Two of the most well known and widely research cannabinoids are THC and CBD.
Both THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are molecules known as chemical compounds and are primarily found naturally occurring in the cannabis plant and its various subspecies. Depending on the source you’re looking at, the cannabis plant contains up to 113 different cannabinoids.
CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid and will not get you “high.” The molecule THC will get you high through binding to the CB1 receptors and triggering a psychoactive and euphoric effect.
CBD is a unique plant-based molecule and does not directly interact with cannabinoid receptors and will actively block other cannabinoids from binding to CB receptors.
The chemical structure of CBD causes it to not fit perfectly into either CB1 or CB2 receptors and prevents other cannabinoids from activating other effects.
Parkinson’s research (the second most common neurodegenerative disorder) shows CBD is an indirect antagonist (inhibits action) of cannabinoid agonists (triggers action). Through blocking the CB1 receptors, CBD is shown to reduce the effects of psychoactive properties of THC while enhancing its benefits. Research suggests blocking the CB1 receptors with CBD, it may increase the effect of THC by increasing the density of CB1 receptors.
Humans and several species of animals have an ECS (endocannabinoid system) consisting of two cannabinoid receptors - with strong emerging evidence suggesting the presence of a third cannabinoid receptor. A retired heart surgeon and member of the ICRS (International Cannabinoid Research Society), Dr. David Allen postulates nearly every cell of the human body has cannabinoid receptors.
CB1 receptors are abundant in the brain and CNS (central nervous system) and the CB2 receptor is primarily located in the immune system. When cannabinoids bind and interact with the CB1 receptors, it inhibits certain enzymes to control the pain response, metabolism regulation, and many other therapeutic potentials.
CB2 receptors interactions help with peripheral tissue issues, modulates stress signals, and anti-inflammatory mechanisms in various areas. Old research use to suggest that CBD bound to the CB2 receptor (like a key fitting into a lock), however, the most recent information is providing more insight into the exact mechanisms of action.
Neurochemical research (a journal studying the nervous system and function) is revealing CBD does not directly bind to either CB1 or CB2 receptors and has a low affinity for both receptors. With this ongoing research, they’re discovering CBD is useful beyond cannabinoid receptors.
One mechanism of action is CBD’s ability to combine with a certain subtype of serotonin receptor in the brain called 5-HT1A and initiates a biological response of homeostasis - a balance of natural well-being.
Another way that CBD works is it triggers the body to release its own endogenous (originating inside the organism) cannabinoids known as endocannabinoids. Through interacting with cannabinoid receptors, CBD helps the body’s release natural cannabinoids. Natural cannabinoids encourages the body to operate more effectively by allowing natural optimal healing.
As the hemp-CBD market continues to mature, three basic types of CBD products are beginning to emerge.
Three basic types of CBD products:
Strong discussions are asserting potential advantages of each type of hemp-CBD product. However, we’re taking a stance and asserting full-spectrum is a much better choice than CBD isolate and broad spectrum.
A primary advantage of full-spectrum CBD is the added benefit of the entourage effect. The entourage effect is also known as cannabis synergy and suggests each of the 113 cannabinoids work better when they work together.
What are the primary differences and what are the advantages between each type of hemp product?
CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD on the market.
It’s up to 99% purified single molecule CBD and looks like a fine white powder or other crystal like formations.
Broad-spectrum CBD sits somewhere in the middle of full-spectrum and CBD isolate.
What makes broad-spectrum different is it contains a wide range of other cannabinoids - minus the THC molecule.
Some level of the entourage effect is still accessible with broad-spectrum hemp-CBD products but not as optimal a level as a full-spectrum or whole-plant cannabis product.
Full-spectrum CBD products will include up to the 113 known cannabinoids as well as other natural plant matter for the added nutrients and benefits.
Why exactly is full-spectrum a better choice than CBD isolate or broad-spectrum?
A few primary advantages of full-spectrum start with the inclusion of several other natural compounds already located within the original hemp plant. Upon extraction, a quality full-spectrum CBD product will contain other cannabinoids, terpenes, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, oils, waxes, chlorophyll, and more.
CBD isolate will only offer benefits the CBD molecule can provide.
Whereas full-spectrum products not only have all the benefits of the other nutrients, but also the additional benefit is known as the entourage effect.
The entourage effect is a phenomenon also known as cannabis synergy where several cannabinoids work better and produce a stronger effect when there’s more than one cannabinoid present.
Cannabis synergy will also increase the activity of various endogenous cannabinoids.
CBD isolate products don’t get the benefit of the entourage effect and work less effectively (overall) because there are no other cannabinoids available for the CBD isolate to work together to produce a synergistic effect.
Additional hemp-plant (seed) nutrients are listed in full detail on the USDA website.
At the end of the day, it appears to be clear what makes a premium hemp CBD oil are products utilizing the whole plant, including the full spectrum of cannabinoids and other healthy parts of the hemp plant.