Updated: Feb 1, 2021
By: Jessica Angeline
Within the past five years, cannabidiol (CBD) has all but exploded onto the market; online, in beauty products, and seemingly at every gas station. With more hemp products flooding onto shelves everyday, all vying for your attention, it can be very overwhelming when trying to decide what CBD product is right for you. Is CBD all the same? Will CBD get me high? What is the difference between full spectrum or broad spectrum? What is CBD isolate? These are all great and common questions that new buyers have! If you are dealing with information overload with all of the CBD options available, you've come to the right place. Here is a quick guide to help you understand the different forms.
Is All CBD Created Equally?
CBD is absolutely not created equally across the board! The quality and effectiveness of the hemp product depends on what form is being used (more about that later), how it was grown, how it was processed, and what strength of milligram is being used. I won't get into the different processing techniques, but there is a right and a wrong way. Where your hemp is being sourced from matters. Stay far away from the cheap gas station CBD products. The quality is generally low and the sources are questionable (if known at all). By “low quality”, I mean there is a strong chance it won't do anything at all. You will also not know if there were any pesticides used on the hemp while growing or if it contains any heavy metals. The same precaution should be used when shopping for CBD anywhere. Ask the sales rep where the hemp was grown. Ask for lab test results to ensure their hemp is clean. Organically grown is always ideal. With the diversity found in every CBD product, the milligrams will also be different depending on which brand you choose, the taste if ingesting, and the effectiveness will be different depending on where on the spectrum the CBD is on. So keep in mind, just because one product you may have tried didn't work for you, doesn't mean “all CBD is just snake oil”. You probably didn't have the right mg strength your body needed, or it wasn't CBD at all (more about that later too).
Full Spectrum vs. Broad Spectrum
Real hemp products come in three different variations: full spectrum, broad spectrum, and isolate. Full spectrum CBD contains all of the beneficial phytocannabinoids and terpenes that are present in the hemp plant. Yes, this includes small amounts of THC, but no – you will never get high from full spectrum hemp. By law CBD products must contain 0.3% or lower THC which will never be enough to get anyone high. Full spectrum CBD is even safe (and great!) for babies' skin. You get the most health benefits and effectiveness with full spectrum but broad spectrum is also an option. Full spectrum should generally* not make you fail a drug test (especially if you are just using a topical) but if failing a drug test is ever a concern for you, I would be very wary of the high mg (500mg +) CBD pills. I have seen people take CBD capsules consistently for a few weeks and have failed an at-home drug test.
For those of you who may still be concerned, broad spectrum is CBD with the THC cannabinoids processed out, leaving you with the other beneficial phytocannabinoids and terpenes! This option is popular among police officers, truck drivers, and any other personnel who cannot risk failing a drug test at the jobs. Broad spectrum CBD will still give you the “entourage effect” like full spectrum, which is the act of all of the cannabinoids working together in your body's endocannabinoid system (that's right! All animals, including us, have one!) to keep you in homeostasis. CBD can be processed further to strip all of the other cannabinoids and terpenes present in the plant; leaving you with CBD isolate.
What is CBD Isolate?
CBD isolate is a concentrate; pure CBD powder or solid crystals with no other beneficial cannabinoids or terpenes present. Isolate powder is often used to infused food or drinks with or you can vape or dab the isolate crystals or “shatter”. There is no entourage effect with isolate powder and it is possible to “overload” (NOT overdose! It is impossible to overdose on CBD in any form) your body's CB1 and CB2 receptors, rendering it's effectiveness.
Hemp Seed Oil is CBD... Right?
NOPE! This is one of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to all of the new fad “hemp” products I see in stores. Read. The. Label. If you see a product, especially in big box stores, with “Hemp!” or a big green leaf on the package, read the ingredients label before you buy. If you see “hemp seed oil” don't waste your time or your money. There is no phytocannabinoids present and no relief or skin benefits available with hemp seed oil. Unfortunately hemp seed oil is just a marketing ploy. Even if the cream or shampoo or whatever they've made works in some way- it is because of the other ingredients present in the formula.
What CBD is Best For Me?
That's up to you to decide! The CBD Boutique prides ourselves in our carefully and mindfully selected CBD products we choose to offer to our customers. Ninety-nine percent of our products are from small farms that use organic farming practices, local to New England, and local hemp artisan producers which means the majority of our products are handcrafted. We ALWAYS require lab testing before being listed on our site. The CBD Candy Boutique features full spectrum and broad spectrum for the maximum benefit for our customers. (CBD isolate powder or shatter may be obtained by request.) We are adding more high quality CBD products all of the time, for both you and your pet! We now also offer smokable hemp flower wherever legal to consume.
Do you want to know more science behind the cannabis plant? Snag a copy of the amazingly informative “cannabis text book” Cannabis: A Big Sisters' Guide by Anna May Meade now available on our site. Easy to read and highly educating, this book will teach you all about the endocannabinoid system, terpenes, and the main phytocannabinoids present in the cannabis plant. You'll be an expert in no time!