With each passing day, the wellness industry continues to balloon into a vast and somewhat confusing landscape of self-proclaimed cures for everything from anxiety to dry skin to sleeplessness. As we struggle to keep up with all of these new brands, techniques, and routines, we naturally begin to wonder what’s real and what’s an illusion. And in a stressful world, it’s no wonder that we’ve all ended up on the hunt for things that can bring us some relief, but in our race to find products that can help, we sometimes lose sight of the fact that anything
that we use on our bodies every day should be subject to truly rigorous standards and backed by good science. The world of CBD, in particular, is filled with complicated terms that you’ve probably heard of — full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, isolate, etc. If you’re confused, you’re not alone but don’t stress because we’ve broken down what these terms mean so you can make
the best choice for yourself and your health.
What different kinds of CBD are there?
We’re glad you asked. While CBD comes in many forms — edibles, tinctures, bath soaks — there are three tiers of CBD itself that can be used in each of these products. The first tier of CBD is called CBD isolate. CBD isolate is often marketed as “pure CBD” simply because it contains the active CBD compound but has been stripped of many other important compounds
of the cannabis plant like fats, terpenes, and flavonoids. CBD isolate can do a decent job of delivering CBD, and is completely free of THC, but is widely considered to be the least potent form of CBD available.
The second tier of CBD is called broad-spectrum CBD. Broad-spectrum CBD contains the active CBD compound and a small range of other active compounds that can boost the effectiveness of CBD. Like CBD isolate, broad-spectrum CBD is free of THC but still does not contain the fullest and truest range of active benefits of the cannabis plant.
The final tier of CBD is full-spectrum CBD. As its name suggests, full-spectrum CBD contains the widest possible range of active cannabis compounds. In addition to the abovementioned fats, terpenes, and flavonoids, full-spectrum CBD products contain an extremely small amount of THC (under 0.3%, as regulated by the FDA). It’s not enough to get you high, and using the full plant is what allows for optimal benefits and absorption levels.
Is one kind better than the other?
In short, yes. Why? Because of something known as the entourage effect. The entourage effect is a theory backed by experimental evidence that finds that the therapeutic effects and benefits of CBD are significantly enhanced when it’s paired with other active cannabis compounds. CBD works by attaching to naturally occurring receptors in our bodies. When CBD works in synthesis
with other active compounds, it’s better able to attach to these receptors making it more potent and effective. While isolate and broad-spectrum CBD products can certainly deliver some benefits, they simply aren’t going to provide the level of efficacy that a full-spectrum product will provide.
Why does it matter?
If you’re using a product with active ingredients, you should always consider the quality of those ingredients. Not all CBD is the same, and while products may appear similar on the surface, and may even promise to deliver the same results, there is a truly noticeable difference between an isolate and a full-spectrum CBD. While it might be tempting to pick up the first thing you see or to go for the least expensive option, there is something to be said about choosing a CBD that harnesses the full power of the plant.