The question of the differences between full spectrum and THC free CBD is often raised. There are several misconceptions about CBD and the use of it in products as it originates from the same general plant family as the illegal drug marijuana. To dig deeper into the main aspects of each, understanding what CBD is first is essential.
What is CBD?
CBD or cannabidiol is a compound that is found in cannabis plants. The common misconception is that it makes you high. However, this “high” creating element of the plant is its sister compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC has psychoactive effects on the body, and the drug marijuana contains around up to 30% THC, which increases the high feeling you get when taking it. In comparison, legal CBD contains minimal amounts of THC, always below 0.3%, and this does not have the same effects on the body.
What is CBD used for?
CBD is often marketed as an organic wellness supplement that is said to help a range of issues such as anxiety, pain, and insomnia. This may be due to the effect it has on the endocannabinoid system, which controls cell signaling in the body. Scientists and researchers have suggested that CBD can rebalance the system and help a range of ailments. However, at present, it is not regulated, and none of the broad, general health-related claims about CBD are currently supported by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA is currently evaluating everything around CBD due to the complexities of the compound and its uses.
To make it slightly more complicated, CBD sits in two product groups – full spectrum and THC free (sometimes also referred to as broad-spectrum CBD). So what is the difference?
What is Full Spectrum CBD?
Full spectrum CBD oil is like the name suggests - an oil or product that contains all the cannabinoids that naturally occur in the cannabis plant. High-quality products branded full spectrum usually have high levels of CBD and low amounts of THC (below 0.3%) and small amounts of cannabinoids. It is also referred to as the ‘entourage effect’ as the ingredients are believed to potentially work together to create increased effectiveness.
In full spectrum CBD, there are generally more than 100 cannabinoids that come from the cannabis plant. THC and CBD are typically the most prominent in the plant.
However, others also make up the properties and can make a difference in the effectiveness of the product.
It is also said that the full spectrum may be more effective than CBD isolate, which are products that only contain the isolated CBD molecule. There are a range of opinions on this topic, and views may vary across different individuals.
What is THC free and broad-spectrum CBD?
THC free (including broad-spectrum CBD) is cannabidiol that is entirely free of THC. CBD isolate products contain only the CBD compound in them, from the hemp plant. Broad spectrum CBD products are almost identical to full-spectrum products without the trace THC levels. There is no trace of THC within them, so they can be used by people who have an aversion to or sensitivity to THC. THC free products cannot be classed as full-spectrum products.
Isolate vs. Distillate
The extraction process often brings up the conversation surrounding the differences between isolate and distillate forms of CBD. Isolate is also known as pure CBD (99% pure CBD or greater by content). In comparison, distillate contains less pure CBD (it can be 50-70%) with the remaining contents representing natural other cannabinoids, terpenes, and other parts of the hemp plant. Broad-spectrum CBD can be formed either by starting with CBD isolate and adding in other hemp compounds, or by distillation to remove all THC from an otherwise full-spectrum compound.
What products are full-spectrum CBD?
As mentioned above, for a CBD product to be classed as full-spectrum, it has to be made up of primary and secondary cannabinoids. There are several products that you can get full-spectrum CBD oil in, and these include the following:
CBD topical products
Topical products are applied to the skin and are commonly used in practice to support wellness. Typically, folks on the Internet discuss using such products for a wide variety of common discomforts, including pain and inflammation. The property benefits and statements have not been evaluated by the FDA, so we do not make such claims for our products, but there is anecdotal evidence from customers that buy topical CBD products that they might in the future be shown to work well for many issues. The beauty of topical CBD products is they can be applied directly where they are needed and rubbed into the skin for effectiveness.
Main benefits of topical products:
- Can be directly applied to the affected area
- Might be helpful for skin complaints and inflammation, pending further research
- Can be used as part of your skincare routine
Capsules that contain either THC free or full-spectrum CBD can be digested in capsule or pill form. They are an easy way to introduce CBD into your wellness routine, and customers claim to take them to help with a range of problems such as poor sleep, anxiety, pain, and inflammation (these statements have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA, so we make no health claims regarding our products).
Main benefits of capsules:
- The CBD dosage is measured for you, so you know what you are taking
- Easy to incorporate them into your routine
- Little or no taste compared to tincture application
Another popular method of application is via a tincture. The product is dispensed directly by an oil dropper, usually under the tongue, but depending on the product, it can be used in foods, skincare, and self-care pamper sessions. If you are taking CBD via tinctures, some options include flavors, as pure CBD is an acquired taste.
Main benefits of tinctures:
- CBD applied under the tongue is absorbed into the blood faster than other methods
- Easy to use
- Ideal for people who do not like pills or lotions
- Precise and accurate dosages via the dropper’s marking system
What type of CBD oil is best for you?
Everyone is different, and choosing the right type of CBD for you should be made on your personal preferences and requirements. There are different ways to take CBD oil, and they can have different effects on your body. Looking at the above benefits of each method of THC free or full-spectrum application can help you decide on the best product for you. They do vary in price, and it is advisable to check the ingredients and dosage before administering it.
The CBD and wellness market
Both full-spectrum and THC free CBD oils are used in a range of products. The wellness market is bursting with options, and there may be something suitable for you and your needs. There is no specific scientific evidence approved by the FDA for its benefits as yet. However, there is a selection of anecdotal reviews that suggest it might one day be proven as beneficial for many ailments. Let us keep an open mind and see what further clinical research and trials show. In the meantime, if you are unsure of any product or require assistance in making a product choice, it is advisable to speak with a medical professional such as your doctor.
Furthermore, we also have other terrific blog articles such as Is CBD Oil Legal? CBD Regulation Explained | The Violetta Company. — We are The Violetta Company.