Medically reviewed by: Dr. Vance Green, PharmD.
Updated on July 9, 2021
Chances are that you’ve recently come across CBD and you’re now looking to purchase your first CBD product, but as you search and delve deeper, you’re feeling a little confused and unsure of all the varying industry terms and myriad of products on the market. With so many new and different CBD oil products available, the choices of which one to purchase can be not only difficult but extremely confusing. With terms like whole plant extract, Hemp extract, full spectrum, broad spectrum and CBD isolate. So, to aid you in your research, we break down and explain the differences and varying proposed benefits of CBD products.
What do these terms mean? Are they different? Is it just jargon and buzz words?
A Question we hear very often is:
does full spectrum cbd have thc?
As a basic rule, these terms are used to define 3 separate classifications of CBD products.
Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum and CBD Isolate
What is CBD / CANNABIDIOL?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of at least 104(1) non-intoxicating naturally occurring cannabinoid compounds found in the stalks, stems, leaves, and flowers of cannabis/hemp that studies show to have some therapeutic benefits in the following indications: epilepsy, addictions, psychotic disorders, anxiety, and sleep disorders, pain, stress and even cancer. (sources)
CBD and the other known cannabinoids, unlike THC, CBD does not make a person feel “high” or intoxicated. That’s because CBD and THC act in different ways on different receptors (CB1 CB2) in the brain and body. Also referred to as the endocannabinoid system (ECS)
With that, let’s break down and define the factors for each CBD classification type.
WHAT IS FULL SPECTRUM CBD?
WHAT IS FULL SPECTRUM CBD?
FULL SPECTRUM CBD OIL,
is an extract from any and all parts of the cannabis/hemp plant that contains all compounds found naturally occurring in the plant used to make the extract, including terpenes, essential oils, and other cannabinoids.
Full spectrum CBD is an extract from any and all parts of the cannabis/hemp plant that contains all compounds found naturally occurring in the plant used to make the extract, including terpenes, essential oils, and other cannabinoids. This type of extract/product is minimally refined, leaving most of the cannabinoids and terpenes intact and in the oil.
Full-spectrum CBD oil will contain a variety of other cannabinoids, in varying amounts and profiles. The most commonly found cannabinoids that can be tangibly detected are: CBDa, CBGa, CBG, CBDv, CBN, CBC, THCa, THCv, and trace THC.
With advancements in breading, testing and extraction, it’s now possible to purchase high CBG flower & CBG oils. These products are fast becoming as popular as CBD. CBG has shown promising health benefits, some similar to CBD, and some unique to CBG.
There is ONE absolute MUST in full-spectrum extracts, that is trace THC, <0.3% THC.
It’s important to note that not all full-spectrum oils are created equally. Some may contain fewer cannabinoids, fewer terpenes, and other beneficial compounds. Why is this? This is down to multiple reasons. The originating raw material type and extraction method used. Extracts derived from stalks and stems only typically have fewer cannabinoids and other compounds than that of a full plant or hemp flower only extraction.
Typically you find that Co2 extracted CBD oils have a better profile of cannabinoids as this is widely known as one of the most preserving extraction methods to date. Whereas, cheaper solvent extractions yield less preservation of all beneficial compounds.
To understand the products spectrum/profile, you will need to read the 3rd party lab reports to ascertain it’s contents. Listings on websites and labels isn’t enough to validate the contents.
There is still much much more research to be done in the cannabis field, but studies indicate that cannabinoids and terpenes work together to influence each other in a synergistic effect that is referred to as the entourage effect.
WHAT IS BROAD SPECTRUM CBD?
WHAT IS BROAD SPECTRUM CBD?
BROAD SPECTRUM CBD OIL,
is an extract from any and all parts of the cannabis/hemp plant that contains all compounds found naturally occurring in the plant used to make the extract, including terpenes, essential oils, and other cannabinoids, BUT, does not contain THC.
Broad spectrum CBD is an extract from any and all parts of the cannabis/hemp plant that contains all compounds found naturally occurring in the plant used to make the extract, including terpenes, essential oils, and other cannabinoids. This type of extract/product is minimally refined, leaving most of the cannabinoids and terpenes intact and in the oil.
There is ONE absolute MUST in broad spectrum extracts is they must be THC free.
WHAT IS CBD ISOLATE?
WHAT IS CBD ISOLATE?
is a fine white crystalline/powder containing at-least 99% pure CBD. This pure crystalline contains only the CBD chemical compound. CBD isolate must contain 0.0% THC and 0% other compounds.
By definition, an isolate is a substance obtained by separating it from other substances using scientific processes.
CBD isolate is a fine white crystalline/powder containing at-least 99% pure CBD. This pure crystalline contains only the CBD chemical compound. Which has no other active ingredient and just aim to deliver therapeutic doses of CBD, isolated from the other cannabinoids and terpenes in the original extract. CBD isolate must contain 0.0% THC and 0% other compounds.
The crude oil that is first extracted from the plant material isn’t completely “clean” and will typically have a fair amount of waxes and lipids emulsified within the oil. The crude oil extraction then undergoes winterizing and filtering out major waxes and lipids.
The final stages of purification is done using Chromatography, which is a method of isolating and purifying cannabinoids, often used in the cannabis industry to separate THC and CBD from cannabis extracts.
WHAT ABOUT AN ISOLATE TINCTURE/OIL, THAT’S NOT A POWDER? SO, WHAT IS IT?
CBD isolate tinctures, Oils, gummies, vapes and the like are created by first taking the powdered CBD isolate and dissolving it in a carrier oil to the desired potency. Then, some companies add flavors, other oils, and other compounds.
FINAL WORDS AND WARNINGS
No we have explained what the differences are, we now need to clarify some very important points that we share with our customers everyday.
No matter what product type you are looking to purchase, you MUST ALWAYS make sure not only that the product is real, contains CBD, but also that it is the spectrum you are paying for. To many products and salespeople are miss selling, mislabeling or just avoiding the honest and ethical questions.
Many do this simply to get a sale, to charge premium full spectrum prices for isolate. Really, this happens A LOT!
How do you verify the product is what it says it is? Independent Lab Reports! Always make sure relevant, product-specific lab reports are published, or at the least, request to see them.
Another significant point to clear up, is drug screening. Any CBD product CAN result in a positive on a drug test. This is an in-depth topic that will require a much broader discussion. DO NOT take someones blind advice that you’ll pass, 100% it’s safe. If your life and family depends on you passing drug testing, do not risk it without taking the time to test yourself while experimenting.
We hope this has made the options clearer and dispelled some of the information you may have been told or not entirely understood.
Remember, it’s not all about the amount of CBD per ml serving you see on a bottle. A higher mg CBD isolate product isn’t necessarily superior to a lower mg full spectrum oil. We believe that leaving the plants extracts just the way nature intended could be the most beneficial way to utilize this wonderful plants medicinal and therapeutic properties.
Learn about the full spectrum’s synergistic entourage effect here.