Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring compound found in the cannabis plant; one of over 100 cannabinoids – closely related active constituents of cannabis – whose therapeutic properties are now being tested by researchers worldwide. One of the main appeals of CBD that has led to this recent “boom” is that, on top of its many therapeutic values, it is non-addictive and non-psychoactive. For many people seeking alternatives to pharmaceuticals with harsh side-effects, for those who want something more in-tune with natural biological processes, CBD is an option.
CBD has been shown to benefit those suffering from a variety of ailments, but not all CBD is created equal. Recent studies have shown that broad-spectrum CBD extracts are favorable to the treatment of ailments such as inflammation over purified CBD (isolate).
You might be asking “What exactly is the difference?” or “wouldn’t you want the purest CBD?”. Well, I’ve got some answers. When CBD is extracted from the plant, it is not alone; the extracted oil contains other beneficial compounds including terpenes and other cannabinoids. Isolate, on the other hand, is a purified version of the extract. Typically labeled as 99%+, isolate contains only CBD with no other cannabinoids or terpenes and looks like a white power.
There is evidence that the “whole plant” extract is more effective and that the cannabinoids and terpenes work together and influence each other – this is called the entourage effect. In addition, with the use of isolate, a bell-shaped dose-response curve has been reported meaning that once you use a certain amount of CBD, the beneficial effects actually decrease. This drawback of isolate can be overcome with the use of broad-spectrum oil: the difference is thought to be attributed to the synergistic effects of the interactions between the variety of cannabinoids and terpenes found with the CBD. Isolate is not without its benefits, though. Isolate allows for a more accurate dosing of CBD and is easier to use when cooking. For some, the taste of the “whole plant” extract is unappealing, and isolate circumvents that road block.
All in all, for those looking to maximize the effects of their CBD treatment, broad spectrum is the way to go. As more research comes out, we are more and more aware of the beneficial effects of all cannabinoids and we know now that while CBD is great alone, it is better with those compounds that it is naturally surrounded by.