Cannabidiol, or CBD, has been widely used to mitigate stress, aches and pains, and anxiety amongst other conditions. More research is being conducted yearly to uncover increased health benefits and new kinds of legal products to be developed. There have already been some CBD medicines approved by the FDA while more recreational products like oils, rubs, and vapes have been around for longer and are more widely accessible. The market for CBD has grown so much that we can now classify products into two different categories: full spectrum CBD vs. broad spectrum CBD.
What is CBD?
As you may know CBD is one of the main ingredients out of hundreds found in cannabis, but can be found in isolation in the hemp plant. When it’s extracted from cannabis there is a chance that some THC residue still remains in the sample. CBD and THC have many similarities, including their molecular structure, but their interactions with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) are different. CBD interacts with the chemicals that regulate anxiety, inflammation, and sleep, while THC introduces a psychoactive element that produces a “high” effect. Whether or not THC is present in your CBD product is important to know because THC can show up on drug tests and can sometimes provide undesired side effects. This is why full spectrum CBD vs. broad spectrum CBD is a thing.
The CBD spectrum
The different spectrums of CBD indicate what kinds of other similar ingredients are also included. The Cannabis plant has many different components apart from CBD that can provide varied effects and can be infused with the particular CBD product that you’re interested in. Understanding these spectrums will give you the proper insight on how exactly it can affect your mind and body, and what kinds of risks and side-effects are involved as well.
Inside the Cannabis plant you can find a few different kinds of beneficial compounds classified as either cannabinoids, terpenes, or flavonoids. Cannabinoids are found in abundance within cannabis, with over 100 kinds identified. CBD and THC are two of the main cannabinoids in cannabis, providing your therapeutic and psychoactive effects.
Terpenes are components that deal with the cannabis plant’s fragrance. There are more than 150 terpenes present in varying amounts and can have calming effects on your body in the same way that many other therapeutic scents may have like cloves, rosemary, and lavender. These effects are not ordinarily psychoactive, but can alter the effects that THC has on your brain.
Lastly, the flavonoids are what provide the color and flavor to the plant. They can be found in many kinds of plants including fruits and vegetables and are widely used in the food industry due to their ability to preserve food and make dietary supplements. There are 20 different flavonoids in cannabis. Some studies have shown that they can provide anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects on your body. Flavonoids aren’t psychoactive on their own, but can work together with terpenes and cannabinoids to provide a more potent therapeutic and psychoactive effect than they could on their own in what is commonly known as the “entourage effect.”
Full spectrum CBD products
The full spectrum CBD products contain the full array of components found in CBD, hence the name. This can include terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids like CBD and THC. Full spectrum products use CBD extract from cannabis, not from hemp, and so you can expect some THC residue within the sample. In the U.S. the legal amount of this residue that is accepted should be less than 0.3%, but that’s all that it can take for you to feel its effects.
In standard use, full spectrum products are seen to be more effective due to the “entourage effect” it produces. Some research has suggested that THC can increase CBD’s anti-inflammatory and pain relief effects when combined with it. The combination with the other components of cannabis is said to provide similar amped up effects on anxiety and stress relief. Full spectrum products are also very widely found, coming in various forms such as edibles, oils, rubs, sprays, tinctures, and pills.
If you use full spectrum CBD products in high doses then you also run the risk of generating the “high” effect as provided by THC. Some side effects of this include mood changes, delusions, impaired memory, dry mouth, changes in appetite, altered senses, and difficulty thinking or problem-solving. Having THC in your product also runs the risk of you failing an important drug test for a job.
Some full spectrum products also have more THC residue than the legal limit in the U.S. If you are aiming to simply mediate your stress or pain, then using full spectrum CBD products might not be the safest bet for you. If you do decide to invest in full spectrum products, then make sure you check the amount of THC content present first.
Broad spectrum CBD products
As opposed to the full spectrum, broad spectrum CBD products exclude THC. They generally still include all of the other cannabis components, which can help increase the effects of CBD, but not to the extent as full spectrum products. What you get from broad spectrum CBD products is generally the main effects of CBD, being anti-inflammation, reduced stress and anxiety, and possibly improved sleep.
Together with terpenes and flavonoids, the product may also calm you using various scents and aromas found from the plant it was derived from. Terpenes and naturally occurring cannabinoids like CBD can provide increased effects on reducing aches and pains, inflammation, epilepsy, cancer, and fungal infections. This is one step above CBD isolate, which is derived exclusively from the hemp plant.
However, using broad spectrum products is not as effective as using full spectrum products as some of the benefits of the “entourage effect” are missing. THC paired with the other components will provide you the full effects of the cannabis plant, while broad spectrum is designed for people who want to avoid THC. This means that it might not have the desired benefits you are looking for. Broad spectrum products are mainly for those who are looking for light relief and non-psychoactivity in high doses. If you plan on ingesting CBD frequently, then broad spectrum could be the better option for you.
Full spectrum CBD vs. broad spectrum CBD
At the end of the day it all depends on why you are choosing to use CBD products. They are both very effective for stress relief, anti-inflammation, reduction of aches and pains, and also improved sleep, but one kind of product is better than the other. While the psychoactive effects of THC can increase the desired effects of the other components and provide a fully effective solution for your ailments or conditions, you are still handed the risk of failing your drug test and experiencing several undesired side effects.
If you want to avoid THC, using broad spectrum CBD products or CBD isolate is the obvious choice. When you choose your products, read the ingredients and check up on the THC levels before you purchase.
Written by Gabriel Anton