When you’re looking at a new CBD product, whether it’s a CBD Tincture or CBD Gummies you might notice new words and many different types of CBD like “broad-spectrum,” or “isolate.”
But what do they mean? What’s the difference? Let’s take a look at the options you have, to see what might work best for you. From CBD Tinctures to edibles, there are many different types.
First, an FYI: Labeling in the CBD world at present is a bit of hot mess. The FDA has made it exceedingly difficult for cannabis companies to have definitive labels. And because there’s no official regulation just yet, there aren’t guidelines for specific wording and verbiage.
On top of all of this, different types of CBD and the market itself is pretty new territory for many brands involved. Even companies with the best intentions are still learning from brand new research thanks to an 80 year prohibition, thus an 80 year stunt on studies and development on the cannabis plant.
What we’re trying to say is, this is all a work in progress and sometimes labels aren’t 100-percent accurate; this isn’t necessarily indicative of foul play so much as it is a sign that things will be changing rapidly in the coming months.
Broad-Spectrum vs. Full-Spectrum
If everything above weren’t a problem, and labeling were 100-percent accurate, here’s what this would mean, in a nutshell:
- Broad-spectrum (CBD): not an isolate, has terpenes and other parts of the plant that are beneficial, trace amounts of THC at non-detectable levels
- Full-spectrum: Has more THC in it, because it’s a whole plant extract
“Full spectrum is supposed to mean a range of cannabinoids, including THC,” said Ben Odell, co-founder of Foria Wellness. “There are a lot of bands that simply don’t know any better [when it comes to this label],” he said. “It’s like a chain email went out and said “full spectrum, that’s what’s good!”
What does the different types of CBD mean for you? When it comes to your CBD product that you found at a natural market or online, “full spectrum” might be more of a heavy CBD, whole plant extract versus a compound isolate (we’ll get to that next). Each are different types of CBD products.
Melany Dobson, an organic farming and cannabis savant and co-founder of Hudson Hemp had similar thoughts to Odell. “Full-spectrum traditionally refers to full extract cannabis oil, which is a whole plant extract,” she said. “This means nothing is added or removed from the plant’s natural chemical composition. However, this term does not adhere to an industry-wide standard.”
CBD isolate is a final product of extracting just the CBD from a cannabis plant. It’s a different type of CBD and this means there’s nothing else in it! No THC, no terpenes, nada. Many brands use CBD isolate to blend more easily into their gummies, candies, edibles, teas, skincare products, etc. It has less impact on the color and taste of a product, though can still have a bitter aftertaste in lieu of the traditionally earthy, herbal taste of an extract or distillate. Want even more info? We’ve helped explain the difference further.
Which Different Type of CBD is Best?
This totally depends and there’s still some debate over the different types of CBD. While CBD isolate is heralded for its versatility (and complete lack of THC for consumers who are averse to it), there is a study that shows a “Bell-shaped response.” This means, after a certain amount of milligrams, CBD isolate becomes less effective. Keep in mind, it’s just one study, but it did show that the other compounds in cannabis help support CBD’s efficacy. Specifically:
“It is likely that other components in the extract synergize with CBD to achieve the desired anti‐inflammatory action that may contribute to overcoming the bell‐shaped dose‐response of purified CBD.”
Odell talked about this U-shaped response, but also noted that it’s not harmful or disadvantageous to take CBD isolate. In fact, that same study showed that even at its less effective state, it’s more effective than aspirin.
There is, however, the chance that your body won’t react as well to any THC. Some tinctures are high-potency with higher mg not just trace amounts of THC. In that case, stick to broad-spectrum vs. full-spectrum (just in case). And if the taste of cannabis bugs you, try something flavored! There are so many options on the market that flawlessly mask any herbaceous taste and deliver a tasty, medicinal treat that tastes exactly like your favorite candy or sweet.