Think Full Spectrum CBD Is Snake Oil? Maybe You Bought Wrong

Jessica McKeil August 21, 2019 1 comment

Full spectrum CBD products have the highest form of medicinal benefit due to the Entourage Effect. Some of the others just don’t work.

The jargon around cannabis, cannabinoids, and cannabidiol (CBD) is a bit of a hot mess. For the uninitiated all these technical terms can get a bit confusing. On top of these many canna-centric words, the different descriptors of CBD products, like CBD isolates and full spectrum CBD, don’t make the job any easier.

Simply put, it’s getting hard to keep it all straight. 

Don’t worry – you aren’t the only one scratching your head in confusion. With the amount of media attention, it can seem like CBD is a new kind of snake oil. For you, the concerned consumer, you need clear information on what product is best. You also probably want an easy-to-understand explanation on the differences between isolates and full spectrum CBD products.

For those with questions on all the jargon surrounding different CBD products, here are a few reliable answers. We pay special attention to the differences between full spectrum CBD and isolate CBD.

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Is CBD Snake Oil?

There is a lot of hype surrounding CBD. Yet, despite this, there is also enough robust scientific evidence that shows the medical value of this compound. 

full spectrum CBD

While most clinical trials are just getting started, there is an immense (and growing) body of preliminary work on this non-intoxicating natural molecule. The evidence thus far strongly supports CBD for treating anxiety, mood disorders, epilepsy, sleep disorders, inflammation, pain, and possibly even for targeting cancer cells.

Plus, CBD is already an extremely popular at-home remedy among the general public and legalized under medical cannabis programs across the U.S. Even while high THC strains of cannabis are still under strict control, many states allow for hemp CBD for therapeutic purposes

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CBD Isolates – Explained

CBD isolates, also sometimes called CBD distillate or CBD crystals, are an isolated compound. This compound, called a cannabinoid, goes through a highly technical laboratory procedure to transform from a leafy green plant into a pure CBD compound. 

Most isolates hit over 90 percent CBD, but some can reach closer to 99 percent. The extreme purity removes all flavor and aroma of the original plant. The product usually looks like crystallized white sugar, although sometimes it may have a grey or brown tinge to it.

Because these are flavorless and odorless, CBD isolate are useful for adding to other products or making certain types of edibles at home. Also, the intense potency of a CBD isolate means it could be valuable for patients treating acute medical conditions. In other words, it’s easier to reach those very high doses.

full spectrum CBD

Full Spectrum CBD – Explained

Full spectrum CBD refers to a less processed CBD product that contains more than just CBD. All cannabis plants contain over a hundred different cannabinoids, and CBD-rich cannabis is no different.

As you may know, different strains have unique profiles. These cannabinoids (like CBD and THC), and the essential oils (terpenes) all work together to produce the plant’s therapeutic effects. When lightly processed, cannabis extracts contain pretty much the same chemical makeup as the original plant.

However, the higher the temperature involved in the extraction process, the more cannabinoids and terpenes are destroyed. The equation is simple: more processing equals a less diverse CBD extract.

Full spectrum CBD extracts are naturally less intense than an isolate. But these still hold medicinal value thanks to the many other cannabinoids and terpenes. Full-spectrum CBD products come in a variety of formats, from straight flower to tincture to concentrates.

Why the Entourage Effect Matters (We Think)

There may be a time and place for isolate CBD products, but generally speaking, full spectrum CBD products are thought to be best. These not only contain CBD’s medicinal properties but may have benefits from its other compounds as well.

Experts like Dr. Ethan Russo, a leader in cannabis research, now believe that a combination of cannabinoids and terpenes has more benefit than these would individually. This synergistic strategy is called the Entourage Effect. Together a variety of cannabinoids and terpenes amplify the medicinal value.

full spectrum CBD

A good example of this effect is the relationship between THC and CBD. You may already be familiar with the way CBD mutes the extreme psychoactivity of THC. When consumed together, even in unbalanced ratios, they make for a mellower experience than a straight THC isolate would.

Also, compounds can work together synergistically. Both THC and CBD are known anti-inflammatories, but work in slightly different ways. Combined, these are a one-two punch targeting inflammation in two different ways.

Look for Full Spectrum CBD from Organic Sources

With all the hype around CBD these days, there are a lot of misleading claims and false advertising. Most people think that the benefits of the entourage effect outweigh the potency of an isolate.

It’s a similar idea to eating clean whole foods. Just like you want to avoid highly processed foods, you generally want to avoid highly processed cannabis. The more processing, the more removed from the natural world it gets. 

While there is nothing wrong with an isolated CBD product, you’ll likely see more benefit from full spectrum CBD product. It’s less processed and contains a variety of cannabinoids and terpenes. Each could have a unique medicinal value, and you’ll want to reap all the benefits from their Entourage Effects.

Author avatar

Jessica McKeil

Jessica McKeil is a freelance writer focused on the medical marijuana industry, from production methods to medicinal applications. She is lucky enough to live in beautiful British Columbia, Canada where the cannabis industry is exploding. When not writing, she spends much of her time exploring in the coastal forests.

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1 comment

  1. Brenda Midkiff

    Very informative!