The advent of CBD products has brought a whole new meaning to the word “spectrum.” You’ll see many CBD products advertised as full spectrum, and a little Internet searching will reveal some spirited debates about whether full spectrum CBD oil benefits beat the benefits of other kinds of CBD oil.
But what are those benefits? We’ll discuss that in this article, after first explaining what full spectrum CBD oil is, how it differs from broad spectrum and other kinds of CBD oil, and what that means for you. We’ll also talk about where to buy full spectrum CBD oil, how to choose the best full spectrum CBD oil for you, and how you might use it to most enjoy its benefits.
What Is Full Spectrum CBD Oil?
To understand what full spectrum CBD oil is, you need to understand what it is not. Most CBD products out there don’t just have CBD in them, they have slightly different formulas that can vary from producer to producer. But generally, these formulas fall into three groups: isolate, broad spectrum, and full spectrum.
Before we get into those however, let’s discuss where they all come from: the hemp plant.
A Brief Introduction to Hemp
The hemp plant is known scientifically as Cannabis sativa, which you may recognize as being the same species as marijuana. But just as a wolfhound and a poodle can be the same species yet also very different, so it is with marijuana and hemp.
Cannabis, in its natural state, contains more than 100 chemical compounds called cannabinoids. CBD is one of them; so is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabinoid that causes intoxication. Other cannabinoids include cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabinol (CBN).
What they all have in common is how they interact with your body: through the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This is a kind of subsystem of your nervous system that is involved in a bunch of bodily functions, including mood, memory, balance, the immune system, and the general balance of the body’s inner workings.
With that said, different cannabinoids interact with the ECS in different ways. That’s why THC gets you high, but many of the others do not. So after THC was identified as the culprit, the federal government lifted its ban on the whole species and instead tailored the laws around THC content.
Since 2014, “hemp” has been legally defined as cannabis with less than 0.3 percent THC, while “marijuana” has more than that. Only hemp is legal at the federal level, so most CBD products you’ll find through reputable outlets come from hemp. You can find marijuana-derived products in states where that’s legal, but for simplicity’s sake, we’ll focus on hemp-derived products here.
Hemp also contains terpenes, which give it its distinctive scent; flavonoids, which provide color and perform various biological functions for the plant; and nutrients such as fatty acids. All of them have wellness benefits of their own, but it’s the cannabinoid content that distinguishes the three different types of CBD.
CBD isolate is CBD that’s been isolated from every other part of the hemp plant. It’s pure cannabidiol – maybe with a few traces of other substances from the extraction process, but at least 99 percent CBD.
CBD isolate has a few advantages. For one, it’s essentially the same regardless of what brand of product you use, so you know what you’re getting. If you like the way one CBD isolate product makes you feel, you’ll probably like another one too. And it also won’t make you fail a drug test, because there’s no THC in it.
Not all CBD products that have CBD isolate advertise it as such, but you can usually tell by looking at the label. If it just lists “CBD” and not any other cannabinoids, it’s probably isolate.
Broad Spectrum CBD
“Broad Spectrum CBD” is a bit of a misnomer, because it’s not just CBD. It’s hemp extract that contains CBD plus other cannabinoids, and possibly terpenes and other components of hemp.
If that sounds a bit vague, that’s because it is: different manufacturers make different broad spectrum formulas that have various properties. But the thing that defines broad spectrum is that even though it’s more than just CBD, it does not contain any detectable amount of THC.
Broad spectrum products are usually labeled as such, and if the company is doing its job right, it will tell you exactly what cannabinoids they contain. cbdMD’s Superior Broad Spectrum formula contains CBD, CBG, and CBN, along with select terpenes.
Full Spectrum CBD
By now, you’ve probably gathered that the “spectrum” refers to the spectrum of cannabinoids. Broad spectrum contains a range of cannabinoids, but not the full range. Full spectrum refers to hemp extract that is still higher in CBD content than anything else, but has a little bit of everything.
