Full-spectrum products are often recommended as the best type of CBD products. You might see products labeled as full spectrum, broad spectrum, or narrow spectrum. At the other end of the scale, there are CBD isolates.
For newcomers to CBD, all of these terms can seem rather confusing – what does it all mean? Luckily, it’s not that complicated once you actually understand what these terms mean.
However, there is a lot of disagreement over the benefit of full-spectrum products, and whether they might be better for you than a CBD isolate. Experts in the industry do not exactly agree about this, so it can be a little confusing for consumers who are trying to make a decision about which products to buy.
In today’s post, we will be talking about something called the entourage effect. This phenomenon takes place with full-spectrum CBD products and is the reason many people believe them to be more beneficial. To learn all about the entourage effect and how it works, read on…
What is Full-Spectrum CBD and Why is It Different?
There are a lot of terms for full-spectrum CBD products, but all essentially mean the same thing. Sometimes referred to as “whole plant” products, a CBD item is considered full-spectrum if it contains all of the cannabinoids and terpenes from the cannabis plant.
When the plant undergoes the extraction process to draw out CBD, other plant compounds are also extracted. This includes other cannabinoids like THC and CBD, and terpenes like limonene and alpha-pinene. These compounds all work together to keep the plant healthy while it is alive.
Sometimes, a company will label their product as “broad-spectrum.” This is because they remove some of the compounds, usually THC, so as to ensure their product is 100% safe. Most companies ensure there is as little THC as possible, but those who label their products as broad spectrum are just trying to be as transparent as possible.
The opposite of full-spectrum products is a CBD isolate. This product has undergone more filtration processes to remove all compounds apart from CBD. As a result, you can be sure that what you are putting in your body is around 99% CBD.
A key difference between full spectrum products and isolates is the entourage effect – only full-spectrum products produce it. But what exactly is this effect?
What is the Entourage Effect?
Ethan Russo, M.D. is a neurologist who has focused much of his career on the compounds found in cannabis. In 2011, he published a review in the British Journal of Pharmacology, titled “Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects.” While a rather long-winded title, his findings are quite simple.
Russo found that cannabinoids and terpenes work together to produce synergistic effects. In other words, they make each other more powerful.
This means that full-spectrum products may help to improve the benefits of your CBD. Not only will CBD be influencing your endocannabinoid system in a positive way, but you will also receive the benefits of other cannabinoids and terpenes. While not as studied or famous as CBD, other cannabinoids have proven to be beneficial in their own ways in what few studies have been conducted.
So what does this mean for THC? It is known that THC has a range of benefits. However, most people do not want the psychoactive high that accompanies this cannabinoid. Luckily, the entourage effect has another trick up its sleeve.
A study by Dalton et al. in 1976 found that CBD may be able to reduce the psychoactive effects of THC. There should already be very little THC in your CBD oil (0.3% is the legal limit) to begin with, but what little there is appears to be entirely counteracted by the high CBD level. These findings are further supported by another study from 1981.
As it turns out, terpenes may also play a crucial role in the entourage effect.
Terpenes and Their Role in the Entourage Effect
It is thought that terpenes could also play a role in enhancing the effects of cannabinoids. For example, pinene may help to counteract the negative effects that THC has on cognition and memory.
In 2008, a Swiss scientist named Jürg Gertsch found that beta-caryophyllene can actually bind to the CB2 receptor, much like CBD itself. If terpenes are able to interact with the endocannabinoid system, wide-ranging effects could be even more promising.
Bear in mind, however, that the terpene profile is very different in different cannabis plants. Therefore, you won’t be getting the same terpenes in different CBD oils – check out lab reports to see the terpene content of your particular CBD product. Each terpene has its own array of properties, so you can read up on them to find out which CBD product might be better suited to you.
Does This Mean Full-Spectrum CBD Products are Better?
The general question that people are left with after learning about the entourage effect is this: Are full-spectrum CBD products better than isolates?
The answer is a bit more complicated than you might expect. Many experts do agree that products containing multiple cannabinoids are better. The synergistic effects of cannabinoids are usually better for general well-being, and any added terpenes may allow you to target specific situations better.
However, full-spectrum products are not suited to everyone. If you are employed in a job that conducts regular drug testing, then you may wish to avoid THC altogether. It is quite unlikely that trace amounts of THC will flag on a drug test, but it may be best to err on the side of caution. In this case, opting for a CBD isolate will ensure your safety – CBD is not tested for in a urinalysis.
CBD isolates may also have other advantages. They can be used for your pets, for example, if you choose to give CBD supplements to your furry friends. Furthermore, they are completely tasteless, so they may be better for use in cooking. Plus, they can be more potent than other CBD products.
At the end of the day, it is up to you whether you decide to choose full-spectrum products or a CBD isolate. Here at Premium Jane, all of our oils are full-spectrum, because we believe that these products are better suited for overall balance general well-being. However, our vegan CBD gummies actually contain a 99% pure CBD isolate, so you can also enjoy your CBD with absolutely no THC.