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October 01, 2020 12 min read

At Willow, we get a lot of questions from our customers. It’s understandable - there are a lot of different terms thrown around when talking about CBD. And if you’re a total newbie to CBD and hemp, it can be downright confusing.

Even if you’re an experienced CBD guru, the world of CBD changes so quickly that you may find yourself out of the loop if you’re not keeping up to date! 

When you’re first digging into CBD and how it works, you’re likely to stumble upon terms like “Full Spectrum” and “Isolate”. Understanding these terms before you choose a new product to try will help you get the best results from using CBD and will hopefully allow you to avoid any unpleasant experiences with products that don’t work for you.

Many first-time CBD users worry that they have purchased the wrong product. Sometimes they try out their first CBD product and are disappointed when they don’t gain the effects they were initially hoping for.

CBD is still relatively new in household use. That’s why it’s so important to understand the product you’re buying. Additionally, many CBD users find that they need to adjust their dosage and really understand the level of CBD their body requires to reach the benefits they’re looking for. And just like the hemp plant itself, there are various strains and types of CBD that all have different qualities to offer.

By understanding how CBD works, the different types of CBD, and how to find your perfect dosage, you can really reap some excellent benefits from this remarkable plant.

Spectrums, Isolates, and CBD

These may not be new words for you, but how do they apply to the world of cannabinoids? 

Well, think of it this way. CBD is one chemical component of the hemp plant, but it’s not the only component. Just like a recipe for a great meal, CBD is one of the “ingredients” you’ll find, but it doesn’t form the whole picture.

Other components, like fats, terpenes, and even other cannabinoids like THC, are all inside the same “spectrum” of chemicals extracted from the hemp plant. The spectrum is like a list of ingredients, in specific amounts, to make a perfect recipe.

If you’re cooking from a recipe, too much salt would ruin your dish. Too little salt would leave it bland and flavorless. But theperfectamount of salt would enhance the flavors and make your dish delicious! 

You can find CBD products that mix and match these components for different desired effects, and that’s where terms like “Broad Spectrum” come in. But you’ll also find “Isolates”, which refer to isolated CBD products with all of the other components removed.

Isolates are technically higher in CBD concentration than other CBD products. So logic would tell us that should make them more effective, right?

The Entourage Effect

In comes the Entourage Effect! The mix-and-match nature of various spectrums of CBD are designed to produce different effects. However, if the perfect matching of these components are put together in a product, they work synergistically to create the “Entourage Effect”.

Going back to our food analogy, think of the Entourage Effect as if you were making a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich for a child.

If you gave them two plain pieces of bread, they’d probably throw a fit. Likewise, give them a slice of bread with some jelly on it and they’ll probably eat it, but they won’t be completely satisfied. Bring in the other slice of bread and the peanut butter and finally you’ve created the perfect medley of flavors, sure to win over any child. That’s because these components work best together, even though they can exist in various combinations.

Some components of the CBD spectrum assist in absorption. Others add aroma and flavor to the product. Their interactivity occurs on a molecular level, connecting with receptors in your body’s endocannabinoid system to produce and heighten the effects of your CBD.

Full Spectrum CBD

The Entourage Effect is most effectively produced in Full Spectrum CBD. Full Spectrum CBD is a less-isolated form of CBD which includes all of the compounds in the hemp plant that support the incredible effects associated with CBD use. So what exactly isin Full Spectrum CBD?

Well, CBD, to start! But it would be a shame to neglect to mention some of the other compounds derived from the hemp plant that produce this effect. In Full Spectrum CBD, you’ll find…

Fats

The hemp plant naturally contains some plant-based fats. Other plant-based fats, such as coconut oil, are often added to CBD oils, and are not part of the natural compounds found in the plant. The natural fat found in hemp helps with the absorption of cannabinoids because CBD is fat-soluble. Fat in the product makes the CBD more bioavailable than it would be on its own. The saturated fat in coconut oil is also helpful for this reason, but it doesn’t quite intermingle with the rest of the compounds like the natural fat does, thus it is often a great idea to include both types of fat in the final product.

Terpenes

Terpenes are found in many plants and are the reason plants often have strong (usually pleasant) smells. Terpenes have an evolutionary purpose in plants, attracting bugs so they can carry on with pollination. When derived from hemp, terpenes can assist in the effectiveness and absorption of CBD. They also add to the aroma and flavor of the product.

Polyphenols

If you remember when pomegranates and acai juice first exploded in popularity, the term “polyphenol” may not be unfamiliar to you. If you’re not a health nut, polyphenols are micronutrients found exclusively in plants. They are rich in antioxidants and, like many of the other plant compounds we’ve discussed, can assist in promoting the other known benefits of CBD, such as anti-inflammation.

And these compounds are really just the tip of the iceberg.

Together, these compounds all work together and interact to produce the most desired effects for CBD users. 

