If you start seriously start investigating CBD oil, you will almost immediately be confronted with many vendors proudly stating that their oil is “full-spectrum” while others do not. You will rapidly be asking yourself “what does full-spectrum CBD oil mean?” You will figure it out, of course, but not before wading through a swamp of technical lingo and jargon. This stuff does not seem simple.
Well, maybe I can help with that.
When I first started researching CBD oil, I was reminded of two classic Australian TV adverts. A motor oil one with a gangster telling his mechanic that “Oils ain’t oils, sol” and a milk advert which has a convenience store lady listing off all the types of milk to a customer who just wants to buy ‘some milk”.
Why? Well, obviously because I was part of that first generation raised in front of a television.
But mainly because the themes of the adverts reminded me so much of the two fundamental realities confronting anyone who first starts looking into CBD oil.
First: Oils ain’t oils. There is no standard oil (pardon the pun). There is no such thing as a common or garden variety of oil. You can’t just buy “some oil”. There are a lot of options.
Second: You will be confronted with a bewildering number of options. But unlike the milk in the milk commercial, the differences in CBD oils are significant and important.
So let’s break it down starting with the two basic types
Full-Spectrum CBD vs CBD Isolate
Full-spectrum is multiple-compound CBD oil extracted from a single plant. Hemp plants consist of a combination of many different molecular compounds called cannabinoids. There isn’t a lot of point in naming them all but below is a list of all of them in acronym form
So if you buy full-spectrum, you do so knowing it will contain all these compounds. The mix is determined by nature. Some of you may recognize THC as the famously psycho-active compound found in cannabis which makes you high when smoked or eaten. Many have found this concerning and even though the THC level must be below 0.03% to be legal to sell in all 50 US states, the stigma of marijuana still hangs over the hemp oil market. Which leads us to the alternative to full spectrum: Isolate
CBD Isolate is a strain of pure CBD ‘isolated” from the other cannabinoids found naturally in the hemp plant. So those who wish to avoid THC at all costs, Isolate provides this alternative.
But which is better?
Well, this is still up for debate and both schools of thought have their reasons.
While my reasons for preferring the full spectrum are largely philosophical (it seems like the most natural product – and I love nature), there are a lot of advantages it has over its more refined counterpart. Broadly, there seems to some consensus that Full Spectrum is more powerful and its effects last longer than Isolate. That would make sense too. CBD Isolate is a bit like food which has had most of its nutritional value removed for the sake of reducing its carbs or fat. Every single cannabinoid in the hemp plant has its own biochemical effect and some of these effects seem to be far greater than the effect of CBD on its own.
A 2015 study conducted at the Hebrew School of the Hadassah in Jerusalem found that Full Spectrum treated inflammation more effectively than Isolate. This would seem to indicate that the CBD synergizes with the other constituent compounds to increase its therapeutic properties. While the available research data is still relatively sparse, there is no doubt that research (mainly on mice) is showing advantages in many areas.
Let’s look at a few.
It lasts longer
The results from early testing indicate that Full Spectrum works much longer than Isolate in treating various sicknesses and conditions. It seems the combining the various cannabinoids into a single treatment produces a more sustained impact and provides more treatment options than Isolate. This is called the “Entourage Effect”
It’s more organic
The more natural alternative for sure. Most Full Spectrum products do not use genetic modification and don’t contain pesticides or chemicals. This will appeal to those who want to keep the level of artificial substances put into their bodies to an absolute minimum. Yes, that’s me. You had me at “natural”
It reduces pain
Full-spectrum CBD is extremely effective in controlling aches and pains associated with a lot of conditions. A recent study (conducted on mice) shows that it not only reduced the level of pain and inflammation in the mice but it seemed that this came without any kind of “hangover” common with chemical-based pain solutions.
It’s very available
You can get full-spectrum CBD in all 50 American states and you don’t need a prescription to get it.
I do not wish to put too much time into the many ways Full Spectrum CBD can help you but below is a list of things it can do
- Relieving anxiety
- Reducing seizures
- Tranquilizing effects
- Promoting bone growth
- Pain Relief
- Treating fungal infections
- Assisting with phantom pain for amputees
- Inhibiting the growth of bacteria
- Helping sleep quality/quantity
- Treating skin conditions
- Reducing inflammation
- Reducing intestinal spasms
- Relieving nausea and vomiting
- Restricting the growth of cancer cells
- Reducing muscle spasms
- Reducing blood sugar levels
So whilst you’ve probably guessed that my preference lies with full-Spectrum CBD, you do need to be aware there are drawbacks.
Let’s start with the most obvious one: Legality
The most obvious legal issue is that Full Spectrum CBD oil is derived from the marijuana plant or hemp. While the hemp-derived variety is often considered less effective than its cannabis-derived cousin, it is still legal in all 50 states. There are more restrictions from cannabis-derived full-spectrum CBD oil and there are 4 states (Kansas, Nebraska, Idaho, and South Dakota) where using any kind of marijuana-derived CBD is a legal grey area. Isolate has no such issues.
Even though the level of THC in Full Spectrum is very, very, very low, it’s still there. Even the tiny amounts of THC in your blood from using full-spectrum CBD will be enough to have you fail a drug test. If you are subjected to drug tests regularly (e.g. pilots), then Isolate is probably the best path for you.
Full-spectrum and booze don’t play well together when administered at the same time (or within 8 hours of each other) It can result in extreme drowsiness or sedation and other unpleasant side-effects. Isolate has found to be superior in this regard.
Like anything, people. Be sensible.
The Bottom Line
Regardless of which plant it’s derived from, there’s very little doubt that full-spectrum CBD oil has a lot more health benefits in comparison to Isolate. However, legal issues should always be considered when using marijuana-derived CBD oil, and for some people, CBD isolate may be a better option.
Link to the 2015 Study
Watch now as a Guy with a beard says some more things about full-spectrum CBD oil:
This article is a collection of ideas by the author. It does not constitute facts or advice in any form. Please consult a medical professional and check the legality in your area before purchasing or taking CBD products.
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This CBD is full-spectrum which means all of the cannabinoids are present. It is extracted from the whole plant of naturally high CBD hemp plants which are carefully grown to produce the best quality CBD oil available.
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