CBD is bigger and more accessible than ever before and whilst there is a lot of information out there, it can be overwhelming if you’re new to the world of CBD products. When browsing for CBD Oils, edibles or other popular CBD products, you will likely see some listed as full-spectrum or as a whole-plant extract.
To understand what full-spectrum CBD is and why you might wish to opt for it, it is best to first gain a basic understanding of CBD as a whole and how it is commonly manufactured.
First things first, what actually is CBD?
CBD is a cannabinoid, a compound found in cannabis plants. There are dozens of cannabinoids, but CBD is perhaps the most well-known (next to THC) and accounts for up to 40% of the plant's extract. Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive and will not get you high. Often, the CBD used for CBD products in the UK comes from the hemp plant.
What is the difference between hemp and cannabis?
Hemp and cannabis are both members of the Cannabis sativa family, but it is important to know the difference.
Hemp is a type of cannabis that is often grown for industrial purposes, such as making paper, textiles, and biodegradable plastics. It has a naturally very low THC content (less than 0.2%) and is the most common form of cannabis used to produce CBD products.
Cannabis, on the other hand, has a much higher THC content (up to 30%) that is used for recreational psychoactive effects and some medicinal purposes.
What is Full Spectrum CBD?
Full-spectrum CBD is a term used to describe CBD products that contain all the cannabinoids found in cannabis - not just CBD. This includes THC, which is the cannabinoid most often associated with the psychoactive effects of cannabis. Full-spectrum CBD products are made by extracting all the cannabinoids from the hemp plant and combining them into one product - most often in oil form, though can be used for all sorts of products like our CBD Skincare products.
This differs from other types of CBD available on the market today, which are typically made using a CBD isolate. Isolates are created by extracting only the CBD from the plant and then combining it with other ingredients to create a final product.
What is THC?
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the cannabinoid in cannabis most commonly associated with psychotropic effects. THC is responsible for the "high" sensation that users feel when smoking marijuana or consuming items containing THC.
In the United Kingdom, the THC content of cannabis products is regulated by the government as THC itself is an illegal substance. Cannabis with a THC content below 0.2% is considered to be hemp and is legal in the UK. Cannabis products with a THC content above this threshold are considered to be marijuana and are illegal to possess, sell, or cultivate in the UK.
Why is full-spectrum CBD becoming so popular?
There are many reasons full-spectrum CBD is so popular.
First of all, full-spectrum products are believed to be more effective than other types because they contain a wider range of cannabinoids. This is referred to as the "entourage effect" and means that there may be greater benefits from consuming cannabinoids in conjunction with one another as opposed to in isolation.
Secondly, full-spectrum CBD provides the benefits of THC without the psychoactive effects. This makes it a great choice for people who want the therapeutic benefits of CBD but don't want to feel high.
Full-spectrum products are also increasingly easy to find and purchase online. This makes them a convenient option for people who want to reap the benefits of cannabinoids.
What is the entourage effect?
The entourage effect is a phenomenon that describes the synergistic effects of all the cannabinoids found in full-spectrum CBD. Essentially, this means that the therapeutic benefits of full-spectrum CBD are amplified when all the compounds work together. The entourage effect is thought to be caused by the interaction between the various cannabinoids and terpenes found in cannabis.
This is the main reason why full-spectrum products are often thought to be more effective than isolate.
What are the benefits of consuming full spectrum CBD?
There are many benefits to consuming full-spectrum CBD, some overlap with other forms of CBD and some are exclusive to full-spectrum products. As full-spectrum products contain all of the cannabinoids found in cannabis, they provide a wider range of benefits than other types of CBD. Whilst studies consistently show that CBD consumed in isolation can have beneficial effects and desirable medicinal properties, further research has identified that the entourage effect is a result of the presence of other cannabinoids.
Some of the most notable benefits include:
Relief from anxiety and depression
CBD is thought to help relieve anxiety and depression by helping the body absorb serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in regulating mood, sleep, appetite, memory and sexual desire.
It's believed that full-spectrum CBD helps increase serotonin uptake while also providing additional anti-depressant benefits.
Reduction in inflammation
Full-spectrum CBD is full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. It's believed that full-spectrum products help reduce inflammation in the body by increasing antioxidant uptake, which reduces oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when there are too many free radicals present in the body. These molecules cause damage to cells and lead to cell death—which is associated with inflammation.
