Unfortunately, some manufacturers misuse the 3 CBDs’ terms like cannabidiol, CBD, and other cannabis related terms interchangeably. CBD comes from one of two types of cannabis plant: hemp or marijuana. Once Hemp CBD is extracted, it has lower THC levels than Marijuana CBD. It doesn’t matter what the source of the extracted CBD is because it remains identical on a molecular level.
On the molecular level, there are more than 80 active compounds (and a whopping double that in total compounds) in the cannabis plant. Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) happen to be the most abundant. If you want to know the nitty gritty dirty science details, grab a dictionary and click on the link science link. But, in plain and simple terms, knowing which is right for you all boils down to knowing to three main types.
Origins of CBD
Before we get into the 3 CBD types, you need to understand where these 3 forms come from. All CBD products come from different parts of the plant. Specifically the 3 CBDs, are one or a combination of one the below 3 oils.
- Hemp Oil is extracted from nearly every part of the hemp plant excluding the seed. This includes flowers, stems, and leaves. All of these parts of the plant contain CBD. Hemp oil extracted from hemp flowers contains the highest level of cannabinoids and terpenes.
- Hemp Seed Oil is oil extracted from the hemp seed, contains no CBD, and typically is used to dilute extracts. It gives the tincture a more earthy flavor, but it adds no additional CBD.
- CBD Oil, the main difference between hemp and CBD oil (though the terms can be interchangeable) is that CBD OIL if it has any residual THC in the “CBD oil” it is intentional. CBD oil is generally created to be just that, CBD ONLY.
3 CBDs: Broad Spectrum, Full Spectrum, & CBD Isolate
The Big 3 CBDs made from Hemp oil?
- Full Spectrum CBD—has no processing, 100% Natural
- Broad Spectrum CBD—refined to reduce THC
- Isolate (aka CBD Isolate) 100% CBD and nothing else
Full Spectrum CBD
What is it and why should I grab this? Full spectrum CBD products are those with little to no refinement (or processing of compounds). Everything contained in the product is all natural. For example, a raw hemp flower bud is 100% all natural and full spectrum. Flowers contain cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) as well as many other compounds like terpenes (the white dust on the outside of the flower bud). Terpenes gives hemp its flavors and aromas.
Full spectrum CBD has multiple naturally occurring compounds. The compounds together produce the “entourage effect.” This simply refers to the many benefits the varying compounds create when present together. For example, brown sugar is a healthy natural unrefined sugar (and the darker the sugar the better it is for you). By itself it is healthy and delicious but when combined with cinnamon (an excellent source of antioxidants with anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties) you get the classic “American” spice in everything that is fall.
Usually, the THC quantities are less than 0.3%Trusted Source on a dry weight basis, since this is the federal law requirement for CBD products. However, in order to be legal full spectrum flowers must remain below 0.3% THC. If you’re looking for all natural this is the way to go. This is a no-go if you’re worried about a drug test.
Broad Spectrum CBD
This CBD also contains several cannabis compounds, but typically it usually has no THC. However, some brands have traces of THC, but not RVDCBD. RVD Broad Spectrum contains ZERO THC, 100% guaranteed. The additional compounds broad spectrum contains are all natural to the cannabis plant, including cannabinol (CBN), cannabichromene, and terpenes (such as myrcene, limonene, or pinene, which are the source of aroma and flavor). Because of the mixed bag of compounds, broad-spectrum products produce the “entourage effect,” like full spectrum, but without the high.
State-of-the-art chromatography processes remove all of the THC from a full-spectrum extract. This method of extraction keeps the hemp strain’s intended compounds. This is not CBD Isolate with added compounds. Adding cannabinoids and terpenes back into a CBD isolate would not be considered broad or full-spectrum because any kind of processing changes the bonds that would occur naturally.
So, if you’re looking for a more pronounced effect than CBD Isolate and don’t want tons of THC, then broad spectrum is your product. If you’re worried about drug tests (unless the product says zero THC) Broad spectrum still may be a problem.
CBD isolate, the third common form of CBD, is created by chromatography. Chromatography is the fancy word for extraction. Chromatography separates out the unwanted cannabinoids (like THC) and removes all plant matter through a cooling and purification process. That further processing leaves behind a crystalline isolate, or CBD crystals. It is an odorless, tasteless crystal or powder that contains 99+ percent CBD. This is the pure form of CBD containing no other cannabis plant compounds like THC; unfortunately it also has no CBN or terpenes.
CBD crystals ground into powder have no distinctive smell or taste. Thus CBD Isolate powder is easy to add to foods and drinks. If you don’t want to risk failing a drug test (because of THC) then look for CBD isolates. HOWEVER, studies have shown that CBD isolates aren’t as effective in higher doses as full-spectrum products because they don’t have an array of compounds. You might want to consider notifying your employer about medical needs and show him the CBD product you plan to use. For more information on this see our article on how to work with an employer. (Coming soon).
3 CBDs Extraction Processes
Chromatography is the separation of a mixture by passing it in solution, suspension, or as a vapor. There are four main ways to extract CBD from the cannabis plant.
- Carbon dioxide extraction uses CO2 to separate CBD oil from the cannabis and can produce high CBD concentrations.
- Steam distillation uses steam to separate the oil from the plant material. This method is not as effective as the CO2 method.
- Solvent extraction, although effective, sometimes solvents are left behind and the product is unsafe.
- Lipid extraction is oil pressure and heat are applied over time to absorb and encapsulate compounds into a lipid or fat like coconut oil, olive oil
Extraction methods matter because different methods retain a different assortment of the hemp plant’s original compounds. For example, if the goal is to retain valuable terpenes and a full complement of cannabinoids through the extraction process, butane extraction (a solvent method) is the best option because CO2 can lose terpenes and cannabinoids at the beginning of the extraction process. For more info on the process check out Luna Technologies break down of the process.
All our topical, gummies, and tincture products are 100% CBD Broad Spectrum. That means absolutely zero THC, & our smokables are full spectrum (less than .3% THC).
So if CBD comes from one of two types of cannabis plant: hemp or marijuana, what is the difference between the 3 Big CBDs? It all comes down to combination of ingredients.
- Full Spectrum, like your momma’s goulash has everything including the kitchen sink. However, with regulated THC to be legal.
- Broad Spectrum is like the kid’s plate after they’ve picked out the unwanted stuff (like THC) and fed it to the dog. YIKES!
- CBD Isolate is one single ingredient out of the whole pot. Not as delicious (helpful) but if that’s what you want, you got it.
First of all reading labels is essential! Also, knowing what you want and don’t want before shopping for CBD is crucial. We hope this info will help you make you feel a bit more comfortable to try the magic organic aid to many of today’s health and mental health ailments. As classic G.I. JOE used to say, “Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.”