What do the terms parallel-path, value-add, and future-proof all have in common? They are all forms of corporate-speak that nobody outside the boardroom understands. Similarly, CBD labels include terminology that leave many in a state of bewilderment.
Hemp is still an emerging industry, so commonly used descriptors are not yet commonplace among consumers. People who become more familiar with CBD will learn that hemp products fall under three different categories:
- CBD Isolate
- Broad Spectrum CBD
- Full Spectrum CBD
Each of these offers unique benefits that appeal to different people for various uses. This article will eliminate any head-scratching you may have about one of those terms—Full Spectrum CBD—and shed light on broad spectrum and CBD isolate, too.
A Rainbow of Cannabinoids
The Spectrum in Full Spectrum
Many people are now familiar with the acronyms CBD and THC, the stars of the cannabis industry. They are the most abundant cannabinoids found in hemp and marijuana. Fewer people know there are actually more than 100 other minor cannabinoids in the entire spectrum of cannabinoids. As cannabis study progresses, researchers are discovering new molecules such as CBN and CBC, each serving its own purpose.
The spectrum also includes terpenes, flavonoids, and other naturally occurring plant compounds. Terpenes are aromatic compounds that give oils their fragrance, while flavonoids are associated with color. Terpenes and flavonoids create a unique character profile for various hemp strains that appeal to our senses.
Greater Than the Sum of its Parts
The Entourage Effect
The spectrum of cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes work in tandem in what is known as the entourage effect. Together they are said to be more effective than they would be alone. Jagger was embarrassing without Richards, whose scratchy sounding guitar riffs gained a deeper resonance held in contrast to Ron Wood’s more polished touch.
The Full in Full Spectrum
“Full” refers to one specific cannabinoid included in the spectrum: THC. THC is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that gives people a “high” feeling. Legally, the amount of THC in hemp must be less than 0.3 percent. Anything less than 0.3 percent is defined as hemp, and anything over 0.3 percent is marijuana. Even at this low THC level, a CBD tincture with 0.3 percent THC would still be considered full spectrum.
Full Spectrum CBD Oil = some THC
Similar, but different
Full Spectrum vs. Broad Spectrum
Some believe that CBD products are more effective with THC included, while others may want to pass on THC altogether because they want to avoid psychoactive ingredients. This is the reason for the distinction between full spectrum and broad spectrum CBD. Broad spectrum oil still includes a range of cannabinoids, just not THC. It’s why broad spectrum oil and THC-free CBD oil are used interchangeably. The entourage effect still applies to broad spectrum CBD, because there is still a gang of other cannabinoids despite the absence of THC.
Broad Spectrum CBD Oil ≠ THC
Party of one
CBD isolate is pure 99-100 percent pure CBD that comes in crystalized form. CBD isolate is the most versatile of the three types, and can be used in food and drinks, sprinkled on a bowl or joint, or can be added to topicals and tinctures. Unlike broad spectrum and full spectrum hemp extract, there are no other cannabinoids in isolate other than CBD.
Isolate = only CBD
The ROYGBIV of the Cannabinoid Spectrum
We know there are over 100 cannabinoids that work together to enhance their effectiveness (the entourage effect), and we are familiar with two of those, CBD and THC, but what about the rest of the spectrum? Here’s a closer look at CBD, THC, and their entourage.
CBD is the most abundant compound in the hemp plant. Unlike THC, CBD will not give the user a “high” feeling that the cannabis plant has been traditionally known for. It is used by consumers to promote a healthy functioning system. Some people report it has a relaxing or calming effect, while others may feel more energized.
THC is the second most common cannabinoid in the hemp plant. It is also the most desired compound in hemp’s sister plant, marijuana. As mentioned earlier, THC is the compound in the cannabis plant that makes the user feel high. While full spectrum CBD tinctures and products will contain trace amounts of THC, levels will always be below the 0.3 percent mark. In such small amounts, consumers using CBD products will not feel the psychoactive effects of the THC, it is only present to help increase the entourage effect.
CBG is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid, just like CBD. It’s actually the parent compound of THC and CBD and acts as a precursor to the three main cannabinoid lines: tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCa), cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), and cannabichromenic acid (CBCa). Enzymes in the cannabis plant will break down CBG and convert it to one of these final compounds.
CBN is a minor cannabinoid that is being studied for its sedative effects. CBN is believed to be the compound in cannabis that generates a relaxed feeling in the user.
CBC bears the structural similarity to the other natural cannabinoids, including THC,THCV, CBD, CBN, among others. CBC and its derivatives are as abundant as cannabinoids in cannabis.
Full Spectrum = some THC; Broad Spectrum ≠ THC; Isolate = only CBD
Does Full Spectrum CBD Have THC in it?
Yes. But it should be less than 0.3 percent per the legal limit put forth in the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized hemp and hemp-derivative products.
Can a THC-free product be Full Spectrum?
No. Products that have 0 percent THC but contain all the other cannabinoids and compounds naturally occurring in hemp oil are termed BROAD SPECTRUM. While none of our products contain more than a trace amount of THC, less than 0.3 percent, they are still considered full spectrum.
Find what's right for you
Why choose Full Spectrum CBD oil?
This boils down to personal preference. Some people may not want any THC in their CBD products. It is also possible that regular use of full spectrum CBD tincture could result in a positive THC drug test. Anyone concerned about failing a drug test would want to stick to the THC-free CBD oil or CBD isolate.
CBD users who want a more effective, potent tincture should consider full spectrum. THC is one more cannabinoid to reinforce the entourage effect phalanx. That being said, full spectrum isn’t necessarily better than broad spectrum or CBD isolate. Every person has their unique physiology, lifestyle, and needs. Full spectrum CBD can come in topicals, gummies, tinctures and capsules, so there is a lot of room for experimenting to discover what works for you.