What is Full Spectrum CBD and Can it Benefit Me?

CBD has seen a massive surge in the wellness industry over the years. It has been touted for its potential ability to help manage many symptoms of different conditions, including pain and anxiety. As a result of a growing CBD market, it’s nearly impossible to round the corners without seeing an influx of various CBD products readily available on the market shelves.  

Right now, Epidiolex is the only CBD medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The rest of what you buy from over-the-counter are well-regulated and monitored under different state laws. While studies on CBD’s therapeutic potential are still in the pipeline, it is essential that you take your time when selecting a CBD product.

Since the market is flooded with a massive selection of CBD, choosing what’s best for you can be a little overwhelming. To help you quickly identify first-rate products from not-so-good ones, CBD products are often labelled according to your needs and preferences. You might have probably come across with something described as full-spectrum CBD. But, what exactly does it mean?   

Exploring full-spectrum CBD can seem complicated at first. Here at CBII, we want to simplify the things that need more in-depth understanding. It’s helpful to begin with the basics of  CBD, what it is, and why it’s important.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the many naturally-occurring substances (also called cannabinoids) in the cannabis plant. Aside from CBD, there is another well-known cannabinoid to keep on your radar: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). While CBD and THC are technically related, they have some key differences that will help you determine how they are used. THC is a psychoactive cannabinoid that produces an intoxicating sensation when consumed. 

Full-spectrum CBD products may also include some of the following cannabinoids:

  • Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA) - a compound that transforms into CBD when subjected to heat.  
  • Cannabigerol (CBG) - a potent cannabinoid that may enhance the potential therapeutic effects of other cannabinoids. It may help tackle symptoms of pain, inflammation, and a variety of skin conditions.
  • Cannabichromene (CBC) - another non-intoxicating cannabinoid that is often linked to pain perception and symptoms of inflammation often stimulated by arthritis.
  • Cannabinol (CBN) - a little similar to THC; it contains mild psychoactive properties that are federally legal as long as the CBD product contains a level under 0.2%. 

Along with more than 100 cannabinoids (including the above-mentioned ones) are other active chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant, such as terpenes and flavonoids. There are roughly 150 terpenes found in the cannabis plant, and they are responsible for its fragrance.

Have you ever wondered how lemons and tangerines got their citrus scent? And, why do chamomile plants smell so lovely? All the credit goes to the same class of aromatic compounds, known as terpenes. Aside from the scent they provide, terpenes may also have their own potential therapeutic benefits that range from reduced symptoms of inflammation and to possible improved immune function. 

Simultaneously, the cannabis plant contains 20 different flavonoids. These compounds are also present in all kinds of plants, including fruits and vegetables. Similar to terpenes, flavonoids found in cannabis are also ascribed to have positive effects on human health. For instance, they might help with relieving symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Now that CBD is experiencing a research renaissance through global legalisation efforts, medical scientists gain a much more detailed perspective on how this potent cannabinoid might change the healthcare industry. A vast development is clearly observed as more and more CBD-infused products are being introduced to the market. 

CBD products are mostly derived from hemp, a cannabis strain that is deemed safe and non-intoxicating. This quality is something a lot of users look for in any therapeutic product- something that may help with specific disorders without altering our cognitive brain activity.

Indeed, consumers are far more cautious and picky when it comes to CBD shopping. From checking the label to using digital tools, there are many who attempt to diversify their own CBD knowledge in order to properly articulate and fulfil their needs. One of the most important things to consider is the type of CBD product you are purchasing. 

As mentioned above, CBD products can be classified into three different types according to CBD content. These include full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolate. Take note that these categories are relatively formulated for specific uses and functions, which is why there is no particular type that is considered better than the other. What works for you may not work for someone else, as it all depends on a person’s individual tastes and needs. 

What is full spectrum CBD?

