There are two main types of CBD concentrate – CBD isolates and full-spectrum CBD. Once extracted, this CBD concentrate is used in the manufacturing of many popular CBD products – from CBD oil to edibles, which become edibles by adding CBD oil. In the case of CBD oil, the concentrate is simply diluted with a carrier oil. like hemp oil or coconut oil. In the case of edibles, the concentrate is infused in gummies, candies, chocolates, or other popular edibles.
This means that the final CBD product can contain either CBD isolate or full-spectrum CBD. But which one is better? The short answer is that the full-spectrum extract may offer additional benefits, compared to CBD isolate.
The Difference In The Extraction Process of Full-Spectrum CBD vs CBD isolate
Typically, CBD is extracted from the cannabis flower using solvents. Once the solvent extract is precipitated and the remaining solvent is evaporated off, a crude extract is produced. Many additional processes can then be utilized to yield the finished product – winterization, for example, involves the removal of the waxes and sugars by freezing.
The crude extract is often distilled. During distillation, the vapors condense in a fractionating column. This column separates each constituent of the extract, based on its boiling point. In this process, the pure CBD can be isolated, ensuring that it contains no waxes, terpenes, THC, or other organic components.
The CBD can then be re-combined with some of the other volatile components that come out of the fractionating column, leaving only the THC behind. This THC-stripped extract is commonly referred to as ‘broad-spectrum’ CBD – this is simply another sub-type of full-spectrum CBD, which contains no THC, but still contains most of the other volatile components.
Unlike CBD isolate, not all full-spectrum CBD extracts are distilled. Because the cannabis strains which are grown to serve the CBD market are often legally required to contain less than 0.3% THC anyway, the crude extract produced from those plants is ready to use without undergoing distillation.
Is Full-Spectrum CBD Better?
CBD isolate is a white, crystalline powder with no smell. On first glance, it may seem like the cleanest and the best option – after all, it’s the purest form of CBD and CBD is what we want to take, right?
Well, as it turns out, CBD may work better in the body when taken together with some of the other constituents of the cannabis flower. This of course is known as the ‘entourage effect’. Originally, it was assumed that this effect happens when THC and CBD are taken together, but the exact chemicals with which CBD interacts in order to exert its full therapeutic potential still haven’t been identified. This means that broad-spectrum CBD, which is full-spectrum CBD without the THC may still provide additional benefits compared to pure CBD isolate.
To make things even more complicated, the effects of CBD and THC are very dependent on your personal genetics and the genetic variations in your endocannabinoid system. So, in the end, it’s best to experiment with different types of CBD and find out what works best for you.
What Else Does Full-Spectrum CBD Contain, Besides CBD?
Full-spectrum CBD extract contains hundreds of other different cannabinoids, including CBN, CBG, CBC. It also contains waxes, sugars, proteins, and many other organic constituents. As we already said, apart from THC, it’s not completely clear with which of these compounds CBD interacts to exert its full therapeutic effect.
What Is The Effect of Full-Spectrum CBD?
In practical terms, the entourage effect is non-specific – it doesn’t refer to a specific benefit of full-spectrum CBD, but rather, applies to all of its effects and its therapeutic potential as a whole. You may find that full-spectrum CBD relieves your anxiety better or exerts a more powerful pain-reducing effect compared to pure, isolated CBD. The same applies to people with sleep issues.
Does Full-Spectrum CBD Contain THC?
Usually, full-spectrum CBD oil contains only up to about 0.3% delta-9 THC, which is the THC compound currently regulated by US law. This is not enough to produce any mental effects, especially considering that CBD acts as a blocking agent for the mental effects of THC. This trace amount of THC however, may be partly responsible for the entourage effect we already discussed.
There are CBD oils or CBD concentrates with a high THC content and some even have a 1:1 THC to CBD ratio. However, this is not a popular option, and the vast majority of CBD oils referred to as ‘full-spectrum CBD oil’ still contain less than 0.3% THC, as is always stated in the description of the product.