Medically reviewed by Dr. Jen Palmer, ND – Naturopathic Doctor,
Director of Education for Charlotte’s Web™
If you’ve shopped our CBD oils, you know that Charlotte’s Web offer tinctures with both 50mg and 60mg of CBD. Why would we have two products that are so similar? Because they are very, very different.
Both are full spectrum hemp extracts featuring a range of cannabinoids, plus terpenes, flavonoids, phytosterols, essential fatty acids and many other beneficial plant compounds. But it’s how the hemp is extracted that creates two dynamically different products. Something that sets Charlotte’s Web apart within the CBD industry is that we offer full spectrum hemp extracts created by two different extraction methods: supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2) and isopropyl alcohol (IPA). We’ll explain both so you can understand the science of Original Formula more, and better decide which products are best for you.
Snapshot of 60 mg CBD Oil: As our highest concentration of CBD per mL, this extract is ideal when the goal is to go the next step with a CBD routine for those who are already familiar with Charlotte’s Web products. The 60mg oil is a full-spectrum hemp extract, robust in phytocannabinoids, but it is not as high in terpenes as Original Formula because it is extracted via a CO2 extraction process.
Snapshot of Original Formula: Original Formula is created in a small batch, labor-intensive, alcohol extraction process. The result is a darker extract with a very earthy flavor. Original Formula is a full spectrum hemp extract that provides 50mg of CBD per 1mL serving. The IPA extraction method results in a rich combination of synergistic compounds that are significantly higher in terpenes when compared to the 60mg CBD oil.
Hemp Extraction Methods: What’s the Difference?
We use a supercritical Carbon dioxide (CO2) extraction process for all Charlotte’s Web products, except Original Formula. Supercritical CO2 technology allows for a more targeted extraction of cannabinoids and is ecologically friendly, highly efficient, and suitable for large quantity extractions. This is how we create our Charlotte’s Web 60mg per mL CBD oil, as well as our 17mg tinctures, capsules, and gummies available at a variety of concentrations. All Charlotte’s Web tinctures created using CO2 extraction are currently certified organic.
Even though CO2 extraction is the most commonly used method in the industry, our Original Formula has always been made using isopropyl alcohol (IPA) extraction, and it continues to be extracted by that same method today. Charlotte’s Web scientists describe IPA extraction as a process similar to making herbal tea. It’s a very simple, artisanal approach that uses the entire plant’s material. The result is a dark, rich combination of synergistic compounds that are relatively high in terpenes. The alcohol is removed from the final Original Formula product by means of a gentle heating process, and then re-used many times to prevent waste. MCT oil or olive oil is then added as the carrier oil. The final product is tested at third-party independent laboratories for residual solvents.
The IPA extraction process is more labor-intensive than CO2 extraction, and so Original Formula is produced in small, select batches. This small-batch, slow production process is a nod to how the company began. Original Formula is the Charlotte’s Web flagship product that played a pivotal role in launching the CBD industry in the United States.
All Charlotte’s Web products are the result of 100% organic farming practices, using our proprietary genetics to create a consistent phytochemical profile. The plants grown for Original Formula and 60mg CBD oil differ slightly in their proprietary hemp genetics, in part to adapt the plants to each specific geography and growing conditions. In fact, Original Formula uses the same proprietary phytochemical profiles produced by the now patented ‘Proprietary Hemp Genetics’ hemp variety and is manufactured in the exact same process that were developed for Charlotte Figi, the company’s namesake.
So, what does this mean for me?
Both extraction methods result in a potent mix of synergistic compounds, but there are practical differences between them.
How the Oil Looks
Visually, 60mg CBD oil has a golden color because our CO2 extraction process does not draw chlorophyll out of the plant. By comparison, Original Formula is much darker because it draws out more of the natural plant material, including chlorophyll.
Original Formula is flavored with mint chocolate or remains natural with coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil as the carrier oils but has a much more earthy taste than our CO2-extracted products.
In addition to cannabidiol (CBD), scientists have so far identified about 113 distinct phytocannabinoids in hemp. The cannabinoids present in Charlotte’s Web hemp extracts are quantified in the COA for every batch. These other phytocannabinoids are still considered “minor” as compared to CBD and THC, but ongoing research continues to shed light on their potential effects in the body.
Additional Plant Compounds
The formulas differ by CBD concentration, appearance, and taste, but another way to choose between them is based on their respective terpene levels. In general, the IPA extraction method draws much of the natural plant compounds, ultimately resulting in a higher quantity of terpenes as compared to a CO2 extraction. The Original Formula offers a unique pairing of terpenes and cannabinoids to create specific benefits for the user.
Let’s Talk Terpenes: Why are they important?
Terpenes make up the largest (as much as 60%) and most diverse class of known natural plant substances. It is thought that plants developed terpenes to ward off predators and attract pollinators. In addition, terpenes form part of a plant’s immune and repair systems..1 Terpenes are responsible for the hemp plant’s characteristic aroma and flavor, not the cannabinoids, which are odorless. At least 400 terpenes have been identified so far in cannabis.2 Terpenes are important because of their likely involvement in the entourage effect. The entourage effect describes the phenomenon whereby all compounds in the hemp plant, such as cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, phytosterols, and essential fatty acids, work best when combined in products because together they optimize each other’s effects on the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
A recent study concluded that terpenes may participate in the entourage effect by influencing endocannabinoid synthesis or metabolism. It is also possible that terpenes have biological effects in their own right through different receptor targets.3
The body of evidence suggesting that terpenes may have beneficial properties of their own continues to grow. So far, very few terpenes have been studied at a functional level, however, and for those that have, the evidence comes from experimental or animal models.
These formulas differ by CBD concentration, appearance, and taste, but the practical reason you may choose between them and opt for Original Formula, is because of the higher terpene level and the benefits terpenes offer.
Charlotte’s Web continues to craft Original Formula and 60mg CBD oil in different ways to provide options you need to better support your personal biochemistry and wellness goals.