When formulating a CBD product, the cannabis plant usually undergoes different types of extractions to come up with distinctive end products. Full-spectrum, also known as whole-plant CBD, is one of the most sought-after forms of CBD. When we say full-spectrum CBD, it means that the product contains small amounts of all the cannabinoids and other chemical compounds present in the plant, including CBD, terpenes, flavonoids, and moderated THC.

Many CBD connoisseurs prefer full-spectrum CBD products for their reputed ‘entourage effect’. This theory is what researchers dub the collaboration of all the plant elements to provide a more efficient result. 

While CBD may function independently, a study in the British Journal of Pharmacology suggests that the entourage effect of full-spectrum CBD may work more effectively than a single cannabinoid used alone. 

By comparison with other forms of the cannabinoid, broad-spectrum CBD contains all the chemical compounds and cannabinoids found in the plant except THC. In contrast, CBD isolate removes everything to keep the purest form of CBD.

Potential Benefits and Risks of Full-Spectrum CBD

Perhaps the biggest pro of using full-spectrum CBD is its purported entourage effect, which allows you to maximise the potential benefits of the synergy that may occur when all the cannabinoids and other plant compounds are working together.

Any full-spectrum CBD product that contains less than 0.2% THC is considered legitimate. Essentially, using full-spectrum CBD at any recommended dosages may have no practical chance of abuse or intoxication. Another reason many proponents opt for full-spectrum CBD is that it makes a popular option. It is widely available, and you can easily find CBD edibles (like capsules or gummies), sublingual sprays or tinctures, and topicals (like balms, oils, creams, or lotions) in full-spectrum form. 

Just as well as providing potent effects, easy access, and well-regulated content, full-spectrum CBD may also offer a myriad of potential health benefits, such as:

Pain Management

Medical practitioners all over the world are continuously conducting new studies to add to a growing body of evidence that suggests there may be potential into a further examination of the therapeutic potential of CBD. In 2018, a study found that cannabinoids in full-spectrum hemp have shown promise in reducing symptoms of joint pain, muscle tension, and other symptoms of common types of pain caused by exercise or ageing.

Another study evaluated the effectiveness of omega-6 fatty acids for the treatment of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) in women. It is believed that hemp contains gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), a type of omega-6 fatty acid responsible for relieving pain that is often associated with PMS. 

Anxiety Relief

When it comes to overall wellness, we can’t just talk about the body while disregarding the mind. There is no excuse for leaving anxiety unchecked, as it can lead to a host of other health issues if not given enough attention.

A 2015 study conclusively demonstrated CBD’s potential to reduce anxiety-related behaviours and many symptoms associated with daily stress, partly in the course of its possible interactions with serotonin receptors in the brain. The entourage effect of full-spectrum CBD may hold potential benefits for anxiety by impacting a racing mind through its purported anti-stress properties.

Sleep Improvement

Full-spectrum CBD may help supplement treatments of insomnia, a sleep disorder characterised by difficulty in falling asleep or staying asleep. This condition is often related to chronic pain and anxiety. In smaller doses, full-spectrum CBD ensures that you get the full synergistic potential benefits of all the cannabinoids and natural compounds found in hemp.

Since they all hold promise for supplementing pain and anxiety, it makes plenty of sense that full-spectrum CBD might help people sleep better by potentially promoting relaxation and tranquillity. On the flip side, CBD in full-spectrum form may also help stimulate alertness to overcome daytime sleepiness and enhance the sleep-wake cycle.

Improved Skin Health

CBD is filled with vitamins and fatty acids that may help maintain the glow and youthfulness of our skin. All these nutrients work together to combat infections caused by bacteria, viruses, and fungi, all of which distress the skin cells and cause various conditions. Full-spectrum CBD products are essentially used by many to potentially restore affected skin areas to their natural bliss with their organic antioxidant properties.

With all the impressive benefits proposed by science, it isn’t hard to imagine how full-spectrum CBD can do wonders in your overall well-being. A potential downside, though, is that full-spectrum CBD products might make you feel high- if you take them in a large enough dose for a sustained period of time. Since full-spectrum CBD is potent enough, even in small quantities, it is not ideal to consume more than the recommended daily dosage. 

