By Emily Blum, M.D.
So you have decided to make the move and start using CBD. Congrats! Welcome back to bliss.
Today, the market is flooded with different variations of CBD—and the quality of products out there varies significantly. So if you’re not sure where to start, let us help you navigate the confusing (and constantly growing) field of CBD products to discover what is right for you.
What is CBD Isolate?
The first step in choosing a CBD brand that you know and trust is deciding whether or not you want to pursue using CBD isolate or full-spectrum CBD extract. So what is CBD isolate? CBD isolate is the purest form of cannabidiol. It is isolated from cannabis plants through the process of extraction, refinement, and winterization or distillation. Manufacturers can produce an isolate that is up to 99% pure cannabidiol. In the process of isolating cannabidiol, the other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids are removed. Proponents of CBD isolate usually state that it has 0% THC. The complete absence of THC is a benefit to consumers who are worried about testing positively on a drug test.
Because of its ability to be easily concentrated, CBD isolate is easier to administer at higher doses. And since CBD isolate lacks other molecules such as terpenes that can affect smell and taste, it tend to be flavorless.
What is Full Spectrum CBD?
Full spectrum CBD extract is extract that still contains all of the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids present in the natural plant. Proponents of full spectrum CBD refer to the benefits of the “entourage effect.” The components of full spectrum oil tend to be complementary with each other and their effects. The best example of this is the fact that CBD can decrease the mind-altering effects of THC. Studies have shown that the full spectrum extract can overcome the bell shaped dose response curve seen with the use of CBD isolate.
How to Choose the Right CBD Brand
When considering purchasing full spectrum CBD oil, it is important to pay attention to labels so you know what you’re getting. Is the company advertising milligrams of full spectrum oil (with a potentially variable CBD percentage), or are they advertising actual dose of active CBD in the product? In either case, it is important to be able to obtain third-party testing results that show the quality of the product. This will inform you, as the user, of THC percentage and CBD percentage. As hemp oils are extracted directly from the plant, it is also important to evaluate the tests for any potential contamination such as from pesticides, heavy metals, and solvents. If the company cannot provide this information, try to find another one that will.
Remember that hemp and CBD, while now legalized for sale in the US, are still not tightly regulated. Companies cannot make medical claims about what their products treat. (To date, the only FDA-approved cannabidiol product is a purified CBD isolate sold by GW Pharmaceuticals under the trade name Epidiolex. Epidiolex is approved for the treatment of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome—both rare forms of epilepsy.)
So it is the responsibility of the consumer to find transparent companies that are willing to share their data on quality, as well as their manufacturing processes, to ensure you are getting the product you paid for. (Here at Healios, you can read the lab results of every product we carry!)
Whether isolate or full-spectrum, be sure that the CBD product you purchase has been thoroughly tested to ensure its purity.
Purity is an important value for us here at Healios, so our supplier is the leading pioneer in the hemp industry, as well as the largest grower, manufacturer, and distributor of zero THC, phytocannabinoid-rich (PCR) full spectrum hemp currently available in the United States. Plus, our hemp products are organically grown, non-GMO, gluten free, and contain zero THC, pesticides, metals, or harsh chemicals. Want to know more? Check out Our Story on how we started.