There are quite a few different types of CBD on the market today. If a product labeled as “full spectrum CBD,” it means that it contains all the cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and essential oils of the cannabis or hemp plant. Cannabinoids interact with receptors in the human endocannabinoid system (ECS), and each one produces a different effect in the body. CBD is just one of over a hundred active compounds found in the cannabis plant. CBD and THC (the psychoactive component of cannabis) are the most well-known, but there are many other cannabinoids that may have positive effects on the body, including CBG, CBN, and many more. Emerging research shows that combining the various cannabinoids has a stronger effect on the body.
What’s the Difference Between Isolate, Broad Spectrum, and Full Spectrum CBD?
The purest form of CBD is isolate. These products contain nothing except CBD. In CBD isolate products, the CBD has been chemically extracted from the hemp plant to remove all cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. CBD isolate comes in powders, oils, capsules, tinctures, crystals, and more. CBD may be the purest, but it’s also the most expensive because it takes time and effort to strip the hemp plant from all its beneficial compounds and isolate the CBD.
Full spectrum CBD, on the other hand, is an extract that still contains all compounds found in the hemp plant, including cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. The full spectrum of compounds in full spectrum CBD work together to strengthen the benefits of each individual cannabinoid, which is referred to as the “entourage effect,” or an enhanced effect on the body compared to CBD alone.
Broad spectrum CBD is sort of a middle ground in between full spectrum and isolate. Like full spectrum CBD, the other compounds in the hemp plant are preserved in the extract. However, THC has been completely removed. This is beneficial for those looking to avoid THC completely or those who are worried about taking it. However, it must be noted that even full spectrum CBD does not contain much THC. Federal laws ensure that all CBD products must be extracted from hemp, which contains less than 0.3% THC, rather than marijuana. The end product only contains trace amounts of THC, nowhere near enough to get you high.
Benefits of Full Spectrum
Researchers haven’t always understood that cannabis and hemp are strengthened by the teamwork of its many active compounds. CBD isolate was previously believed to be more effective than full spectrum or broad spectrum CBD. However, a study in 2005 debunked this theory. Researchers found that test subjects who took full spectrum CBD experienced higher levels of relief, compared to subjects who took CBD isolate. Additionally, scientists found that full spectrum CBD provided enhanced effects with higher dosages, while the effects of isolated CBD remained the same, even with increased dosages. It is believed that the cannabinoids in hemp and cannabis work together to produce beneficial results, which aren’t as powerful when one cannabinoid is isolated.
There may be a few reasons for this effect. First, it appears that many terpenes and cannabinoids in the hemp plant may have health benefits similar to the possible benefits of CBD. They sort of act as a second line of defense where consumers need it most. Additionally, researchers believe that CBD isolate has a bell-shaped response curve. For instance, CBD may be able to relieve anxiety at low doses, but triggers anxiety at high doses due to activating the TRPV1 receptor. However, studies have found that the bell-shaped curve disappears when CBD is combined with compounds that block TRPV1. It’s no coincidence that the natural flavonoids in the hemp plant perform this function.
Additionally, full spectrum CBD appears to be more bioavailable than CBD isolate. A few of the terpenoids found in hemp help products travel across skin barriers so well that they are added to transdermal products to help with delivery. Additionally, many terpenoids and cannabinoids are metabolized by the same enzymes in the body. This prevents CBD from being quickly broken down by the body, which in turn, allows it to remain effective longer.
Consumers Prefer Full Spectrum
Consumers prefer full spectrum to other types of CBD. Market research from Brightfield Group found that 47% of CBD consumers prefer full spectrum CBD to CBD isolate or broad spectrum CBD. Just 20% of consumers prefer broad spectrum CBD, and only 8% of consumers prefer CBD isolate. Over half of consumers who prefer full spectrum CBD say they prefer it because it is better quality than other types of CBD. Other consumers prefer it because it was recommended to them.
Full spectrum CBD provides all of the beneficial compounds that the hemp plant has to offer. Researchers have found that it’s more beneficial than CBD alone and nearly half of consumers prefer it to other types of CBD.