Sports celebrities getting into the CBD game isn’t exactly a new thing. But one of the more recent additions to the sports/CBD space is actually doing something genuinely novel. Former NFL player, Chris Heatherington, has recently launched a new CBD brand, Peels, which is the first US-based company to feature CBD extracted from – wait for it – orange peels.
What’s that now? How did CBD get into orange peels?
The answer to that question actually lies with a Japanese fruit and fruit juice importer, Hiro International. In 2020 the company made the discovery that orange peels imported from the US contained CBD that was molecularly identical to the CBD we find in hemp.
We’ll just pause here to say that we have so many questions. How, for example, did the company discover that these orange peels contained CBD? And why US-imported oranges in particular?
Sadly, the company has elected not to share these juicy (if you’ll excuse the pun) details. But not surprisingly, the story made waves last spring – even in the midst of a global pandemic.
By the time the story broke in Hanf Magazine, Hiro International had already begun to make use of the orange peel CBD for multiple applications and was showing them off at Cosme Tokyo (a cosmetics trade fair).
Company Spokesperson Ryousuke Koseki has pointed out that for countries with stringent laws around cannabis (including hemp), finding a CBD source that is completely free of THC and doesn’t carry the stigma of cannabis is a significant discovery.
“Orange-derived CBD Oil has the same ingredients as hemp CBD, similar effects, and additionally, zero danger in terms of THC intake and legality. This discovery offers a different CBD story, which is better than the currently standing CBD narrative to the consumers,” says Koseki.
Companies using CBD from orange peels are hoping to avoid some of the issues that face people (like athletes) who want to use CBD while avoiding THC.
Fast forward to 2021, and the launch of Heatherington’s new brand, Peels. This company also stresses the benefits of a cannabinoid source that is divorced from the taboo of THC. Both athletes and government employees need to be extremely careful to avoid THC, and orange peel-derived CBD offers that benefit (in addition to the novelty, of course). According to Heatherington:
“Peels was created to meet the growing consumer demand for CBD without the risks associated with hemp and cannabis CBD products. We believe everyone deserves to feel and perform their best. But the pursuit of doing so should not include risky solutions.”
Peels uses a proprietary process called Cyclic Terpene Assembly (CTA) which, according to the company, produces pure, consistent, and stable CBD, which is completely free from THC, pesticides, and toxic impurities.
The process of extracting their CBD involves combining terpenes from orange peels with olivetol, a naturally occurring organic compound found in some species of lichen. Heat and pressure in the presence of a catalyst do the rest of the work, and, “after minimal further processing, the result is crystalline CBD unmatched in purity and consistency.”
So how do we label this type of CBD? Clearly, it isn’t naturally occurring in the way that hemp-derived CBD is. But is it synthetic? Because the CBD molecules are derived from naturally occurring citrus compounds that label doesn’t seem to fit either. It is, however, identical to what we find in cannabis (minus the entourage of minor cannabinoids and terpenes).
Here’s how the company answers that question:
“Our product is legally labeled as CBD [because] its cannabinoid is molecularly identical or bio-identical to cannabis- and hemp-derived CBD in every way,” Hetherington explained, hence, “they act in the body in the same way, and have the same effects and benefits without the impurities and variability associated with regular CBD products.”
And when it comes to novel sources of cannabinoids, orange peels are just the tip of the iceberg. There have been reports of CBD being grown from hops and yeast as well, and if these efforts become scalable and financially remunerative, hemp-derived CBD products could end up a niche market, created for purists that cling to the benefits of the whole plant, which orange peels can’t replicate…yet