CBD Oil, Hemp Seed Oil, Full Spectrum or Broad Spectrum: What is it all About?
With the massive growth in interest around the cannabis and hemp plants in the last few years, it is easy to get confused about what all the different terms mean. What’s the difference between hemp and cannabis? Is hemp seed oil the same as CBD oil? Or what does full spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD mean?
In fact, all of these terms mean very different things, and for anyone who is thinking about trying CBD oil, it is important to know and understand the differences, to enable you to get the most effective oil for you.
In this article we are going to clarify what each of them are and what it all means.
Hemp, Cannabis, CBD and THC
To get to the root of all the differences, we need to start off with Cannabis. Cannabis is a family of plants which has been used throughout history for everything from making clothing, building materials and paper, to being useful in Chinese medicine and of course being used by the Rastafari movement.
Cannabis is jam packed full of compounds known as cannabinoids, two of the most significant – and most famous – being CBD (Cannabidiol) and THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). There are also other compounds in the plant, such as terpenes – which give the plant it’s distinctive smell, and flavonoids which are the compounds that protect the plant from diseases, give it it’s colour and filter out harmful UV rays.
CBD and THC are actually very similar cannabinoids, which, when they are taken can have a profound effect on the human body. One of the main differences, however, for people who take CBD or THC is the fact that THC will make you high, and CBD not.
One of the strains of the cannabis plant is hemp. This is a strain which has been cultivated over time to have a more fibrous consistency and is often used for producing fibres, fabrics and other materials. The main factor that distinguishes hemp from other strains of cannabis, like marijuana is that it has very low levels of THC.
This means that products can safely be made from hemp without the risk of making people high, giving them the benefits of CBD and the other compounds in the cannabis plant but without the psychoactive effects that THC gives.
The Endocannabinoid System
The human body functions through a number of systems, such as the respiratory system, the nervous system and the digestive system. And another system which has been only recently discovered and understood, it the Endocannabinoid system.
The way that the Endocannabinoid system works is through the interactions between cannabinoid receptors known as CB1 and CB2 receptors, and endocannabinoids – which are produced naturally in the human body.
The main function of the Endocannabinoid system is to regulate a number of aspects in the body – including other systems like the immune system and nervous system, as well as other functions such as pain relief, temperature, appetite and mood.
Cannabinoids such as CBD will also interact with the Endocannabinoid system when it is introduced into the body (through taking CBD oil, for example), giving it a lift and making it more effective.
This is why the potential for CBD is so high. The Endocannabinoid system has an impact on many factors which are important to keeping us healthy, and if we can help to keep it working at an optimal level, this should be beneficial to everyone’s health.
What is CBD Oil and how is it different to Hemp oil?
CBD oil is made by extracting the CBD from the cannabis plant. In most cases this will be the hemp plant, but in some cases – where THC is legal – it could be from a different strain of the plant. It is rich in CBD and will most commonly contain only the plant extract and a carrier oil which helps the cannabinoids get absorbed into the human body.
The cannabinoids are usually extracted by solvents where the hemp is mixed with a substance, taking out the cannabinoids from the plant and then the substance evaporated off; or using carbon dioxide where pressurised CO2 passes through the hemp, extracting the cannabinoids as it goes. The carbon dioxide method allows producers to have good control over the different compounds which are extracted.
Hemp oil, on the other hand, is made from the hemp seed. The hemp seed itself is made up of about 30% oil and has great nutritional properties. It has high levels of omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, and also has linoleic acid (LA) and linolenic acid (LNA) in optimal ratios for the human body. Hemp seed oil also has high levels of Vitamin E and is a strong antioxidant.
The process of producing the hemp seed oil is through the use of a cold press. It is a tricky process which involves deshelling, chilling and pressing, and it difficult to be done at home.
Although hemp seed oil is nutritionally good for you, as well as tasting nice, the crucial thing is that it does not contain any dosage of CBD (or THC). These cannabinoids are not found in the seed of the hemp plant, and therefore are not found in hemp seed oil.
If you are looking for an oil which contains CBD, therefore, you need to get CBD oil.
The Entourage Effect
One of the most significant discoveries that scientists have made with regards to CBD oil and other compounds in the hemp plant, is that they work better as a group than individually. This is called the ‘entourage effect’.
If you think of it like an orchestra, you might have the best flute player and the best violin player in the world, but there’s only so much that they can do on their own. CBD is like one of them.
However, when you put them in an orchestra with a group of other musicians, the effect is not only better, it is dramatically better.
In other words, CBD is great on its own, but it is much more effective when it is taken in conjunction with other compounds from the hemp plant – such as other cannabinoids like THC, terpenes and flavonoids.
Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum and CBD Isolate
When you are choosing a CBD oil, you will often be presented with the choice of full spectrum CBD oil, broad spectrum CBD oil and CBD isolate. The difference between the three of them lies in their inclusion of the other compounds.
CBD isolate is as close to ‘pure’ CBD as you can get. In this oil, the CBD is ‘isolated’ and carefully extracted so that it is the only compound that it present. CBD isolate is a good option for people who are especially sensitive to some of the other compounds that are found in the hemp plant, but it is not necessarily as effective as full and broad spectrum CBD oils.
Full Spectrum CBD Oil
Full spectrum CBD oil is on the other end of the, erm, spectrum. Sometimes called ‘whole plant extract’, this one is made up not only with CBD, but all of the other significant cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids in the hemp plant.
Due to the fact that it is made from hemp, there should be no or very small levels of THC present, but it is important to check first as they can sometimes be higher – especially in places where THC is legal.
Researchers say that full spectrum CBD oil is the most effect as it takes full advantage of the entourage effect.
Broad Spectrum CBD Oil
Broad spectrum CBD oil les somewhere between full spectrum and CBD isolate. It is usually made with all of the same compounds as full spectrum but has been specially made to have any traces of THC taken out.
Broad spectrum CBD oil is a good option for people who are looking for the whole entourage effect but must not have any trace of THC in their bloodstream.
Understanding the differences between the different CBD oils can take a bit of getting your head around. Essentially, however, it is all about whether CBD and other cannabis compounds are present or not in it.
By knowing where you stand with the oils that are derived from the cannabis plant, you can work out which one is best for you and start to get the benefits that this magical plant can give you.