Cannabidiol, abbreviated simply as CBD, has become one of the most well-known and respected cannabinoids in the industry. Praised for its therapeutic benefits and lack of psychoactive effects, CBD has quickly grown in popularity in the United States and many other parts of the world. This incredible cannabinoid is available in broad-spectrum, isolate, and full-spectrum forms. While these three forms all originate from the hemp plant, they are very different in terms of how they are produced and used. We’ll briefly go over each type of extract, but we’ll be focusing primarily on full-spectrum hemp and why products infused with this extract are superior to the broad-spectrum and isolate forms.
The Difference Between Full-Spectrum, Broad-Spectrum, & CBD Isolate
Full-spectrum, Broad-spectrum, and isolate; all three are naturally derived from the hemp plant. Each of these extracts have their own unique benefits, but the main difference amongst the three forms is their THC content.
- Full-spectrum CBD focuses on using the “full” hemp plant; the stalk, stem, seeds, and leaves are all incorporated into the extraction of full-spectrum CBD. More important, the entire genetic makeup of the plant is used, just as it is found in nature. In addition to the main cannabinoid CBD, this includes all the minor cannabinoids, terpenes, and other phytonutrients that occur naturally in the plant. Due to using all of the hemp plant’s components, there are often trace amounts of THC in full-spectrum CBD. THC, short for tetrahydrocannabinol, is the psychoactive element in marijuana that is responsible for getting the user the “high.” These trace amounts of THC in full-spectrum CBD products are not enough to get the user high, as the total THC content must be 0.3% or lower in order to be considered federally legal. Many users prefer this method of CBD as it allows the user to enjoy all the naturally occurring cannabinoids, a theory known as the “entourage effect.”
- Broad-spectrum CBD contains all the naturally occurring components of the hemp plant with the exception of THC. The trace amounts of THC have been carefully removed for users who are looking to avoid any traces of THC but still enjoy the health benefits of the hemp plant. Due to the trace amounts of THC being removed, there is no “entourage effect” as there would be with full-spectrum CBD products. Broad spectrum CBD is considered the middle ground of all three extracts since it is not quite 100% CBD but does not contain any THC. It has undergone additional chemical processing to remove the THC component.
- CBD Isolate is the final extract option. True to its name, it has been purified to contain 100% CBD and nothing else. No terpenes, THC, naturally occurring components of the hemp plant, and no entourage effects. Just pure and simple CBD.
A Quick Rundown of Terms In The CBD World
In case you’re not familiar with some of the terminology of the CBD world, here’s a brief list of all the verbiage we’ll be using in this article. You may already be familiar with some of these terms, but they’re here just in case you need a refresher.
- Cannabinoids: Any compound that is found naturally in the hemp plant. Some examples are THC, CBD, CBN, CBG, etc.
- Terpenes: The compounds that occur naturally in the plant (especially hemp) that are directly responsible for flavor, color, and aroma.
- Full-spectrum CBD: An extract that includes all cannabinoids (including THC) and terpenes found within the hemp plant.
- Broad-spectrum CBD: An extract that includes all cannabinoids (except THC) and terpenes found within the hemp plant. This form is not considered to be 100% CBD as it still contains some of the other important phytonutrients from hemp.
- CBD isolate: A extract that only contains purified and crystallized CBD. No other compounds, cannabinoids, or terpenes exist within this form of CBD.
Why You Should Choose Full-Spectrum CBD Over Other Extracts
Before you reach for the first CBD product you see on a shelf, take a moment to consider why you are buying CBD in the first place. Many users are sensitive to THC or are subjected to drug tests at work, making broad-spectrum and CBD isolate the obvious choice for these particular users. But if those reasons don’t apply to you, here’s some reasons why full-spectrum CBD should be first in your list of CBD extracts.
- Full-spectrum hemp contains all parts of the hemp plant. In the beginning of this article, we touched upon the theory of an “entourage effect,” where all parts of the plant work together to deliver the full effects of the hemp plant. Think of it as buying a house that has already been furnished, or a car that comes with all the extra accessories. All the parts come together in harmony to give you the full benefits, some of which you may not even realize you needed!
- Full-spectrum hemp products contain the best cannabinoid profile, which can be used in a wider variety of uses. Full-spectrum hemp may better aid users dealing with sleep issues, can stimulate appetite, acts as an anti-inflammatory, and can help users deal with anxiety and epilepsy more efficiently.
- While full-spectrum CBD does contain trace amounts of THC, it is not enough to get the user high. Don’t let concern about the minuscule amount of THC deter you from enjoying the full potential of the hemp plant and all it has to offer. There is no legal risk with compliant CBD products that contain tiny amounts of CBD, and the additional benefits from the entourage effect of the cannabinoids working together are well-documented. While there is nothing wrong with choosing other forms of CBD, you may be depriving your body of a well-rounded CBD experience that may be more beneficial in the long run.
