Full-spectrum CBD products are made from the entire hemp plant and include a variety of cannabinoids beyond CBD, along with THC, terpenes and flavonoids
When it comes to taking CBD — short for cannabidiol, the hemp plant extract connected to a variety of health benefits — clients have quite a few options. Some revolve around the type of product used, such as whether to take a sublingual CBD oil, chew CBD gummies, or purchase a CBD lotion or salve that can be directly applied to the problem area. Another choice involves whether the product used is full-spectrum CBD.
What is full-spectrum CBD?
Full-spectrum CBD products are those which are made from the entire hemp plant. As such, they include a variety of cannabinoids beyond CBD. Some of the additional cannabinoids found in full-spectrum CBD products include:
- CBG (cannabigerol)
- CBC (cannabichromene)
- CBN (cannabinol)
Since it uses the whole plant, a full-spectrum CBD also contains 0.3% or less (by law) tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. THC is the cannabinoid perhaps best known for its psychoactive effects, primarily when consumed via recreational or medicinal marijuana, but the 0.3% is not enough to get users “high.”
You will also find terpenes and flavonoids in full-spectrum CBDs. Terpenes give CBD its scent, but research shows that they are connected with a number of health benefits. These range from serving as an antioxidant or anti-inflammatory to providing neuroprotective properties. Flavonoids are the chemicals partially responsible for giving the hemp plant its color. Like terpenes, they can help enhance a person’s health. For example, kaempferol is a flavonoid found in the hemp plant which some researchers refer to as a potentially effective “anti-cancer agent.”
How full-spectrum CBD compares to isolates, broad-spectrum
Whereas full-spectrum CBD is loaded with all of a hemp plant’s cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, a CBD isolate contains only CBD. It doesn’t have CBGs, CBCs, or CBNs, and it doesn’t have any THC.
A broad-spectrum CBD is somewhere between a full-spectrum CBD and a CBD isolate. While it does contain some of the other cannabinoids, it does not have THC. It also has the hemp plant’s terpenes and flavonoids.
CBD isolate and broad-spectrum CBD are good options for patients who want to experience the benefits of CBD without ingesting a psychoactive cannabinoid. However, many studies have revealed that there is likely a distinct benefit in using a product that contains a small amount of THC.
Benefits of CBD when combined with THC
If you want to lose weight, you can do this by modifying your diet or by increasing your amount of physical activity. But what happens when you do both? You lose more, right? This is because dieting and exercising together create a type of synergy that allows you to achieve the results you desire faster and more effectively.
The same is true with regard to full-spectrum CBD. Often referred to as the “entourage effect,” all of the compounds within a full-spectrum CBD product are thought to work together to provide a more beneficial effect.
For example, a 2010 study involved 177 patients with advanced cancer who were unable to ease their pain with opioid drugs. Some patients were given a THC extract, others were given a CBD-THC combination, and a third group received a placebo. The patients taking the CBD-THC combination had the most significant decrease in pain.
A 2018 study noted that children with Dravet syndrome, a type of difficult-to-treat epilepsy that appears in infancy or early childhood, experienced positive effects as well. Researchers noted “a statistically significant improvement” in regard to the subject’s seizures and quality of life after taking a drug containing both CBD and THC.
Won’t THC adversely affect the patient?
Despite the positive synergistic effect of combining CBD with THC, patients may fear that taking a THC-containing product will result in adverse effects. The National Institute on Drug Abuse shares that the potential effects of THC can include:
- Altered sensory responses
- Mood changes
- Trouble thinking or remembering
- Impaired movement
- In some cases, hallucinations, delusions, or even psychosis
Yet, research has found that the addition of CBD may help protect against these effects. Until more research is conducted in this area, specifically outlining the best CBD:THC ratio, it’s hard to know for sure how much CBD is needed to alleviate the impact of THC.
Considerations when suggesting a full-spectrum CBD
Though a full-spectrum CBD appears to be more beneficial than a broad-spectrum CBD or CBD isolate, this type of product is not right for all patients.
For example, if a patient is subject to drug testing, the THC in a full-spectrum CBD may create a positive result. According to Quest Diagnostics, more than 97.6% of its non-regulated drug tests include the marijuana panel and people taking a combination product can test positive depending on their level of usage and how much THC the product contains, if unregulated.
Additionally, some patients are naturally more sensitive to THC’s effects. For them, a non-THC product may allow them to continue to live life as normal without changes in their mood, senses, or cognitive abilities while still receiving the benefits of CBD. Prior to suggesting or selling to patients, read the label and regulations met for the product.