As the name suggests, full spectrum or whole plant extract is oil extracted from the hemp plant which contains all the cannabinoids found in the plant. In addition to these compounds, full spectrum hemp oil also contains essential vitamins, minerals, Omega fatty acids, flavonoids, chlorophyll and terpenes.
We are big believers in a holistic approach to healing. There is rarely, if ever, a “magic pill” or even one solution to any problem. As career bodyworkers, we know that our clients will get the best results from the work we do if they treat their pain from many angles. In addition to getting bodywork, we suggest they use topical pain relievers, soothe sore muscles in an Epsom soak, make changes in their lifestyle to reduce stress, move their bodies more, and get more sleep. We’ve seen time and again that the people who treat their pain from this holistic approach get far better results than those who rely on one – isolated if you will – method of healing.
The Inner World of the Hemp Plant
For those just getting familiar with cannabidiol (CBD), the terms “full spectrum” and “CBD isolate” may not mean much to you. You have probably wondered what the difference is and which one you should choose when considering a CBD product. Here is a summary of how they differ and which we feel is a better choice.
This is cannabidiol in its purest form – it is extracted from the plant and processed to remove all of the oils, plant material, waxes, chlorophyll, and more, leaving behind the pure Cannabidiol. It is most often found in the form of white powder or crystals.
As with most information relating to the study and effects of cannabis, there are few quality double-blind studies to prove the entourage effect. This does not mean, however, that there isn’t growing scientific evidence to suggest that the theory may hold true. Many scientists agree that CBD mitigates some of the effects of THC by blocking cannabinoid receptors (thereby helping to reduce some of the associated anxiety or paranoia that THC can induce). A 2015 study demonstrated the superior therapeutic properties of whole plant hemp extracts compared to single-molecule CBD.
If you’ve done your research and understand the effects that full-spectrum CBD oil can have in comparison to CBD isolate, you might decide it’s a good option for you.
This one-man band stands out from the crowd for having what seems to be the widest therapeutic value. CBD isolate has been stripped of all other active ingredients and cannabinoids – what remains is a pure CBD molecule. Think of it as peeling a fruit and only eating the inside bit. But don’t be fooled by the word ‘isolate’: there’s a whole host of health and wellness benefits to CBD isolate products.
Just like CBD isolate, full-spectrum CBD oil is available in the form of edibles, creams, lotions and potions. You can take it orally with capsules, tinctures and edibles or apply it onto your skin so it can work its magic on the targeted area.
When Is Full-Spectrum CBD Oil Better For You?
The term full-spectrum is used when the CBD oil contains more than just the cannabinoid CBD – cue dozens of those hidden extras we spoke about earlier – and sometimes including small traces of THC (usually less than 0.03%), essential oils, flavonoids, terpenes, and other additional cannabinoids. Research suggests that with some of these additional cannabinoids comes the opportunity for wider health benefits.
In the voice of Chandler Bing: could it be any more relaxing?!
While it’s hard to believe there are any drawbacks to pure CBD, isolating it from other cannabinoids and compounds does mean that you’ll miss out on the potential benefits of THC, terpenes and flavonoids, as well as their famous ‘entourage effect’ – a synergistic interaction that enhances the individual effect of each compound involved.
People who use CBD isolate find it particularly beneficial for its calming properties and therapeutic potential. We already know that it works with our body’s endocannabinoid system to activate receptors in the brain and help restore homeostasis – the natural balance of the body – which includes our mood, body temperature, water content and more. But it’s also associated with other long-term health effects: multiple studies have shown that CBD could have anti-inflammatory properties, relieve chronic pain, help with muscle repair and help promote a good night’s sleep.
You’ve probably found CBD products labeled with “CBD isolate” or “full spectrum CBD oil” that have left you somewhat confused.
Broad-spectrum CBD contains cannabidiol and the other natural compounds found within the plant, except for THC, which is completely removed after the extraction process has taken place. Because broad-spectrum CBD contains other cannabinoids besides THC, it can still produce the entourage effect.
Getting to know cannabinoids and terpenes
It’s important that we make the distinction between hemp extracts and cannabis extracts (marijuana) or Hemp extract vs CBD. Hemp extracts containing CBD are sourced from the hemp plant and may contain trace amounts of THC or are instead THC free. Cannabis extracts, meanwhile, will contain some level of THC content and therefore aren’t THC free. According to the 2018 Farm Bill, any CBD product derived from hemp must contain less than 0.3% THC or it will instead be classified as a cannabis product under law.
Ingredients contained within full spectrum CBD may include essential vitamins and minerals, plant-based protein fiber, beneficial fatty acids, chlorophyll, terpenes, and flavonoids. At times these ingredients may simply be labeled as “hemp oil extract,” but this term is somewhat ambiguous because you don’t know how much CBD you’re really getting. For this reason, it’s important that you ensure your full spectrum CBD oil is tested by a lab to help you understand what’s in it.
CBD edibles are one popular choice, though research suggests eating CBD requires the liver and digestive track to break down the CBD before it can be fully absorbed — and your body may not absorb all of it. CBD topicals are any product that contains CBD and is applied to the skin: lotions, creams, balms, salves, and the like. Keep in mind that your skin isn’t as good at absorbing CBD, so you may want to choose a product that’s high in CBD content. Sublingual CBD products, sometimes referred to as “sublinguals,” are absorbed under your tongue. These products include tinctures, sprays, oils, or lozenges that require you to keep the CBD product in your mouth rather than swallowing it. This method will avoid CBD breakdown by the liver and digestive tract, and your body will absorb more CBD as a result.