As the CBD market continues to expand, and CBD-based products become more mainstream for consumers, there may be confusion or misunderstanding about the different types of CBD available.
Cannabidiol (CBD), as a molecule, is one of several cannabinoids found in cannabis plants; it’s primarily one of the main active compounds within cannabis along with Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
And even though CBD and THC are the most widely recognized components, cannabis contains many more beneficial cannabinoids. Each has a distinct effect on the body, and early research suggests effects are heightened when combined with others.
Whether you’re interested in CBD topicals, tinctures, gummies, or capsules, the majority of CBD products have labels stating either full-spectrum CBD or CBD isolate. These labels are essential in knowing what type of cannabinoid ingredients are inside the product – that is if you know what they mean.
What Is CBD Isolate?
A CBD isolate refers to the most purified form of CBD. It contains no other cannabinoids, no terpenes, or flavors; it’s simply pure CBD. Even though it includes that one compound exclusively, a lot more work goes into isolating CBD.
Usually, when CBD gets pulled from hemp, the extraction method typically removes the plant’s compounds altogether – the terpenes, the cannabinoids, and all the other active components. The process must go further to safely isolate CBD from the extraction for human consumption, which makes this purest form of CBD challenging to obtain.
The purpose of CBD isolates is to offer the most concentrated type of CBD. Some may even describe it as its most potent form, as an isolate can often contain upwards of 90 percent CBD. And because it has nothing else other than pure CBD, there’s no risk of euphoric effects or an intoxicating high.
There’s no chance of a phony positive during a drug screening nor does it contain any taste or odor. These factors happen to make CBD isolates ideal for cooking or mixing with food without any compromise. Isolates also make it easier to experience the wellness properties often associated with properly sourced, pure CBD.
What Is Full-Spectrum CBD?
In contrast to CBD isolate, full-spectrum CBD retains all of the cannabinoids, terpenes, and fatty acids found in the hemp plant, and the whole extraction becomes processed for human consumption. Along with all the other beneficial compounds such as CBN and CBG, this form of CBD may also contain trace amounts of THC.
Fortunately, federal law states that legal CBD products can only derive from industrial hemp, not marijuana cannabis. And according to the federal Farm Bill, industrial hemp is any part of the Cannabis sativa plant containing less than 0.3 percent THC content.
This ruling ensures that even if full-spectrum CBD contains trace amounts of THC, it’s virtually not enough to induce a high or euphoric effect. CBD does accumulate within the body, so increased full-spectrum CBD usage may result in THC build up. Full-Spectrum CBD does allow for all the components of cannabis to work together, often referred to as the “entourage effect.”
What Is the Entourage Effect?
The entourage effect is an idea that expresses how cannabis compounds create all these unique effects not individually, but together as they interact with the body. For instance, studies show that CBD could neutralize some of the unwanted effects of THC.
CBD may also block specific receptors, which in turn dictates the available connectors that the other cannabinoids and terpenes can attach and interact.
Which is the Best Type of CBD?
While one type may have a broader range of potential benefits than the other, there isn’t one that beats out the rest necessarily. It depends more on your personal preferences and uses for CBD. If you don’t care much for the possible associated high of THC or regularly go through job-appointed drug tests, then a CBD isolate may be the best choice.
Isolates may also be preferable to those who choose to incorporate CBD into their meals and drinks. Conversely, you may want to experience the full benefits of cannabis because of some severe condition, in which case your choice leans more towards full-spectrum CBD.
And even though full-spectrum may offer the entourage effect, the trace amounts of THC included may cause unwanted, sedative effects or trigger a false positive through drug screenings. If you stay in an area with harsh THC laws, an isolate may work, or another option may be broad-spectrum CBD.
What Is Broad-Spectrum CBD?
Broad-Spectrum CBD is similar to full-spectrum because it also refers to CBD extracts that contain all the other elements and cannabinoids. However, the most significant difference is that it’s manufactured to be entirely THC-free.
Its purpose allows some benefits of the entourage effect but never the full force because of the absence of THC. Broad-Spectrum CBD may be more useful for those who aren’t too comfortable with consuming THC but may need something more helpful than isolates.
How To Choose the Right CBD?
Whichever type of CBD you choose, speak with your doctor before adding CBD to your wellness routine, especially if you plan on using CBD for severe conditions. You should always make sure that the CBD you purchase comes from a reputable manufacturer that supplies information about where their products are sourced, how they are produced, and if their products are third-party tested for safety.
A trustworthy CBD company is typically transparent about where and how they grow their hemp. They should also have information readily available about their extraction methods and third-party lab results depicting active ingredients and the percentages used.