A “Whole-Plant” Breakdown of Hemp

Sometimes you’ll see CBD oil labelled as a “whole-plant” extract. 

What this means is that in the extraction of the CBD oil, a greater part of the hemp plant structure was used rather than an isolated part.

Why is this beneficial – and what is the whole plant exactly? We already know about CBD and what it can do for us, but do you know which parts of the plants are (and should be) used to extract your CBD oil?

Besides CBD oil, hemp also has much else to offer; it’s a plant that has benefited our societies in many ways for more than 40,000 years. In medieval times, hemp fibre was the go-to standard for ropes and canvas sails. A naturally nutrient-rich plant, it’s also been consumed for thousands of years in food and even for medicinal benefits.

From seed to flower, it’s time we break down and demystify this plant with such a wide range of uses.

The Hemp Plant: Its Parts and Each of Their Uses

Below we’ve gathered a list of the hemp plant’s various components and some common examples of what each can be uniquely used for.

We’ll be starting from the “ground” up (pun intended).

  1. Seeds: 

Although not primarily used for extracting CBD and other cannabinoids, hemp seeds have taken a popular place in cooking; a tasty addition and highly rich in nutrients, being packed with protein, healthy fats (omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids), vitamins, and minerals. They can be consumed shelled or unshelled, raw, toasted or even turned into hemp seed cooking oil. You can also find them used in skincare products due to their potential moisturizing properties.

  • Hemp seeds are a complete protein source, containing all nine essential amino acids.
  1. Roots: 

Hemp roots play a role in stabilizing the plant and absorbing water and nutrients from the soil. While they are not typically used for CBD extraction, some traditional medicines and herbal remedies use hemp roots for various health benefits.

  • Hemp roots have been used in traditional medicine for centuries, with potential applications in herbal remedies.
  1. Stems/Stalks: 

Hemp stems and stalks are strong and fibrous, making them suitable for various industrial purposes. The fibres within the stalks are used to create hemp fibre products like textiles, ropes, and even construction materials. The inner core of the stalk called the hurd or shiv, can be used to create products like animal bedding, insulation, and biodegradable plastics. Hemp fibre is known to be up to four times stronger than cotton, making it an eco-friendly alternative for textiles (you can read about the environmental benefits that hemp boasts in our blog article here).

  • Hemp stalks were historically used to create durable textiles, including the original Levi’s jeans.
  1. Leaves: 

Hemp leaves are broad and serrated, with varying shapes depending on the strain. While they may not contain as high a concentration of cannabinoids as the flowers, they still contain some cannabinoids and terpenes. Leaves are sometimes used for extraction, but their primary use is as feedstock for industrial processes like papermaking or composting. 

  • Hemp leaves are often used for making teas and other herbal infusions (look for hemp tea in your local supermarket!)
  1. Flower/Buds: 

The flower, also referred to as the bud, is the most sought-after part of the hemp plant for CBD extraction. These are the reproductive structures of the plant and contain trichomes, which are tiny hair-like structures that house cannabinoids, terpenes, and other beneficial compounds. CBD and other cannabinoids are extracted from these trichomes. Hemp flowers come in various strains, each with distinct cannabinoid and terpene profiles, influencing the potential effects and flavors of CBD products. 

  • Hemp flowers can contain more than 100 different cannabinoids, including CBD.
  1. Resins and Trichomes: 

The trichomes, found most abundantly on the flowers and leaves, contain a high concentration of cannabinoids and terpenes. These are the compounds that contribute to the aroma, flavor, and potential therapeutic effects of hemp-derived products like CBD oil.

  • Trichomes on hemp plants not only contain cannabinoids and terpenes but also play a role in protecting the plant from predators.
  1. Whole Plant Usage: 

Some CBD extraction methods involve using the entire hemp plant. Full-spectrum CBD products utilize all parts of the plant, ensuring a wider range of cannabinoids and terpenes. This can create what is known as the “entourage effect,” where the compounds work synergistically to potentially enhance the therapeutic benefits of the product. In a survey conducted by the Brightfield Group, around 54% of CBD users reported they prefer full-spectrum CBD products, 25% prefer broad spectrum and 5% isolate products.

Something Special About a Whole-Plant Extraction 

Besides cannabinoids like CBD, THC, CBN, and so on, hemp also contains highly beneficial terpenes and flavonoids. The idea is that the more parts you have used in your final extraction, the more intricate compound profiles you will get in your final CBD product.

Not only that, but a whole-plant extraction allows for a very interesting phenomenon to happen called the entourage effect, where the presence of each compound activates a synergistic ability, enhancing the activity of other compounds. In other words, they somehow “recognise” each other and create an interplay of productivity. LAYV’s CBD oils are whole-plant extracts, so you will get the additional benefit of the entourage effect (read much more about the fascinating entourage effect here).

What Exactly is a High-Quality CBD Extraction?

Now that we know what the hemp plant is made up of, what does a high-quality extraction of it look like? 

Sadly, the question is not always so straightforward. The issue is that some producers might use a whole-plant extraction (allowing for the entourage effect), but have a low-grade extraction method (poor preservation of compounds). Others might use a standard CO2 extraction method but use low-quality hemp biomass. 

Unfortunately, there are plenty of these compromised combinations on the market which aren’t giving you the best results in the end – and it’s not always easy knowing which ones they are.

We were well aware of this consumer hurdle when we created our LAYV formula. That’s why we dedicated years to it and to finding the right partners who shared our vision; we use high-quality German hemp from clean soil, a trademarked extraction method developed by food-renowned Wageningen University, the whole plant (for the benefit of the entourage effect) and bio MCT oil extracted from coconuts for ideal ingestion.

Finally, we hope you found this breakdown interesting and were able to get a new holistic appreciation for the hemp plant, learning just how useful it can be on a large scale!

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What LAYV® users say

14:01 13 Mar 24
I bought the CBD oil on the recommendation of a friend who was very satisfied with it. I think it's a nice oil! I don't notice much of the effects, but I do sleep a little better since I started using it so I'm satisfied :)
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10:44 18 Dec 23
Wat een fantastisch product. Sinds enkele maanden gebruiken wij dagelijks voor het slapen de LAYV CBD variant 20% als routine. Als jonge ouders is slaap voor ons namelijk heilig, met kinderen schiet dit er nog wel eens bij in. Door het gebruik van de 20% variant merken wij beiden dat we veel dieper slapen waardoor we meer uitgerust zijn in de ochtend.Ook wordt het middel door ons gebruikt als we een stress situatie ervaren. Door het gebruiken van een aantal druppels merken wij snel dat we rustiger worden en zo weer lekker door kunnen gaan met ons dagelijkse drukke werkleven.Voorheen producten gebruikt van overige merken maar deze geven niet een prettig mondgevoel en de smaak is niet zo mild als de LAYV variant.
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