If you have explored the CBD world you have probably encountered terms like ‘full spectrum’ CBD or ‘broad spectrum CBD.’ These terms describe the form of CBD used to create the products you see before you on the shelves today. Not all CBD is created equally however, therefore it’s important to know which form of CBD has been used to create each product.
After all, knowing the different forms of CBD can help you select the exact product you are looking for. Moreover it can save you from buying a CBD product that isn’t suitable for your particular needs. Before buying CBD, read our detailed breakdown of how each CBD extract differs and discover which is best for you. And even more importantly, we answer the burning question, what’s the most effective form of CBD?
What types of CBD are there?
There are now five main extracts used to create the CBD products you see around you today, each with unique features. Again, it is important to understand these features so you can purchase the right product for your needs. You can navigate to any of the five below sections by clicking on the extract of your choosing.
What can you extract from cannabis/hemp?
To understand the difference between each form of CBD, it is important to understand what the plant actually contains. There are three main families of wellness molecules within the cannabis/hemp plant. They are cannabinoids (like CBD and THC), terpenes and flavonoids. Moreover, the presence or absence of these molecules is really the difference between each extract.
Today CBD is typically extracted from hemp using supercritical co2. This is a very gentle extraction which preserves these wellness molecules during the extraction. After that the extract can be refined to remove cannabinoids, terpenes or flavonoids. We will learn more about this below..
Full Spectrum CBD
In full spectrum CBD products cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids are all present including minor traces of THC. Do not worry though, this naturally occuring, minute amount will never get you high. Ironically there is more THC in a bottle of hemp seed that you find on the supermarket shelves.
Full spectrum CBD retains much of what naturally occurs in the plant, leaving it just as nature intended. The addition of other cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids is said to improve the efficacy of CBD.
Moreover minor cannabinoids and some terpenes are known anti-inflammatories in their own right. They even have their own unique effects on the body. The added cannabis molecules within full spectrum CBD is a huge advantage if you can get over the earthy, plant flavour.
Broad Spectrum CBD
Broad spectrum CBD, on the other hand, contains no THC but does retain some other beneficial cannabinoids. Typically you will see minor cannabinoids like CBG or CBC present if you analyse a lab report from broad spectrum CBD oil. The presence of these cannabinoids will improve the efficacy of your product.
The flavour of this extract is neutral which makes it perfect for CBD E-Liquid or CBD oil. Moreover CBD products made from this extract are perfect for those who want the entourage effect without any THC. The ideal solution for athletes and those who get tested for THC in their profession.
Another extract that has been gaining popularity in recent years thanks to the UK Novel Foods regulations is CBD isolate. This highly refined extract contains no other cannabinoids, terpenes or flavonoids. Isolate is so refined that it can contain up to >99% pure CBD.
This extract is also virtually THC free which, like broad spectrum CBD, makes it popular among those seeking to avoid THC. Unlike broad spectrum CBD however, isolate is not accompanied by other cannabinoids. Athletes can use isolate based products with confidence that THC will not show up on a drug test.
The great advantage of CBD isolate is that it is odourless. This makes it perfect for use in all sorts of CBD Vaping or CBD skincare products. Thanks to its neutral base, you can add terpenes or flavouring to isolate to create more palatable CBD isolate oil. If you are looking to stay free of THC and the opinion splitting flavour of traditional CBD oil then and isolate product is for you.
Whole Plant CBD
Another niche option some companies are doing is utilising the entire plant and leaving it just as nature intended. Whole Plant CBD extracts retain all waxes and oils of the hemp plant making it extremely thick and unrefined. Moreover it also contains all the beneficial cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids that are present in full spectrum CBD.
These extracts are raw and typically contain acidic precursor cannabinoids such as CBDa which may be effective at much lower doses than CBD. This additional benefit alone makes it worth the strong, earthy, hemp flavour in our humble opinion.
In recent months a new kind of CBD extract has begun to flood the market thanks to the FSA declaring CBD as a novel food. This extract is synthetic CBD which is appearing in more products and is already in some of the multiples. Synthetic CBD is of course produced in a lab and not from the hemp plant.
