If you have done much research on the subject, you may notice that CBD (Cannabidiol) in its isolated form gets a bad rap. This is because in order to turn cannabis (whether it is hemp derived or not) it is highly processed in order to remove and separate CBD from the other cannabinoids, terpenoids, flavonoids, chlorophyll and other common plant constituants. Many of these things hold their own therapeutic benefits, and when left in a more natural form, they work together and enhance each other’s properties called the entourage effect.
Personally, I am all for keeping things in their natural form. Especially when it applies to health products. Oftentimes, when you process, alter, or remove parts of a natural product, such as a plant, you usually tend to remove beneficial ingredients as well.
Take oranges for example. Eating a whole orange not only gives you a powerful amount of vitamin C, B6 & magnesium but also provides fiber. Since it takes more than one orange to produce orange juice, drinking OJ (as opposed to eating a piece of fruit) will also give you more carbs and calories than necessary. Therefore it is healthier to eat the fruit than drink the juice. This is similar to what happens with different processing levels of the hemp plant. The main forms of CBD extraction result in either Full Spectrum CBD (Oil), Broad Spectrum CBD (Oil) or CBD Isolate (Powder). Here’s the breakdown:
Full Spectrum the oil extracted is composed of cannabinoids (including THC), terpenes, flavonoids and minor plant particles. In (federally regulated) Hemp products, THC is limited to less than .3% THC per dry weight. In full spectrum products that are Medical Cannabis or Recreational Cannabis (as regulated by individual states), the CBD, THC and other minor cannabinoid contents can vary greatly.
Broad Spectrum the Hemp derived oil extracted is composed of cannabinoids (excluding THC- as it is removed), terpenes, flavonoids and minor plant particles
CBD Isolate the CBD is extracted and separated (and isolated) from the other cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and minor plant particles into the singular compound of CBD.
The entourage effect plays a huge role in the effectiveness of CBD for many health conditions. BUT it also can be counterproductive for other issues and the minor cannabinoids and other natural plant parts that can make all the difference in the world for some things, can have unexpected consequences and I want everyone to be fully informed.
First off, let’s touch on the legal issue. Fortunately, the 2018 Farm Bill federally legalized hemp and its byproducts. Many states are following the federal lead, but there are some that have their own stipulations so it is important to be aware of your own state’s laws in this regard both if you are a consumer and also as a producer or retailer.
Another important consideration when choosing which CBD product is right for you is WHO the product if for- Yourself? Your child? Your pet?
Let’s talk about kids first. Keep in mind, studies show that THC is not healthy for the developing body, therefore THC Free products are usually best for children and teens. There are always exceptions though. Terminal cancer, eating disorders and severely painful conditions are a few reasonable reasons to seek out full spectrum products for younger ones. There are a multitude of reasons to use CBD for kids though. ADHD, Autism, epilepsy, PMS, sports injuries, and boosting the immune system are among the many reasons parents are turning to CBD for natural relief daily.
We also know people who refer to their “kids” and eventually realize it is actually their four-legged fur family to which they are referring. Make no mistake- dogs, cats, horses and even hamsters all have an endocannabinoid system and can benefit from CBD. Especially over the holidays, sales soar for CBD pet products (Think of how terrifying 4th of July fireworks are for pets) Common uses include separation anxiety, arthritis, hip dysplasia, cancer, and seizures. As tempting as it may be to just grab the first thing you see off the shelf of the pet food store, it is important to know how pets are different from people when it comes to safe and effective CBD products. Based on what we currently know about animal endocannabinoid systems, they are not designed to process THC the way humans are, therefore veterinarians recommend only isolate based products for pets-so always check the label before buying. If it isn’t clear, skip it.
Last, but certainly not least, if you are buying CBD for yourself or a loved one and don’t know whether to get a Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum or CBD Isolate, ask yourself these 3 questions:
- Do I need to worry about state laws or drug testing prohibiting (even miniscule amounts of) THC? If so, choose isolate
- Do I need the entourage effect to help my condition? If you aren’t restricted from using products with a little bit of THC, full spectrum products can be nice since it typically takes a smaller dosage to have the same effect due to the entourage effect. Broad Spectrum products also can create the entourage effect, but pay attention to whether or not you need the benefits of THC, since it has been removed from the product. For those who need relief from severe pain, sleep disorders, cancerous tumors, fibromyalgia, and nausea- the additional cannabinoids, including THC and terpenes can be highly effective.
- Is this for any conditions pertaining to mental health or autoimmune diseases such as (but not limited to) anxiety, depression, Bi-Polar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Lyme’s, or MCAS? Many people, even some healthcare professionals, CBD manufacturers and CBD sales consultants are unaware of some of the potential downfalls of whole plant (full or broad spectrum) products. Unfortunately, they can (but don’t always) aggravate mental health conditions- causing things like anxiety, allergies (especially those with hayfever & pollen, as well as mast cell activation syndrome), and some autoimmune conditions to flare-up. This can be avoided by taking an isolate based product.
This is not a complete list of all the issues that CBD holds potential to help. Be aware that when starting a CBD regime, it is important to take it daily for best results. For non-cannabis users, it may 3-7 days for your endocannabinoid system to “wake up”. Unlike most medications, with continued use over time, many people can gradually taper down their dosage. CBD is non addictive and non intoxicating.
It is important to remember that not everything works for everyone since each person has their own unique body chemistry. CBD is not a cure all- it helps regain homeostasis by enabling the body to self-regulate.
Our bodies still need other vital nutrients through clean food and/or supplements, adequate quality sleep, plenty of clean water, sunshine, appropriate exercise, and healthy stimulation of the mind and spirit. Those things along with goals, a sense of purpose, and love are arguably the keys to a healthy lifestyle.
Do you have more questions about CBD? Comment below and I might just write about it on the next blog!