What a time to be alive. With several states deciding to legalize cannabis in whatever form, the number of products hitting the shelves can seem overwhelming.
There are CBD and THC, flower vs. concentrate, distillate vs. isolate, full-spectrum vs. broad-spectrum, enough to make your *red* eyes cross.
Have no fear! We’re here to answer your questions. Well, assuming your questions include things like “What is full-spectrum distillate?” and “What is the best type of CBD for me?”
Most of us know that there are different types of CBD (if you didn’t, just go with it, no one noticed) and may even know that there are 3 types of CBD and 2 types of CBD oil.
We’re going to go into all types of CBD, the forms CBD takes, and what type or types of CBD are right for you.
What Goes Into a CBD Product?
To understand the types of CBD, it’s important to understand hemp itself. While CBD and THC are easy to identify, there are over 113 cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. CBD and THC are the most well-researched, but there is promising data regarding compounds like Cannabigerol (CBG) and Cannabinol (CBN).
Not only are there cannabinoids, but chemicals like terpenes and flavonoids which lend to the CBD’s scent and taste (respectively). There’s a tapestry of compounds that exist within the cannabis plant.
When a product contains only one of those chemicals, it’s called an isolate. If it contains every type of chemical in a marijuana plant, it’s called a full-spectrum isolate. And when it has everything except THC, it’s called broad-spectrum.
You might be asking what the point of extracting the THC or isolating specific chemicals would be but fortunately, you’ve got us to answer those questions.
The 3 Types of CBD
There are three types of CBD that all have unique properties: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolate. While CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD itself, its uses are limited and it is processed heavily, so we’ll focus mainly on full- and broad-spectrum CBD.
Essentially, the difference in the three classes of products is the variation in cannabidiol and THC contents.
CBD isolate contains CBD and only CBD. The process of isolating it involves extensive processing, so while it’s commonly referred to as the purest form of hemp product it’s undergone the most changes.
CBD isolate is great for people with THC sensitivities, or who are looking for a specific effect brought on by CBD without the desire for anything else.
It’s not for someone looking for a whole or natural CBD experience and doesn’t include the variety of other chemicals that also lend to marijuana’s positive health effects.
As mentioned, there is a multitude of compounds in the marijuana plant—not just THC and CBD. Full-spectrum CBD takes advantage of this and includes every chemical, including THC. This means full-spectrum is the most natural of the CBD extracts, considering it goes through the least amount of processing.
But this also means that because it includes THC, there’s a chance you could fail a drug test when you take it.
Full-spectrum CBD is a great option for people who are looking to enjoy the benefits of every type of cannabinoid, as well as enough THC to interact with the other compounds, but not enough to get you high.
Where isolate is one and full-spectrum is all, broad-spectrum is in the middle. Like full-spectrum, it contains almost every chemical the hemp plant has, with the one exception of THC. Broad-spectrum CBD is common in states and areas where THC is still illegal, but CBD is legal.
Broad-spectrum has all of the benefits of CBD and the variety of other chemicals contained within hemp, without the pesky problem of THC. The THC content is usually negligible enough in broad- and full-spectrum products that the feeling of being high is overcome by the effects of the other chemicals. CBD is known to suppress the effects of THC more than anything else in the plant.
Broad-spectrum is a great option for those who are curious about the effects of CBD but are nervous about getting high or have to undergo random or routine drug tests.
Forms CBD Takes
While there are tons of chemicals you can extract from the cannabis plant, there are only so many forms each chemical can take. For example, it’s difficult to liquefy THC (which you have to do to be able to ingest it) so you have to make an infused substance like olive oil or cannabutter to bake it into edibles. Similarly, isolate isn’t easy to infuse into oil since it’s extracted as a powder.
The two types of CBD oil are full-spectrum and broad-spectrum. This is because the chemicals extracted are able to be infused into the oil due to the mild processes of extraction (relative to the more extensive isolate extraction method).
Full-spectrum CBD oil is the purest form of CBD extract because it uses every chemical the hemp plant produces in combination with one another—which triggers the entourage effect—including THC. The THC content in these tinctures can never exceed 0.3% percent, so you’ll never feel high. But it’s still enough to trigger some super-sensitive drug tests.
Broad-spectrum CBD oil is essentially full-spectrum without the THC. It includes all of the positive effects of the individual components, but you will lose the entourage effect of all of the combined chemicals.
Distillation is the process of making an isolate. CBD distillates come in the form of full-spectrum. What is full-spectrum distillate, you may ask? Come along, children, and we’ll see.
Distillate can be argued as the THC of the future, the way today’s concentrates and high-THC hybrid flowers seem futuristic to the Deadheads of the ’60s. It’s created through the process of molecular distillation, typically used to make fuel from petroleum. By utilizing the unique boiling points of each individual compound, synthesizers can extract, then purify and concentrate each individual chemical in its purest form.
Just like you can create THC distillate, you can create CBD distillate, CBG distillate, and on and on.
The benefit of CBD distillate is in its purity. Though it’s highly refined and goes through several processes, the one chemical you get is the purest form of it that exists.
See How CBD Can Help You
It’s hard to navigate this new frontier considering how may options exist out there. Hopefully knowing about the different types of CBD will help you decide the best type of CBD for you.
Isolates or distillates are the purest forms but have limited uses. Broad-spectrum CBD oil lacks the entourage effect but contains almost every compound in the cannabis plant. Full-spectrum CBD oil is like taking all of the chemicals in the help plant and sticking them in a bottle.
If you’d like to see what other things like CBD oils can do to improve our lives, feel free to check out our other pages for information on lifestyle, budgeting, art, home & garden, and more!