by Khalil Holmes
When talking about hemp products, we are usually concerned with the milligram strength, the delivery method and the quality. These factors, yes, are very important, as they all impact how you experience CBD in a major way. However, there’s another factor to consider, and it is arguably just as important as the rest. That would be hemp extract.
Now, in the beginning of this industry, the type of hemp extract that was in a product didn’t matter so much to the general public. Today, the average CBD consumer is more discerning. A lot of this is because of the fact that today’s market is bigger than before, meaning, customers have more options than in previous years.
So, what is the difference between full spectrum, broad spectrum and CBD isolate extracts? After all, is the difference really that noticeable? This question will be addressed while giving you a comprehensive guide to what each one is, how it works and its effects. 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.
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 are in a particular hemp extract.
As you would imagine, all hemp products start with the hemp plant itself. Industrial hemp is a widely grown plant that belongs to the cannabis family. You may know that marijuana also belongs to the cannabis family, but there are major differences between the two, which we will be getting into later.
The hemp plant is unique in that its female plants bloom flowers that contain a wide variety of plant compounds. 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 picked and can then be 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.
Now, 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.
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.
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. Even more fascinatingly, they each work with the body’s endocannabinoid system in their own unique ways. 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.
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.
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.
The hemp plant is naturally rich in essential nutrients that our bodies love. These nutrients include vitamins, essential fatty acids and amino acids.
Now, we can break down the three types of hemp extract and their effects.
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. 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 synergistic effects of hemp, and this is referred to as the entourage effect.
Broad spectrum CBD is simply full spectrum CBD but without any THC. To make this, the THC is isolated from the rest of the compounds and discarded. So, why would anyone want broad spectrum CBD? Well, the thing about THC is that even though in hemp, it’s at a legal amount and too little to make a person high, some people are still wary of consuming it at all. And, we totally get it. Not everyone is comfortable consuming a psychoactive compound, even if it’s in a trace amount. Some people are also very cautious because they are drug tested regularly, and don’t want to risk the extremely rare chance of the THC showing up.
CBD isolate is simply CBD – that’s it. To produce CBD isolate, the cannabinoid compound in the hemp extract is isolated from everything else. 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. Pretty cool, right?
Now, you can see why it matters whether you buy a full spectrum, broad spectrum or CBD isolate product. Every 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.