A dilemma that most have when purchasing their first CBD product is whether to choose one made with CBD-isolate or full-spectrum CBD. It is important to do a isolate vs full-spectrum comparison before coming to a conclusion. While the effects of both are broadly the same, there are some key differences between them. In terms of their respective therapeutic benefits, full-spectrum CBD is, in most cases, a better option, because this extract makes use of all the hemp plant’s potential. This also explains why full-spectrum CBD tends to be a bit pricier.
There are some important caveats. Anxiety, for example, is helped by CBD, but can be made worse by THC, which is present in trace amounts in full-spectrum CBD products. This small quantity of THC may also pose drug test problems for those who take regular, strong doses of CBD.
But in regard to the overall health benefits of each, full-spectrum CBD will usually win out. Let’s look in detail at the properties of hemp’s most important compounds, and introduce the ‘entourage effect’ concept, which has been picked upon by cannabinoid researchers.
Cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are both cannabinoids, but these are just two of more than 100 natural compounds of this type. Cannabinoids are defined of such because of their unique interactions in the body – mostly with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). These compounds are not exclusively generated by plants in the cannabis family, but are the only viable sources when making hemp-based CBD or cannabis products.
CBD has been a revelation because its health benefits come without psychoactive effects – the mind-altering intoxication caused by THC has been the main stumbling block to marijuana becoming a mainstream medicine. CBD is very nuanced and subtle in its effects, aiding the body by optimizing the ECS, as opposed to dramatically changing how it functions, as is the case with THC.
The cannabinoid suppresses activity at CB1 and CB2 receptors as an antagonist, but is also an anandamide reuptake inhibitor. Anandamide is the endocannabinoid that binds with said cannabinoid receptors, to regulate mood, appetite, inflammation and other variables.
But what makes a full-spectrum CBDistillery product special is the other cannabinoids. For example, cannabigerol (CBG) adds anti-inflammatory value, cannabichromene (CBC) provides cognitive benefits, while cannabidivarin (CBDV) has displayed anti-nausea and anti-vomiting qualities in studies. These cannabinoids may only appear in very low quantities relative to CBD, but together, they significantly enhance the effects of an extract.
Terpenes are compounds that give many plants their familiar aroma and taste. They do this with hemp, too, but terpenes also infuse each strain with its unique twist. Every strain will be comprised of different terpenes, and these are crucial to whether a strain will make you feel energized, sleepy or somewhere in between.
Beta-caryophyllene (BCP) is often found in indica strains, and possesses several powerful effects – BCP is an anxiolytic, anti-inflammatory and analgesic. Meanwhile, limonene, is renowned for boosting mood and promoting euphoria, making it helpful for both anxiety and depression. This terpene has a citrusy flavor and, as you would expect, is also found in lemons.
When buying a full-spectrum CBD e-liquid, customers often get to pick from multiple vape juices, which take the names of famous marijuana strains. These products aren’t psychoactive, but have the terpene profile you would find in that strain. Such an e-liquid may produce broadly similar effects, just without the ‘high’.
Flavonoids are of increasing interest to cannabinoid experts. A 2019 study found that two flavonoids, named cannabiflavin A and B, could be integral to “unlocking” the painkilling qualities of cannabis.
Researchers found that these compounds were 30 times more effective for pain than aspirin, the popular, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drug that has been in circulation for decades.
Flavonoid science is still in its infancy, but they look increasingly crucial to the effects of hemp and cannabis. To make sure you don’t miss out on these benefits, go for a full-spectrum CBD product.
The ‘entourage effect’
This is the term given to the synergistic effect that happens between cannabinoids when consuming a hemp or cannabis extract. Scientists have discovered that the therapeutic value of cannabinoids is greater than the sum of their parts when taken together.
Much still needs to be learned about why this happens, although it is surely down to how cannabinoids interact with the ECS. Analysis of CBD and THC's effects has shown that the former mitigates the psychoactive 'high' produced by the latter.
THC must be below 0.3 percent of the overall weight in a hemp-based CBD product, but this still allows for the entourage effect to occur to some degree.
Guest post by Amanda Cerni