With that said, not every full spectrum product includes all 100-plus cannabinoids. Many of them appear in only tiny amounts in the plant to begin with, so will be lost in the extraction process. What full spectrum means from a practical standpoint, though, is that it does contain some THC. If it’s derived from hemp, there’s only going to be a little bit, certainly not enough to get you high. Though it might be enough to be a problem on a drug test, if that’s part of your life.
Why, then, would you want to use full spectrum CBD oil? That gets us into another subject: the entourage effect.
The Entourage Effect
While cannabis has a checkered history in the West, in Asia its wellness benefits have been recognized for thousands of years. Its use in the wellness practices on the Indian subcontinent is well documented, it’s in traditional Chinese herbal brews, and it has a long history in Iran as well.
Naturally, for all those millennia, people used the whole plant. It wasn’t until the twentieth century that scientists started picking apart the elements of cannabis – and they’re still in the process of figuring out exactly which part does what. Therefore, most of human experience with cannabis and its benefits came from absorbing all those components together.
Traditional cannabis wasn’t necessarily all that high in THC. The weed you’d get at a dispensary today is the product of a lot of selective breeding that started in the 1960s. But hemp with less than 0.3 percent THC is also the product of modern breeding methods, so using cannabis with a significant amount of THC has been the norm.
Modern research on the subject is still limited, but some of it has supported the idea that cannabis’ various cannabinoids, terpenes, and other ingredients all play different roles in the benefits that people experience. While most of them aren’t intoxicating, many of them are relaxing.
CBN, for instance, is sometimes called “the sleepy cannabinoid” based on the results of animal studies. But that actually seems to be due to how CBN interacts with certain terpenes. Similarly, there’s evidence that CBD can enhance the benefits of THC, and even diminish some of its undesirable qualities at the same time.
With full spectrum CBD oil, then, you’re giving yourself the broadest range of potential benefits. But what exactly are those benefits?
Full Spectrum CBD Oil Benefits
The benefits of full spectrum CBD oil, then, are similar to the overall benefits of CBD, but many people feel those benefits are enhanced by the presence of the other ingredients. Everyone reacts to those ingredients a little differently, so you will want to find out for yourself exactly what works best for you. But here are some of the most common reasons people enjoy full spectrum CBD products.
One thing that everyone knows about cannabis is that it makes you mellow. Many people credit this to the THC, but the other cannabinoids can help you relax without getting you stoned. The good thing about full spectrum oil is that you can have a bit of THC but still be able to go about your daily tasks without your brain getting fuzzy.
This is another use of cannabis with a long tradition, which has been revived lately with CBD products. While CBD oil doesn’t depress your central nervous system like an actual sedative, its relaxing qualities can help people calm their racing brains at night and get high-quality sleep. Try putting some full spectrum CBD tincture in your evening tea an hour or so before bedtime.
Many athletes use CBD oil as a way to help them recover from the temporary discomfort and stiffness that comes from a hard workout. Most pro athletes can’t take full spectrum CBD products because they’re subject to drug testing, but if you aren’t, you might appreciate taking a full spectrum CBD tincture or capsule right before or after you exercise.
Everyday Stress Management
If you’ve got a frantic life (and who doesn’t these days?), a full spectrum CBD product can be a helpful part of your stress management routine. Try adding tincture to your morning coffee to help counter the jitters and keep you calm throughout the day. Or use full spectrum CBD oil as part of your meditation or other mindfulness exercises.
Supports the Body’s Balance
As noted above, the ECS is involved in many bodily functions, but its overall role seems to be in maintaining homeostasis – the body’s ability to stay balanced through changes from day to night, rising and falling temperatures, and so on. Using full spectrum CBD oil supports this process, helping to maintain a sense of whole-body wellness.
