So many CBD products, what's the difference between them?

Since the approval of the federal farm bill in 2018, the demand for CBD has skyrocketed.

Still, for a novice, it can be a struggle to understand the terminology and what the difference is between all the different types of CBD available on the market today.

Historical marijuana prohibition has painted a negative light on all things cannabis-related, setting an unfair status quo even for CBD.

So if you're here for the unbiased truth, let's get started!

The difference between CBD products

While all Cannabidiol (CBD) available as a supplement is extracted from hemp, there isn't just one type of it on the market.

There is a never-ending range of CBD products on sale today, and not all CBD is created equal.

So what are the main differences? You can split it roughly as follows:

  • Full-spectrum CBD - A whole-plant hemp extract, containing CBD and other minor cannabinoids. In addition to essential oils called terpenes and fatty acids.
  • Broad-spectrum CBD: The same as full-spectrum but with the THC removed.
  • CBD Isolate: Pure CBD, often 99.5%+ potency.

Studies suggest that whole-plant CBD is more effective and at a lower dose, as the compounds in hemp work better in synergy known as 'the entourage effect'.

In other words, try and go for a full spectrum or broad-spectrum product for the most optimal effects.

Now you've figured out what kind of hemp extract you're after you need to consider the different ways to consume CBD

Different ways to use CBD

You've probably seen most people use CBD through the use of a tincture. But, there other ways too:

  • CBD tinctures: Used under the tongue and consist of a hemp extract diluted in a carrier oil, often hemp seed oil or MCT oil.
  • Topical CBD: Hemp extract infused into skincare products such as gels and creams.
  • CBD concentrates: Highly potent forms of cannabidiol, often used for dabbing CBD and vaping
  • Edibles and capsules: Swallowed and broken down by the liver.

Some of these methods have specific benefits you might be interested in:

  • Vaping has the highest absorption rate (bioavailability) of all the options. Effects are felt in minutes but last shorter than other methods.
  • Topicals have a localized effect. Impacting the area of application compared to the entire body for other methods.
  • Edibles and capsules have the lowest bioavailability, but the duration of the effects is the longest.

Testing

You've probably seen some CBD products at low prices in places like your local gas station.

Are these good to use if they say they are full-spectrum?

Well..Probably not. There is one last criterion to outline: third party testing.

As the industry is unregulated, anyone can sell CBD oil without any checks on its quality and potency. Consequently, brands have taken it upon themselves to differentiate themselves from others, trying to make a quick buck by providing products tested for quality and contaminants.

These reports should be as follows:

  • At a product level, outlining CBD potency, presence of other cannabinoids if relevant, and a test for contaminants such as heavy metals and microbial bacteria.
  • In the brands' name - never accept a test result without the brands' name as it could be doctored.
  • At the batch level, as each batch can differ.
  • Ideally, the certificate is under 12 months old.

Summary

In short, you want to look for the following:

  • A full or broad-spectrum product.
  • A way to consume which you will stick with as it can take some time to achieve the desired results.
  • Products that are third party tested.

If you follow these guidelines, you should be able to find the right product for you relatively quickly and confidently.

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