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CBD isolate or whole plant ?

Full Spectrum Cannabis Smoke

What’s the Difference? Does it Matter? What is Isolate anyway?

The potential benefits of CBD are a prominent topic of research and certainly CBD is becoming a popular coffee break talk for every generation!

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a very popular option for people seeking a natural alternative to treat various health conditions such as depression, inflammation, epilepsy, and more. When selecting CBD solutions you have the choice between products made from CBD Isolate or Full Spectrum CBD and in legal jurisdictions the additional choice between hemp or cannabis derived formulations.

Full Spectrum Imagery
Spot the Full Spectrum Difference!

As we explain the effects of CBD, it is important to discuss the types of CBD extracts. CBD can be extracted from the plant in a variety of forms. The type of extract in a product has been shown to impact the effect that CBD has on the body.

Whole plant extract and CBD isolate are two common forms of CBD extract. These extracts vary in the type of cannabinoids and synergistic plant extracts they contain. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between these two extracts to understand how they influence the intake of CBD.

CBD Isolate

CBD isolate is cannabidiol in its purest form. To produce this extract, CBD is isolated and then refined to strip out any additional cannabinoids, terpenes, and plant components found in the hemp plant. The final product is a fine white powder that contains around 99% cannabidiol.

Isolates contain only one cannabinoid: CBD. This means that CBD isolate does not contain any THC, a psychoactive cannabinoid, making CBD isolate a perfect option for those who seek a THC-free product. However, all other cannabinoids have also been removed.

Whole Plant Extract

Whole plant extract keeps the full properties of the hemp plant intact. In addition to CBD, this extract includes terpenes, cannabinoids, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, phytonutrients and any other materials that are extracted from the hemp plant. The hemp plant naturally contains over 100 cannabinoids that, similar to CBD, provide their own unique benefit.

CBD isolate has no taste or odor and can be used to formulate many varieties of CBD products, such as edibles and topicals. Since CBD isolate is around 99% pure, you have control over exactly how much CBD is added to a product (a milligram of CBD isolate equates to about a milligram of CBD.)

Also referred to as a full-spectrum extract, whole plant hemp extract contains all of the available benefits within the hemp material. By keeping all of the plant components, whole plant hemp extract benefits from the synergistic properties between the components. Scientists have found that plant components interact with one another to create an enhanced effect (compared to the component alone).

According to this theory, known as the entourage effect, CBD and other components of hemp work together to improve absorption and effect in the body. These compounds influence each other’s function for a sum greater than its parts.

entourage effect
Entourage Effect – Magic of Whole Plant

THC or no THC?

There are various methods of extracting full-spectrum oil from the plant. While CO2 extraction is deemed the cleanest method, other methods, such as solvent extraction, may be utilized. However extracted, the final product will be an oil with varying amounts of THC no greater than 0.3%.  For legal reasons, testing reasons, personal reasons people may prefer to have a product with NO THC.

Using technology called centrifugal partition chromatography (CPC) companies can purify cannabis extracts. CPC technology separates each compound to remove unwanted compounds, such as THC.  Products with zero THC are commonly referred to as broad spectrum products.

If CPC technology is available, you may be wondering why all products are not THC-free. THC, the intoxicating compound of the cannabis plant, raises concern for those who do not wish to experience the intoxicating effects of marijuana or must partake in routine drug testing.

While beneficial for these reasons, THC is also being studied for its interaction with CBD in what we have referred to as the entourage effect.

A Note About THC-Free Full-Spectrum Products

Please note not all products that are labeled full-spectrum and THC-free will be manufactured in this manner. We suggest you be wary of products that claim to be full-spectrum and THC-free. Many times, a THC-free “full-spectrum” product is made solely with CBD isolate. When in doubt, reference the manufacturer’s COA to determine the levels of cannabinoids in the product.

Cannabis Plant @bc420okanaganstyle
Cannabis Plant courtesy @bc420okanaganstyle

Conclusion

With CBD isolates, you receive the sole benefits of CBD. In comparison, whole plant hemp extract provides the synergistic benefits of the whole hemp plant. Whether you choose CBD isolate or whole plant hemp extract is dependent upon your health goals. Both have proven benefit in certain instances.

As the scientific community learns more about CBD, we are beginning to understand how CBD interacts with the body along with other plant components.

This article first appeared on MadeByHemp.com and has been edited for the Cannabis Canada Buzz audience.

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