CBD products are described in a variety of ways. Although there are only three primary categories, which seems straightforward, none of these descriptors are officially defined or regulated, confusing consumers.
What are the 3 categories of CBD products?
Full-Spectrum CBD Products:
In a perfect world, full-spectrum CBD products would be described as an extract derived from female hemp plants that contain as many compounds like cannabinoids and terpenes as possible. Full-spectrum CBD products are minimally processed, so they are activated (decarboxylated) but not put through processing that intentionally removes or separates any compounds. They do not have any additional ingredients added except for carrier oils for tinctures or diluents for vape pens, and full-spectrum hemp products do not exceed .3% THC by weight or volume.
Although many producers would agree with most of the details in that definition, everyone still has the perspective on what defines full-spectrum CBD because it’s not regular. A hundred companies could put full-spectrum on their product label, each with different lab test results.
Full-spectrum CBD is the most popular category for CBD products because people think it’s immediately superior to other CBD products since it begins with “full.” The holistic connotation of full-spectrum products is, unfortunately, flawed and misguided. More doesn’t mean better when we’re talking about pharmacologically active compounds. What matters is whether you have enough of an active compound like CBD or multiple compounds, like CBD and THC, to impact change in your body physiologically. What is defined as change could range from helping with anxiety and PTSD to inflammation and pain or any of the various symptoms cannabinoids are beneficial.
The biggest challenge with the majority of full-spectrum CBD products is that they rarely have enough CBD or THC. A low 10 mg dose of CBD from a full spectrum product that hardly has any THC is not going to be nearly as effective as pure CBD isolate at clinically proven therapeutic doses, which start around 300-400 mg for most adults. However, a low 10 mg dose of CBD from a full-spectrum product that includes 1-2 mg of THC may be incredibly beneficial. Research on the pharmaceutical drug Sativex, with 2.7 mg of THC to 2.5 mg of CBD, has demonstrated time after time to be very effective. But is the THC what’s helping people, or is it the combination? The research on Sativex explains that subjects better tolerated the two compounds together. Still, based on our experience and that of many others who develop a tolerance to THC, low doses of CBD don’t make a difference.
Broad-Spectrum CBD Products:
Broad-spectrum CBD is generally described as full-spectrum CBD without any THC, but this description misses a few essential details. Yes, broad-spectrum CBD products cannot include any THC or THCA, so someone who gets drug tested should be able to take it without failing the test. Unlike full-spectrum, broad-spectrum CBD products are further refined and processed to remove the THC. Throughout the remediation process, more volatile compounds like terpenes are lost.
A broad-spectrum lab test may show similar cannabinoids as a full-spectrum test. Still, the problem is that since the THC has been removed, which is a very potent cannabinoid, even at low doses, now you’re left with weak cannabinoids like CBD, CBG, and others that require much higher doses. When you look at the dosing recommendations of broad-spectrum products, they are always low, suggesting a 10-30 mg serving size per dose. Unfortunately, weak cannabinoids like CBD and CBG do not work together in some miraculous way to suddenly make low doses more effective. Any low-dose broad-spectrum product isn’t any more therapeutic than a full-spectrum product with insignificant levels of THC.
Isolate CBD Products:
CBD isolate is simple – it’s a single compound isolated from an extract and highly refined—an isolate lab test, whether CBD, CBG, or CBN, will show a 99.9%+ purity. Occasionally, you may see other cannabinoids like CBC in tiny amounts and maybe some remaining terpenes if tested. However, isolate products are as near pure as possible.
The most important things about any CBD product are the dose and how much THC is present. For an isolate or a broad-spectrum product to be effective, you must take large amounts. As previously mentioned, 300-400 mg a day is the minimum effective dose for most adults, based on the data.
There are several benefits to taking CBD isolate.
- Consistency: You know you’re getting the same regardless of when the batch was made. In contrast, most full-spectrum and some broad-spectrum products lack consistency due to how they are manufactured.
- Identifiable Effects: When taking a full or broad spectrum product at effective doses, it’s hard to attribute any benefits to one compound. Yes, an entourage of multiple compounds working together may be what’s helping, but that may disappear with changes to the formula. When taking CBD or other isolates by themselves at effective doses, you can quickly identify what compound and dose is creating which therapeutic benefits. You can also readily attribute any possible adverse side effects. Although people rarely experience any negative effects of cannabinoids like CBD and CBG, it’s still possible.
- Flexibility: CBD isolate comes in a powder form and is easily dissolved in fat or oil, not water-based liquids. Our coconut oils, gummies, and tinctures are made with CBD, CBG, and CBN isolate. However, you can also purchase these isolates by themselves and make your infusions at home with whatever oil base suits your lifestyle. Many people like flavorless oils without sweeteners, while others prefer to make their own infused baked goods, candies, or savory sauces and dressings.
- Affordability: Per milligram, our isolates are the least expensive products you can find in any retail market – in the world. We realize that’s a pretty bold statement, but it’s true! You can get 100 grams or 100,000 milligrams of our CBD isolate for only $79 + shipping. Our ready-to-consume tinctures and coconut oils are some of the most competitively priced CBD products. When you purchase kilos in bulk, you can save even more per milligram.
What happens when you combine isolates at effective doses?
Great question! When you combine adequate amounts of cannabinoids like CBD, CBG, and CBN, you’re essentially creating effective broad-spectrum CBD products. In each of our product categories, we have three formulas.
- CBD only
- CBD and CBG at a 1:1 ratio
- CBD, CBG, and CBN at a 70:20:10 ratio
Although these formulated products don’t represent a plant’s “natural composition,” neither do the majority of broad-spectrum products, which is why you could also consider any broad-spectrum CBD products as “formulated.”
What separates our broad-spectrum / formulated CBD products is the dose. Our tinctures are the most popular product category, so we’ll use them as an example. Per 1 milliliter dropper, there are 200 milligrams of cannabinoids.
- 50/50: 100 mg CBD, 100 mg CBG
- 3-COMP: 140 mg CBD, 40 mg CBG, 20 mg CBN
We recommend beginning your potently dosed CBD journey with a CBD-only product. Once you’ve established a baseline and know what daily dose amount provides you the most benefit, try the 50/50 CBD and CBG. Take the dose as the CBD-only product and see if your experience is any better. If not, go back to the CBD-only product for another month. Finally, try the 3-COMP and see how it helps. Some people are satisfied with the benefits of CBD, while others find more relief with the 50/50 or 3-COMP. The goal is to take the most affordable CBD product with the best results!