We personally do not think this is the road the hemp industry should be taking. Synthetic CBD suffers the same disadvantage as isolate in lacking the presence of other cannabis compounds. There are also concerns over its safety and the safety of some of the ingredients used to make it. Not to mention the plethora of other benefits growing hemp provides.
Even more worrying is that there is no requirement for a company to declare that their product contains synthetic CBD on the label. Do not worry though, in our CBD store we only work with brands that use hemp derived CBD. Moreover we offer a range of different extracts across the board. Whether you are vaping CBD or applying a CBD muscle rub, we usually have full spectrum to CBD isolate options. Trust the UK’s trusted one stop CBD shop to bring you these best CBD extracts available.
The Entourage Effect
The “entourage effect” is the concept that multiple cannabis properties are more effective than sole properties alone. In other words, adding terpenes to cannabinoids such as CBD can improve its effectiveness.
Father of cannabis research Raphael Mechoulam first coined the phrase back in 1998. He suggested that cannabis compounds such as CBD work better when taken together. He substantiated this by demonstrating the increased binding affinity of endocannabinoid 2-AG when paired with other compounds. Mechoulam noted 2-AG is unable to bind to our cannabinoid receptors in our endocannabinoid system without the addition of these molecules.
Further research is required to definitively say this behaviour extends to plants. With that said it is clear that minor components of the plant such as terpenes and flavonoids can alter effects. The entourage effect is likely why many report better effects from broad spectrum or full spectrum CBD.
The Future of CBD Extracts
It is worth noting that the UK CBD industry is currently undergoing regulation under the Novel Foods Act. This act applies to foods that do not have significant history of consumption before May 1997 in the EU. Subsequently CBD products must now be licensed to remain on sale within the EU.
This is important as true full spectrum CBD is under threat thanks to these new regulations. This is because of the tiny amount of naturally occuring psychotropic cannabinoid, THC within these products.
Promisingly some full spectrum CBD products such as Hempura Full Spectrum CBD Oil and CBDLife Raw Hemp Extract Oil have already been pre-approved by the FSA. They are among over 3500 products on the recently released list of pre-authorised CBD products for sale in England and Wales.
CBD products sold here in Northern Ireland will be subject to EU procedures for Novel Foods thanks to the NI Protocol. Whereas in Scotland, Food Standards Scotland is taking a slightly different approach to Novel Foods including considering requiring brands to state if they used synthetic CBD on the label.
Which form of CBD is most effective?
Ultimately, there is no one size fits all answer to what’s the most effective form of CBD. CBD extracts are highly nuanced and what works best for one may not work as well for another. The ideal CBD extract for you will hinge on your lifestyle, taste and the reason you are using CBD.
Sometimes it takes a little trial and error, experimenting with different extracts to determine which one works best for you. One factor that might influence your decision is the absence of THC. For athletes and others who wish to avoid THC you can safely enjoy CBD isolate and broad spectrum CBD products.
On the other hand, if you don’t mind a little THC you can enjoy the greater benefits of full spectrum or whole plant CBD. Just be mindful of the strong, earthy flavour. A small price to pay, if you ask us.
Whatever form of CBD you find is the most effective, you can find high quality options in our CBD store. We offer whole plant, full spectrum, broad spectrum and CBD isolate options from the industries’ trusted brands. Moreover, as mentioned above you will never find synthetic CBD in our store. Rely on the UK’s trusted one-stop-CBD-shop for all your hemp-derived CBD needs.
Want to know more about CBD?
If you’ve enjoyed this post you may like to read more tips about buying the right CBD product. Here are some of our most popular posts on Buying CBD.
- Buying CBD for the first time cheat sheet
- Which CBD product is right for me? A beginners guide
- Introduction to Cannabidiol. Everything you need to know about CBD
Do you still need help determining which CBD extract is best for you to begin your CBD journey? We are here to help. Simply drop us an email or comment on one of our social channels. We will endeavour to get back to you asap but while you wait we recommend checking our our CBD FAQs.