With the rising popularity of hemp derived CBD products, the number of choices and options for consumers can seem overwhelming at times. This article aims to shed some light on one of the key variables to help demystify the terminology of “spectrums” surrounding these hemp products.
You may have heard the terms full-spectrum, isolate, non-isolate and broad spectrum thrown around, but many customers don’t fully understand the significance of these descriptors.
The meaning of these variations is an important factor in choosing the hemp or cannabis product that is right for you.
The spectrum being described by these terms refers to the molecules derived from the hemp plant known as cannabinoids. While there are more than 100 known cannabinoids identified in hemp and cannabis plants, the spectrum which is most often analyzed and discussed focuses on a more narrow range of typically 10 cannabinoids.
These plant molecules, also known more specifically as phytocannabinoids, interact with the human endocannabinoid system (ECS). The human endocannabinoid system is one of the most important discoveries in recent medical history and it has been found to regulate multiple critical functions in the human brain and body.
The interaction of the exogenous phytocannabinoids with receptors of the internal ECS help balance and regulate any potential deficiency or excess of naturally occurring endocannabinoids (endogenous neurotransmitters such as anandamide & 2-AG) to promote homeostasis within the human brain and body. This interaction is a key reason why so many individuals experience benefits from hemp derived products across a wide range of issues.
When it comes to hemp derived products the key molecule to discuss is Cannabidiol – commonly referred to as CBD.
CBD Isolate refers to a single molecule product where the Cannabidiol molecule is extracted from the plant to remove all of the other cannabinoids and plant material to produce a white, crystalline powder that is as high as 99.9% pure CBD. This crystallized powder is then formulated into various products including gummies, tinctures, edibles, topicals and more.
Benefits of CBD Isolate include rapid absorption, consistent and accurate dosing and shelf life stability.
Full Spectrum CBD Oil usually refers to oil that contains a wide range of cannabinoids and plant molecules. Full-spectrum CBD Oil will typically contain anywhere from 15% to as high as 80% cannabidiol with smaller percentages of other cannabinoids such as CBN (Cannabinol), CBG (Cannabigerol), CBC (Cannabichromene) and THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol).
Many users find Full-Spectrum Oil to be more beneficial since there are multiple cannabinoids working together with plant molecules such as chlorophyll, vitamins and terpenes to produce synergistic effects commonly referred to as the “Entourage Effect”. Since each person’s biochemistry is unique, a wider range of cannabinoids can potentially offer a better potential outcome for a larger number of users.
To be legally defined as Hemp, the levels of delta-9 THC must be not more than 0.3% according to the 2018 Farm Bill legislation. Similar to CBD Isolate, the full-spectrum extract is formulated into various products such as tinctures, vape cartridges and topicals.
A new terminology has emerged recently to describe a distillate oil that falls somewhere in between isolate and full spectrum, which is called Broad Spectrum CBD Oil. Broad Spectrum CBD Oil is similar to Full Spectrum, but it is further refined to remove the THC below detectable levels while keeping the other beneficial cannabinoids in the oil.
Broad Spectrum CBD oil typically contains somewhere between 70% to 90% Cannabidiol while retaining the other beneficial cannabinoids and plant molecules such as CBN, CBC, CBG and CBDv with no detectable THC.
Broad Spectrum is an excellent choice for customers who desire the benefits of the “Entourage Effect” but do not want any THC in their product. This is especially beneficial for people who may be subject to testing for THC for work or other requirements.
Broad Spectrum oil is used to formulate CBD oil tinctures, CBD vape cartridges, CBD topicals creams and other high quality products.
While there are many other factors to consider when choosing your CBD products, hopefully this explanation of the differences between isolate, full spectrum and broad spectrum will provide some insight into which option is the best fit for your individual wellness regimen!