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CBD Isolate vs Full-Spectrum Hemp: What’s the Difference?

The cannabinoid market is booming. CBD products are sold virtually everywhere around the country, and popularity is rising. New brands and products are popping up so rapidly, it’s not only hard to keep up with, but it’s also creating a lot of confusion for the consumers. What are CBD isolates, and what is their function? What are full-spectrum hemp products, and how do they work? How do these products differ from each other? Getting the right product for your specific needs is important, and with the right information, you will able to shop for hemp products confidently and accurately. 

Basics of the Endocannabinoid System

First things first, it’s essential to understand the basics of the system in your own body that processes cannabinoids from hemp plants and other sources. You see, our bodies possess something called an endocannabinoid system. This complex system affects certain biological functions such as mood, sleep, appetite, memory, and learning to name a few. Though research is still very much underway, we know there are three parts to the endocannabinoid system; endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes.

Endocannabinoids are compounds that are naturally produced as needed by our own bodies. These compounds latch onto receptors throughout the body, largely located within the nervous system. When endocannabinoid compounds bind with the receptors a call to action is put forth onto the endocannabinoid system. The location of the receptor, as well as the type of receptor, will impact the function of the endocannabinoid. Once the function has been carried out, enzymes come in to break the endocannabinoid down.

Here’s a short video to help explain the endocannabinoid system further:

Understanding the Different CBD Products Available

Now that you have a basic understanding of the endocannabinoid system in our bodies, let’s jump into the various CBD Products you may find available on the market today. With such a flooded market, this is essential, so you can ensure you select the proper product for your needs. To start, you may find products that are:

  • CBD Isolates
  • Full-Spectrum Hemp Extract
  • CBG Isolates, or other single cannabinoid isolates

What is CBD Isolate?

Cannabidiol or CBD is non-psychoactive, non-habit-forming, and one of many cannabinoids within in the cannabis plant. CBD Isolate is a white crystalline substance that’s extracted from the plant, then filtered, and has a purity of 99.9%, so there are no other cannabinoids present in the product except for CBD. Without psychoactive properties, and deemed safe for use by the FDA, many different demographics feel open to trying these CBD products.

What does Full-Spectrum Mean?

Full-Spectrum hemp products utilize all of the plant compounds. This includes THC, CBD, CBC, CBN, CBG, and many others. Some people may feel hesitant to try these products due to the presence of THC, the compound that produces a high, but the levels of THC found in the hemp plant are extremely low, no more than 0.3%. These compounds work together to promote the effects of each other, called the “Entourage Effect”, the benefits of each compound are drastically heightened. In 2015, the concept that pure CBD compound had the greatest medicinal value was debunked by a study conducted by the Lautenberg Center for General Tumor Immunology in Jerusalem. Scientific evidence for the synergistic relationship of whole plant compounds has been growing ever since.

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Understanding the “Entourage Effect” & Synergistic Relationships

One must remember that, hemp has been cultivated and used medicinally for thousands of years, and it wasn’t until recent decades that certain cannabinoids were stripped and separated from the plant. As our understanding of whole-plant medicine grows, so too does our recognition of the importance of synergy between compounds. THC and CBC, for example, have pain relieving properties as well, but without the assistance of other cannabinoids, their effects can be undetectable. It’s also known scientifically that CBD will lower the psychoactive effects of THC by taking up receptors in the endocannabinoid system.

Aside from the content of cannabinoids, hemp also contains:

  • omega fatty acids,
  • terpenes,
  • various vitamins such as; vitamin A, beta-carotene, B vitamins, niacin, thiamine, and riboflavin, vitamin C and E,
  • along with minerals like iron, potassium, zinc, and many others.

Instead of working with the singular compound CBD, the utilization of these other essential nutrients throughout the body lends to the overall health and well being of a person. With greater overall health and a better functioning body, symptoms from certain conditions might lessen or go away completely. Just as a healthy diet requires a full-spectrum of nutrients, the receptors inside our bodies should have a full-spectrum of cannabinoids.

Choosing The Right Hemp Product for Your Needs

Both CBD isolates and full-spectrum supplements hold beneficial properties and picking which product is best suited to your needs is important. Pure CBD isolates may seem like the way to go, as 99.9% CBD sounds like the most bang for your buck, but is it really? Full-spectrum products contain high amounts of CBD, though not nearly as high as isolates. However, the effects can be greater from full-spectrum products as CBD mingles with its constituents, the other cannabinoids, terpenes, vitamins, and minerals. This leads to more efficient delivery of these compounds into our bodies.

People are equipped with these complicated cannabinoid delivery systems that modern medical science barely understands, and subscribing to the idea that one size fits all, or rather, one cannabinoid fits all, just isn’t realistic. 

Hemp and humans have co-evolved together since the beginning of the human race. One of the most celebrated plants in history, hemp as a medicine has been spoken and written about around the entire world ever since language and writing came to be. Full-spectrum hemp products provide a holistic, well-rounded approach to treatment. Certainly, CBD isolates deserve a whole lot of credit for opening the minds of the masses and paving the way for further research into the vast, wondrous, and truly enlightening world of cannabinoids.

However, with more light being shed on all of hemp’s chemical compounds, more and more people are choosing full-spectrum over CBD isolate, and the market is shifting accordingly. Whether you’ve been on the CBD bandwagon for a while, or you’ve tried it before only to feel no relief, or maybe you’re just now looking into products, give full-spectrum products a try and you will be unlikely to go back to isolates.

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