Relief from aches and pains
Reduction in pain full-spectrum CBD can also help reduce chronic pain by boosting endocannabinoid levels and binding to CB receptors. It's believed that full-spectrum products are more effective at treating neuropathic pain than other types of CBD because they contain THC along with cannabinoids like CBC, CBG, CBN and CBD. full-spectrum products have also been found to be more effective at reducing pain associated with arthritis compared to isolated cannabinoids.
Improvement in sleep quality
CBD is known to help improve sleep quality by reducing anxiety and stress levels. It's also been found to increase melatonin levels, which helps regulate the body's natural sleep cycle.
Full-spectrum CBD products are thought to be more effective than other types of CBD at improving sleep quality because they contain THC along with cannabinoids like CBC, CBG, CBN and CBD. full-spectrum products have also been found to be more effective at treating sleeping disorders like insomnia than isolated cannabinoids.
Reduces seizures in people with epilepsy
Full-spectrum CBD is full of anti-convulsant and antioxidant properties. This makes full-spectrum products more effective at reducing seizures in epilepsy patients compared to isolated cannabinoids like CBD or THC.
Can help with chemotherapy side effects
Full-spectrum products can help reduce the severity and length of side effects associated with chemotherapy treatment. The cannabinoids found in full-spectrum have antiemetic properties, which means they work to fight nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy.
Full-spectrum CBD is also thought to provide a wider range of benefits than other types of CBD. These benefits include:
- Increased potency
- Greater effectiveness of cannabinoids to treat various ailments
- Reduced risk of side effects, such as headaches and nausea caused by CBD isolate products
These are just a few examples - there are many more potential benefits that have yet to be discovered. It is important to note that everyone will respond differently to CBD, so it is important to experiment until you find the right product and dosage for you.
What are the types of CBD?
There are three main types of CBD products on the market today: full-spectrum, isolate, and broad-spectrum.
Full-spectrum CBD is made by extracting all of the cannabinoids from the cannabis plant and then combining them into one product. This differs from other types of CBD available on the market today, which are typically made using an isolate. Isolates are created by extracting only CBD from the cannabis plant and then combining it with a carrier oil like coconut oil or hemp seed oil.
Broad-spectrum CBD is made by extracting all of the cannabinoids from the cannabis plant and then combining them with a full-spectrum CBD extract. This creates a product that contains all of the beneficial cannabinoids found in cannabis, but without the THC.
Isolate products are generally considered to be full-spectrum, even if they are labelled as an isolate. This is because full-spectrum and isolate products both contain cannabinoids (they differ only in the amount of THC). Because full-spectrum CBD typically contains trace amounts of THC, it is subject to stricter regulations than other types of CBD available on the market today
What is the difference between full-spectrum, broad-spectrum and isolates?
The main difference between full-spectrum, broad-spectrum and isolates is the number of cannabinoids they contain.
Full-spectrum products contain all the cannabinoids found in cannabis, while broad-spectrum products contain a wider range but not all of them - specifically THC. Isolates are made by extracting only CBD from the cannabis plant and then removing all other cannabinoids. This leaves a product that only contains CBD.
Which is better, full-spectrum or isolate?
There is no right answer when it comes to this question! Both full-spectrum and isolates have their own unique benefits and potential drawbacks.
Isolates are thought to be more effective for people who want the therapeutic benefits of CBD without consuming any THC. They are also easier to dose accurately because they contain only CBD.
Full-spectrum products provide a wider range of benefits because they contain all the cannabinoids found in cannabis. However, they can also cause psychoactive effects because of the presence of THC. full-spectrum products are also slightly more difficult to dose accurately because they have other cannabinoids in them as well.
How is full-spectrum CBD made?
There are many different ways to manufacture full-spectrum CBD, but the most popular methods involve using either CO₂ or alcohol extraction.
CO₂ extraction is a popular, solvent-free method that uses pressurised CO₂ to extract the cannabinoids from the cannabis plant. This leaves behind a full-spectrum oil that contains all the cannabinoids and terpenes found in the plant.
Alcohol extraction is another common method of making full-spectrum CBD. This involves soaking the cannabis in a high-proof alcohol solution and then evaporating the solvent. This leaves behind a full-spectrum CBD oil that contains all the cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids found in the plant.
