Forms of CBD: Understanding the Spectrum

forms of cbd

We’ve already covered ways to take CBD, but what about the CBD itself? If you’ve shopped for CBD, you’ve probably seen things labeled as isolate, broad spectrum, or full spectrum. In this post, we’ll unpack the differences between these forms of CBD and help you decide which one(s) could be right for you.

The Entourage Effect

As we’ve talked about before on the blog, cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid found in Cannabis sativa, which is in our case hemp. The hemp plant contains over 100 cannabinoids, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabinol (CBN), and cannabigerol (CBG), in addition to flavonoids and terpenes. Research suggests that there can be enhanced benefits when CBD is combined with more of those compounds found in the hemp plant, a phenomenon known as the entourage effect.

While this is still being studied, some scientists report that the combination of all these active compounds may provide additional wellness benefits. Each form of CBD has a different cannabinoid profile, so it’s important to understand what is included in order to choose what benefits you want from your CBD.

cbd isolate

CBD Isolate

Isolates are the purest form of CBD. Manufacturers remove all other cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes from the hemp plant in the extraction process and go one step farther to isolate CBD, so you won’t experience the added benefits of the entourage effect with this type of CBD.

If you might be required to take a drug test, this form of CBD is the perfect option. Because THC and all other cannabinoids have been removed, CBD isolate products won’t cause a positive result on most lab tests.

Most CBD isolates have little to no flavoring themselves, so isolate products will either have no taste or only the taste of flavors added by the manufacturer. You can also mix unflavored isolates into food or beverages. Isolates are extremely concentrated, many having up to 90% CBD, making them great for those looking to consume large amounts of pure CBD.

broad spectrum CBD

Broad Spectrum CBD

Broad spectrum CBD contains all other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids found in hemp but no THC. It’s a great middle ground between CBD isolate and full spectrum CBD.

Like CBD isolate, broad spectrum CBD should not cause a positive result on most drug tests because THC has been removed. You can get some of the benefits associated with the entourage effect without worrying about THC building up in your system due to daily use.  Broad spectrum CBD also offers peace of mind to people living in states with stringent THC laws and regulations or those who might be sensitive to THC.

full spectrum CBD

Full Spectrum CBD

Full spectrum CBD contains all the compounds in Cannabis sativa, including THC. However, THC levels in full spectrum CBD products will be below 0.3%. It’s unlikely that you’d feel any psychoactive effects from the tiny amounts of THC found in full spectrum CBD, but broad spectrum or isolate may be a better option for you if you’re at all concerned about THC.

The entourage effect is the name of the game with full spectrum CBD, as the active compounds all work together to boost the benefits of individual cannabinoids. Full spectrum CBD also goes through less refining than isolates, so you might notice a slightly earthier flavor profile and the smell of hemp in a consumable full spectrum product.

Which type of CBD should I use?

You’re really the only one who can answer this question for yourself. Everyone reacts differently to cannabinoids, so it’s up to you to decide what’s most important. Some questions you may want to ask yourself in the process of making this decision are:

  • What is THC’s legal status in your state?
  • How frequently are you screened for drugs through work?
  • What benefits do you want from CBD?

Ultimately, choosing the right type of CBD should be about what fits your lifestyle, not which one is theoretically “better” than another.

What part of the CBD spectrum did you choose? Let us know what you’ve tried, liked, and made part of your routine in the comments or on our Instagram or Facebook page.

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