When it comes to CBD, not all products are alike. Different types of cannabis-derived products can have a big impact on the effectiveness and dosage required. To ensure you are buying the right CBD product for your needs, there are factors you should know about the most popular types of CBD products: Full-spectrum CBD, Broad-spectrum CBD, and CBD Isolate.
What is Full-Spectrum CBD?
Cannabis plants contain hundreds of different chemical compounds in addition to cannabidiol (CBD) such as terpenes, flavonoids, and other phytocannabinoids. The hemp plants used to produce CBD products are varietal strain of cannabis sativa that is bred to have high CBD levels and low levels of THC.Full-spectrum CBD oil is the final extract that contains a complete cannabinoid profile - including up to 0.3% THC, but in some cases more than. Athletes should avoid the risk full-spectrum poses because it contains THC and trace amounts build up over prolonged use.
How is Full-Spectrum CBD Extracted?
Full-spectrum CBD oil is only mildly refined, which leaves most of the phytochemicals intact and active. This is due to whole-plant extraction technique that allows manufacturers to remove a wider variety of cannabinoids from the stalk and leaves out of the plant, rather than just buds and flowers.
The whole-plant extraction process uses a solvent to extract the compounds from the raw hemp plant material. The resulting thick resinous oil goes through a process called winterization to remove the fatty and waxy components, followed by a short-path distillation to purify the extract.
Full-spectrum CBD oil has trace amounts, in some cases more than, of THC, the psychoactive compound of the cannabis plant. Even though the amount of THC in full-spectrum CBD oil is less than 0.3%, it can show up in a drug test. Athletes, military, and professionals should avoid using full-spectrum formulas because of the presence of THC.
Alcohol consumption can also heighten full-spectrum CBD side effects, the interaction can cause severe drowsiness, dizziness, and/or nausea.
What is Broad-Spectrum CBD?
Broad-spectrum CBD products contain an array of cannabinoids and terpenes but zero THC. Think of broad-spectrum CBD products as full-spectrum without the THC. To create broad-spectrum CBD, manufacturers will put their products through additional processing to isolate and remove as much trace amounts of THC possible while preserving the other natural cannabnioids and terpenes. Right now broad-spectrum formulas are being advertised to athletes for containing no THC.However, there's an unfortunate tarnish in the CBD market with broad-spectrum formulas causing test positives, and suspensions.
How is Broad-Spectrum CBD Extracted?
There are a couple different processes used to make broad-spectrum CBD.
One is by starting with a CBD isolate and then adding other beneficial cannabinoids (minus the THC), terpenes, and flavonoids. Another way to make broad-spectrum CBD is through a unique process that removes any THC from a full-spectrum extract.
By removing trace amounts of THC (like the permitted 0.3%), you're left with a product that sounds like it can be used confidently by anyone who cannot have traces of THC in their system. But there's a catch - scientists still aren't certain how these other cannabinoids metabolize or change after consumption. These other cannabinoids have shown they can change their chemical makeup under the right conditions like temperature or light exposure.
Broad-spectrum CBD is a good option for retired military veterans, retired athletes, or anyone active without legal concerns or a sensitivity to THC.
What is CBD Isolate?
Isolate is the purest form of CBD, usually found at high concentrations of 99.9%. Isolate CBD is often referred to as CBD crystals. It comes in a solid, crystalline form that is easily dis-solvable in a variety of carriers, but can also be used as a stand-alone or as a sublingual. Also, the other cannabinoids (CBG as example) found in full-spectrum and broad-spectrum are a potential threat to a false positive as they can be converted to THC as the body metabolizes them. Potentially additional risk.
How is CBD Isolate Made?
After full-spectrum CBD oil has been extracted from the whole plant, the oil undergoes further refinement to eliminate the other phytochemicals from the product.
There are various ways that CBD can be isolated, but one of the primary methods used is fractional distillation. Fractal distillation uses heat to remove terpenes and THC which have a lower boiling point than CBD; what's left is 99.9% pure CBD.
Benefits and Uses for CBD Isolate
CBD isolate is ideal for people who dislike the natural herbal flavor of full-spectrum CBD products. The purity and flavor neutrality make CBD isolate the perfect ingredient for use in CBD beverages, edibles, and skin care products. It allows you to enjoy the full benefits of CBD without the potential complications of THC.
As CBD isolate contains absolutely no THC, you may safely take products containing isolate if you are subject to frequent occupational drug testing or simply prefer no exposure to THC.
Another benefit frequently cited by users is easier dosing. Many people use CBD isolate as they can get a more accurate dose of CBD due to the purity of the product. Studies suggest this purity level can have an impact on how users achieve the beneficial effects of CBD. However, other users suggest that higher doses of isolate are required to achieve the same effect as full-spectrum CBD.
Which Type of CBD is the Most Effective for Athletes?
While the type of product you choose is down to your personal preference and situation, many studies suggest that isolate may have the edge over full-spectrum and broad-spectrum when it comes to sports.
Isolate is ideal for those who cannot fail drug tests because CBD isolate is 99.9% pure with no other cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes. This means that it's completely THC-free and cannot cause a positive drug test. CBD isolate is produced in the form of white powder or crystals. When made as oil, the color of CBD isolate is very pale gold.
A final consideration is that very little research has been done to impact of full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD products with the full array of cannabinoids as it relates to other medicinal interactions. Assured to say the safest path for CBD consumption is an isolate.