Cannabidiol (CBD) is one out of 113 identified cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids are components native to the cannabis plant. Some of them are naturally occurring, and others are formed inside the plant when submitted to external processes like heat and pressure.
Out of 113 cannabinoids, only one has psychoactive effects on the body, the notoriously famous tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC for short. However, CBD does not have a psychoactive profile, so whenever you consume CBD on its own, you can rest assured that you won’t get ‘high’ but will still have access to many of cannabis’ highly coveted benefits.
This is one of the main reasons why CBD has flooded the market at an incredible rate. Plus, and the fact that hemp-derived CBD is legal in all 50 states across the U.S. However positive, this has also made it hard for consumers to understand what they’re buying when purchasing CBD products. There is such a constant flow of product innovations that brands often fail to make things clear enough for new consumers. That and the sheer overflow of new products makes it confusing enough for people.
If that sounds like something that has happened to you, you’ve probably been a ‘spectrum confusion,’ which is by no means an official term, just one that we like to use here at Hemmfy from time to time. If you’ve encountered the word ‘spectrum’ when attempting to shop for CBD and have no idea what brands are talking about, then you’ve hit the jackpot with this article.
We’ll try to cover lots of ground here and let you in on the details of what CBD spectrums are, what makes a specific spectrum the right one for you, and how to choose it.
Full Spectrum vs. Broad Spectrum vs. Isolate
Before we get into the weeds (pun intended) of each spectrum's specifics, we'll first need to make sure that we understand what the generic term entails.
Spectrums are a way of classifying the type of CBD extract used in the final product. While the final product can be anything from edibles to oils and vape liquids, the spectrum will define only the extract used to produce the final product. So, when you're shopping for oil that says Full Spectrum, it means that the CBD extract used is a full spectrum CBD extract. It doesn't define the oil itself.
This is where the difference lies:
- Full Spectrum CBD Extract:
A full spectrum extract is one that does not come with only CBD content. It comes with an abundance of terpenes and other cannabinoids as well. If the extract is hemp-derived, it will only contain up to 0.3% of THC, a negligible amount that will not have any psychoactive effects.
- Broad Spectrum CBD Extract:
Broad Spectrum extracts are not very different from that of a full spectrum. The only difference is that they contain 0% THC. Nevertheless, broad-spectrum extracts also come with a variety of terpenes and other cannabinoids.
- CBD Isolate:
Isolates are the only extract out of the three that only includes CBD content, meaning no terpenes and no other cannabinoids. If you're only interested in consuming CBD, then this is the way to go. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that the CBD or its effects on the body are purer. It just means that you're not ingesting other components that could also positively affect the body. Or negative depending on your specific condition and goals.
Why use Full Spectrum CBD?
The entourage effect is a theory that states that the effects of CBD in the body could be enhanced if combined with other cannabinoids and terpenes. This being the main reason why full-spectrum is the most coveted out of all spectrums.
But every person is different, and everybody reacts differently to other components. Some people experience effects linked to THC that they might not find very pleasant, like hunger, anxiety, and in some cases, sedative effects.
The entourage effect is not a proven theory, but it makes sense to many scientists. If you’re already a cannabis consumer, you don’t have an issue with other cannabinoids and enjoy the holistic effects of all cannabinoids on the body. Then the full spectrum is the way to go.
Why use Broad Spectrum CBD?
The reasons to use broad-spectrum are the same ones as that for a full-spectrum extract. However, because broad-spectrum does not come with any trace amounts of THC, it is probably the best option if you have an upcoming cannabis drug test that you’re not looking forward to failing. Although this is not always the case because some cannabis drug tests might test for other cannabinoids besides CBD, it’s still better to ask what you’re being tested for.
Another reason to consume broad-spectrum CBD is that you don’t want THC entering your body. For whatever reason, that may be political, religious, or just your personal decision.
Why use CBD Isolate?
CBD isolate is a type of extract reserved for those that are not interested the least bit in other components and are trying to stay true to why they are interested in CBD. Consuming isolate might pose a significant disadvantage compared to the other two alternatives if the entourage effect proves to be real.
The Entourage Effect Explained
The most commonly known entourage effect is how CBD reduces the fogginess and sedation frequently caused by some THC content strains. Other cannabinoids included in full-spectrum and broad-spectrum extracts may have but are not limited to CBG, CBN, CBC, and CBDA.
But the entourage effect is not limited to cannabinoids. Terpenes also play a role in it.
The Role of Terpenes
While cannabinoids are native to cannabis, terpenes are not. Terpenes can be found in various plants and substances different from cannabis, including pine trees and pepper. So, like cannabinoids, terpenes can also provide the body with their positive effects.
Terpenes also bind to the same receptors that cannabinoids do, making it possible for them to modify the effects of cannabinoids in the body by enhancing them or reducing them. Hence, their role in the entourage effect.
It can be confusing for first time CBD consumers to understand what they’re purchasing, especially when it comes to spectrums. In short, spectrums classify the type of CBD extract used to make the final product but not a classification of the final product itself. Some spectrums include more than just CBD, and others like CBD isolate offer only CBD as their main ingredient.