The CBD movement is alive and in full swing. In California, it's hard to go anywhere without seeing an ad for a new CBD product. But are they really what they say they are? With all the "CBD" out there, it's hard to figure out what's real and what's just "snake oil". Here at Confidence in Cannabiz, we want you to be a fully-informed consumer, so we decided to break down the different types of CBD currently on the market for you to make it a little easier for you to decide which product is right for you.
Before we get started, let's make sure you understand some critical definitions:
- cannabis (noun): a genus of flowering plants in the family Cannabaceae. The number of species within the genus is disputed. Three species may be recognized: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis (hemp); C. ruderalis may be included within C. sativa; all three may be treated as subspecies of a single species, C. sativa; or C. sativa may be accepted as a single undivided species.
- cannabinoid (noun): any of various naturally-occurring, biologically active, chemical constituents (such as cannabidiol or cannabinol) of hemp or cannabis including some (such as THC) that possess psychoactive properties.
In other words, this term is the blanket term for the chemicals found in the cannabis plant.
- endocannabinoid system (ECS) (noun): a complex cell-signaling biological system identified in the early 1990s by researchers exploring THC, a well-known cannabinoid. The ECS exists and is active in your body even if you don’t use cannabis.
- cannabidiol (CBD) (noun): a crystalline, nonintoxicating cannabinoid C21H30O2 found in cannabis and hemp that is sometimes used medicinally.
- tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) (noun): either of two physiologically active isomers C21H30O2 from cannabis plant resin especially : one that is the chief intoxicant in marijuana
CBD and THC are two examples of cannabinoids contained within the cannabis plant. As you can see from this handy chart, they are two of many more cannabinoids:
This plays a major part in choosing which CBD products are right for you. Do you want all the effects working together, do you want all the effects but not the "high", or do you just want CBD on its own? With so many CBD products on the market making various claims, it's important to know the difference.
Full-spectrum CBD contains all the cannabinoids and terpenes found in the cannabis plant, including THC. The cannabinoids and terpenes work together to produce the entourage effect. Full-spectrum CBD cannot come from hemp, as full-spectrum CBD contains more than 0.3% THC. Full-spectrum CBD is not legal to ship via U.S. Postal Service or any other commercial shipper.
Broad-spectrum CBD retains all cannabinoids from the cannabis/hemp plant except THC (less than 0.3%). It still provides an entourage effect using the remaining cannabinoids and terpenes and is still considered highly effective. Since it contains little to no THC, broad-spectrum CBD can be derived from all species of cannabis, including hemp. Broad-spectrum hemp-derived CBD is legal to ship via U.S. Postal Service or any other commercial shipper as long as all federal shipping criteria are met.
Considered the "purest" form, all other cannabinoids and terpenes are removed, leaving only the CBD. While still effective in treatments, patients lose out on the entourage effect and may need higher doses to achieve the same results. Hemp-derived CBD isolate is legal to ship via U.S. Postal Service or any other commercial shipper as long as all federal shipping criteria are met.
Know Your Cannabinoids
As shown in the wheel above, each cannabinoid, including THC, has been found to provide various health benefits. Ultimately, the question you need to ask yourself is, "What am I hoping to get out of this?" While we can't answer that question for you, we can help you make an informed decision. You're not shopping for antacids to treat a cold, after all.
If you're looking to purchase CBD from an online retailer, such as Amazon, you need to read the product description carefully. As mentioned above, only hemp-derived broad-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate are legal to ship in the U.S. There are some hemp-derived CBD brands marketing their broad-spectrum CBD as "full spectrum", which is not 100% accurate. At worst, they'll send you hemp seed oil and call it "CBD". Anyone willing to ship true full-spectrum CBD to you is in violation of federal law.
Know your product. Avoid the snake oil salespeople. CBD is more than just a fad - it's a potential source of relief for many.