What is Full Spectrum CBD?
Full spectrum CBD features a whole plant formulation that includes all of the terpenes and cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Because it is a CBD product, it will contain the highest concentration of cannabidiol.
However, no terpenes or cannabinoids are excluded, which means full spectrum products contain hundreds of compounds found in the cannabis plant, including other potentially useful cannabinoids like:
- Cannabinol (CBN): Research has identified CBN’s potential use as an appetite stimulant, as well as its potential to aid CBD in pain relief and anti-inflammatory effects. However, one of CBN’s most profound benefits might lie in its potential to promote sleep. Some research suggests that it could be useful for treating sleep disorders.
- Cannabigerol (CBG): Studies have looked at the particular benefits of CBG and have found it to be a useful antibacterial agent, potentially effective against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a bacteria that is resistant to many popular medications. Another study suggested that it may relieve symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome (IBS) in mice.
- Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV): Some evidence suggests that THCV suppresses appetite and may be useful for weight loss efforts. One pharmaceutical company is looking at the effects of THCV on Type 2 diabetes.
- Cannabichromevarinic Acid (CBCVA): This cannabinoid has been found to have potentially positive effects on sleep patterns, mood, and appetite. CBCVA does not bind with CBD-1 receptors, therefore it produces no psychoactive effects. It does react with CB-2 receptors, though, and may be effective at relieving pain.
It is important to note that industrial hemp does contain small amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). These amounts are regulated (less than 0.3%) and do not usually result in psychoactive effects. However, full spectrum products may not be appropriate for users restricted from THC use.
The idea behind the whole plant formulation is not new and actually stands at the core of many traditional Eastern medicine practices. Herbalist work to apply whole plant medicines (other than cannabis) to a variety of ailments and health conditions and many are successful. The benefits of whole plant cannabis formulations have been examined, and researchers often refer to the interaction between cannabinoids and terpenes as the entourage effect.
Each compound in the cannabis plant impacts the body’s Endocannabinoid System differently, and some researchers believe that they may even act as a sort of catalyst for each other. Other evidence suggests that some cannabinoids balance each other out, like the synergistic effect between THC and CBD. Whatever the case, most users agree there is a significant difference in the effects of different CBD formulations.
What Are CBD Isolates and Broad Spectrum CBD?
CBD isolates have all of the other cannabinoids and terpenes stripped away (as well as any oils or chlorophyll), creating a supplement that is purely CBD. The lack of these compounds is a benefit, not a loss, for many people. Some people find that they suffer from conditions that benefit most from CBD alone, while others (in rare cases) find that they are sensitive to one or more of the other terpenes or cannabinoids in full spectrum hemp products.
One reason CBD isolates may be the best option for some users is that it allows complete control over the potency and accuracy of each dose. Many isolate products are available that are entirely flavorless and odorless. They can be used to make your own CBD-infused products or to introduce CBD in a manner that pleases even the pickiest users.
Perhaps the greatest benefit is that isolates contain no THC, which may make them more appropriate for people with THC restrictions, such as a drug test for work. However, the market saw the need for another option for people who only wish to avoid THC, but still reap the benefit of the plant’s other compounds.
Broad spectrum CBD contains many or all of the cannabinoids and terpenes, except THC. These products come as close to a whole plant formulation as possible without including any THC at all. This may make them the best product for those who may benefit most from full spectrum products but are THC restricted.
Product Types: CBD Isolate vs Full Spectrum vs Broad Spectrum
There are thousands of products available, including many popular full and broad spectrum CBD products. This includes products to fit every individual’s needs or preference, like tinctures, edibles, vape oils, and topicals. Many oral tinctures and edible products contain natural sweeteners and flavors to give them a desirable flavor and mask the taste of natural hemp. The many terpenes are cannabinoids are also responsible for the varying aromas of full spectrum and broad spectrum CBD.
However, companies are more restricted in the formulation of isolates. Because they strive to be as pure as possible (meaning no carrier oils, flavors, or other additives), isolates are most often found in powder (crystalline) form. Many of these powders have a purity of around 99%. CBD isolate powders are incredibly popular because they can be sprinkled into food and drinks to easily dose every day.
How Does the Dosing Compare?
Although isolates were often thought to be more potent than full spectrum products, one study suggests that may not be the case. Researchers looked to debunk the myth by distributing CBD isolates and full spectrum CBD to a group of mice. They found that the CBD isolate had a sort of plateau effect. It provided relief from symptoms up to a certain level. When distributed in higher doses, it had no greater effects. Full spectrum products, though, continued to deliver increased effects as the dose increased.
Instead, choosing the best dose for you will vary with each individual product, since formulation and potency can vary greatly from one product to the next. You should work with your doctor to design a new cannabidiol routine each time you plan to introduce a different CBD product.
How to Choose Between CBD Isolate vs Full Spectrum CBD
Choosing a product formulation could easily be the most important decision you make regarding your cannabidiol routine. If you are THC restricted, either by work or by health conditions and sensitivities, you’ll want to avoid full spectrum products. Broad spectrum may be a better choice in this case. If you choose to buy CBD oil online, you’ll have access to a wide range of cannabis formulations.
Some conditions may benefit specifically from CBD isolates. You should ask your doctor to help you decide what type of CBD product may best benefit you. He or she will be able to help you look at your personal health profile and monitor your reaction to products to help you tailor your CBD dose to fit your needs.