When trying to sell a product, one of the elementary angles one can take is the “revolutionary promise.” However, in the field of dietary supplements, one would think this perspective has been used to exhaustion. However, the truth is that new substances are discovered or synthesized at an unprecedented rate. And none have appeared (or downright felt) more promising than cannabidiol or CBD.
Naturally, the skepticism radar turns on immediately when faced with a brand new CBD product boasting a novel formula. This is especially true for a supplement that is as poorly marketed as the “Serene CBD Oil – Cannabidiol Isolate.” Half-truths, bold claims, a complicated order procedure, and a manufacturing company that is never mentioned are all ingredients which spell trouble for a potential customer.
Nevertheless, we cannot condemn a product simply because of faulty communication techniques. In this review, we will certainly touch upon the shady aspects mentioned above, but we will also assess the potential of the cannabidiol isolate itself (as a substance offered by few vendors on the market) and leaf through each claim made on behalf of this supplement (on official and affiliated channels), trying every time to establish the degree of plausibility with the admittedly insufficient information put forth by the manufacturer and reviewers’ community.
In short, we will go through the bad, the good, and the ugly dimensions of Serene CBD Oil – Cannabidiol Isolate (hence to be referred to just as Serene).
Serene – Manufacturer and Marketing
The most obvious and biggest warning sign for potential customers of Serene is the fact that no manufacturer is listed either on the product’s website or some clearly sponsored so-called “independent review” outlets. Only a phone number is listed on the supplement’s thin and redundant label. The alleged policy of supplying 250 free trial bottles of Serene per day cannot override this almost unheard of aspect. Even a majority self-evident hoaxes we had laid eyes upon in the past would list a fake address and fictitious company name.
To be extra-careful, we looked for more than fifty companies which contained the words “med” and “pure,” and it is needless to say that none of them had anything to do with the concoction of dietary supplements, medical marijuana, or other cannabis-related products.
While we can only speculate as to the motives behind this decision of extreme exercise of restraint, a possible explanation is that the unnamed creators of Serene use the same (or a barely modified) formula as another (more established and wholly legitimate) CBD supplement manufacturer. This move could certainly impend an investigation or a lawsuit at first, yet if the product proves to be popular and successful, it will not spare the cannabinoid plagiarists the legal (and ultimately) financial consequences. However, we should end our speculations here.
Besides this enormously suspicious aspect, the manner and avenues in which Serene is marketed can make anyone feel like they are in a very familiar territory. A website with a single page features a brief description of what Serene aims to be – an entirely herbal product featuring potent cannabidiol isolate that alleviates a great number of medical conditions and everyday ailments. Calls to action are placed every two paragraphs which take the user to an actual e-commerce page.
The presentation is poorly designed (though well-written) and it does contain another couple of (small) warning signs: it oversells the “free trial” prospect for customers, and juxtaposes a large-font “cannabidiol isolate” block of text with the chemical formula and picture of bottles labeled “cannabinol isolate” – also a cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant, although much less potent, researched, and far less abundant than cannabidiol. We should note that cannabinoid terminology can get confusing sometimes.
This next observation may seem superfluous because only a minority of supplement manufacturers (albeit an ever-growing minority) engage in this practice – that of being upfront about their affiliate practices. Again, it is needless to state that in the case of Serene, no such frankness is to be found.
With the last remark in mind, a curious development arises in Serene’s situation, with the affiliate websites and, more pronounced, with the sponsored (but not acknowledged) body of reviews. They are much more attractive in design, much more informative with less repetitiveness, a more polished job on the whole. In fact, while the Serene webpage is nothing but a collection of baseless assertions, the affiliates do a rather fine job of backing them up.
Serene – Cannabidiol Isolate and Other Components
The key to understanding both if this pill has the potential actually to amount to something and to possibly explaining the mystery around its unnamed maker lies in the second part of the designation – the cannabidiol isolate.
The chief ingredient in a serving of the Serene pill is 100 mg of cannabidiol (in liquid form, to be taken sublingually, once a day preferably) from CBD isolate. The problem with this particular type of cannabidiol concentrate lies in the fabrication process. It is particularly complicated and costly, beyond the means of a small dietary supplement manufacturer, and surely out of reach for the discreet venture behind Serene.
