The CBD market in the UK is booming and though there are a great many brands to choose from, there are only two types of CBD available: isolate, broad spectrum and full-spectrum. In this post, we look at the differences between the three and clear up a few other confusions about CBD.
Is CBD the same as cannabis?
To make it clear, although the word cannabis has become synonymous with the recreational drug, it is in fact a genus in a small family of flowering plants called Cannabaceae.
Two of the three species in that genus, Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica, are the ones most commonly grown for industrial, recreational or medicinal use. They contain hundreds of compounds and cannabinoids. Many of these are not present in large amounts but two, namely tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), are, to varying degrees. THC is psychoactive whereas CBD is not.
Cannabis sativa and indica have both been cultivated to produce many strains and hybrids with different characteristics for various purposes.
Hemp encompasses several strains of the Cannabis sativa plant species bred for different uses, including for paper, textiles, rope and even biofuel. Hemp seeds can also be pressed to produce hemp seed oil. In the UK, hemp must contain less than 0.2% of psychoactive THC or it is considered marijuana. Because non-psychoactive CBD is on the same metabolic pathway as THC, plants low in THC are conversely high in CBD. This is why CBD is usually extracted from hemp.
Other strains of Cannabis sativa and indica are bred to produce higher levels of THC, which is where the recreational drug “cannabis” comes from.
Does CBD get you high?
No, CBD is not psychoactive. It is perfectly legal and shouldn’t be confused with THC. THC binds to the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 in the endocannabinoid system (brain, nervous system, immune system and the gastrointestinal tract), inducing the euphoric effects referred to as being “high”. CBD does not bind to these receptors and even decreases or eliminates the psychoactive effects of THC.
There are a variety of products on the market now containing CBD, including e-liquids, oils, tinctures, capsules, beauty products, gummies and other edibles.
What is CBD used for?
The UK’s MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) forbids CBD merchants in the UK from making any medical claims or linking to any such claims about CBD. Read more about that here.
How is CBD made?
First, full-spectrum CBD oil is extracted from hemp. Full-spectrum CBD oil is a whole-plant extract and still has some of the other plant compounds and cannabinoids present to varying degrees, including CBN (Cannabinol – mildly psychoactive), CBG (Cannabigerol – no clinical research conducted on humans as of 2019) and psychoactive THC.
By further refining full-spectrum CBD oil, it can be isolated down to a single cannabinoid in a crystalline state, which gives us pure CBD isolate.
CBD isolate vs brad spectrum vs full-spectrum CBD – which is better?
Though some believe that because some of these other cannabinoids may have desirable qualities of their own and work in synergy with CBD, the levels of these additional compounds vary from product to product. Undesirable ingredients can also be masked under the banner of “full-spectrum”, some of which can be synthetic cannabinoids. Psychoactive THC can also be present which is unappealing for most CBD consumers, particularly those in jobs which require regular drug screening.
CBD isolate is the safest and most consistent form of CBD. Having no additional compounds present and 0% THC, you know you aren’t taking in any undesirable ingredients.
Being so pure, CBD isolate also has no odour or flavour, making it ideal for e-liquids, beverages and food. And as vaping CBD is considered the most bio-available way to administer, there is an increase in the demand for CBD isolate. Read more about why you should vape CBD here.
With CBD isolate, the potency can be precisely measured and you can be confident of the purity and quality with no chance of psychoactive effects.
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