As with any type of chemical, CBD comes in a wide variety of different types, and these types of CBDs can have a very different impact on your body. In essence, differing types of CBD fall along what is known as the cannabinoid spectrum, which describes the level of cannabinoids inside of a particular type of CBD, as well as their purity and other chemicals present. There are currently three commercially available types of CBD: Full Spectrum CBD, Broad Spectrum CBD, and CBD Isolate.
It is important for consumers to do their research and understand the difference between these three types of CBD before making a purchase, as they can have vastly different impacts on you or symptoms you are trying to relieve. Furthermore, Full Spectrum CBD contains trace amounts of THC, and if you work in a position where a drug test is an issue, this type of CBD must be avoided.
What differentiates CBD Full Spectrum, CBD Broad Spectrum & CBD Isolate?
CBD essentially comes in three different varieties: Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum and Isolate. These three types will affect different people differently.
The differences between these three types come from the method by which they are produced, and specifically, which chemicals and compounds are removed (or not removed). All CBD comes from the Cannabis plant, and CBD is one of roughly 120 different types of cannabinoids. Other compounds which are naturally occurring in cannabis plants include:Flavonoids: Compounds which provide cannabis plants with a variety of qualities including color, odor, and flavor. Some reports indicate that they may also contain anti-inflammatory properties.
Terpenes: Specific oils which have distinct and often fruity flavors within a CBD plant. These compounds may also participate in some of the pain-relieving measures of CBD.
Whether or not these compounds are left in CBD - and if they are combined with THC - can have a significant impact on your THC experience.
Full Spectrum CBD and the Entourage Effect
Full Spectrum CBD contains everything that was in the CBD when it was originally extracted. This means all the naturally occurring compounds, including flavonoids and terpenes. However - most importantly - since Full Spectrum CBD has no compound removed from it, it may contain delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol - better known as THC. This is important because THC is the agent which intoxicates you in marijuana. Thus, it is possible to take Full Spectrum CBD and feel intoxicating effects like marijuana - however, that varies from person to person and depending on the strain which you ingest. The effects will also be relatively minor, and not nearly as impactful as regularly produced marijuana. Still, it's something you should be aware of before you ingest it.
One of the primary selling points of Full Spectrum CBD is that you get the "full-spectrum" of products, including THC. There is some evidence that CBD and THC can be more effective and have additional healing properties. This is known as the Entourage Effect, and it's just what it sounds like: THC and CBD can only reach their full potential when they move together, in an entourage, with all their other naturally occurring compounds and chemicals.
The Entourage Effect may be responsible for much of the difference between Full Spectrum CBD and other types. Indeed, some research indicates that this is the case. However, as is often the case with CBD and THC, additional research is needed in order to make a better determination of this claim.
Why does the Entourage Effect work this way? There are a variety of potential methods. It is hypothesized that THC, flavonoids, terpenes and other Full Spectrum compounds work on different molecules and receptors while CBD is doing its work. As a result, the entire chemical change caused by Full Spectrum CBD is more impactful.
Furthermore, there is also the issue of the so-called CBD "bell curve," when it comes to overall dosage. Taken in certain amounts, CBD may reduce anxiety or depression. But, if someone ingests too much CBD, CBD may have the opposite effect and actually increase anxiety, depression or paranoia. Full Spectrum CBD may counteract this bell curve, because the additional compounds (and THC) found in Full Spectrum THC may block the creation of additional chemicals which typically leads to this effect.
For people looking for the most "natural" CBD experience, one which contains a product in the most naturally occurring form, Full Spectrum CBD is the best possible option. However, it does come with risks, including potential intoxication. If this is something you are seeking to avoid, it's best to try Broad Spectrum CBD.
An important legal note: Since Full Spectrum CBD does contain a legally permissible amount of THC (less than .3%), it is possible to experience a small intoxicating impact. Furthermore, consumption of Full Spectrum CBD may show up on a drug test, Thus, if you take a drug test, or have employment which requires that you not be under any sort of influence, Full Spectrum CBD is not for you. Fortunately, there are other options, which are listed below.
Broad Spectrum CBD
Broad Spectrum CBD products are similar to Full Spectrum in that they contain all of the naturally occurring flavonoids, terpenes, and other related compounds. However, all THC has been removed from Broad Spectrum. It is created by undergoing additional removal and processing.
This product is obviously preferential for individuals who do not want to experience any sort of marijuana intoxication, or those who cannot risk having THC in their system for any reason. If you are concerned about a drug test, Broad Spectrum CBD is a safe option, as its lack of CBD ensures that you will not have any problems with passing.
However, Broad Spectrum CBD obviously comes with a significant trade-off: You lose the many of the benefits of the Entourage Effect. While there is evidence which shows that the other products which remain in Broad Spectrum CBD can assist in the creation of the Entourage Effect, the product does lose potency without THC.
Think of Broad-Spectrum effect is a middle ground in the CBD universe: It comes with many of the positive benefits of Full Spectrum CBD, without containing the potential personal or legal risk of CBD intoxication.
If you are interested in a purer form of CBD or interested in being able to better customize the dosage and method of consumption, you may be interested in CBD Isolate.
This product is pure CBD and comes with no flavonoids, terpenes or any other product. That's because this comes straight from a hemp plant, which contains no other THC.
Unlike Broad Spectrum or Full Spectrum CBD, this type of product is typically sold in one specific form: A powder-like or crystalline substance. From there, it can be mixed into other substances to allow it to be eaten, drank, rubbed into your skin, smoked or dabbed, with many users using the isolate to create their own CBD concoctions. Indeed, CBD Isolate often works best as an ingredient in other substances.
Consumption of CBD isolate comes without any Entourage Effect. The product has no other compounds besides CBD, essentially ensuring that you are consuming this product in its purest form. As such, you will get no other chemicals and no other compounds.
How can you tell what CBD product you purchase?
That information - including all chemical compounds contained in your CBD - should be available on the label of any product you purchase. It should clearly identify whether or not a product is Full Spectrum CBD, Broad Spectrum CBD or CBD Isolate. However, unfortunately, many CBD products do not accurately label their ingredients or amounts, with a recent test of 81 CBD products showing an astoundingly high 70% inaccuracy rate. As such, it is important to ensure that the CBD product you purchase has been independently tested. This means that a neutral 3rd party has ensured and can confirm that the ingredients on the label are actually in the product that you purchase.
How will these different CBD spectrums affect users?
The initial research available clearly shows that Full Spectrum CBD will create the greatest benefits - as well as, potentially, a minor intoxicating effect which is similar to marijuana. Broad Spectrum CBD will have a less impactful effect, as it contains no THC, but still contains all other chemicals and compounds usually found in Full Spectrum CHD. CBD Isolate is simply CBD in its purest form; as such, benefits found in Full Spectrum CBD or Broad-Spectrum CBD may be more limited, but initial research also shows that whatever affects you do feel may be longer-lasting.
It's important to note that everyone's individual experiences after ingesting CBD depend on a variety of factors, including body chemistry, method of consumption, weight, purity of the chemical strain, etc. There is no way to determine specific reactions, only make broad guesses. As always, when using CBD, regardless of what strain you used, it's best to start slowly and gradually increase the dosage in order to potentially mitigate any negative side effects.