CBD has been one of the hottest topics in natural health supplements over the past year or so. Research into its health properties is still at a relatively early stage, but there is strong anecdotal evidence that it can help with a variety of conditions from anxiety to insomnia to pain relief.
You only need to take a look online or in your local health store to see the mind-boggling choice of CBD products that are now available. It presents all sorts of challenges, especially for anyone who is trying CBD for the first time. One area in particular that often causes confusion is the phrase “full spectrum” versus “broad spectrum.” If you are not sure which type of CBD oil to buy, read on.
All About Cannabinoids
To understand the difference, we first need to understand what CBD is and where it comes from. Everyone knows it is extracted from the cannabis plant, but you might not have realised it is only one of over 100 different cannabinoids that are present. Others include CBA, CBN and THC. Then there are various other compounds such as terpenes. Each of these has its own properties and effects, but the cannabinoid that always hits the headlines is THC – this is the compound that has a psychotropic effect, in other words it is the component in cannabis that gets people “high.”
Full spectrum CBD oil contains all the naturally occurring compounds from the cannabis plant – however, only tiny amounts of THC are present, with a maximum concentration of 0.3 percent. Broad spectrum CBD oil contains many of the components, but is entirely free from THC. You can also get CBD isolate which, as the name implies, contains only CBD and no other cannabinoids or extracts.
Which Should you Choose?
An area of CBD research that has received plenty of attention over recent months is the entourage effect. This is the technical equivalent of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, and suggests that when multiple cannabinoids are present, it increases the overall health effect. Of course, the entourage effect is maximised when you choose full spectrum CBD.
Broad spectrum CBD will also exhibit some benefits from the entourage effect, but to a lesser extent. Its main benefit, however, is that it contains no THC at all. In general, the small amounts of THC present in full spectrum CBD should not be a concern – there is certainly not enough to cause a “high.” However, the trace amounts can still show up on a drugs test, so if you are, for example, a professional athlete or an airline pilot, it might be safer to stick with broad spectrum CBD.
Finally, there is CBD isolate to consider. This is the ideal choice if you have been advised to take higher concentrations of CBD for a specific condition. However, for general wellness benefits, most experts now agree that greater benefit can be derived by taking advantage of the entourage effect delivered by broad spectrum or full spectrum CBD.