In this article we look at the differences between full-spectrum and isolated CBD, how they affect the body differently and how to choose between one or the other.
If you’ve been looking for CBD, you’ve seen some products marketed as full-spectrum, and others as isolated CBD. In this article, we’re going to look at the differences between full-spectrum CBD and isolated CBD, and what this means for the end consumer like you.
UNDERSTANDING THE CHEMISTRY OF HEMP
The hemp plant contains 483 known compounds, and approximately 100 of them are cannabinoids. CBD is just one of them, and although much research has been done on cannabinoids such as CBD and THC, there is still a lot we don’t know about the hemp plant and how it affects the human body.
FULL-SPECTRUM CBD VS. ISOLATED CBD
Full-spectrum CBD is made from an extract that contains all or almost all of the compounds that are present in a hemp plant by its very nature. Obviously, CBD is among them, as well as other cannabinoids (CBN, CBC and CBG, to name a few), terpenes, flavonoids and more.
Isolated CBD, on the other hand, contains only CBD. CBD brands can achieve this by either isolating CBD from hemp extract or artificially manufacturing it in a lab. One company, for example, is planning to produce cannabinoids from sugar.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES/DISADVANTAGES OF FULL SPECTRUM CBD AND ISOLATED CBD?
Both full-spectrum and isolated CBD have their pros and cons.
Isolated CBD is especially popular with people who take high doses of CBD on a regular basis and undergo random drug testing. Now, let’s be clear; most full-spectrum CBD products (including our full CBD line) are made with hemp extract, which generally contains very low THC concentrations (below 0.3%).
These concentrations are very low and obviously cannot produce psychoactive effects. Unfortunately, however, in drug tests these minimal amounts of THC can appear, and even more so in people who take high doses of CBD on a daily basis. On the other hand, isolated CBD can be produced completely free of THC, something that can be a relief for consumers who have to pass drug tests.
So where does this leave full-spectrum CBD? As it contains all the compounds found in hemp, full-spectrum CBD is believed to have a higher therapeutic potential than isolates, and this is due to the entourage effect.
THE ENTOURAGE EFFECT: HOW CANNABINOIDS AND TERPENES INTERACT IN THE BODY
The entourage effect is a theory that hemp compounds have a synergistic relationship in the body, producing unique effects. Although, on the other hand, some sources debate the validity of the entourage effect. In any case, there is solid research indicating that the variety of effects of hemp comes not simply from the individual compounds it contains, but from the way those compounds interact in the body.
Studies have shown, for example, that the CBD in hemp can counteract some of the adverse effects of THC, such as anxiety. It is believed that CBD can block some cannabinoid receptors, thus blocking the effects of THC, which binds directly to these receptors.
Ethan Russo, a famous researcher in the field of cannabinoids, already documented the entourage effect in the past. In an interview with Scientific American, Russo mentioned that as little as 5mg of pure THC is enough to cause psychosis-like symptoms in some people. However, if consumed alongside CBD, patients can consume much higher doses of THC (up to 48mg) without these adverse effects.
Research also shows that full-spectrum CBD products often work better than isolated CBD in alleviating certain symptoms. A study from the Lautenberg Center for General Tumor Immunology in Jerusalem compared full-spectrum CBD to isolates in the treatment of pain and inflammation. Full-spectrum CBD came out on top in all aspects of the study.