Since the legalization of CBD in Canada, the market has expanded exponentially. With all sorts of CBD products available for purchase, from oils to topicals, even suppositories, there are still many unknowns when it comes to how cannabinoids affect us.
One of the most frequently asked questions is about the different kinds of CBD - mainly, Full Spectrum vs Broad Spectrum CBD oil.
Well, the biggest difference between the two is the THC content. Full Spectrum has traces of it, while Broad Spectrum has been processed to remove mostly all of it.
Sounds like a simple answer, right? It's not quite as easy as it may seem, however. Depending on the extraction methods and processes used, you may end up with more or less of the whole plant in the final product.
Cannabinoids & The Entourage Effect Explained
Cannabis can be separated into two categories, marijuana and hemp. While CBD can be obtained from both sources, the majority of it is harvested from the hemp plant.
Being naturally low in THC, and high in CBD, this makes it the ideal choice for anyone, young or old, looking to supplement with cannabinoids.
Hemp has been around for ages, and has long been a household and commercial staple. Over the years it has been used for clothing, building materials, biofuel, and is considered a superfood as well.
It's also host to a number of compounds like cannabinoids and terpenes that have been scientifically proven to have a number of different health benefits.
Cannabinoids attach to receptors within the Endocannabinoid System, a system that runs all through our bodies and brains.
This system is designed to keep everything in balance, called homeostasis. It is thought to impact other systems in the body, and is responsible for:
- Temperature regulation
- Mood and memory
- Immune function
- Motor control
- Pain and pleasure centres
- Digestive system
When people talk about the Entourage Effect, they are referencing the effects that happen when you ingest the whole plant.
Cannabis is made up of many different components, some of which work better in the presence of others, some of which dampen their effects. CBD for instance is known to counteract the more negative aspects of THC, while the terpene Myrcene increases THC's effects.
You'll hear across the board that Full Spectrum CBD is the best option when choosing a product, and there is a good reason for that.
When you start removing elements like THC and other cannabinoids, what is left behind doesn't work as effectively as it would had every part been there.
Full Spectrum vs Broad Spectrum CBD Oil
Full Spectrum CBD Oil
Full Spectrum CBD oil is exactly how it sounds. It contains the full plant profile, and includes all cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.
One cannabinoid that Full Spectrum CBD oil contains is THC, which many people are automatically wary of. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the compound in cannabis that gets you high, but the actual amounts of THC in Full Spectrum CBD oil are very low.
Here in Canada we don't have strict laws on the THC content in CBD oil due to marijuana being legal, but the standard around the globe is 0.3%, and that is what the majority of Canadian CBD companies stick to.
These traces of THC are nowhere near the amount that it would take an average person to feel any sort of mind altering effects, but it is important when it comes to the Entourage Effect and how the other compounds react in its presence.
By choosing Full Spectrum, you're ensuring that you are receiving the absolute most possible benefits from the plant.
Broad Spectrum CBD Oil
With Broad Spectrum CBD oil, the THC has been removed. Some of the processes used to extract the THC from the Full Spectrum hemp extract can also destroy some of the cannabinoids and terpenes as well.
While it may not be as effective as Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum CBD still has its uses. Many people can't have any THC in their systems at all, some because of drug testing through work, and some have an extreme sensitivity to THC.
Be aware that although companies can get very close to zero THC, it is next to impossible to fully remove it in its entirety. It does get removed to the point that it is non-detectable on a drug test, though reports of positive tests have occurred using Broad Spectrum.
There is another form of CBD as well, called CBD Isolate. CBD Isolate is just CBD, and nothing more. It has been refined down to that single molecule, and contains no other cannabinoids, terpenes, or plant matter, and is THC free.
CBD Isolate is generally found as a 99.9% pure, crystalline powder, that has virtually no scent or taste.
Isolate is an extremely versatile form of CBD, that can be used to make your own extracts, lotions, or gummies at home. It is also much more affordable than buying ready made CBD products.
The downside to using CBD Isolate is that you aren't getting the benefits of the Entourage Effect.
The Research Behind Full Spectrum CBD And Whole Plant Extracts
The science is clear on one aspect - it's that Full Spectrum, whole plant extracts are vastly superior to Isolates.
Nearly all of the studies that have been completed have been with Full Spectrum CBD, and the majority of CBD users seem to agree with this. Across the board, whether it's for pain relief, inflammation, anxiety, or skin issues, Full Spectrum is the clear winner here.
Here's a list of some of the studies that detail the differences:
How To Choose Between Full And Broad Spectrum CBD
There is no clear cut guidelines to using CBD, and there is no one size fits all. Each person, and their Endocannabinoid System, is unique, and therefore their needs will require different approaches.
If you are looking for the maximum benefits possible and are not concerned about drug testing, choose Full Spectrum.
If you are worried about the THC content, be it from sensitivities or drug testing, go with a Broad Spectrum or Isolate CBD product. Many top CBD brands in Canada carry all three types of oils.