Different Ways to Take Full Spectrum CBD

Full-spectrum CBD is available in a variety of products with specific uses and applications. While there are products designed for swallowing or huffing, others are simply applied to the skin. Unless you’ve tried them all before, now comes the truly hard decision: Which method is best for you? 

Each of our bodies may respond differently to CBD, meaning there is no standard recommendation when it comes to choosing the best way to take it. Whether it be oral, sublingual, topical, or intranasal, every method delivers CBD to your body in a different way. This notion of individuality may influence your decisions concerning selecting the right product that suits your needs, and the frequency of using it to get your desired effects. Let’s try to do some groundwork on each of these methods to determine which is the best option for you.  

Oral Ingestion

By means of oral ingestion, full-spectrum CBD is delivered through the digestive tract, where it is absorbed into the bloodstream and filtered throughout the body. While this method is probably one of the easiest ways to take CBD, researchers found that it takes the slowest route for any substance to reach its target points. As a result, oral/edible consumption may hold a low bioavailability- the rate and amount of substance absorbed into the bloodstream. For instance, consuming CBD edibles could allow you to absorb anywhere from 6% to 20% of the CBD you originally ingested.

However, this all depends on the individual’s metabolism. You can take multiple CBD edibles if you want to optimise their purported effects. We call our comprehensive collection of CBD capsules the feel-good capsules, as they hold all the potential benefits of full-spectrum CBD oil, plus a range of different vitamins, such as Vitamin B3, D, C, and Zinc. 

Sublingual Method

The sublingual method occurs when CBD drops are placed underneath the tongue for a few minutes. From here, full-spectrum CBD is absorbed directly into your bloodstream through capillary-rich glands found underneath your tongue and along the gums and cheeks.

This method aims to avoid the ‘first-pass’ effect of digestion, where substances are filtered throughout the digestive process and lose potency. In other words, it may deliver full-spectrum CBD into your bloodstream more efficiently than oral ingestion. By taking our full-spectrum CBD oil sublingually, your body may likely receive up to 35% of the CBD, including small amounts of THC and other essential natural compounds. 

Topical Application 

When full-spectrum CBD is applied to the skin, the active ingredients are likely to reach their localised potential targets, such as muscles, inflammatory cells, and other pain-perceiving nerves. The chances of reaching the bloodstream through this process are minimal unless the product is designed for transdermal activity, a topical method that involves technology to increase the number of active ingredients that can pass through the skin barrier.

The topical method may not clearly manifest bioavailability, as CBD administered this way does not enter the bloodstream, but it may still be beneficial for on-the-spot treatment. If you want to get the best results from this method, you may wish to combine CBD topicals with oral or sublingual CBD products.

Intranasal Process 

The process wherein full-spectrum CBD is inhaled provides the fastest route to get CBD circulating through your bloodstream. Very similar to the sublingual method, inhalation also avoids the filtering process that occurs in the digestive system when CBD is swallowed.

This way prevents the likelihood of a reduction in its bioavailability, which often ranges between 34% and 46%. During the intranasal process, full-spectrum CBD enters the respiratory system through the nostrils, usually via the use of a vape pen. The active ingredients are then delivered to the lungs, where they can easily reach the bloodstream. 

How much full spectrum CBD should you take?

More and more people are becoming increasingly health-conscious and are trying to figure out the right dose of CBD to take. As you can see, there are several ways to incorporate CBD into your daily lifestyle. Each of them may vary in the way they may interact with the body.

Hence, researchers cannot assure that one method or dosage is more efficient than the rest. However, it is a general rule to always start small when it comes to CBD consumption. If you notice some potential positive effects during your first try, you can always move your way up by gradually increasing your CBD dosage until you reach your desired results.

The amount of CBD you should take depends on a range of variables, including your weight, previous or current health conditions, metabolism, and the CBD concentration in your chosen product. That is to say, there are a lot of factors to consider when deciding how much CBD to take, and which method is right for you.