In fact, cannabidiol isolate was first released to the general public in 2015, by a subsidiary of one of the largest players on the cannabis-related products market: Medical Marijuana, Inc. The multi-national, multi-billion dollar conglomerate has perfected novel techniques of obtaining cannabinoid extracts of the utmost purity for both their medicinal cannabis and CBD-featuring dietary supplement lines of products.
Obtaining cannabidiol of a 99 percent purity is no small accomplishment. First of all, one has to start with the right cannabis plants. They should specially breed cannabis sativa, with flowers, stalks, and seeds which should contain the highest possible amount of CBD and the least possible amount of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the cannabinoid which is usually the most prevalent in plants and is responsible for the psychotropic effect of cannabis). Furthermore, to ensure such purity, other several conditions must be met for the raw material: the least amount of air and soil pollution, only natural fertilizers, and plenty of natural light. These pre-requisites mean considerable production costs for the primary matter itself, with few farming endeavors capable of providing such pristine conditions for their plants.
With the aforementioned parts in place, the extraction of cannabinoids (which are oily in aspect at this step), terpenes, other essential fatty acids occurs through the supercritical CO2 method. Extracting the essential substances from a solution can be done using a variety of materials as solvents (to separate the desired element from the undesired parts). However, 100 percent purity is not achievable, and most solvents (such as those petroleum – and, to a lesser degree, alcohol-based) tend to produce traces of damaging by-products.
“Supercritical” refers to changing the carbon dioxide’s gas state to a liquid one in order to be able to act as a solvent for the obtainment of cannabidiol oil. To do that one must create extreme temperature or pressure in a special facility, thrust the liquid CO2 through the plant matter, with the purest achievable oil resulting when temperature and/or pressure returns to normal. As one can easily imagine, a serious investment is needed to create such environments, which is maybe why the first CBD oils sold by Medical Marijuana, Inc. made through the supercritical CO2 method cost upwards of $100 per gram.
A further process of purification and filtration is then acted upon this CBD oil to remove all the residues from the cannabis plant, such as terpenes and waxes. There is also a market for supplements featuring cannabis terpenes, which are supposed to help with certain gastrointestinal ailments. The resulting cannabidiol is purportedly 99 percent pure and usually comes in the form of a fine, white powder. This powder is soluble in water and many types of oils, so you can have your CBD isolate in a large variety of forms in the end-product.
This diatribe on the arduous manner of obtaining CBD isolate has been featured here for two reasons: to underline the fact that only a handful of companies worldwide have the necessary facilities of producing this isolate (and the folks responsible for Serene are beyond a reasonable doubt not one of them); and to conclude that no-one would put in this type of effort for a worthless product, thus CBD isolate probably is the best manner of adding cannabidiol to one’s diet, because the possible benefits of this cannabinoid have been recognized almost unanimously.
Returning to institutional matters, Medical Marijuana, Inc. holds a patent on cannabidiol isolate. Companies can acquire, probably for a hefty price, the production method or can outright buy cannabidiol isolate from the mother-company itself. These are the rumors circulating about how a quasi-obscure dietary supplement like Serene can contain such a sophisticated ingredient. Nevertheless, as the supplement is in the form of oil drops, we are talking about a diluted solution with additives to obtain the dosage of 100 mg of CBD per serving. All the claims of health benefits made on behalf of Serene are based on the actions of “pure” cannabidiol, as the other ingredients in the herbal drops are:
- Hemp Oil – from an undisclosed source and of an unmentioned composition. As you may already know or suspect, not all hemp oils are created equal. Besides this, it is quite odd to add hemp oil – a product which is supposed to contain an important amount of cannabidiol – to a concoction that is based on CBD of the highest purity. Another warning sign for those of you who ponder on whether to try Serene or not.
- Flaxseed Extract – nutritionists recommend consuming flaxseeds (or their processed counterpart present here) for the amazing input for omega-3 fatty acids they have, which can be truly beneficial in cases of such deficit. Nevertheless, this is another odd choice because cannabinoids are themselves fatty acids, not to mention the hemp oil which has been used as cooking oil since times immemorial and, of course, is part omega-3 acid.
