With so many different types of CBD products coming out, it can be a bit confusing to figure out what makes one product unique; and it might actually come as a surprise to some people to learn that there are differences between the two that are worth looking into.
But for starters, cannabidiol is a distinct compound that comes from hemp and/or marijuana, and it has the same molecule regardless of where it comes from.
Now, being that cannabidiol is the exact same compound whether extracted from hemp or cannabis, the difference then comes from the other range of compounds such as terpenes, resins, and other cannabinoids that are present in cannabis, but may be absent in hemp.
Keep in mind that hemp plants are specifically cultivated to contain the highest concentration of CBD, but at the cost of other compounds that are found in higher amounts in marijuana.
Here are the benefits of terpenes and full-spectrum CBD
The most important thing with cannabis-extracted CBD is, of course, the presence of additional compounds that serve to provide what’s known as the “entourage effect”; basically a therapeutic effect that is believed to be stronger than that of hemp-derived CBD.
The thinking behind this entourage effect comes from a rather straightforward science that looks at how the human body responds to cannabinoids in general, with the inclusion of terpenes and other compounds present in cannabis. From what we understand, cannabinoids are absorbed into the endocannabinoid system to generate a series of therapeutic effects; and since these compounds pose no health risk, having more of them can mean that users experience more holistic relief from ailments.
The fact that regular CBD oil is extracted as a single compound from plants that don’t contain these additional compounds, it means that strictly speaking, the user only experiences a particular set of effects – so there is no broader medicinal value or entourage effect.
One can argue that using cannabis-based CBD guarantees a broader healing effect because of the fact that practically every compound in cannabis is absorbed into the body and converted into a usable form, which then contributes to improving human health. And this includes trace amounts of THC, which also has medicinal value and doesn’t cause any problems or disrupt normal physiological processes aside from causing euphoria (and temporary anxiety in some people).
CBD products that contain the full list of cannabinoids are known as full-spectrum; and they are regarded as being healthier because of their ability to engage the human endocannabinoid system in more ways than regular CBD isolate does.
Hemp-based CBD on the other hand, contains far fewer cannabinoids than regular cannabis and manufacturers require more plant material to create CBD isolate; and this usually means that they end up with a very crude product.
To get high-quality CBD from regular hemp, manufacturers have to invest quite a bit of skill and resources; and this usually means that only the finest companies can guarantee a good CBD product.
High risk of contaminants
Both hemp plants and regular cannabis plants are described as bio-accumulators, meaning they have a tendency to absorb more contaminants and heavy metals in the soil. This is why it’s so important to check where your CBD was sourced from.
Hemp plants only contain between 3-5% CBD; which means that you need to use much more plant material to get a substantial amount of hemp oil. This can be a problem if proper farming methods weren’t applied, or if the soil was full of heavy metals and other toxic material.
Cannabis plants on the other hand, contain between 18-20% CBD, which makes extraction much easier for the manufacturers. That being said, we still can’t ignore the issue of contaminants and the role that “green farming” plays in creating a healthy, reliable CBD product.
So which is better?
There isn’t a straight answer to this for a number of reasons. If grown in nutrient-rich soil and carefully processed, industrial hemp can be a good source of quality CBD. But even so, hemp plants are not necessarily the best source of CBD-rich oil.
Cannabis, it seems, provides far more impactful CBD oil due to the variety of cannabinoids and terpenes that interact with different physiological processes. But still, a lot of research is going into this area to find out how these compounds are used in the body, and how we can grow CBD to maximize its medicinal effects without causing any disruptions to normal biological processes.
For most people, it seems their experience with is CBD is personalized; meaning that you can find that CBD isolate works just as well as full-spectrum CBD. And in that case, what matters is that you try the two products to find out what works for you.
Neither of the two products cause any health risks, unless in the case of drug interactions; so be careful about mixing cannabinoids with other medication. But aside from that, most people will be free to try CBD isolate and full-spectrum to find one that is better suited for their needs.