- 08/10/2021 -

The Nature of Full Spectrum: CBD

Language is a curious thing. As it evolves, so does our perspective of the world. We’ve seen this dynamic play out over the years in cannabis as our industry looks to adopt a common vernacular. Throughout this process, one of the most important observations we’ve made is that the industry is still learning and evolving.

When it comes to defining terms like Full Spectrum, for example, it’s hard to find a standardized definition. If you Google, “what is full spectrum CBD?”, you get many results that are similar but few that are the same. For consumers who are simply trying to understand what they’re putting in their bodies, we need more clarity.

Most shoppers will associate ‘full spectrum’ with ‘the good stuff’, but how many of us really understand what it is or why it might be preferable to other options like ‘broad spectrum’ or ‘isolate’? Let’s find out.

Types of CBD

When researching CBD, you’ll generally find products being broken into three distinct categories: Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, and Isolate. These terms are being widely used by both brands and consumers, although standardized definitions are still hard to come by. That said, we’ve been able to find a general consensus as to what these terms actually mean.

As the name implies, Full Spectrum CBD is full of beneficial compounds like cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. These compounds work together synergistically in what’s called the ‘entourage effect,’ a dynamic that magnifies the therapeutic benefits of the plant’s individual components. These enhanced therapeutic benefits are why people tend to assume Full Spectrum means the good stuff.

While Full Spectrum products tend to have only trace amounts of THC, some consumers prefer to have none at all. This is where Broad Spectrum CBD comes in, which is Full Spectrum without the THC content. However, while more research needs to be done, the research we do have suggests that CBD is more effective when some amount of THC is present.

Lastly, CBD Isolate is CBD in its purest form. In this state, CBD crystalizes, creating a powder that’s more than 99% pure. Despite not having the same spectrum of beneficial compounds as Full Spectrum or Broad Spectrum does, CBD isolate can be easier to work with from a manufacturing standpoint.

Extraction

The language being used by brands and consumers, however, isn’t the same as the terminology being used by producers. Rather, manufacturers use language more aligned with production and extraction methods.

When making a CBD Oil, a manufacturer typically starts with high-CBD hemp or cannabis and a chosen method of extraction. From there, the product undergoes multiple levels of extraction depending on the preferred output:

Crude: The first level of extraction produces an oil that is approximately 50 – 60% pure CBD. This oil maintains all of the plant’s beneficial compounds while also retaining non-beneficial compounds like fats, lipids, and chlorophyll.

Winterized Crude: This is the second level of extraction and aims to remove the non-beneficial compounds while leaving beneficial compounds like cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids behind. This produces an oil that is approximately 60 – 70% pure CBD.

Distillate: This is the third level of extraction and creates a distillate that’s typically 75 – 85% pure CBD. While this usually means fewer beneficial compounds, manufacturers are getting increasingly creative in adding terpenes and flavonoids back into their distillate. While this is interesting, in our opinion, adding compounds back into a product is never quite the same as leaving them in, in the first place.

Isolate: This is the final level of extraction and creates a powder that’s 99% pure CBD. Whether it’s the scientific community, consumers, or product manufacturers, everyone can agree that isolate is isolate.

Typically, Full Spectrum CBD products are made using Crude or Winterized CBD Oil while Broad Spectrum products are usually achieved through the use of distillate. Having an understanding of extraction and the content of oils being produced can deepen our knowledge of what’s actually going into the products we’re buying and consuming.

TL;DR

While Full Spectrum might be a classification made up by brands, all words are made up. For us, Full Spectrum is synonymous with Winterized or Crude CBD Oil, and defined by an extraction process that leaves a full spectrum of the plant’s beneficial compounds intact. Until the science is better understood and we’re all speaking the same language, we’ll share what we know in the hopes of giving our audience a better understanding of what they’re buying and putting in their bodies.





- 08/10/2021 -

The Nature of Full Spectrum: CBD

Language is a curious thing. As it evolves, so does our perspective of the world. We’ve seen this dynamic play out over the years in cannabis as our industry looks to adopt a common vernacular. Throughout this process, one of the most important observations we’ve made is that the industry is still learning and evolving.

When it comes to defining terms like Full Spectrum, for example, it’s hard to find a standardized definition. If you Google, “what is full spectrum CBD?”, you get many results that are similar but few that are the same. For consumers who are simply trying to understand what they’re putting in their bodies, we need more clarity.

Most shoppers will associate ‘full spectrum’ with ‘the good stuff’, but how many of us really understand what it is or why it might be preferable to other options like ‘broad spectrum’ or ‘isolate’? Let’s find out.

Types of CBD

When researching CBD, you’ll generally find products being broken into three distinct categories: Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, and Isolate. These terms are being widely used by both brands and consumers, although standardized definitions are still hard to come by. That said, we’ve been able to find a general consensus as to what these terms actually mean.

As the name implies, Full Spectrum CBD is full of beneficial compounds like cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. These compounds work together synergistically in what’s called the ‘entourage effect,’ a dynamic that magnifies the therapeutic benefits of the plant’s individual components. These enhanced therapeutic benefits are why people tend to assume Full Spectrum means the good stuff.

While Full Spectrum products tend to have only trace amounts of THC, some consumers prefer to have none at all. This is where Broad Spectrum CBD comes in, which is Full Spectrum without the THC content. However, while more research needs to be done, the research we do have suggests that CBD is more effective when some amount of THC is present.

Lastly, CBD Isolate is CBD in its purest form. In this state, CBD crystalizes, creating a powder that’s more than 99% pure. Despite not having the same spectrum of beneficial compounds as Full Spectrum or Broad Spectrum does, CBD isolate can be easier to work with from a manufacturing standpoint.

Extraction

The language being used by brands and consumers, however, isn’t the same as the terminology being used by producers. Rather, manufacturers use language more aligned with production and extraction methods.

When making a CBD Oil, a manufacturer typically starts with high-CBD hemp or cannabis and a chosen method of extraction. From there, the product undergoes multiple levels of extraction depending on the preferred output:

Crude: The first level of extraction produces an oil that is approximately 50 – 60% pure CBD. This oil maintains all of the plant’s beneficial compounds while also retaining non-beneficial compounds like fats, lipids, and chlorophyll.

Winterized Crude: This is the second level of extraction and aims to remove the non-beneficial compounds while leaving beneficial compounds like cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids behind. This produces an oil that is approximately 60 – 70% pure CBD.

Distillate: This is the third level of extraction and creates a distillate that’s typically 75 – 85% pure CBD. While this usually means fewer beneficial compounds, manufacturers are getting increasingly creative in adding terpenes and flavonoids back into their distillate. While this is interesting, in our opinion, adding compounds back into a product is never quite the same as leaving them in, in the first place.

Isolate: This is the final level of extraction and creates a powder that’s 99% pure CBD. Whether it’s the scientific community, consumers, or product manufacturers, everyone can agree that isolate is isolate.

Typically, Full Spectrum CBD products are made using Crude or Winterized CBD Oil while Broad Spectrum products are usually achieved through the use of distillate. Having an understanding of extraction and the content of oils being produced can deepen our knowledge of what’s actually going into the products we’re buying and consuming.

TL;DR

While Full Spectrum might be a classification made up by brands, all words are made up. For us, Full Spectrum is synonymous with Winterized or Crude CBD Oil, and defined by an extraction process that leaves a full spectrum of the plant’s beneficial compounds intact. Until the science is better understood and we’re all speaking the same language, we’ll share what we know in the hopes of giving our audience a better understanding of what they’re buying and putting in their bodies.