Japanese Company Starts Extracting CBD from Orange Peels

For the past few years, cannabidiol (CBD) has grown from relative obscurity to being one of the most talked-about topics. The chemical is one of over 100 cannabinoids produced by cannabis, or in this case, hemp, and it’s probably one of the most important finds of the decade. Although most of the research is in its preliminary stages, CBD is said to be a potent and versatile natural medicine.

And if the anecdotal evidence is to be believed, the hemp extract is effective against a variety of medical conditions ranging from chronic pain and high blood pressure to anxiety and seizures.

In the U.S., hemp and its extracts have been legal since the 2018 Farm Bill was signed into law. In just a year, the sector was already worth millions in sales, with experts saying it might hit $20 billion by 2024.

Like the U.S., most territories that have legalized CBD have set limits for THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol), the chemical that’s responsible for marijuana’s infamous high. For CBD products to be legal, they have to have less than 0.3% THC. However, THC contamination is a major issue across the CBD industry. Interestingly, a Japanese company seems to have found an alternative way to avoid this contamination.

At this year’s CosmeTokyo, Hiro International launched a line of CBD oil derived from orange peels, and it claims that the oil is THC-free. Since hemp produces small amounts of the chemical, there’s bound to be some THC in CBD products, even at minuscule levels. According to Ryouske Koseki, a spokesperson for Hiro International, the company’s Orange CBD is entirely THC-free.

Founded in 1984, the company specializes in importing fruits and fruit juice for the Japanese market, as well as developing and supplying ingredients such as banana extract, horse placenta extract and red bean extract for the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries.

According to Koseki, the Orange CBD is identical in structure to hemp-derived CBD and offers the same relaxation and skincare benefits to nourish the skin. “With Orange CBD, you get the same ingredient, same effects and there’s no danger in terms of legality. It also provides a different story of CBD for the consumer that sounds better than being derived from the marijuana plant,” he says.

He adds that there haven’t been any studies to compare Orange CBD to hemp-derived CBD, but that the company may look into it soon.

Orange CBD had quite the reception during Hiro International’s launch, and the company is considering taking Orange CBD international. “We didn’t expect so many international visitors. This is only the first day and judging by the reaction, there are a lot of people who are interested. Now we will have to decide if we still want to focus on the domestic market or take on overseas markets as well.”

Experts think that the news that CBD can be extracted from orange peels likely to get industry actors like HTC Extraction Systems (TSX.V: HTC) (OTCQB: HTPRF) thinking hard about where else this compound can be found, and whether those sources are commercially viable when compared to hemp.

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