Similar to the cannabis industry, the CBD industry is growing at a rapid rate, with forecasts showing that in less than a decade, the market will have a value in the billions.
CBD, or cannabidiol in full, is produced by extracting oils from hemp. It has different uses and is becoming popular as an alternative treatment to various health challenges. Researchers from Virginia Tech may have found a new use for these nonpsychoactive hemp oils: making plywood stronger.
College of Natural Resources and Environment undergraduate Emilie Kohler studied the possibility of using a by-product of the CBD extraction process as an agent in the production of materials such as structural composite lumber and plywood. Kohler found that pectin, which is a jelly-like substance that can be found in most plant cell walls, could be used as a modifier in adhesives for wood. The undergraduate, who is majoring in sustainable biomaterials science, conducted an analysis of pectin’s flow properties.
Currently, pectin is used in jams and jellies because of its tendency to form a gel that doesn’t flow easily. Director of the Wood-Based Composites Center at the institution, Professor Chip Frazier, stated that the hemp industry was providing new avenues for scientists looking for alternative biological materials.
Frazier, who supervised Kohler’s study, explained that presently the industry generated huge quantities of solvent-extracted hemp flower and, given that biomass is viewed as waste, it was a bit on the higher side to use it as a raw material. The study’s results are yet to be determined, but Kohler notes that pectin shows promise. She explained that pectin could be classified as low-methoxyl or high-methoxyl pectin.
Low-methoxyl pectin typically gels with calcium ions, which are commonly found in adhesives, while high-methoxyl pectin is used in jams and jellies because its sugar content enables it to gel.
Kohler is the institution’s Victor Clay Barringer Endowed Scholarship recipient. She explained that she discovered the field of biomaterials unintentionally, noting that she was excited to have contributed to research in an emerging area. She added that isolating pectin was a chance to gain a greater appreciation for the sustainable biomaterials field.
Frazier is Kohler’s mentor as well as the Thomas M. Brooks Professor of Sustainable Biomaterials at the institution. He notes that Kohler is qualified to take on this study.
Firms such as Red White & Bloom Brands Inc. (CSE: RWB) (OTCQX: RWBYF) making CBD products could soon have an avenue to use the wastes generated from CBD extraction processes.
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