What is supercritical CO2 extraction?
Supercritical CO₂ extraction is a method of extracting cannabinoids using pressurized carbon dioxide. This process requires expensive equipment and can be difficult to do correctly, but it results in a high-quality product.
Which form of extraction is best?
CO₂ extraction is solvent-free, which means that all the cannabinoids and terpenes are left in the oil. This makes for a full-spectrum product that is high in quality and purity.
Which parts of the plant are used to make full-spectrum CBD?
The cannabinoids in full-spectrum CBD products are typically extracted from the flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant. However, some products may also contain cannabinoids extracted from the stems or roots of the plant.
What type of compounds are found in full-spectrum CBD?
The cannabinoids in full-spectrum CBD are typically divided into three groups: terpenes, flavonoids and cannabinoids.
Terpenes are a class of hydrocarbons that are found in many plants, including cannabis. They are responsible for the scent and flavour of the plant and have been shown to have therapeutic benefits.
The therapeutic benefits of terpenes vary from compound to compound, but they have been known to aid sleep and reduce stress levels.
Flavonoids are a group of compounds that occur naturally in fruits, vegetables and herbs. They are responsible for the colour and taste of these foods and have also been shown to have therapeutic benefits.
Flavonoids have long been thought to be beneficial for heart health, but more research is needed in this area.
Cannabinoids are a group of molecules that interact with cannabinoid receptors in the body. The most well-known cannabinoid is THC, which is responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis. However, there are over 100 different cannabinoids, many of which have therapeutic benefits.
Are full-spectrum CBD products legal in the UK?
Yes, full-spectrum CBD products are legal in the UK. However, THC is still illegal and any product that contains THC will be classified as a controlled substance. This means that full-spectrum CBD products must be sold as a food supplement and cannot make any health claims.
What is the legal THC limit for full-spectrum products?
The legal THC limit for full-spectrum CBD products in the UK is 0.2%. It is incredibly important to only purchase CBD from reputable suppliers that can prove their products are batch tested in a lab. This ensures that you know exactly what is in the product you are purchasing - as well as the amounts of different compounds.
Buying CBD from a supplier that does not test their products can result in things like higher than permitted THC levels, which could, in turn, mean you are consuming above the legal limit and might fail drug tests.
Do I need a prescription to purchase full-spectrum CBD?
No, full-spectrum CBD products do not require a prescription. Full-spectrum CBD, and other CBD products for that matter, are considered as food supplements - not medicinal products.
Will full-spectrum CBD get you high?
No, full-spectrum CBD will not get you high. The THC in full-spectrum products is at a low enough level that it does not produce any psychoactive effects. This means that you can enjoy the benefits of cannabinoids without feeling "high".
Can you drive whilst taking full-spectrum CBD?
You can drive whilst taking full-spectrum CBD as long as you are not under the influence of THC. This means that full-spectrum products must be free from any psychoactive effects (including the presence of THC).
Buying Full Spectrum CBD - how to get the most for your money
When buying full spectrum CBD, it is important to only purchase products from reputable suppliers. This is because not all full-spectrum CBD products are created equal. Some products may contain high levels of THC, which could put you in breach of the law.
It is also important to know what type of extraction method was used to make the product. CO₂ extraction is a popular and solvent-free method that yields a high-quality product. However, alcohol extraction is a common but less reliable method that can potentially produce lower quality CBD oil.
Finally, it's important to know what compounds are found in the product. Full-spectrum CBD contains cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids - all of which have therapeutic benefits.
Is full-spectrum CBD more expensive than isolate?
Generally speaking, yes - full-spectrum CBD is more expensive than CBD isolate. This is because full-spectrum products have added benefit of containing THC and all the other cannabinoids found in cannabis, while isolates only contain CBD. However, full-spectrum products are not always more expensive - it really depends on where you buy from and what your budget will allow for.
Does full-spectrum CBD take longer to work than pure isolates?
The full benefits of full-spectrum CBD may not be felt immediately - it can often take around 30 minutes for full effects to kick in. This is because full-spectrum products are essentially made up of hundreds of different cannabinoids and terpenes, all with their own individual therapeutic properties.