Over the past few years, cannabis has been extensively researched for its medicinal and particularly, its pain-management benefits. Within Australia, the interest in cannabis or (CBD) is consistently growing. 

Meanwhile, the Commonwealth and State and Territory governments have either used their current laws or passed specific laws to allow the prescribing and dispensing of medicinal cannabis products. The Commonwealth, and in some cases, State and Territory governments, have also passed laws allowing cannabis cultivation and manufacture for medicinal purposes providing the end product is TGA listed.

However, the interest in CBD is not just limited to its medicinal benefits but also for its cosmetic benefits.  While government agencies are determining regulations for its use also for cosmetic purposes there is now good news as cannabinoids have now been discovered in other natural substances such as in orange peel, therefore bypassing the need for regulation.

But what is so special about cannabinoids?

Did you know that our bodies produce cannabinoids naturally? They’re located throughout our bodies and form part of the endocannabinoid system – the system that is involved in processes that affect our appetites, pain-sensations, moods, and memory.

As we know, cannabis plants produce phyto-cannabinoids, the plant version of cannabinoids. When we consume cannabis, it binds to our cannabinoid receptors and interacts with it, giving us effects such as the infamous munchies.

Many people believe we can only get CBD from cannabis and the hemp industry has taken huge advantage of this misconception.

Hemp-derived CBD is very cheap and useful in the right context. But are cannabis plants the only plants that produce useful phyto-cannabinoids that functionally interact with our bodily receptors? Studies now confirm that there are several plant-based sources that produce phyto-cannabinoids. In this article, we will look at just one other plant – orange peel.


Orange peel-derived CBD is an exciting new discovery as an effective cannabinoid.

For decades, we assumed cannabinoids could not be synthesised as they’re too unstable, so the only way to obtain THC and CBD was from the Cannabis sativa plant. But some terpenes found in cannabis are very similar to cannabinoids, and they could potentially become these same molecules.

Scientists claimed it might be possible to create cannabinoids from terpenes, but the technological infrastructure needed to achieve this on a large scale wasn’t available until recently. Today it’s possible, but at an exorbitant cost.

All this changed with the advent of a new technique known as “Cyclic Terpene Assembly”, which makes these compounds available to researchers and consumers in a way never seen before.

The goal is to provide the market with cannabinoids devoid of the drawbacks and limitations derived from processing natural plants extracts. Many of these methods use toxic solvents and crops that call for intensive usage of environmental resources and often are contaminated with heavy metals, mycotoxins, and pesticides that can’t be completely removed.

Above all, the Cyclic Terpene Assembly technique is showing the huge therapeutic potential of compounds like CBD, as they must be available in a pure and consistent form to allow for thorough and replicable research. Therefore, the technique has managed to turn what many considered a dream into a fully-fledged reality.

Limonene: An Essential Terepene in Nature

Limonene is a monoterpene widely used in both the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries and with a presence in many modern cannabis varieties. Its organoleptic and medicinal properties have placed it in a privileged position when compared to other terpenes, while the scientific community is increasingly interested in its multiple effects.

Nevertheless, while limonene is a powerful antioxidant, it lacks the unique traits that make CBD such a sought-after compound. CBD, for example, interacts directly with the brain’s neuroreceptor 5-HT1A, and also has a high affinity for TRP receptors, which have been linked to inflammation and pain sensation. In order to give limonene, the exact same properties of CBD, it needs a complete makeover.

This new technique known as Cyclic Terpene Assembly (CTA) takes the isolated limonene from the citrus peels and rebuilds it as a 99.9% pure CBD extract. This process not only transforms a waste product into something useful but also addresses the concerns that are slowing down the growth of the CBD international market. Even a single molecule derived from cannabis is too much for certain customs authorities. Citruses’ by-products will dispel this worry.

CBD and THC are the two most prevalent cannabinoids found in cannabis

The magic of Cyclic Terpene Assembly

Let’s take a closer look at the Cyclic Terpene Assembly (CTA) technique. This method doesn’t use solvents, and the only factors involved are a mixture of catalysers, temperatures, and cooling rates to produce bioidentical cannabinoids out of terpenes.

Basically, terpenes like limonene are adjusted at a molecular level using only kinetic force. This means there won’t be ethanol, CO2, or other residues in the CBD; only pure cannabidiol reconstructed from orange peels.

By changing a few molecular bonds, scientists can convert limonene and other terpenes into a wide variety of cannabinoids. This is something that has been known for years, but thanks to CTA, now it’s finally possible to do it on a large scale using just physics-based synthesis processes.

The end result is a very valuable substance derived from a citrus industry by-product that would have been wasted otherwise, and more reliable than any other type of CBD on the market. Even under optimal conditions, it’s extremely difficult to obtain repeatable results from cannabis plant cultures.

CTA produces the same result every time – a 99.0% pure CBD extract with no traces of any other cannabis compounds. Indeed, citrus-derived CBD is bioidentical to hemp-derived cannabidiol, meaning that these two substances share the exact same molecular structure. It’s not a synthetic cannabinoid produced in a laboratory. Everything involved in the process is found in nature, and everything created by the process is also found in nature. Furthermore, pure CBD extract from citrus is odourless and tasteless.

Making CBD more accessible to consumers

In addition to the final product consistency, using orange peels to produce CBD also has a more positive environmental impact, especially in terms of sustainability. A thousand tons of citrus fruits are grown all over the world every year. Despite accounting for about 50% of the fresh citrus weight, their peels have very few uses, so they usually end up in landfills.

Instead of using extensive farmland and millions of litres of water and pesticides to grow hemp, or having huge indoor growing operations, harnessing a by-product of the citrus industry is contributing to the circular economy of these crops. Something that is significantly more sustainable than hemp-derived CBD.

So, how does orange peel-based CBD compare with hemp-based CBD?  Here is a brief comparison:


  • Bio-identical CBD molecule
  • Made from terpenes in citrus peels, which is pure, consistent and contains no residue or solvents.
  • The hero ingredient orange peels, which is diverted away from citrus farms’ waste stream and repurposed.
  • Odorless and Tasteless in raw form.
  • Available nationwide.


  • Extracted CBD Molecule
  • THC and CBD content vary from plant to plant, so ability to deliver a standardised product is limited.
  • Cannabis is a resource-intensive crop: An acre can consume up to 1M gallons of water.
  • Potent cannabis has a strong smell and taste.
  • Regulations vary by state.

According to several studies, topical cannabinoids offer many benefits to several skin disorders including acne, psoriasis, eczema as well as with dry and ageing skin. Most of its benefits are attributed to CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties and in its ability to enhance skin health.

While orange peel contains a bioidentical CBD molecule to cannabis there are several other plants that also have similar properties.  This article contains only a small abstract from an article of the same name, which will feature in the summer issue of APJ Journal that will be published at the end of February. Look out for it, it contains some amazing information.