Best Full-Spectrum CBD Oils
Now that we’ve gone over why full-spectrum is so important, it’s time to get to the fun part: choosing a full-spectrum CBD oil! Yet with so many brands, strengths, and variances in price, it can seem overwhelming to select one at random. We’ve compiled a list of our top CBD brands, as well as a breakdown of why.
CBDPure hails from the hemp-friendly states of Colorado and Washington. Their CBD is naturally sourced from organic farms to create some of the finest full-spectrum oils in the industry. CBDPure uses CO2 extraction to preserve the oil and is free from any artificial or synthetic ingredients. Their full-spectrum oil comes in three strengths: 300mg for $29.99, 600mg for $54.99, and 1000mg for $79.99. The company fully backs their products with a 90-day money-back guarantee and has uploaded the results of third-party independent lab testing for both casual browsers and serious consumers.
- Price: $29.99-$79.99
- CBD potency: 300mg, 600mg, and 1000mg.
- COA: published on website.
Populum offers a luxurious lineup of full-spectrum hemp products for those who are serious about premium quality. Populum goes the extra mile by testing their products no less than three times: once before production, once during production, and once after the product has been completed. Their full-spectrum hemp oils come in an incredible variety of strengths, ranging from a lowly 250mg to an impressive 2000mg. The variance of strengths, triple testing, and use of high-quality ingredients equate to a higher price tag, with their lowest strength priced at $59 for a single 30mL bottle. Populum does offer a 20% discount for those who sign up for their subscription services, but even so, this luxurious brand might be a bit too luxurious for those looking for more budget-friendly options. If you value quality over quantity, Populum promises to pamper both your body and mind with every silky drop!
- Price: $59-$279
- CBD potency: ranges from 250mg-2000mg.
- COA: available on product orders and website.
Xwerks CBD has tapped into an overlooked sector of the health-conscious market: the fitness industry. Instead of advertising their products as a way to increase mental and physical ailments, Xwerks encourages fitness gurus to incorporate CBD into their daily activities. In an effort to “Optimize Human Performance,” their full-spectrum tinctures are packaged similarly to supplements found in workout shops across the country. Available in two sizes, their 600mg bottle is available for $59 while their 1000mg bottle is marked at are affordably priced at $89 and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. The hemp used in all Xwerks CBD products comes from organic hemp farms located in Colorado.
- Price: $59-$89
- CBD potency: 600-1000mg per 30mL bottle
- COA: published on website.
Charlotte’s Web CBD Oil
Charlotte’s Web is the minimalist’s dream in regards to ingredients: only hemp extract, carrier oils, and natural flavorings! Their full-spectrum hemp comes in four delicious flavors: lemon twist, olive oil, orange blossom, and mint chocolate. Their strength options are listed a bit differently than other brands. Rather than list the total mg count per bottle, Charlotte’s Web opted to list the amount of CBD in each mL. It will require a bit of math (i.e., mg count times serving size) to figure out the full strength per bottle. Charlotte’s Web ranks on the higher side of the price scale, with their lowest strength priced at $23.99 and their highest strength priced at $95.99. While the company does offer the results of their independent third-party lab testing, these results are listed by batch number. That batch number is stamped onto the product packaging, so you’ll need to reach out to Charlotte’s Web directly if you want to view these results before completing your purchase.
- Price: somewhat more expensive compared to other brands in the industry
- CBD potency: 17 mg per 1-mL serving
- COA: results listed online according to batch number, which is only listed on the product packaging.
How To Choose The Ideal Full-Spectrum Oil
The CBD market is filled with enticing flavors, impressive packaging, and low prices from an overwhelming amount of brands. But before you go reaching for the cheap and shiny stuff, consider this. There is no FDA involvement for any cannabinoid product; literally, anyone can throw together some ingredients and market it as “pure, potent, and effective.” While this may change in the future, the lack of regulation means that the entire industry is dependent on acquiring consumer trust.
How To Know If A Brand Is Safe
Yet there is one shining beacon of light in the murky fog that is the CBD industry: independent third-party lab testing, also called a Certificate of Authenticity or “CoA” for short. One of the best ways of acquiring consumer trust is through these lab tests. But the mere presence of a lab test doesn’t mean the brand offers safe products. Some shady companies will pirate authentic CoA’s and doctor them to make them look official for their brand. The best way to verify that these tests are real is by reaching out to the lab directly. By providing the lab with the batch number and other relevant information, the lab can either confirm or deny the posted results. Many CofA’s have a scannable QR code that can be looked up in real-time to determine if any details have changed.
