Setting out to buy CBD products for the first time can be a confusing process. There are a wide number of terms out there used to sell CBD – full-spectrum, whole plant, extraction methods, isolate, broad spectrum… the list goes on! Without the proper education it’s easy to get lost, or worse, buy a product that isn’t right for you.
There’s just no way to create a “natural” full spectrum THC free CBD oil. The science involved in extraction and particularly distillation – at this time- just doesn’t work that way. Yes you can extract and isolate molecules then “re-blend” them, but that’s not a natural process.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of many cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant (including marijuana and hemp.) Other cannabinoids include THC, CBN, and CBC. CBD and THC are the two primary phytocannabinoids in the plant.
Generally, marijuana is high in THC and low in CBD. Hemp is the other way around and is high in CBD and low in THC. This is important because everyday CBD users often don’t want the psychoactive effects of THC. Because of this, hemp is the most popular source of extraction for CBD products because of its low THC profile.
A full spectrum oil from the hemp plant will contain THC, though in most cases the levels are very low. This is because most CBD oil is extracted from low-THC industrial hemp (Less than 0.3% by dry weight).
Not to get into the extraction methods (CO2, Ethanol, Butane, etc) after the winterizing and decarb, the full-spectrum end product will be a CBD oil containing some amount – even if it’s just trace amounts – of THC. This level can vary, but as you continue to remove THC from the natural plant oils, they also remove other cannabinoids. Cannabinoids, including CBD work in the the body’s ENDOCANNABINOID system (a substance our bodies are born to naturally process).
Full–spectrum hemp oil contains ALL components of the hemp plant including THC. After extraction, cannabinoids, terpenes, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, phytonutrients, and additional plant materials remain in the oil.
Now if by “THC Free” companies are referring to CBD oil at below the “legal limit” (THC concentration of .3% or less), the product will still have small traces THC.
Many consumers looking to buy CBD may not know the difference.
Most likely some form of oil – MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) oil, coconut, hemp, olive oil, PG (Propylene Glycol), or VG (Vegetable Glycerin)- blended with CBD isolate or a broad spectrum CBD that has no THC. Most often broad-spectrum is the term used to describe products which have had the THC removed.
To quickly review, CBD isolate starts out as an oil, but undergoes a distillation and crystallization process which removes all other cannabinoids leaving the CBD isolated down to a single molecule. CBD isolate is exactly that: a solid compound which has the molecular makeup that is 96% – 99% or greater CBD. It is essentially tasteless and odorless and easier to incorporate into products. A broad spectrum CBD oil will usually have all of the cannabinoids as the full-spectrum CBD Oil, just without the THC. It will still have a grassy taste and be yellow or green in color.
There are many companies trying to jump on the CBD bandwagon incorporating CBD into their products (sometimes in doses as small as 2mg per serving) simply to have CBD on their label. Some labels do not even mention the amount of CBD in their products. Consumers looking for true health benefits (pain management, inflammation reduction, or eczema treatment for example) would be better served to seek and use products that have accurate labeling including how much CBD is in the bottle and how much is in each dose.
If you are purchasing a Full-Spectrum CBD product that claims to be “THC-free” be sure to look for test results before purchasing to ensure that you know what you’re taking.
By understanding the different products on the market you can find a quality, effective CBD product that provides a high level of benefits.
Reputable CBD companies will provide this information. And no matter what you’re purchasing from a CBD perspective, a COA (Certificate of Analysis) will indicate the percentage of CBD in the product, and if THC is present. Most COAs will also test for any metals or harsh solvents.