Choosing a CBD product for the first time can be confusing, there’s such a wide range of different brands, methods of consumption and new terminology to contend with. One of the key things to look out for is the spectrum or profile of your CBD product – this is the difference in valuable compounds that are found in the cannabinoid plants.
CBD is just one of hundreds of different cannabinoids found in the hemp plant, there are also many other natural compounds such as terpenes, flavonoids, vitamins and minerals, and they work together to produce a stronger effect on the human endocannabinoid system. This is called the ‘entourage effect’.
When CBD products are made there are several ways of extracting the hemp plant and these distinctive methods result in various end products, these then interact with our bodies in different ways.
The three main ways of classifying the refinement of the extracts are:
What is Full Spectrum CBD?
- Contains all the cannabinoids, terpenes, vitamins and minerals from the hemp plant including a very small and legal amount of THC.
- All the compounds work together to gain maximum benefit from your product
A full spectrum extract is one that contains as many of the compounds from the hemp plant as possible. Although CBD is one of the most popular compounds found in the plant due to its therapeutic properties, there are also many other cannabinoids such as CBG, CBDA, CBDVA and CBC which are known to be beneficial, and there is much ongoing research into these chemicals by scientists around the world to learn more about how they work and interact with our bodies. A good full spectrum product will contain traces of all of these.
Full-spectrum products also contain a small amount of THC, although they should be thoroughly tested to make sure they remain under the legal limit. This trace amount will not give you a high but will interact with the other compounds to enhance the entourage effect, thus full-spectrum products are considered to be most effective for our wellbeing.
What is Broad Spectrum CBD?
- Removes THC and some other cannabinoid and plant compounds
- Less effective than full spectrum
Broad spectrum CBD products have been further processed to remove traces of THC. This can be helpful if you are an athlete who gets regularly drug tested, but for most people a full spectrum product is preferable. Often the distillation process will remove other healthy cannabinoids and compounds which will result in a less effective product.
What is Isolate CBD?
- 99% Pure CBD with none of the other healthy compounds
- Many of the benefits of the hemp plant are removed
CBD isolate has been heavily processed to remove all the other compounds and produce a nearly pure white powder. It contains none of the other cannabinoids and compounds which are known to help with the entourage effect and is considered to produce inferior effects to full and broad spectrum products. They are usually cheaper to buy but many brands try to pass isolate off as a more expensive product, so its important to always check if the company has lab reports.
Independent laboratory reports
A reputable company will always publish independent lab reports on their website and its worth checking that the product contains the amount of CBD it should, as well as a good range of other cannabinoids. Look for compounds such as CBDA, CBG, CBC, and a little bit of THC; even though they may be small trace amounts, it all adds up to encourage the entourage effect and more effective products for your wellbeing.