A proper Certificate of Authenticity should test for solvents and contaminants such as pesticides, heavy metals, and mold. Most full-panel tests will provide the percentage of the cannabinoids found in the test samples, such as THC, CBD, and other possible compounds. There should be a clear picture of the product, along with a date on when the tests were conducted. Lastly, don’t be afraid to do some digging into whether the company has any pending lawsuits or warning letters from the FDA.
Other Relevant Brand Information
Some brands will offer information about where their hemp is grown, whether or not it is organic, and what extraction methods are used. When it comes to providing the results of their independent lab tests, some companies will upload it directly to the website for all to see. Other brands will only release this information upon request and still others will list it on the brand packaging, which is only available to users once they receive delivery of the product.
If you’re curious to see what other people think about the products, you can always check for verified BBB customer reviews. You should never rely solely on reviews from a CBD company’s own website. Also, a lack of online reviews is not cause for concern. Limitations about what health claims can be made, even my well-meaning customers, can result in valid reviews being taken down or removed from social media and company websites. Some users will write in-depth reviews for their products on external blogs or upload videos on YouTube for a real-feel review. Always conduct your own research to ensure you feel comfortable with a product before completing your purchase. Be aware that some “reviews” are paid promotions, so (as with any product) be aware that reviews from anonymous reviewers online should just be one factor in your decision on which CBD product is best for you.
Are There Any Side Effects from Full-Spectrum CBD?
Full-spectrum CBD is considered safe to use due to the lack of psychoactive effects and quality of ingredients used. The research that is currently available suggests that it is not only safe, but can encourage a healthier sense of well-being. There are some known side effects that you should be aware of before consuming. Some people have reported feeling fatigue, experiencing diarrhea, and undergoing appetite and weight fluctuations.
There is some research that warns against taking CBD if you’re on specific medication or supplements, particularly those with grapefruit warnings. If you consume high fat-meals or are on high-fat diets, the CBD may increase blood concentrations more than with a balanced diet. You should avoid consuming CBD if you are nursing or pregnant and have not consulted your physician about CBD usage. Fore pregnant or nursing mothers, it is often recommended to use CBD isolate products instead.
Full-Spectrum CBD FAQs
Can I Get High On Full-Spectrum CBD?
Despite there being trace amounts of THC in full-spectrum CBD, there is not enough to get you high. According to the 2018 Farm Bill, only 0.3% THC is allowed in any cannabinoid-infused product. While it might be possible to feel a slight something if you consume a ridiculously large amount of full-spectrum CBD, the probability of getting noticeably affected, i.e. “high”, off of 0.3% THC is very low.
Can Full-Spectrum Hemp Make Me Fail A Drug Test?
Since there is a small amount of THC in full-spectrum hemp, it is possible that the THC might cause you to fail a drug test, though unlikely. Here’s why. When your body metabolizes THC, it is absorbed into THC metabolites that are eventually purged from the body through urine. These THC metabolites linger in your body for an extended period of time, depending on how frequently you consume products that contain THC. Drug tests will not test for specific cannabinoids, even if they are legal, but only for the presence of these THC metabolites. If you are subjected to drug tests for employment purposes, you may want to avoid full-spectrum hemp products.
Does Full-Spectrum CBD Make Me Sleepy?
One of the benefits of using full-spectrum CBD is that it can be used as a sleep aid. If you struggle with insomnia, CBD can help relax you and soothe your overactive mind. Most users report this as beneficial, but if you find yourself feeling more groggy while using CBD, especially during waking hours, you may wish to use a lower dosage, especially as a new user.
There are benefits to consuming full-spectrum CBD, ranging from improving your bodily functions (sleeping, eating, and pain relief) to improving mental issues (depression, anxiety, paranoia, PTSD, etc.). Full-spectrum CBD is the only extract that can offer the entourage effect, resulting in faster and more effective results than other forms of CBD. While it’s true that full-spectrum hemp does contain THC, it is in very low quantities of 0.3%. As long as it remains below the 0.3% threshold, it is legal on a federal level, though some states may have their own legislation on the legality of CBD within that state. Full-spectrum CBD is not known to get the user high, but if you consume an unhealthy amount, it is possible to feel some intoxicating effects.
You should always consult with your primary care physician before consuming any CBD product for the first time. When choosing a full-spectrum CBD brand, always do your research before completing your purchase. A good brand should be transparent about the quality of their hemp and should offer information about where the hemp was grown, whether or not it is organic, and what the extraction methods are. You should confirm the validity of these claims by checking their Certificate of Authority and reading customer reviews.
Full-spectrum CBD can help improve your overall health and wellness over an extended period of time, and we’ve listed several brands that we trust. If you think you’re ready to take the plunge into the wonderful world of full-spectrum hemp, head on over to any of these vetted brands and check out all that they have to offer!
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