CBD oil is one of the most popular products in the supplement industry. If you're looking to explore and discover the world of CBD, read on for information on how to distinguish between the different types of CBD oil. You'll also learn what to look for when you shop for CBD products, along with the benefits they may be able to offer.
What are the different types of CBD oil?
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is the non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis that comprises up to 40% of the plant's genetic makeup. Any CBD product, whether it's an oil, tincture, or cream, is either hemp-derived or marijuana-derived. Hemp-based CBD products contain less than 0.3% THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, the other primary element of cannabis known for delivering a classic cannabis high. Marijuana-based CBD products can have higher levels of THC, which is why they are either regulated or banned in the United States.
Unlike marijuana-based CBD products (which can only be purchased through licensed and regulated retailers), hemp-based CBD products may be purchased at a variety of locations — including dispensaries — or online. They are typically categorized as follows:
Full-spectrum CBD: Also known as whole-plant CBD, full-spectrum products have a mix of CBD, minor cannabinoids, cannabis-derived terpenes, and trace amounts of THC. The term “full-spectrum” refers to the preservation of every compound extracted from the cannabis plant.
Broad-spectrum: Similar to full-spectrum CBD products, broad-spectrum CBD products contain all of the cannabinoids and terpenes extracted from the plant with one big exception: THC. In these products, manufacturers strip out the THC but leave the plant's other, non-psychoactive compounds intact.
Isolate: CBD products labeled “isolate” have had all other cannabinoids and terpenes stripped away until all that's left is a crystalline powder of just CBD. To create an oil, crystalline CBD powder is usually mixed with a carrier oil such as coconut or olive oil. CBD isolates with a purity range of 99.9% and above are unlikely to have even trace amounts of THC, whereas a CBD isolate of 99.5% and below may still have traces of THC.
Active/Activated CBD: Active CBD oil products have had their raw CBDA activated or decarboxylated. It may sound complicated, but CBDA is simply a raw precursor that converts into CBD through a heating process. Therefore, all products labeled “CBD” and not “CBDA” could be considered active CBD oil products.
Is raw or active CBD better?
Opinions differ but some research has suggested that CBDA has a more potent effect on pain, inflammation, and other ailments. In fact, according to a 2016 study published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, CBDA was found to be 1,000 times stronger than CBD in alleviating nausea in rat models. In a 2019 interview with Discover magazine, the man dubbed the "Father of Cannabis" for his discovery of THC in 1964, Israeli chemist Raphael Mechoulam, said that CBDA is a "very good anti-anxiety agent, and we have found that it lowers the side effects of cancer chemotherapy. It also has an anti-depressive effect and it's a pretty potent anti-pain compound."
While Mechoulam may make the case for raw CBD, discuss the options with your physician before deciding which products to try.
What should I look for in a CBD product?
CBD products have not been regulated by the Food and Drug Administration so it's vital that consumers discover quality products on their own.
Dr. Bonni Goldstein, a medical adviser to Weedmaps and director of Canna-Centers in Lawndale, California, stressed,
"In terms of what patients and consumers should look for, the CBD market outside of state-licensed dispensaries is still buyer beware. Always ask for and check the Certificate of Analysis, also called the COA. This gives you the potency of the cannabinoids, the terpene profile, and analysis of any solvents, pesticides, and mold or microbial contaminants. This is a must as there are numerous products on the market claiming to contain CBD that, when tested, do not have any significant amount. Patients and consumers who purchase CBD from a licensed medical cannabis dispensary can be assured for the most part that these products have been tested properly."
Take note that dispensaries may only be available in states where medical marijuana is legal.
Once you've decided whether you prefer full-spectrum CBD or another type, you'll need to carefully read the label to find the right product by a quality manufacturer. Their name, the type of CBD, the amount of active CBD per serving, and more should be clearly printed on the label of each product in a CBD shop, whether brick and mortar or online. Do some research about the company that makes the CBD oil to verify that the brand is well-established and reputable.
Discover CBD products
A whole world of hemp-based and marijuana-based CBD products exists beyond oils and other topicals. Here are a few examples of CBD treats you might enjoy:
- CBD-infused coffee
- Chocolate bars infused with CBD
- CBD gummies
- Oral spray breath fresheners with active CBD oil
- CBD energy drink enhancers
There are even dog biscuits with active CBD available for purchase. But before you put anything into your body, or into your beloved pet, do your due diligence and make sure the retailer you purchase from is reputable.
What are the benefits of CBD products?
CBD oil, particularly full-spectrum and broad-spectrum oil, has been credited with a plethora of potential health benefits. Pain relief for muscles and joints may be the most frequently sought-after potential benefit of CBD, but there are several other potential effects that go beyond the physical. Research has shown CBD could potentially offer relief to those suffering from depression and anxiety.
In addition, Dr. Melanie Bone, board-certified OB-GYN and cannabis specialist, shared,
"Anxiety is another very common diagnosis to treat. It is pervasive at this time. Overwhelmingly I suggest a CBD/CBG-rich product, warning that THC can induce anxiety. What my patients have taught me is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to cannabis recommendations that holds true across the board. Rather, each patient has a unique endocannabinoid system and it responds in its own unique manner. Overall, about 75% of patients respond nicely to cannabinoids and report relief from their symptoms."
The best way to learn if CBD may offer similar benefits for you is to consult with your physician and discover the array of hemp and cannabis-derived products available on the market. Your doctor can help you determine the appropriate dosage and daily regimen of CBD in combination with prescribed treatments.