With cannabidiol (CBD) products increasingly available, it is often hard to understand exactly what you are getting. And with so many different CBD products on the market you might not understand the difference between full spectrum, isolate and products that are made from CBD cannabis or CBD hemp (and why it matters).
At Uptown CBD, we offer (and use, with good results) both full-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate tinctures, topicals and gel caps. In this article we will describe the difference to help you make your own, informed decision.
Cannabis and Hemp, What’s the Difference?
First, it’s important to understand that CBD from cannabis is only legal in medical or recreational marijuana states. CBD hemp oil – which is what we offer at Uptown CBD – is legal in all 50 states under the 2014 US Farm Bill. Hemp-derived CBD can assist with a variety of medical conditions including anxiety, depression and pain.
Whether isolate or full-spectrum, hemp-derived CBD contains only trace amounts of THC. THC is the main compound that causes a “high” in marijuana consumers. You will not get high from our hemp-derived CBD offerings.
Our products from Ananda Hemp are “full spectrum” CBD. Full spectrum CBD oil, unlike CBD isolate products, includes a wide range of the 100 or so cannabinoids and other compounds present in the cannabis or hemp plant. Full-spectrum proponents say it can provide a greater effect than CBD alone as all the cannabinoids work together in what is known as the entourage effect.
Full spectrum CBD also contains a variety of vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, protein, chlorophyll, terpenes, flavonoids, and fiber. When referring to CBD in the hemp plant, it’s important to understand that hemp contains a large number of cannabinoids in trace amounts. But the main compounds are CBD and cannabidiolic acid (CBDa). Processing the hemp changes the CBDa into CBD.
Full spectrum CBD: Benefits of the Whole Plant
One of the most important studies relating to full spectrum CBD oil took place at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Hadassah School in 2015. It compared the performance of a full spectrum extract with one that contained CBD only. The study concluded that full spectrum was more effective when fighting pain and inflammation.
However, THC was among the compounds whose effects were being observed in the study. CBD alone is effective in relief of pain and inflammation, but the full-spectrum version seemed to enhance the therapeutic performance of THC.
Importantly, it also seemed to tamp down the unpleasant anxiety-provoking aspect of THC. These observations were attributed to the above-mentioned entourage effect. The synergistic combining of the many compounds in cannabis may provide better performance overall than any single compound.
The entourage effect seems to be the main reason behind the efficacy of whole-plant extracts. Proponents of full-spectrum CBD oil can cite this study in support of their case. Indeed, there are over 100 identified compounds in both the cannabis plant and industrial hemp with potential benefits. Many are independent of immediate therapeutic goals, including terpenes, vitamins, minerals, essential fats, and protein.
Full-spectrum CBD oil contains an array of cannabinoids, terpenes and much more. Oils or isolates with CBD only, however, are separated from other compounds in the plant.
The CBD isolate we offer at Uptown CBD is produced by Medterra, and is guaranteed to be free of the psychoactive compound, THC. The full-spectrum product that we offer on our site has 0.03 percent or less THC, which is well within legal range. Such a small amount isn’t likely to show up in a drug test, but individual results may vary.
What Does Full Spectrum CBD Oil Contain?
You are probably aware of the impact of THC and CBD on your health, but there are other cannabinoids in processed marijuana and hemp. Processing the plants, however, seems to transform or remove them.
Also known as the ‘stem cell’ cannabinoid, the plant transforms most CBG into cannabinoids such as CBD and THC. As a result, most processed plants have a low level of CBG.
The degradation of THC leads to CBN. While there is usually a low amount of it in the fresh plant, processing cannabis typically raises the level of CBN. It offers a slight psychoactive effect and has a greater affinity for the human body’s CB2 receptor compared to the CB1 receptor.
It is probably the least studied ‘major’ cannabinoid even though it is rather abundant in certain marijuana strains. As such, there isn’t enough data available to suggest it offers the same benefits as THC and CBD. However, the research that is available suggests that CBC has antidepressant, pain relieving, and anti-anxiety effects.
Other lesser known cannabinoids include:
- Cannabicyclol (CBL)
- Cannabitriol (CBT)
- Cannabicitran (CBT)
- Cannabifuran (CBF)
Terpenes are chemicals that give cannabis and hemp plants their unique scent and taste. They may have certain benefits as well, working with cannabinoids to some therapeutic and nutritional effect. Some of the same terpenes in cannabis and hemp are also found in citrus, other fruits, and plants that offer health benefits when ingested, including antioxidant, antibacterial or anti-inflammatory effects.
Others may be fine when ingested but may irritate the skin when applied topically. Our full-spectrum products include some terpenes, while our isolate does not. We find that our isolate products are virtually tasteless, while the full-spectrum products have a slightly herbal, pine-y or citrus taste – depending on your taste buds! Our products do NOT have added, artificial flavorings.
Full spectrum CBD oil contains vitamins A, C, & E along with complex B vitamins such as niacin, riboflavin, and thiamine. Full spectrum oil includes zinc, potassium, iron, calcium, and phosphorus. It also contains up to 20 amino acids and fatty acids such as Omega 3 and Omega 6 which help promote better heart health. Hemp oil itself, even without CBD, is a good source of protein.
Your Well-Being, Your Choice.
There are well-documented benefits of consuming CBD oil, both as an isolate or full-spectrum form. You will receive an adequate amount of CBD in either case. But you also consume other beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes with full-spectrum products. Consequently, full-spectrum CBD oil, used in our Andanda Hemp products, is more likely to include a distinctive natural flavor, while CBD isolate, used in our Medterra products, tends to be flavorless.
We have tested both to good effect, which is why we offer both versions at Uptown CBD. We’ve found that some people have loyalty to one or the other. Other customers tend to keep both versions among their regimen of supplements, simply alternating between full-spectrum and isolate each day. We suggest that you experiment, too, and decide which course you prefer!