How to Calculate CBD Dosage 

Measuring your desired CBD dosage is made simple, as most CBD products like oils, gummies, and capsules come with instructions that indicate the amount of CBD in a single serving. You can locate this information on the packaging of the product. 

For instance, our full-spectrum CBD oil in 100 mg concentration specifies that there are 10 mg of CBD in every one mL dropper- an ideal option for those who are beginning their CBD journey towards wellness. In most cases, we recommend taking 6-12 drops of CBD oil daily, starting with a lower dose and working your way up. 

After monitoring your body’s response to CBD for at least a week, you can start increasing your CBD oil intake up to 24 drops a day. Likewise, you can increase your CBD oil concentration from 100 mg to 200 mg and all the way up to 500 mg bottle. From there, you can determine the amount of CBD you need in order to find a balance, where you can enjoy its potential benefits without overwhelming your body and senses.  

What happens when you take too much full-spectrum CBD? 

A 2017 research on safety and side effects of CBD illustrated that chronic use of CBD in high doses of up to 1,500 mg daily could be well-tolerated by humans. However, things are a little different when it comes to full-spectrum CBD. 

One of our primary concerns when consuming CBD is the chance of failing a drug screening. CBD doesn’t show up on a drug test, but THC does. Since full-spectrum CBD products include THC alongside the rest of cannabinoids and natural compounds that make up the whole plant, consuming them in high doses for sustained periods of time might lead to a positive drug test result, even if you haven’t felt any intoxicating effects. 

As discussed earlier, full-spectrum CBD products are generally well-regulated with a maximum level of 0.2% THC throughout most of the EU. Even so, your body can still accumulate THC, especially if you take them in high doses on a regular basis. If you are a full-spectrum CBD user and you feel at risk of being tested positive for a mouth swab drug test, you don’t have to worry, because there are a few ways to pass.

The main objective of conducting drug tests is to screen any trace amounts of THC or THC-COOH (one of THC’s primary metabolites). THC and THC-COOH won’t likely appear in oral fluids, like saliva. It can only stay around for 72 hours, or longer in cases of continuous heavy use. 

Tip #1: Take a break. If you are expecting a mouth swab test in the next few days, the best way to pass is by simply taking a break from any full-spectrum CBD products until the drug test is done. 

Tip #2: Detoxify. To ensure that your saliva is free from any suspicious metabolic remnants, make sure to drink lots of fluids and teas prior to the test. Rinsing the mouth with water can keep your saliva flowing, which, in turn, clears any THC or THC-COOH trace amounts from the mouth.

Tip #2: Eat high-fat foods. THC and its metabolites do not dissolve in water, but in lipid. Because they are lipophilic molecules, they tend to be best absorbed by a variety of entities in the body (including fats). To draw the THC and THC-COOH out of your saliva and keep them in your fat cells, you need to consume high-fat foods like whole eggs, dark chocolate, or fish oil.  

The bottom line

Full-spectrum CBD is one of the most widely-available forms of CBD products. It is known for its entourage effect, because it reserves all the essential cannabinoids and natural compounds in the cannabis plant during the extraction. These substances include CBD, flavonoids, terpenes, and a well-regulated amount of THC- all of which may show promise in providing possible therapeutic effects to the body.  

Although the current evidence pointing to CBD’s efficacy is limited, many studies believe that  CBD is more powerful when it functions alongside other cannabis compounds. With an impressive entourage effect, full-spectrum CBD is purported to show benefits for supplementing treatment of pain symptoms, anxiety symptoms, and a variety of sleep problems and symptoms of skin conditions. 

While it does have small traces of THC, a maximum amount of 0.2% in the EU, THC in trace amounts is likely not going to produce any intoxicating effect. However, it still depends on the potency of the product, as well as the levels within your preferred dosage and frequency of use. 

If you take high quantities of full-spectrum CBD products, you may be accumulating enough THC to produce a high sensation. Nonetheless, you can always improve your full-spectrum CBD experience by consuming it legally and responsibly. 

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