When we talk about hemp-based products, we’re usually concerned with the milligram strength, the delivery method and the quality. All three of these things are very important as they each impact how you experience CBD in a major way. However, there’s another factor to consider, and it’s arguably just as important as the rest. We’re talking about the actual hemp extract that’s used to produce a product’s formula.
In the early days of our industry, the type of hemp extract that was in a product didn’t matter so much to the general public. Now, however, the average CBD consumer is more discerning. So, what is the difference between full spectrum, broad spectrum and CBD isolate extracts? After all, is the difference really that noticeable? Well, we’ll be answering this question while giving you a comprehensive guide to what each one is, how it works and why you may want to consider it over the other options that are available. This way, the next time you go shopping for CBD products, you’ll have a much better idea of how to finetune your experience to meet your individual needs and preferences.
How Hemp is Extracted
Before we explain how each type of extract differs from the others, we have to first look at the extraction process behind the hemp plant. That’s because this extraction process has everything to do with the compounds that exist in a specific type of hemp extract.
Of course, hemp products start with the hemp plant itself. In fact, it is the female plants that are used because they contain a wide variety of plant compounds compared to their male counterparts. These plant compounds are all equipped with their own unique properties. The leading compound in hemp is CBD, and it’s easily the most popular as well.
When the hemp plant flowers have matured, they are put through an extraction process. The most popular extraction method utilizes CO2 to best preserve the delicate compounds within the plant. This process lifts the compounds from the plant material, resulting in an oily concentrate with potent levels of these desirable compounds.
Finaly, the manufacturer has an extract that contains every compound that naturally exists in the hemp plant. From there, they can choose to isolate or remove particular compounds as they so wish.
The Desirable Compounds in the Hemp Plant
Now, let’s break down the compounds in hemp, as they are important to understand when we talk about the three different types of hemp extracts. After all, it’s these compounds that determine which type of hemp extract you’re using.
Hemp Compound #1: Cannabinoids
Like we said, CBD is the most prevalent cannabinoid in the hemp plant. There’s also THC, the compound known for giving marijuana psychoactive effects. But, in hemp, there’s only a trace amount, so it’s basically impossible to get high off of a hemp product despite the presence of THC.
In addition to these cannabinoids, there are others like CBN, CBG and CBC. All of these cannabinoids have unique properties, and so they interact with the body in different ways. They are processed via the endocannabinoid system, which is a bodily system that exists in all mammals. The endocannabinoid system sends cannabinoids to cannabinoid receptors throughout the body, and it’s believed that this process allows bodily functions like mood and sleep cycle to become regulated.
Cannabinoids are also synergistic, which means that when combined, they boost each other’s properties. This is why many people prefer to consume multiple cannabinoids at once.
Hemp Compound #2: Terpenes
Terpenes are the compounds found in the essential oils of all plants. They determine the flavor and aroma of a plant, but they also have interesting properties of their own, such as antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anxiolytic properties.
Hemp Compound #3: Flavonoids
These compounds are only now being fully studied for their effects on the hemp plant. What we do know is that flavonoids seem to increase the synergistic nature of the plant even further, which is one of the reasons why they are considered so desirable.
Three Types of Hemp Extract
Hemp Extract #1: Full Spectrum
Earlier, we talked about how when the hemp plant is turned into an extract, what you end up with is a concentrate containing every compound in hemp as nature intended. Full spectrum hemp extract is what you end up with when you leave the resulting extract the way it is. In other words, it contains every compound in hemp as it naturally occurs, and this includes flavonoids, terpenes and, of course, cannabinoids. This also means that it contains a trace amount of THC that is below the legal limit.
Full spectrum extract has the highest chance of giving you the full synergistic effects of hemp, and this is referred to as the entourage effect.
Hemp Extract #2: Broad Spectrum
Broad spectrum hemp has every compound that’s in full spectrum hemp, except for THC. To make this, the THC is isolated from the rest of the compounds and discarded. So, you may be wondering why this hemp extract is desirable. Well, the thing about THC is that while it’s only present in trace amounts in the hemp plant, that doesn’t mean that everyone wants to consume it.
Hemp Extract #3: CBD Isolate
CBD isolate is simply CBD – that’s it. To produce CBD isolate, the CBD compound in the hemp extract is isolated from the full chemical composition that naturally occurs in the plant. As you would imagine, CBD isolate requires more plant material to produce. One thing that’s unique about CBD is that it has no flavor, color or aroma, and that’s because it has no terpenes or other plant compounds. Remember when we said that terpenes give plants their smell and flavor? Well, in the case of CBD isolate, those compounds have been discarded completely.
CBD isolate may seem like a waste now that you know about the many exciting properties of all of the hemp plant’s compounds, but we assure you that it isn’t. It’s actually quite useful. See, CBD has been more heavily researched than any other hemp compound. And, because of that, we know that CBD alone has a vast array of interesting and useful properties. By taking CBD isolate, you’re basically supplying your body with an extra concentrated dose of pure CBD. Another use for CBD isolate is adding a small amount to a full or broad spectrum hemp extract. What this does is increase the CBD level of the resulting product while still providing you with the other many compounds found within the plant material.
Now, you can see why it matters whether you buy a full spectrum, broad spectrum or CBD isolate product. Each type of extract has its own unique compounds and synergistic properties, meaning that the one that you choose can indeed impact your hemp experience in a significant way. Use this guide to thoroughly understand each one and make your purchase accordingly.