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The Spectral Landscape of Cannabis

With the flood of CBD products on the market these days, it can be hard to know exactly what you’re getting. Products vary greatly, from dosages and concentrations to what cannabinoids and terpenes are present in addition to CBD. If you want to know exactly how much CBD is in your product, the only solution until regulation is enacted is to stick with a reputable brand. Visit our page on finding a manufacturer you trust to make sure you know where your product comes from. If, on the other hand, you want to know whether your product contains THC or other cannabinoids, there are a couple key terms that will help you navigate the complicated world of hemp products.

There are three major forms of CBD on the market: isolate, full spectrum, and broad spectrum. Isolate is the purest form of CBD and appears as a crystalline powder. It should consist of only CBD molecules, and have no other cannabinoids, terpenes, or other plant molecules in it. Isolate should have no smell or taste, so it could be a good option for those who aren’t fans of the cannabis aroma. And with only one ingredient, it allows for more fine-tuned dosing (assuming a trusted source). In theory, CBD isolate sounds like the strongest of the three types, but in the world of cannabinoids, purity does not necessarily equal effectiveness.

Excitement around the “Entourage Effect” has been building in recent years, as more and more scientific studies and evidence support the anecdotal stories. Also called “Whole Plant Medicine,” the phenomenon refers to the synergy between the full spectrum of therapeutic compounds in cannabis and how they interact with the body. These compounds, like cannabinoids and terpenes, influence each other’s mechanisms in unexpected and therapeutic ways.

Here at Boojum Group, we extract all of the cannabinoids and terpenes from the cannabis plants to make our Full Spectrum CBD Oil. Full spectrum CBD includes all naturally occurring compounds in cannabis, is less processed than either of the other forms, and is the only form of CBD to harness the entourage effect by allowing all of the plant’s cannabinoids and terpenes to synergize. Full spectrum CBD includes trace amounts of THC, which could possibly show up positive on a drug test if ingested at high concentrations, so consumers should keep this in mind if it’s likely they’ll be subject to one. Read here for more information on the other cannabinoids and their benefits.

A 2014 study on the anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties of CBD in mice, showed that while CBD isolate was effective to a point (there was a bell-shaped dose-response, meaning after a certain point, increasing dosage did not increase response). When a full spectrum solution that was high in CBD and low in THC was administered, there was a clear correlation between increased dosage and increased response, reducing paw swelling and pain. 

The last category is Broad Spectrum CBD. Broad spectrum is very similar to full spectrum, with the only difference being that broad spectrum has gone through THC remediation, and therefore has no THC at all. While this is a good option for those who cannot ingest THC, whether for legal or personal reasons, THC is the other VIP of the entourage effect (with CBD), and its total absence means an absence of some of the most important molecular interactions and their therapeutic benefits. It is also important to note that getting 0% of anything in a botanical distillate is near impossible in scientific terms, so products claiming that should be approached with skepticism. If you are purchasing broad spectrum distillate, make sure to take a look at the COA (certificate of analysis) to ensure you are getting other cannabinoids, and not just paying extra for CBD isolate.

Knowing what’s right for you and your loved ones can be a challenge. Every individual is different, with endocannabinoid systems that work in unique ways (learn more about what the endocannabinoid system is and how it works here). Chemical make-ups, weights, and histories all change how CBD will affect us. Every cannabis strain has different cannabinoid and terpene ratios, adding yet another layer of variables to the complicated web of interaction. However, knowing the difference between full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate CBD will help you take the first steps towards finding out what works for you.

If you have any questions, comments, or would like to consult with someone on which products will work for you, please reach out to me, Olivia, at ok@boojumgroup.com. If you are interested in starting your own brand, our hemp-derived distillates and isolates are also available as wholesale and private label options.