The idiom “variety is the spice of life” can also be applied to the illustrious landscape of CBD. Buying our weekly groceries would be boring if there were only one type of lettuce available in the produce section or one kind of cereal for sale on the shelf, and arguably, the same can be said for shopping for CBD. However, given the fact that CBD can be purchased in a variety of forms tailored to different intended methods of consumption, it is important to pay attention to what type of CBD is used in a product before heading to the checkout line.
Given the versatility of cannabinoids in general, the process of determining which type of CBD to buy is made easier by the labels “full spectrum” and “isolate.” Essentially, these labels help distinguish what exactly the product contains, CBD-wise. The cannabis plant, which CBD is extracted from, contains much more than just CBD or THC . In fact, the plant is home to hundreds of different kinds of phytochemicals , such as cannabinoids (CBD, THC, etc.) and terpenes (which are compounds that provide aroma and flavor), among other organic components. Because of this, the art of CBD extraction can be either loosely or tightly refined, and the approach will impact certain factors, such as recommended dosage.
In fact, the plant is home to hundreds of different kinds of phytochemicals, such as cannabinoids (CBD, THC, etc.) and terpenes (which are compounds that provide aroma and flavor), among other organic components.
As the name suggests, the CBD isolate label refers to products that feature CBD without the presence of other additional cannabinoids or terpenes. CBD isolate can also be labeled as “pure CBD” or “99 to 100 percent CBD.” This also means that CBD isolate is usually of a higher potency where a smaller dose is recommended.
On the other hand, products labeled as full spectrum CBD refer to those made with an extraction process that allows for the entirety (or nearly the entirety) of all of the compounds naturally present in the cannabis plant to be utilized. Full spectrum CBD products can also be marketed as "whole plant" because they contain other compounds on top of cannabidiol, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which produces a psychoactive effect. This is also where the labeling of full spectrum CBD may also include a ratio detailing the presence of these two major cannabinoids specifically. For example, a product with a 30:1 ratio of CBD to THC will be absorbed by the body differently than a product with a 1:1 ratio of CBD to THC. Additionally, because full spectrum CBD contains essentially all of the compounds found naturally in the cannabis plant, it is believed to have greater therapeutic potential than isolated CBD due to how the body interacts with cannabinoids.
Determining whether CBD isolate or full spectrum CBD should become your preference relies on a multitude of factors, including if you are in a state with strict THC laws or if you are choosing to be mindful of being subjected to a drug test at work. CBD isolate products, for example, are great for those who may have a sensitivity to THC and other cannabinoids, or those who are interested in receiving the health benefits of CBD while experiencing a nonintoxicating effect.
On the other hand, full spectrum CBD is emerging as the preference for those who are looking to target a specific use or who may be looking to get the most out of incorporating CBD into their routine. Full spectrum CBD can be regarded as a “fuller” experience, meaning that because it utilizes the “whole plant,” it also contains other compounds like THC, which means it can produce psychoactive effects and should be dosed accordingly. It is also the most widely used by those who live in states where cannabis is completely legal. Ultimately, it is important to note which compounds are present in your CBD due to how the human body interacts with these different compounds. A 2015 study found that full spectrum CBD resulted in a higher level of relief compared to CBD isolate, but this doesn’t mean that CBD isolate should be benched.
Full spectrum CBD can be regarded as a “fuller” experience, meaning that because it utilizes the “whole plant,” it also contains other compounds like THC, which means it can produce psychoactive effects and should be dosed accordingly.
It is instinctual to want to mentally dub one type of CBD as “better” or “more effective” than the other, especially when first being introduced to its benefits and uses. Doing this is a disservice to the multitude of ways in which CBD can be beneficial to you. When it comes to determining which will be the right CBD product for you, there is no right or wrong answer. If your concerns are for more specific uses, then full spectrum may be the CBD choice for you. However, if you’re seeking CBD as a nutritional and helpful supplement, then consider CBD isolate. Regardless of the type, it’s an increasingly necessary addition to any daily regimen.