD, an advanced process is used, called 'supercritical fluid extraction', which uses non-toxic CO2 as the solvent. This process is carried out at high pressures but a low temperature, meaning the desired cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids are extracted intact. Unwanted plant matter such as lipids, waxes and chlorophyll are removed during this process, resulting in a clearer, more golden-coloured CBD oil. This is especially important for Healthspan CBD Oil Drops, as it removes the unpleasant taste you might experience with lower-quality oils, which are typically darker in colour.
Once the process is finished, purified CBD oil remains, but there are still some acids within, such as cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), that are less stable and effective than CBD. A decarboxylation process transforms these inactive compounds into active CBD for higher potency.
There are a few final enhancements to make the CBD products the best they can be. Healthspan adds olive oil to the High Strength CBD capsules to help absorption. The Super Strength capsules have a gastro-resistant coating that is better tolerated by the body, dissolving in the lower intestine. Finally, a hint of peppermint oil in the CBD Oral Drops improves their taste.
You may have seen the terms 'full-spectrum', 'broad-spectrum' and 'isolate' when reading about CBD. Healthspan's CBD oil is defined as 'isolate'. This means that it is CBD which has been separated from all other cannabinoid compounds, so has the advantage of having even lower levels of THC than broad-spectrum and full-spectrum products.
By contrast, broad-spectrum CBD contains a variety of the cannabinoids found in the hemp plant, and full-spectrum CBD has no cannabinoids removed at all, and can therefore still contain noticeable levels of THC.
Every batch of Healthspan CBD oil is independently tested by a laboratory whose testing procedures are accredited under ISO standard ISO/IEC 17025:2005. This ensures that the oil has high levels of CBD and very low levels of THC. For a CBD oil to be legal in the UK, it must be derived from EU-approved industrial hemp and contain no more than 0.2% THC content. Healthspan adheres to a stricter rule of less than 0.05% THC in its CBD oils, and you can download the laboratory testing certificates from each CBD product's web page to check.
The products also display exactly how much CBD you are getting, per dose and per pack. Some manufacturers may only list the total amount of 'cannabinoids', not the specific level of CBD – and could be overstating how much actual CBD is in their products.
Find out more about CBD and Healthspan's CBD products here.