If you’ve been exposed to cannabidiol (CBD) products, chances are you’ve heard terms like CBD isolate, full-spectrum, and broad-spectrum products. These terms are used to describe the main forms of extracted CBD.
The hemp industry is one of the most fastest-growing sectors in health. With laws relaxing on the use of the plant, we have seen many new hemp products that come to the market, including CBD products. The most popular kind of CBD product is CBD oil. But with so many different products that are available nowadays, the choice can be confusing and overwhelming. This article will help break down the difference between the main types of cannabidiol products.
What is Cannabidiol?
Cannabidiol (CBD) are plant compounds found naturally in the flowering tops of a cannabis plant. It’s one of the many phytocannabinoids used in practical applications. CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the two most well-known cannabinoids sourced primarily from either hemp or marijuana.
Marijuana is high in THC, which causes it to produce the euphoric “high.” Meanwhile, hemp is high in CBD and low in THC, so it can stay within legal boundaries set by federal laws. Due to this, all CBD products available for sale in public are gathered from hemp.
CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system by targeting receptor sites that accept cannabinoids, influencing pain sensation, memory, mood, appetite, and more. CBD is usually known for its calming effects.
When cannabinoids are consumed together, there’s an entourage effect that takes place. The entourage effect proposes that combining cannabinoids like CBN (cannabinol), CBG (cannabigerol), CBC (cannabichromene), CBD, and THC creates a stronger impact than any single cannabinoid on its own.
To understand CBD products, it’s vital to distinguish between hemp extracts and cannabis extracts, which are from marijuana. Hemp extracts that contain CBD are sourced from hemp plants that may contain trace amounts of THC or are THC-free. Cannabis extracts contain some level of THC and are not THC-free.
According to the 2018 Farm Bill, any CBD product derived from hemp should contain less than 0.3% THC, or instead, it will be classified as cannabis.
Isolate is exactly as it sounds – pure isolated CBD. It’s a crystalline form of product that comes in either white powder or slab form. It contains 99% or more potency of a single cannabinoid compound. Many people prefer products made from isolates because it doesn’t contain THC, preventing potential drug testing issues. They have no other active ingredient and are designed only to deliver CBD’s therapeutic doses, isolated from other cannabinoids.
Isolates are often mixed with a carrier oil to become tinctures, used in edible products like gummies and topical products like salves, or placed in capsules.
CBD isolates start as a full-spectrum extract. But once the extract is made, it’s further processed to remove all other compounds to leave behind a pure CBD extract.
Advantages of CBD Isolates
CBD isolates are more commonly available than full-spectrum oils. It’s because isolates contain no psychoactive THC, making it a lot easier for manufacturers to standardize the CBD content of their products. Isolates are also cheaper than full-spectrum products.
Disadvantages of CBD Isolates
While a pure form of CBD sounds effective, isolated CBD is usually less effective than broad or full-CBD spectrum extracts. It lacks the depth of health benefits a full-spectrum product can provide, making it a less well-rounded product. It’s also more likely to cause side effects than a full-spectrum extract.
Full-spectrum CBD is the most natural form of CBD, containing flavonoids and terpenes that originally occur from the plant. During the manufacturing process, raw hemp is traditionally rinsed with a solvent. But today, most of it is done through a process called supercritical CO2 extraction. This process is highly efficient at extracting all the plant compounds, including the cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, polyphenols, and lignans. It also leaves no harmful solvents behind.
The most common form of full-spectrum CBD extract is CBD oil.
Advantages of Full-Spectrum CBD
CBD isolate boasts a list of health benefits, but a full-spectrum CBD product allows users to benefit from the entourage effect. It has a better cannabinoid diversity than a CBD isolate. Generally speaking, if you want to use CBD for a medical condition (such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, arthritis, or Alzheimer’s disease), a full-spectrum extract is better than isolate. It offers a more holistic form of supplementation.
Disadvantages of Full-Spectrum CBD
Since it contains other compounds present in the hemp plant, full-spectrum CBD may contain higher THC concentrations, which you may want to avoid. The final concentrations of CBD are also often unpredictable as it highly depends on the source hemp material. It’s also usually more expensive than other CBD products.
Broad-spectrum CBD represents a middle ground between CBD isolate and full-spectrum CBD. It offers the full entourage effect because it also contains different active cannabinoids, but with no THC like isolates. It’s because when making broad-spectrum CBD, all other major cannabinoids are extracted except for THC.
Hemp undergoes different extraction processes to create a full-spectrum hemp extract. This is further refined into either broad-spectrum products or simple CBD isolate. In some cases, broad-spectrum products found commercially are created by mixing CBD isolate with small amounts of full spectrum to add the additional cannabinoids and terpenes back.
Advantages of Broad-Spectrum CBD
Broad-spectrum CBD is less processed than CBD isolate and does not bring risks of psychoactive effects as with a full-spectrum CBD. It also offers the entourage effect that a full-spectrum CBD can give. It works best for CBD users that can’t be helped by isolate alone and those sensitive to THC. It’s a great starter product for first-time users who are wary of THC. It’s also best for people living in places with strict THC regulations.
Disadvantages of Broad-Spectrum CBD
Though it offers the best of both worlds, broad-spectrum CBD is a relatively new form of CBD extract, and its benefits and effects are less researched than the first two types. It’s also harder to find than full-spectrum and CBD isolates. It also has a strong, natural hemp flavor that you may not like.