Cannabidiol (CBD) is the term for the non-psychoactive compound found in the hemp plant. It is the second most prevalent active ingredient in cannabis, and is thought to have a range of therapeutic benefits, including reduced stress, increased concentration, help with pain management and better gut health.
However, there is not just one type of CBD. CBD can be extracted from the hemp plant in a few different ways, which results in different types of CBD that have their own unique set of properties, benefits, and drawbacks.
The three main types of CBD are —
- Full-Spectrum CBD: contains all occurring compounds found in the hemp plant, including other cannabinoids (THC), terpenes, and flavonoids.
- Broad-Spectrum CBD: similar to full-spectrum CBD but contains no Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which means it is certified drug-free and has no psychoactive properties.
- Isolate CBD: isolated and purified to remove all other compounds, including other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.
Let’s look at these in more detail.
1. Full-Spectrum CBD
Full-Spectrum CBD refers to CBD products that contain all of the compounds found in the hemp plant, including THC.
Full-Spectrum CBD is thought to create an “entourage effect” which is the suggested positive contribution derived from the addition of terpenes to the effect of cannabinoids. In other words, the combination of CBD with the additional compounds is thought to be more effective. Healthline writes that this is because it’s thought that all the compounds in cannabis work together, and when taken together, they produce a better effect than when taken alone.
The most common method for extracting full-spectrum CBD is to pressurise and heat CO2 to create a fluid that is passed through the plant to extract the CBD and other compounds, including THC.
For this reason, full-spectrum CBD often contains a small amount of THC (0.3% or less) which, although legal, can appear on a drug test. For personal or legal reasons, those who don’t want to risk a potential positive drug test should look at its alternative: broad-spectrum CBD.
2. Broad-Spectrum CBD
Broad-Spectrum CBD refers to CBD products that contain a range of compounds found in the hemp plant, but not THC, the psychoactive compound found in cannabis. This is a better option for those who want to experience the same “entourage effect” mentioned above, without the risk of consuming THC.
The extraction of broad-spectrum CBD is similar to full-spectrum. However, the oil goes through an additional process called “winterization” which removes certain compounds from the crude oil before the distillation process, In simpler terms, the extracted oil is dissolved in alcohol and frozen, which causes the THC to separate from the other compounds, allowing it to be filtered out.
As touched on above, for those who are subject to drug tests, broad-spectrum is the better option as it contains no THC, which can be detected in drug tests. This might include athletes, the armed forces, and public service workers. At Purity Hemp, we sell broad-spectrum products that are completely traceable from seed to shelf, and have received certification from the Banned Substance Control Group (BSCG) guaranteeing them to be 100% THC free.
3. Isolate CBD
Isolate CBD is a type of CBD that is 99% cannabidiol, meaning it does not contain the other compounds found in the hemp plant, including cannabinoids, terpenes, and essential oils.
As its name suggests, the most popular method for extracting Isolate CBD is “isolation”, otherwise known as “crystallisation.” This is the process where the oil is dissolved in a solvent, which is then evaporated and leaves behind a crystallised form of CBD that is ground into a fine powder and used for the final product.
Although the odour- and tasteless powder makes it easy to put in a range of products, studies have shown that CBD is most effective when combined with the other compounds from the hemp plant. As CBD Isolates don’t contain these compounds, they are much less effective than their counterparts (and don’t create the above mentioned entourage effect).
Likewise, the isolation process can be harsh on the hemp plant, and might leave behind solvent residues in the final product. For this reason, CO2 extraction is considered a safer method of extraction.
Ethanol extraction and hydrocarbon extraction are also popular methods of extraction, but these can be even harsher, and might leave behind solvent residues in the final product. It is also important to note that some companies might use different methods for extracting CBD, or a combination of the above mentioned methods to achieve their desired result. It is therefore always important to research the specific product to ensure that it is extracted using safe and reliable methods.
What Type of CBD is Best?
Although isolated CBD is often a little bit cheaper than full or broad-spectrum CBD, it is thought to be much less effective because it doesn’t produce the potential entourage effect. However, those that don’t want to consume THC or risk a positive drug test, should avoid full-spectrum.
The best type of CBD for a balanced approach is broad-spectrum, because it contains the compounds thought to produce the best effects, but doesn’t contain THC and will therefore not show up on a drug test.
Different Types of CBD Products
As well as the different types of CBD, there are different CBD products that can be used to take your dose.
The main types of CBD products are —
- CBD Oil: made by extracting CBD from the hemp plant, and then diluting it with a carrier oil, such as coconut or hemp seed oil. CBD Oil can be taken orally, or added to food and drink for consumption.
- CBD Edibles: CBD Edibles are food products that have been infused with CBD, such as gummies or baked goods. It might take longer to feel the effects as the CBD has to go through the digestive system, but it is a typically more delicious way to enjoy CBD.
- CBD Topicals: include creams, lotions, salves, or balms that contain CBD, and are typically applied directly to the skin.
- CBD Tinctures: CBD Tinctures are similar to CBD oil, but typically have a higher concentration of CBD. CBD tinctures are taken sublingually, which means they’re held under the tongue for a few seconds before being swallowed.
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