A quick online search for information about CBD (cannabidiol) can make you feel like you’ve stepped into another world. Every label promises its product is the miracle cure.
But as you round the next aisle… surprise! A shiny new product sits on the shelf, offering similar results. How do you know if you’re using quality hemp products? Does the quality matter?
To maximize the desired results from any hemp product, it’s important to have a working knowledge of cannabis terminology. Educating yourself will help you make a confident decision because what you put on or into your body matters. If your eyes are already crossing, no worries!
We’re on a mission to educate you about full and broad-spectrum CBD. That way, you can decide how best to experience the healing benefits of CBD for yourself.
What’s the difference between full and broad-spectrum hemp oil?
First, let’s clear up these two terms. The only difference between full- and broad-spectrum CBD is the presence or lack of THC contained within the product.
Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil
Full-Spectrum hemp oil must contain less than .03 % THC, (tetrahydrocannabinol), in order to satisfy the requirements for legal sale throughout the United States. This is the most effective choice if you want to harness the “full” potential of the cannabis plant — while minimizing the risk of getting high.
Studies have found that full spectrum hemp oil gives you the greatest potential to reduce pain, inflammation, and stress. It only takes a tiny amount of THC along with 100+ other cannabinoids to achieve maximum effects from a full-spectrum hemp oil.
This contains only trace amounts of THC. In fact, it goes through an additional distillation process to remove the cannabinoid THC as well as beneficial terpenes, while maintaining much of the integrity of its cannabinoid profile to harness the power of the entourage effect (we’ll get to that in a moment).
Broad-spectrum CBD still allows you to harness much of the entourage effect triggered by non-THC cannabinoids found in cannabis. You’ll still receive most of the benefits of the cannabinoids, but a broad-spectrum product is not as effective as a full-spectrum product.
However, even broad-spectrum hemp could contain extremely low amounts of THC depending on the effectiveness of the distillation process. While such low levels of THC make it near impossible to become intoxicated (and simultaneously lose most of the benefits derived from THC consumption), they may still be high enough to test positive on a drug test. This is another good reason to choose high-quality products!
Will I get high from full- or broad-spectrum CBD?
If you choose full-spectrum CBD, your product will contain a small amount of THC, as well as many other cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. This ensures your hemp delivers maximum healing benefits to your body. Depending on the overall potency of the product, how much you consume, and your individual THC tolerance you could end up feeling the ‘high’ from THC.
Generally speaking, a dose of THC less than 2mg is unlikely to result in feeling any intoxication, especially when that THC is paired with CBD. Anecdotal evidence (and much scientific evidence) strongly suggests that CBD minimizes the side effects of THC, and many studies are underway in trying to determine exactly how this occurs. For now, we can put our trust in Mother Nature that these compounds were designed to be together!
Think of it like this, does using an alcohol-based herbal tincture throughout the day get you drunk? We all know using alcohol tinctures doesn’t intoxicate you unless you consumed far, far more than you’re supposed to.
In the same way, the small amount of THC contained in full-spectrum hemp will not make you “high.” Relaxed or focused? Perhaps. But you will not become “stoned” when following the proper dosage instructions.
If you’re needing to boost your overall intake of CBD but are already nearing the limit of THC you can consume without feeling its side effects, this is where a broad spectrum or isolate-based product can come in handy (more on isolates in a future blog). These products contain so little THC that you could consume a tremendous amount without ever feeling the effects of THC.
It’s always better when we’re together: The Entourage Effect
Full- and broad-spectrum hemp oil both contain an abundance of beneficial cannabinoids that support overall wellness.
The entourage effect occurs when several compounds work better together than they do separately. In fact, when combined, their effect is far more powerful than either could achieve alone.
Remember, only full-spectrum hemp contains all the cannabinoids necessary for maximum entourage effects. Broad-spectrum hemp doesn’t contain THC, but still has the benefit of the other cannabinoids found in hemp.
CBD and THC are just two of 100+ cannabinoids contained in the cannabis plant! Considering most of the cannabinoids are found in small amounts, some may not even be effective alone. But together, they are able to accomplish more through the entourage effect.
Terpenes and their positive effect on your Endocannabinoid System
The term terpene is typically associated with hemp due to its distinctive fragrance and flavor. Terpenes are found in all plants and have many benefits.
Ever notice how peeling an orange boosts your mood? You know it smells amazing, but what sorcery allows the orange oils to make you happy?
Maybe it’s because you’re about to have a delicious snack. 😋 But you’re also experiencing the positive effect of inhaling the stress-relieving terpenes found within the orange peel. 👃
Your body will thank you for the nutritional benefits of a vitamin-rich orange. And your brain may thank you for the mood-boosting effect of at least 16 terpenes found in your orange!
Just like the terpenes in the aroma of mangos can boost your mood, terpenes found in cannabis have beneficial effects as well!
That’s why a full spectrum product is more effective overall than a broad spectrum or isolate product; because it contains the terpene profile of the cannabis plant! If you come across a broad spectrum product that claims to contain terpenes, those terpenes have been added back into the product after the fact.
Unfortunately, the process of separating terpenes and then adding them back loses something in translation, much like playing the telephone game when you were a kid. Why not just let nature do its thing?
Can’t risk any THC in your system?
It’s important to note, that even the low amounts of THC found in full and broad-spectrum products could be detectable on a drug test. If your employer requires drug testing, a CBD isolate product might be the best choice. Keep in mind that broad-spectrum CBD may still include trace amounts, but a CBD isolate has zero potential for any THC as it is completely removed.
How to choose a hemp company for your CBD needs
When choosing CBD products, it’s essential to do your homework on the company and products. Steer clear of companies making unsupported health claims about any hemp product.
Remember, the quality and effectiveness of these products are heavily dependent upon individual companies and their willingness to be transparent about their entire process from seed to jar.
Companies in the hemp industry know the laws and regulations. Labels and documents online should clearly identify all ingredients and third-party test results that are required on all CBD products in the United States.
If you can’t find this information in just a few clicks, it may not be the company for you!
The very best companies will go a step further by listing the required information and the source of all their ingredients. This ensures your cannabis is free from mold, pesticides, toxins, and heavy metals.
Regardless of whether you choose to use topical CBD or tinctures, Jeff, our founder always says consuming the “fullest of full-spectrum, when possible and palatable” is the key to ensuring you are receiving the maximum benefit from your CBD products.