As CBD continues to sweep the nation (and even the globe), and more people realize the tremendous benefits of this non-psychoactive compound derived from hemp, consumers are trading in their pharmaceuticals in favor of more natural alternatives, and their journey to find the right CBD product for them begins.
Upon searching for the perfect CBD product, you may have noticed products labeled as full spectrum, broad spectrum or CBD isolate, and while these terms sound very similar, they are very different. Knowing the differences and benefits of each is an important factor when selecting which CBD product is right for you.
What are Cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids, found most commonly in the form of THC and CBD, are the chemical compounds secreted by cannabis flowers, which are often used to treat various illnesses and symptoms such as pain, nausea, anxiety and inflammation. They accomplish this by imitating the compounds our bodies make naturally called endocannabinoids, which help maintain internal stability and overall health. Cannabinoids act as the mediator between cells, which can become disrupted and cause heath problems and unpleasant symptoms. After binding to receptor sites throughout the brain, cannabinoids allow our cells to reinstate internal stability and repair our health.
Depending on the cannabinoid profile, different types of relief and reparation are achievable. This range of cannabinoid profiles is often referred to as the cannabinoid spectrum, and this is what determines whether the CBD product is full spectrum, broad spectrum or CBD isolate.
How Does it Work?
In order to create a CBD product, the cannabinoid content has to be extracted from the cannabis plant, using various methods, the most common being CO2 extraction. It is during this process that other compounds are also extracted, including terpenes, flavinoids and other various cannabinoids. Depending on which strain the extraction occurs in, the composition and cannabinoid profile with vary.
What is CBD Isolate?
CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD, which is accomplished through the removal of all other compounds during the extraction process. This means that the terpenes, flavonoids and all other plant parts are removed leaving only CBD. Hemp, for instance, contains little to no THC, and is most often used for CBD isolates.
Because CBD isolates are the purest form of CBD, there's no risk of psychoactive effects. CBD products containing CBD isolates are considered safe and will not test positive for THC. They are usually tasteless and odorless. These types of products are usually best for individuals who were recommended to take high doses of CBD and for those who are sensitive to THC. They're a great starting point for first time consumers that may be hesitant about other cannabinoids.
What is Full Spectrum CBD?
Full spectrum CBD is the extraction process that contains all compounds naturally occuring within the cannabis plant. This includes terpenes, flavonoids and trace amounts of THC. The full spectrum of cannabinoids work together to magnify the benefits of each of the cannabinoids within the plant. This therapeutic benefit is often referred to as the entourage effect. Consumers of full spectrum CBD report higher levels of relief compared to those who used CBD isolate alone. These effects are increased with higher does, whereas the effects of CBD isolate remain consistent with increased doses.
Because full spectrum CBD contains all compounds within a cannabis plant, individuals will experience all effects of the plant, including any potential psychoactive, sedative and other unwanted side-effects. CBD products containing full spectrum CBD may show up on drug tests and have a natural flavor and odor. Full spectrum CBD is best for individuals with more severe conditions or conditions that were not alleviated with CBD isolate products.
What is Broad Spectrum CBD?
Broad spectrum CBD is a perfect middle ground between CBD isolates and full spectrum CBD. Much like full spectrum CBD, broad spectrum CBD contains the other compounds found within the plant such as terpenes and flavonoids. However, unlike the full spectrum CBD, which contains trace amounts of THC, all THC has been removed, making it more like the CBD isolate.
Because broad spectrum CBD contains multiple cannabinoids, it provides all the benefits of the entourage effect without the psychoactive effects of THC. This makes the broad spectrum CBD products perfect for individuals with more severe conditions or conditions that were not alleviated with CBD isolate products as well as for those with sensitivities to THC. Broad spectrum CBD will not show up on drug tests and will have a natural flavor and odor associated with the plant they were extracted from. Broad spectrum CBD products are also a great starting point for consumers that are new to CBD.
What is the Entourage Effect?
As you now know, cannabis contains many different cannabinoids including terpenes, fatty acids and flavonoids. The term “entourage effect” refers to the concept of “whole plant medicine” in the holistic world of healing, and specifically refers to the plant's interactions with the body's natural endocannabinoid system.
The entourage effect has many different components that come together to create amazing results.
The first component of the entourage effect comes from flavonoids, a kind of phytonutrient that helps create the color in plants. They can be found in other drinks and foods such as green tea, blueberries, apples, cranberries and many more, and are extremely beneficial because of their high antioxidants and antiviral properties.
The second important component of the entourage effect comes from terpenes. This is what gives plants and fruits their smell and are often used in reference to aromatherapy. The presence of terpenes in CBD products helps encourage calming effects on the mind and body.
The last key components of the entourage effect come from the cannabinoids present in cannabis plants. This is the part of the entourage effect responsible in the alleviation of pain and aid in stress management. This is the part of the plant that aids in the communication between cells within your body and the strengthening of the body's natural endocannabinoids.
The Benefits of the Cannabinoid Spectrum
With the ever increasing concern over the addictive nature and lab origins of pharmaceuticals, many people feel that CBD is a much safer alternative, and in many cases it is. While CBD shouldn't necessarily be used in place of a doctor's medical advice, it can definitely improve the quality of living for many individuals.
CBD isolates, full spectrum and broad spectrum CBD products are all great options to explore and integrate into your healthy lifestyle. Which type that works best for you highly depends on your chemical makeup, your weight, your history with other substances and many other factors. It's best that you do your own research into the effectiveness of each spectrum by sampling each type and seeing how it works for you at the individual level.