Every CBD shopper has probably seen the terms “full-spectrum CBD,” “broad-spectrum CBD” and “CBD isolate.” These terms refer to the CBD extraction type and are important to consider when choosing which CBD products to add to your wellness routine. How the CBD is extracted — and the cannabinoids that are present in the final product — play an important role in your experience with the product.
There are dozens (if not hundreds) of cannabinoids and terpenes found in the cannabis plant. These components interact with receptors found along the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The endocannabinoid system regulates a variety of bodily functions, ranging from appetite and memory to mood and inflammation.
Fun Fact: Did you know your body produces its own cannabinoids, known as endocannabinoids? They’re structurally similar to what you’ll find the cannabis plant.
Hemp, according to the federal government, is any cannabis with less that 0.3% THC and is federally legal (state laws may vary). Anything above that threshold is considered is federally illegal and highly regulated across states. THC is the cannabinoid that is intoxicating, leading to the feeling of being “high.”
Full-Spectrum CBD: A “Whole-Plant” Extraction
Full-spectrum CBD may be derived from hemp or marijuana and contain THC, whether it’s trace amounts or a substantial dose. Additionally, full-spectrum CBD will contain a variety of other cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and other components of the plant. That’s why it’s often referred to as a “whole-plant” extraction.
Broad-Spectrum CBD: Everything But the THC
There are plenty of people out there who want the benefits of CBD and other cannabinoids, but don’t want any THC in their systems. Whether this is because they want to avoid a positive drug test or don’t want to be intoxicated, they should seek out broad-spectrum CBD products. During this extraction process, THC is removed, but the final product retains other cannabinoids and components.
CBD Isolate: Just What it Sounds Like
You guessed it: CBD isolate is a product where everything except the CBD is removed. After undergoing a vigorous extraction process, CBD isolate is usually in a crystalline solid or powder form. Because terpenes and flavonoids are removed, it’s entirely free of scent and flavor.
Why Do These Distinctions Matter?
Beyond wanting to avoid THC, why should you care if your product contains only CBD or the full range of cannabis plant components? Consider the Entourage Effect, which cannabis researcher Ethan Russo discussed in his ground-breaking study, Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid terpenoid entourage effects.
In this study, Russo explains that different cannabinoids work with each other and with terpenes to deliver amplified therapeutic benefits, rather than working independently. For instance, he proposes the terpene Limonene could lead to increased bioavailability, or terpene Myrcene may contribute to a product’s relaxing effects. Russo urges for further research, as the combination of plant components could reveal a novel approach to addressing various conditions.
Customers wanting to take full advantage of the Entourage Effect and the benefits this incredible plant has to offer should look for full-spectrum or broad-spectrum products.
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