Full Spectrum CBD
Full spectrum means that an oil or product contains all the cannabinoids that are found in the cannabis plant in nature, rather than just CBD (Cannabidiol). Full spectrum products are associated with the “entourage effect” – this refers to the increased effectiveness of these products due to the different cannabinoids working synergistically. Full spectrum products can be more effective than products that are CBD isolate derived. Products that are isolate derived will only contain the isolated CBD molecule.
So, what else are you getting with a full spectrum product besides CBD? The short answer is you are getting more than 100 different cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. CBD and THC are the most abundant cannabinoids in cannabis, but there are several minor cannabinoids that can play an important role in the effectiveness of a CBD product. Here is a list of their names and the role studies suggest they play in the human body.
CBD is the most abundant compound in the hemp plant. Research suggests that CBD is a natural anti-inflammatory and may help promote homeostasis in the human body. 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 combat things like epilepsy, joint pain, PTSD, anxiety, and insomnia.
THC is the second most common cannabinoid in the hemp plant. It is also the most desired compound in hemp’s sister plant, marijuana. THC is the compound in the cannabis plant that makes the user feel “high”. Legally, the distinction between hemp and marijuana is the THC content of the plant. Anything less than 0.3% is defined as hemp, and anything over 0.3% is marijuana. While full spectrum CBD products will contain trace amount of THC, levels will always be below the 0.3% 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 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. Studies have found CBG acts on very specific things, and suggest CBG may help with glaucoma, IBD, Huntington’s disease, bladder problems, and perhaps most importantly, was shown in one study to potentially be a cancer fighter. The study showed that CBG inhibited the growth of colorectal cancer cells in mice.1
CBN is a minor cannabinoid that studies have shown to help with pain relief and appetite stimulation. It is also being studied for it’s sedative effects. CBN is believed to be the compound in cannabis that generates a relaxed feeling in the user. When used in large amounts, CBN may help to fight insomnia and trouble sleeping through the night.
While CBC definitely has singular benefits, researchers believe it works best synergistically with other cannabinoids. CBC is mostly being studied for it’s potential as a cancer fighter. CBC interacts with anandamide, a natural compound in the human body. CBC appears to inhibit the uptake of anandamide, which allows it to stay in the bloodstream longer. Anandamide has been shown to fight breast cancer in vitro and in vivo, so this shows promise that CBC and other cannabinoids might one day be a chemo-preventive agent.2