Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the most medicinally beneficial compounds found in cannabis plants. Yet, it can be more or less effective, depending on how extensively it’s isolated.
When combined with other cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, you can experience many more health benefits from CBD.
At the same time, CBD is available in an isolated form as well.
That being said, choosing between these two options and broad-spectrum items can be challenging without any background knowledge. This guide will help you learn the distinctions between all three to make the best choice for your physical and mental well-being.
What is Full-Spectrum CBD?
Full-spectrum CBD oil is also known as “whole-plant” CBD because it contains the broadest variation of cannabinoids and terpenes unique to cannabis plants.
When making full-spectrum products, such as oils, gummies, and topicals, producers leave in all the naturally occurring cannabinoids, terpenes (the chemicals responsible for cannabis’s scents and flavours), and flavonoids (plant chemicals that provide health benefits).
Other cannabinoids you can find in a full-spectrum CBD product include:
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC): A cannabinoid known for its psychoactive effects. Many studies have demonstrated the advantages of 1:1 THC:CBD products, as the two cannabinoids interact to provide the best results.
Cannabigerol (CBG): This cannabinoid functions as if it were a blend of delta-9-THC and CBD. Researchers have learned that cannabigerol has strong potential to treat neurological disorders, such as Huntington’s disease, Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and inflammatory bowel syndrome. It also has antibacterial qualities.
Cannabinol (CBN): Cannabinol offers immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory properties. Its immune benefits are powerful since it prefers to bind to a chemical structure known as the CB2 receptor, a key component of the endocannabinoid system. These are expressed on several immune cell types and help prevent cytokine activity. Cytokines are proteins that lead to inflammation.
Full-spectrum CBD products also offer an abundant collection of vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids. This impressive combination of chemical compounds delivers consistent relief from all kinds of physical and mental health issues.
Between the three types of CBD extracts discussed here, full-spectrum is likely the most dynamic of them all because of its complex chemical profile.
Its cannabinoids and numerous other compounds are all packed in there together, delivering the most therapeutically dynamic entourage effect possible.
What is the Entourage Effect?
The “entourage effect” occurs when chemical compounds found in cannabis work together to help alleviate your symptoms. Each of the cannabinoids brings its own advantages to the table.
When they all activate the endocannabinoid system simultaneously, you experience the full range of benefits the cannabis plant has to offer.
That being said, cannabinoids don’t work alone. They team up with terpenes (more than 100 of them), such as α-pinene and β-myrcene.
These two forms of pinene occur in many plants’ essential oils, providing all kinds of benefits, including antimicrobial properties, antioxidants, fighting inflammation, and so much more. Additionally, β-myrcene has anti-anxiety, anti-ageing, and pain-relieving qualities, among many other traits.
Flavonoids are also crucial to the health-boosting entourage effect. These chemicals can be found in several kinds of foods, including fruits, vegetables, and grains. They bolster anti-inflammatory effects from cannabis products, and have anti-carcinogenic and anti-mutagenic (preventing mutations) properties, strongly rounding out the entourage effect.
Full-spectrum CBD has the most substantial entourage effect compared to broad-spectrum and isolates. Scientists assert, “the whole extract with all compounds [produces] the greatest synergistic activity.”
Full-Spectrum vs Broad-Spectrum vs Isolate CBD
CBD oil is available in three main forms. The most notable differences between them are the chemical profiles, with CBD isolates having the least complex collection of compounds relative to full- and broad-spectrum products.
Each can help improve your health and well-being – but only if you know how to use it.
Full-spectrum CBD has the broadest range of benefits of all three primary CBD product types.
The “whole-plant” extract has an extensive collection of naturally occurring cannabinoids, along with the terpenes and flavonoids that give the product its yummy taste and smell, and health benefits.
One of the many unique benefits attributed to full-spectrum CBD products is that they typically require lower doses to achieve health advantages.
Since you’re not relying on a single cannabinoid to do the work of many, you don’t need to pump it into your endocannabinoid system nearly as much.
Broad-spectrum CBD products are similar to full-spectrum types. They contain a wide range of chemical compounds, including the many terpenes and flavonoids naturally found in the cannabis plant.
The main difference between broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD is the amount of THC they contain. While full-spectrum CBD can contain up to 0.3% of THC, broad-spectrum CBD products usually are free of THC entirely.
CBD isolate has the highest level of purity compared to full- and broad-spectrum CBD. It is the exact opposite of a full-spectrum product, eliminating as many non-CBD compounds as possible to “isolate” that specific cannabinoid, homing in on its unique health effects.
These products are typically marketed as “pure” CBD.
CBD isolate can be highly beneficial. In fact, some medicinal advantages might be easier to achieve with pure CBD since it’s packed with only one cannabinoid with other cannabinoids staying out of the way.
That being said, some negative cannabinoid-drug interactions can happen with isolate CBD.
This is because CBD doesn’t have the same “dysphoric feedback loop” in your body as THC – a critical part of knowing when you’ve consumed too much or just enough cannabis. Without this signal to stop, people tend to use more CBD than they need to, which can be risky to their health.
Still, CBD offers a way to medicate with cannabis without psychoactive effects. Be sure to consult your doctor before taking CBD products. Together, you can come with a plan that works best for you.
Choosing the Right Product
Whether full-spectrum, broad-spectrum or isolate CBD is the “right” product for you depends on your individual needs and body.
Cannabis interacts with each individual differently. What might work for other users may not be suitable for you, especially if you’ve never used cannabis for your health before.
It’s best to consult your medical care provider before taking any of these three types of CBD extracts. If you’re buying online or over the counter, it may be best to go for a full-spectrum CBD product, especially as a beginner.
You’ll lower your chances of using excessive amounts while receiving the full breadth of health perks. However, if you need to steer clear of THC entirely, broad-spectrum or CBD isolate would be the better choice.