Where to Buy Full Spectrum CBD Oil
If you want to get full spectrum CBD oil that doesn’t have problematic amounts of THC, you’re best off getting it from a national brand, since they have to abide by national laws about THC content. Even among those players, however, full spectrum formulas will be a little different in composition.
cbdMD has a line of full spectrum CBD products that builds on our earlier expertise with broad spectrum CBD to craft the best full spectrum CBD oil for the widest range of users. The spectrum includes CBD, CBG, CBN, and cannabichromene (CBC), another cannabinoid with potential wellness benefits. cbdMD’s full spectrum hemp extract also includes terpenes and traces of other beneficial hemp compounds.
CBD is still the predominant cannabinoid in the extract – there’s at least five times as much of it as all the others combined. And there is a small amount of THC, but it’s within the federal legal limit and should not be intoxicating. So you can enjoy the benefits of CBD with the support of the entourage effect without worrying about getting stoned (though keep in mind you might still fail a drug test).
Which Full Spectrum Product Should You Use?
cbdMD’s full spectrum lineup is more diverse than ever. We now offer:
- Full spectrum CBD oil tinctures
- Full spectrum CBD oil softgels
- Full spectrum CBD gummies
- Full spectrum CBD capsules
- Full spectrum CBD Calm Gummies
- Sleep PM full spectrum CBD oil for sleep
- Sleep PM full spectrum CBD softgels for sleep
- Full spectrum CBD Sleep Gummies
- cbdMD MAX for pain
The benefits for full spectrum CBD tinctures, gummies, softgels, and capsules are similar, but your body may absorb them differently depending on how you take them. If swallowed, they both act pretty much the same. Because they go through your digestive system before reaching your bloodstream, it usually takes at least an hour before you feel anything.
You can get somewhat faster absorption, however, by putting the tincture under your tongue and holding it for 30 to 60 seconds before swallowing. That way some of it can reach the bloodstream through the mucous membrane, which means it usually takes less than 30 minutes for you to experience results.
Swallowing can be a quicker and more pleasant way to take the product, especially if you enjoy the flavor. Because of the added terpenes and other ingredients, our unflavored full spectrum CBD tincture has a somewhat earthier flavor than its broad spectrum equivalent, while the chocolate mint flavor blends well with coffee and desserts. Check out our CBD recipes to see how you can incorporate tinctures into your favorite food and drinks.
Softgels and capsules, meanwhile, have the advantage of being precisely measured, easy to swallow, and not prone to messy spills. The main difference between them is that the capsules are vegan and have slightly more THC per serving, while the softgels are a bit smaller and come in three different concentrations. They can be especially convenient to take on the road or on planes where you don’t want to max out your liquid carry-on limit. Gummies have the same advantages, plus they come in delicious fruit flavors!
Full Spectrum CBD Calm Gummies
The Calming Full Spectrum CBD Gummies enhance the relaxing power of full spectrum CBD with Sensoril Ashwagandha, a proprietary extract of the South Asian herb long used to manage stress. Sensoril is clinically proven to reduce stress, boost energy, improve focus, and enhance sleep quality. The Calm Gummies also include the traditional soothing herbs chamomile, valerian, and lemon balm, as well as L-theanine and GABA to naturally support good vibes.
Full Spectrum CBD Oil for Sleep
The Sleep PM line of full spectrum CBD products include the same CBD extract with added ingredients to naturally aid sleep. The Sleep Gummies are similar to the Calm Gummies but with less ashwagandha and added melatonin, while the tincture and softgels do not include ashwagandha, GABA, or L-theanine but do have melatonin, valerian, chamomile, lemon balm, hops, and passion flower extracts.
cbdMD MAX for Pain
cbdMD MAX combines high potency full spectrum CBD with Univestin, a proprietary blend of Chinese skullcap root and acacia catechu that’s clinically proven to ease joint discomfort and improve flexibility and mobility. So if you’ve got persistent joint pain, this can be a great way to get your daily CBD and some added pain relief at once.