These days you can’t walk into a supplement store, health food market, yoga studio, or gym without finding yourself faced with an array of cannabidiol (CBD) based products. You’ve likely heard about all of the beneficial effects that CBD gummies, salves, and oils can have both physically and mentally.
All the various forms and benefits may sound great, but sifting through all the new kinds of products, formulas, and doses can be intimidating. You might have questions about products labeled CBD isolate, broad-spectrum, or full-spectrum CBD. Without understanding what each of these labels means and how they differ from one another, it can be hard to decide which version is correct for you.
Here we’re going to dive into everything you need to know about full-spectrum CBD. First, it will help to have a basic understanding of cannabinoids and our body’s Endocannabinoid System.
Cannabinoids and Our Endocannabinoid System
What are cannabinoids, you may ask? Cannabinoids are naturally occurring chemical compounds found in hemp and cannabis plants. THC and CBD are just two of over a hundred cannabinoids that have been identified in cannabis plants. Researchers are continuing to discover new cannabinoids. While THC and CBD might be the best known, we’re learning more about the benefits of lesser-known cannabinoids every day.
Research into cannabinoids is what lead to the discovery of the endocannabinoid system in the early 1990s. The endocannabinoid system is a complex series of receptors found all over the body that signals to the nervous system and immune cells. Endogenous cannabinoids are natural cannabinoid-like molecules that our body uses to stimulate and send messages through our endocannabinoid system.
Researchers believe that the endocannabinoid system may play a role in everything from appetite and digestion, chronic pain, inflammation, and other immune system responses to sleep, mood, learning, and memory.
It’s believed that cannabinoids found in hemp and cannabis products can bind to our endocannabinoid receptors and work to prevent our natural endocannabinoids from breaking down. Different cannabinoids appear to interact with our endocannabinoid system in different and complementary ways.
What are the Differences Between Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, and CBD Isolate?
As you know, CBD and THC are just two of more than a hundred cannabinoids that naturally occur in cannabis. This is why labels like full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolate are designed to identify the types of cannabinoids you’ll find in a given product.
So, what is full-spectrum CBD? Simply put, it’s CBD that contains all the cannabinoids, terpenes, and essential oils that naturally occur in the strain of hemp used. Full-spectrum CBD may include trace amounts of THC (0.3% or less).
Broad-spectrum CBD is for those concerned about even trace amounts of THC. Broad-spectrum CBD will include multiple cannabinoids, but it will not have any traces of THC.
CBD isolate is produced by extracting only CBD from the cannabis plate and separating it for use. CBD isolate contains no other cannabinoids.
What Are the Benefits of Full Spectrum CBD?
As we mentioned, scientists are still discovering how dozens of different cannabinoids interact with our endocannabinoid system. While it’s not entirely clear how each cannabinoid affects us at this time, what is clear is that they often act in compliment to one another. This interaction is often known as the entourage effect.
The entourage effect means that CBD works best when combined with other cannabinoids, including trace levels of THC. This is why full-spectrum CBD is thought to work better than isolates. Cannabinoids are meant to act synergistically in our bodies, and full-spectrum CBD allows them to do just that.
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