CBD oil is, without a doubt, one of the hottest new products on the market today. It’s growth is truly remarkable; less than a year ago, the compound wasn’t even legal. However, the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill formally removed CBD from the Schedule One listed of banned drugs, clearing the way for it to be legalized at the federal level. As a result, it’s popularity has exploded: 1 in 7 Americans have tried CBD, and the compound has become a multi-billion dollar market, expected to generate $22 billion over the next three years.
However, because it is so new, there remains a great degree of confusion over CBD, including its effects and various types. For example, many people don’t even realize that there is not just one type of CBD, but actually three: Isolate, full spectrum and broad spectrum. As such, here’s an overview of the three different types, the differences and which type may be best for you.
These two are most comparable to each other, while CBD isolate is largely its own category.
The differences between full and broad spectrum CBD ultimately come down to how they are processed and manufactured. CBD is processed when its cannabinoid components are extracted from the cannabis plant. Depending on the process, other cannabinoids are extracted as well, including a variety of flavonoids and terpenes.
Ultimately, full and broad spectrum CBD are largely similar. Both come with almost identical terpenes, flavonoids and other cannabinoids. The key difference between the two is the THC content. THC is short for tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the compound in marijuana responsible for intoxication.
Full spectrum CBD contains THC. Broad spectrum CBD contains no THC.
It should be noted that, if it is produced legally, full spectrum CBD contains no more than .3% THC. Weed today often contains up to 20% THC. As such, taking full spectrum CBD will not get you high. However, many users swear by its use, arguing that only full spectrum CBD is capable of allowing users to fully enjoy the benefits of CBD. This is known as the Entourage Effect.
The idea behind the entourage effect is essentially that the whole is greater than just the sum of the parts. It holds that CBD is best if all of its naturally occurring ingredients, including THC, are contained within the CBD. If the Entourage Effect is a real thing, it would mean that full spectrum CBD is a superior product to broad spectrum.
Evidence for the Entourage Effect is decidedly mixed. On one hand, at least one study has found that there is evidence which indicates that the Entourage Effect is real, but even this study noted that the ample potential to modify the cannabis genome means that future modifications may be able to achieve similar results which may be naturally produced by the Entourage Effect.
However, other studies have found that the Entourage Effect is not real, and that users can get similar experiences from full or broad spectrum CBD.
The conflicting research clearly indicates that more study is needed before anyone can come to more definitive conclusions about whether or not the Entourage Effect is real. However, thankfully, as CBD has been legalized, more research is likely in the future.
Because full spectrum contains THC, it is possible, though unlikely, that you could test positive on a drug test as a result of taking full spectrum CBD. This depends on a variety of factors, including:
As such, if you work in a profession where failing a drug test is a concern, or where any THC consumption is banned, it is far safer to stick with broad spectrum CBD.
CBD isolate is different than full and broad spectrum CBD. It is CBD in isolated form – and basically, completely without any other compounds. No terpenes, no flavonoids and no THC. Manufactures make it by normal processes which extract the CBD from the cannabis plant, then purify it.
It usually comes in a white powder or crystal form and is often favored by individuals who like mixing it on their own. It can be used for dabbing or home recipes, and is ideal for being mixed into a food or drink. It can also be combined into a lotion or cream and rubbed into the skin, or consumed sublingually.
There are many positives of potentially using CBD isolate. First, it comes in easy to measure forms, and is thus ideal for using in your own recipes or mixes. Second, like broad spectrum, it contains no THC, meaning that you don’t have to worry about a drug test. Third, it is the most pure form of CBD. This means that you can consume it without concern for food allergies or other processing impurities.
Of course, there are negatives of isolate as well. Chief among them is that it does not have any of the other beneficial ingredients that full or broad spectrum CBD contain.
There has not been much scientific research about the effectiveness of CBD isolate, and most studies which have tested the impacts of CBD have used full or broad spectrum CBD. One study found that isolate could overcome standard limitations which had been found in other CBD’s effectiveness, but other studies have found that CBD isolate’s impact is limited at best, and ineffective at worst.
Thus, again, the question of whether or not CBD Isolate is effective is answered the same way as many other CBD questions: More research is needed.