That’s why, at Willow, we only use Full Spectrum CBD. The Entourage Effect of Full Spectrum CBD can make a huge difference in your experience with CBD. Likewise, if a CBD user has tried Isolates or Broad Spectrum CBD and wasn’t happy with the results, it can often be worthwhile to try a Full Spectrum product. 

By using a Full Spectrum CBD product, you can ensure that you are getting all of the compounds that work together in the best way. Otherwise, you may risk removing compounds that could potentially enhance the benefits you stand to gain.

Keep in mind that even Full Spectrum CBD products have extremely low levels of the most well-known cannabinoid, THC. The level of THC in Full Spectrum CBD can’t legally exceed 0.3% and is often much lower. So if you’re worried about becoming impaired from the effects of THC when using Full Spectrum CBD, have no worries! The level of THC in Full Spectrum CBD products will not cause this effect.

Because Full Spectrum CBD is thought to have the best Entourage Effect, it is also one of the most popular forms of CBD. That means it can be found in a huge variety of products. Willow offers Full Spectrum Gummies, Oils, and Lotions. 

Full Spectrum products also exist in products specifically designed for use with pets. They’re also sold for vaporizing purposes in the form of vape juice and baked into various goodies and candies. Full Spectrum CBD products come in a variety of CBD concentrations and doses, giving you the freedom to adjust your dose accordingly. Many of these products - like oils - can be administered by different means, too, like under your tongue or mixed into a beverage.

Choice is important when using CBD, especially if it’s your first time. Having a wide variety of products to choose from can make the experience a lot less daunting!

Broad Spectrum CBD

Full Spectrum and Broad Spectrum may sound like they mean the same thing, but that’s not exactly true. 

Both terms are sometimes used improperly when describing products. That’s because CBD - even Full Spectrum CBD - will have THC removed at least partially from the spectrum. While Full Spectrum CBD will have extremely low amounts of THC (>0.3%), Broad Spectrum will often have no THC at all.

That doesn’t mean that it will always be completely free of THC. In fact, it may exist at the same level as Full Spectrum. But it would be classified as Broad Spectrum if any of the other compounds are removed or reduced.

Usually, you can expect Broad Spectrum CBD products to contain some of the natural terpenes mentioned above, as well as the flavonoids and polyphenols that exist naturally in the hemp plant. In Broad Spectrum CBD, these will assist in absorption much like in Full Spectrum CBD.

Broad Spectrum CBD does produce an Entourage Effect much like Full Spectrum CBD. However, since certain compounds are filtered out of the spectrum, it can’t be guaranteed that it will have the maximum effect that Full Spectrum CBD provides.

Broad Spectrum CBD comes in many of the same forms as Full Spectrum CBD. You can easily find Broad Spectrum CBD Tinctures, Oils, Vapes, Lotions, Gummies, and plenty more. These products are also available in various doses, so you can experiment with finding your perfect dose for your desired effect.

Like with any CBD product, it is important to understand what you’re buying before you use it. For example, if you require a product with absolutely no THC due to work or health reasons, you’ll want to verify with the manufacturer or your local CBD retailer that the product has been tested and has a guaranteed level of THC. That way, you can be absolutely sure that you are getting the exact product you need - and nothing else!

CBD Isolates

The final type of product we’ll mention are CBD Isolates. As the name would suggest, CBD Isolates refer to a product containing pure, isolated CBD with none of the other compounds extracted from the hemp plant. CBD Isolates typically contain around 99% pure CBD.

CBD Isolates usually come in the form of a powder with no distinct odor or flavor. This is because all of the terpenes are removed, so you won’t find the herby, grassy flavor of other CBD products in Isolates. This is great if you’re particularly sensitive to smells or tastes and wish to have a bland, flavorless product.

While CBD Isolates are not usually as popular as Full Spectrum or Broad Spectrum CBD, they can also be useful.

Firstly, CBD Isolates are among the easiest CBD products to use to determine your correct dosage. Since they’re pure CBD, what you see is what you get. And you can tweak your dose very easily with very little actual product. That’s thanks to the ultra-concentration of the Isolate powder.

Additionally, CBD Isolates contain zero THC by nature, since the goal is to have a product as close to 100% CBD as possible. If you are cautious about any THC entering your bloodstream for health or work-related reasons, Isolates are probably your best bet.

CBD Isolates can also be consumed in a variety of fashions. Some powdered Isolate users will simply take their dose under their tongues. Others will mix a small dose into a beverage. Most Isolate products are usually in powder form, so they are extremely versatile when it comes to your preferred delivery method.

It’s also not uncommon to find Isolate products in the form of chews, capsules, and sometimes creams. Some users of Isolates will recommend that first-timers start with an Isolate powder, especially when you’re first discovering your ideal dosage.

You might be thinking that Isolates would be the best form of CBD based on all of this information. And for some, that might be true! But consider it this way...

