What is Full-Spectrum CBD and Why is it Better?
5 Nov 2021
Did you know that not all CBD is made equal? There’s your regular cannabidiol (CBD), your CBD isolates, your broad-spectrum CBD and finally, full-spectrum CBD.
CBD is growing in popularity as more and more people worldwide use it for a variety of health reasons. From pain and anxiety to mood disorders and insomnia, more and more evidence supports the use of CBD for treating a host of conditions.
However, with so many different product formats, what CBD product best suits you and your health objectives? And how is full-spectrum CBD any different from other cannabidiol products?
Here’s how the four different kinds of CBD stack up against each other, their differences and how each form can help you live your best life.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid produced in cannabis sativa or weed.
Cannabis cannabinoids are lipid compounds that contribute to the various physical effects that weed has on users.
Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the most well-known of these compounds, being the component that causes the stoned feelings (known as psychoactive effects) commonly associated with cannabis use.
READ: THC vs CBD – What’s the Difference?
Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive, so it does not get users stoned. Instead, it targets pain, inflammation, mood and more, without causing any effect on the conscious mind.
How is CBD Oil Made?
CBD oil is made by processing and distilling cannabis to remove plant matter, leaving behind only the cannabinoids. CBD is generally extracted from the hemp plant, a type of cannabis plant that has been curated to be high in CBD and non-psychoactive cannabinoids but low in THC.
The extraction process involves several steps. First, ground hemp is mixed into a solvent to separate out the plant material.
The resulting crude oil is then chilled so that excess waxes, fats, and any remaining plant material can be removed and heated to activate the cannabinoids.
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Finally, following these steps, the oil will be distilled to produce either full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate CBD.
What’s the difference between these different CBD products, you ask? Well, stick around because we’ll be covering that soon!
What Does CBD Do?
CBD is used to treat a variety of ailments, encompassing both the mental and physical. By reducing cortisol (the stress hormone) production, CBD relieves stress, anxiety, and insomnia.
In turn, this reduction of stress helps lower blood pressure and improve overall cardiovascular health. CBD also interacts with serotonin receptors in the brain to provide relief for people who struggle with depression and anxiety.
CBD’s anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties fight physical pain caused by anything from a tough workout to fibromyalgia. It is also an anti-emetic and reduces nausea, making it an ideal supplement for people going through cancer treatments.
Research suggests that CBD may slow neurological degeneration associated with several conditions, including Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease. It’s also shown promising results in treating seizure disorders such as epilepsy.
Regular CBD already has so many benefits, so how does the full-spectrum version compare?
Full-Spectrum CBD vs Broad-Spectrum CBD – What’s the Difference?
CBD products fall into one of 3 categories: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate.
While all of these products offer the therapeutic benefits of CBD, they have some significant differences that are important to know.
Unlike regular CBD, full-spectrum CBD contains the full spectrum of hemp-derived cannabinoids, including a small amount of THC. A full-spectrum product will contain a maximum of 0.3% THC—just enough to contribute to the cannabinoid entourage effect.
The term “entourage effect” refers to the phenomenon where the presence of a range of cannabinoids boosts the effectiveness of CBD, which means that, while CBD alone will provide benefits, it is more beneficial when other cannabinoids are present.
This boost is why full-spectrum CBD is the most effective—the entire range of hemp-derived cannabinoids together provides maximum benefit.
Broad-spectrum CBD has been distilled to remove THC but retains all other non-psychoactive cannabinoids such as CBC, CBG, and CBN (read more on those below).
The distilling process is not 100% effective, and broad-spectrum CBD can still contain trace amounts of THC, though less than is found in full-spectrum.
While this shouldn’t be enough to show on a drug screen, this can’t be guaranteed.
If you can’t risk having even trace THC in your system, explore a CBD isolate product that, precisely as the name indicates, is isolated CBD and contains no other cannabinoids.
Is Full-Spectrum CBD Better?
As we discussed above, hemp-derived CBD products contain a range of other hemp-derived cannabinoids. These additional cannabinoids are not just there to boost the CBD’s efficacy—they also provide their own benefits.
CBC (cannabichromene) is shown to boost brain function and is being researched for its cancer-fighting properties. CBG (cannabigerol) lessens pain, nausea, and inflammation, while CBN (cannabinol) aids sleep and is an anti-bacterial.
In addition, cannabis contains dozens (possibly even hundreds) of other cannabinoids that have not yet been studied but show promising therapeutic potential. Full-spectrum CBD products harness all of these cannabinoids and all of their benefits.
If you’re not particularly worried about flagging a positive result on a drug test, opting for a full-spectrum CBD product instead of a plain or broad-spectrum option could provide you with better results. While the findings on the entourage effect are still in its infancy, there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that supports its benefits.
Whether you opt for full, broad, or isolated CBD products, you shouldn’t encounter any side effects!
Full Spectrum CBD – The More Cannabinoids the Merrier
CBD has a range of benefits that users can enjoy in any of its three forms. What makes one CBD product “better” than another is entirely dependent on the individual using it.
For someone who prefers a THC-free product, broad-spectrum CBD or CBD isolate would be a better option. Full-spectrum is the superior choice for people who are not concerned about minor THC content and want the maximum benefit from their product!