- Magnesium is an essential vitamin whose prolonged absence from the system means that regular levels of energy are unachievable. There have been numerous hoaxes in the past with dietary supplements claiming to combat fatigue, which were basically any vitamins and minerals complex with made-up labels, obviously providing the promised relief for individuals with an acute insufficiency.
- Vitamins and Herbs.
Without the actual quantities of flaxseed extract, magnesium and even the actual substances (herbs and vitamins) listed, all we are left to work with is the much-touted 100 mg of pure cannabidiol, the only ingredient we know for sure exists in Serene. In this next section, let us inquire if there is even a slim possibility of the health benefits claimed by the marketers of Serene to become a reality on the basis of 100 mg of CBD per day.
Purported Health Benefits of Serene
Cannabidiol and other phytocannabinoids (substances which are chiefly the apanage of the cannabis plant) have been widely studied in the past ten years at a micro-level and found to have a host of benefits for the human body in general, and can formulate novel therapies with (or be incorporated into existing treatments for) cannabinoids for many conditions, especially those which now consist of merely addressing the symptoms.
CBD, in particular, has come to be viewed as the next big possible breakthrough of pharmacology and is now under assessment from the FDA because consensus on conditions, purity, and quantity cannot evolve from the micro-studies referred above. Regarding the claims made for Serene (essentially 100 mg of CBD), we have done what is possible with the information that is at our disposal now.
- Pain Management, addressing especially chronic pain.
Cannabidiol and other cannabis-related products have been put forward as an alternative to regular pain management drugs, with dozens of studies performed on the matter (almost all of them, animal studies). In fact, CBD came in 2013 to the public attention when several celebrities and doctors confirmed the use of cannabidiol in alleviating symptoms of fibromyalgia – a controversial condition where diffuse, yet acute, pain surfaces at regular intervals, with classic medication proving to be powerless and cannabidiol bringing the much-needed relief.
CBD’s analgesic potential is also evident from its inclusion, alongside THC, in a drug called “Sativex” – regularly prescribed in Canada for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), alongside traditional therapy. Sativex is in spray form and contains an almost equal amount of the two cannabinoids (CBD – 2.5 mg, THC – 2.7 mg). Dosage varies from patient to patient (through experimentation on a trial and error basis) but does not exceed 12 sprays per day, amounting to a maximum total of 30 mg of CBD per day.
It is clear that Sativex is a thoroughly tested product, with the conclusion being that a single dose of 100 mg of CBD per day, self-administered, for many types of pain is wishful thinking at the very least.
- Insomnia and sleep apnea
The effects of cannabis as a whole on sleeping patterns and quality is an ambivalent one, and scientific studies arrived at the same conclusion when investigating the two major cannabinoids separately – CBD and THC.
Respected proponents of cannabinoid therapies suggest that the best results for insomniacs come from administering a CBD and THC concoction – at an approximate ratio of 3 to 1 – as CBD tends to counteract the psychotropic effects of THC. In the studies where CBD was tested on its own, results have been mixed – cannabidiol is deemed both a waking agent and also a substance that improves REM sleep.
- Anti-anxiety agent
Individuals with a host of disorders are thought to improve through a novel, CBD-based drug, yet the evidence until now is unconvincing, and conjectural at best. Nevertheless, anxiety is one of those conditions where human studies, admittedly small, prove that cannabidiol works.
In the past five years, two experiments have addressed anxiety stemming from General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with cannabidiol. Results were more than encouraging, however high daily doses were involved – 600 mg for PTSD and 400 mg for GAD.
- Reduces high blood sugar levels
To assert that cannabidiol may reduce blood sugar levels or help patients with diabetes represents the highest degree of baseless extrapolation. While a 2015 study on rodents, conducted at the University of Jerusalem, found out that rats on CBD are 30 percent less likely to develop insulin resistance than the general population, to suggest that 100 mg of cannabidiol daily may have the same effects on humans is pure speculation.
- Reduces the impact of arthritis
An ever-aging population may flock towards products that promise relief in the face of one of the most debilitating diseases associated with growing old. The data that exists at present suggests that cannabidiol has, at best, just an indirect effect in combating the symptoms of arthritis. As is the case with many other chemical and biochemical compounds that have a general anti-inflammatory action (think antioxidants from a great number of plants), CBD fits that profile.