With thirty-six states and the District of Columbia recognizing the legitimacy of medical cannabis, there has been a lot of interest among consumers in learning how industrial hemp and marijuana go from plants in the ground to medical products on the shelf. Of special interest are the many CBD products now on the market. These include full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolate.
Do you know the differences between the three? If not, you are in good company. Not a lot of people know the nuts and bolts of transforming cannabis plants into usable products. But no worries, this post will tell you everything you need to know. Please bear in mind that most CBD products are derived from hemp rather than marijuana. Both hemp and marijuana are species of cannabis.
For starters, ‘CBD’ is an acronym that stands for cannabidiol. It is but one of more than a hundred cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. It is more concentrated in hemp compared to marijuana. With that in mind, CBD isolate is essentially concentrated CBD. It is the purest form of the cannabinoid.
CBD isolate is produced through extraction. According to Cedarstone Industry, a Houston company that designs and builds hemp and marijuana extraction equipment, CBD extraction can be achieved with either liquid or gas solvents.
For example, industrial hemp may be put into a stainless-steel extraction vessel along with ethanol. The mixture would be heated in order to release essential oils and other compounds from the plant material. The liquid is then evaporated and distilled to separate the desired components, like CBD.
Because CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD, it can be used to make other products. Processors may mix it with other cannabinoids and terpenes to create medical products with clearly distinguishable properties.
When most people think of CBD as a medical product, they are thinking of full-spectrum CBD. A full-spectrum product includes not only CBD, but also other extracts from the hemp biomass. Said extracts can be anything from other cannabinoids to essential oils and terpenes.
At this point, it is important to note that full-spectrum CBD can contain up to 0.3% THC and still be considered a CBD product. THC is another cannabinoid. It is the compound that makes a marijuana user feel high. At 0.3% by volume, THC isn’t likely to produce euphoric feelings in users.
Finally, broad-spectrum CBD is similar to full spectrum in the sense that it contains more than just CBD itself. It also contains other cannabinoids, terpenes, essential oils, and even synthesized compounds in some cases. What makes it different is that it has little to no THC content.
Some broad-spectrum products contain no THC at all. Others may contain some, but amounts are considerably less than .03% — in other words, trace amounts. There certainly would not be enough THC in a broad-spectrum product to make the average person feel euphoric.
Read Labels Carefully
Armed with the knowledge you now have, be careful about reading labels before you buy any CBD products. Labels should tell you exactly what compounds are in each product. At the very least, they should list CBD and THC by volume. If other cannabinoids are present, they should be listed as well.
Broad-spectrum, full-spectrum, and CBD isolate all play a role in transforming the hemp plant into usable medical products. Today, hemp and CBD are legal in all fifty states and the District of Columbia. But do not confuse CBD products with their THC counterparts. THC-based medical cannabis, or medical marijuana if you will, is more highly regulated.