Let’s think about our Peanut Butter sandwich again. If you were to make a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich with just peanut butter (without the bread or jelly!), it would still be delicious. Plenty of people love to eat plain peanut butter from a spoon, after all. But if your desired effect was to eat a sandwich, a spoonful of peanut butter wouldn’t really cut it. Without the bread and jelly, you’re missing most of the meal! You’re missing theEntourage Effect!

Again, this is why it’s a good idea to explore all of the different types of CBD products before settling on one to try.

Which Type of CBD is the Most Effective?

After learning about Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, and Isolated CBD products, you may still find yourself scratching your head. Which type is the most effective?

Well, a better question might be: Which type works best for my needs and my lifestyle?

Sure, CBD Isolates may have the highest concentration of CBD among the products we’ve discussed. But that doesn’t mean it’s going to be the most effective for you. 

It’s safe to say that CBD products that produce the Entourage Effect are much more likely to cover your bases. But it’s also important to prioritize whatyouneed in a CBD product. If you really can’t take the risk of trace THC in your system from CBD products, then products that produce the Entourage Effect may not be worth the risk for your specific needs, as they will include miniscule amounts of THC.

However, if you have a variety of symptoms you’re looking to treat, or if you’re trying CBD for the first time, a Broad Spectrum or, better yet, Full Spectrum CBD product is more likely to produce the effects you’re looking for. You’re essentially casting a wider net by using these products. 

If, on the other hand, you’re an experienced CBD user, maybe you find you don’t benefit as much from Broad or Full Spectrum CBD products and need a higher concentration of pure CBD. Well, that’s where CBD Isolates can really be your best friend.

Accessibility is also important. If you find some products less attainable, or less desirable to consume, then that’s fine, too. Your entire experience with CBD should be a pleasurable one, so if there are certain aspects of the products you’re using, like the taste, that aren’t enjoyable to you, that’s a sign to try something else.

Why Full Spectrum?

Earlier we mentioned that at Willow CBD, we choose to make products only from Full Spectrum CBD. And you’ve probably sorted out that we usually recommend Full Spectrum to our first-time customers regardless of where they are buying their products.

Sure, all types of CBD have their own set of benefits. But we choose to focus on Full Spectrum CBD because we believe firmly in the power of the Entourage Effect.

We want to make sure that CBD is easy to use for people of all levels of experience. And we’ve found that Full Spectrum often produces the best results for first-time users, and is often more desired even by experienced CBD users.

Sure, Broad Spectrum and Isolates have their place and are also extremely useful tools for a variety of uses. But when it comes down to it, if we were only able to make one type of CBD for the world, Full Spectrum would take the cake.

Although Isolates are much higher in concentrated CBD, they simply don’t have all of the puzzle pieces that, when put together, create the potency of Full Spectrum CBD. And Broad Spectrum, while still extremely useful, simply doesn’t contain the full span of useful compounds found in the hemp plant. Why waste all of those good phytonutrients and terpenes if you don’t need to?

While we would still encourage you to explore all of the types of CBD products available to you, if you’re really stumped about where to start, you really can’t go wrong with a Full Spectrum CBD Oil, Gummy, or topical lotion.

Full Spectrum for the Full Entourage Effect

By now, you’re probably feeling well equipped to shop for CBD products! Good. You should feel confident when buying CBD products. In fact, we find that many new users come into the world of CBD blindly and often waste money on products that don’t produce any noticeable benefits. We want to help new users avoid this issue, and make sure your experience is as pleasant as possible.

So, to summarize...

  • CBD extracted from the hemp plant often comes packaged with other natural compounds found in the plant.
  • CBD products come in three main types - Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, and Isolates.
  • Full Spectrum CBD is the widest spectrum and contains fats, terpenes, and polyphenols that all work together to provide the most significant effects.
  • Broad Spectrum CBD contains some of the compounds extracted from the hemp plant, but leaves out some that could potentially benefit the user.
  • CBD Isolates are isolated, concentrated CBD products - usually in the form of a powder. These products are high in CBD (99%), but lack any of the other beneficial compounds from the hemp plant.
  • The natural compounds found in the CBD spectrum can produce an “Entourage Effect”, interacting on a molecular level with your body’s endocannabinoid system to produce the most benefits of any type of CBD. Full Spectrum CBD produces the best Entourage Effect.
  • It is always best to take it slow when using CBD for the first time, take time to understand your best dosage, and don’t become discouraged if some products don’t seem to have the effect you desired.

We understand that choosing CBD products isn’t always easy, especially if you’re new to this exciting and ever-changing industry. Even those who have been enjoying CBD for years are often surprised to learn of all the new products, strains, and types of CBD that are becoming more widely available as CBD truly enters the mainstream.

Whether you’re seeking CBD to help manage symptoms of anxiety or depression, or trying to help quell pain or inflammation, there’s a good chance you’ll find some relief with the right CBD product.

If you’re still not sure what type of CBD product is right for you, feel free to reach out to us at Willow. We would be more than happy to help guide you in your CBD journey and ensure that your first product checks all of your boxes.