Understanding the different types of CBD
From whole plant to CBD isolate
It's likely that during your time reading about CBD you'll have encountered a host of different CBD strengths, brand names, and product types, but there's some core terminology that crops up time and time again. Those are the main categories: whole plant, full spectrum, broad spectrum and CBD isolate.
Understanding what whole plant is, and why it differs from full spectrum despite whole and full sounding the same is integral to getting the most out of your CBD oils. At Vitality CBD we've got a comprehensive break down of how they differ, and why each product categorisation has its own importance.
Respecting the natural order
The natural world as we see it today is the result of many millions of years of evolution. Every blade of grass, every feather, and every opposable thumb is the result of countless organisms and biological systems gradually developing alongside each other.
Whilst modern horticultural methods allow for further honing and tweaking, Vitality CBD believe that the best results come from respecting and working in conjunction with that natural order. Properly harnessing this natural balance is part and parcel of whole plant, full spectrum and broad spectrum products.
Whole plant, full spectrum and broad spectrum
Where some CBD products solely extract the CBD, whole plant utilises the entire spectrum of hemp compounds, making our Whole Plant E-liquid rich in 40 different cannabinoids, as well as essential terpenes, flavonoids, waxes and oils. This is for the real CBD enthusiasts.
At Vitality CBD we recognise the value of the hemp plant's internal equilibrium, which is why the rest of our CBD oils are broad spectrum, meaning they still retain the additional cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids, whilst removing the waxes, oils and all traces of THC.
You may have also heard the term full spectrum. This refers to a middle ground between the two: it doesn't have the waxes and oils found in the whole plant, but it still retains trace elements of THC. Full spectrum products are for purists who want every hemp compound to be present.
Our decision to make our CBD oils broad spectrum rather than full spectrum is premised on choice: we believe that users who want to actively avoid all psychotropic chemicals should have the opportunity to benefit from the other hemp compounds.
Finally there are CBD isolates, products that, as the name suggests, only extract the CBD from the hemp plant. Whilst isolates lack the additional helpful hemp compounds found in the other categorisations, they work well when blended with specially curated ingredients, as in our cosmetics range.
Benefits of the entourage effect
Our utilisation of whole plant and full spectrum in our e-liquids, and our decision to make our oils broad spectrum are decisions premised on what is known in industry terms as the entourage effect.
First proposed by S. Ben-Shabat and Raphael Mechoulam, the entourage effect suggests that the effects of hemp are amplified greatly when all its compounds - particularly its cannabinoids - are working in collaboration rather than in isolation.
Essentially, the whole (plant) is greater than the sum of its parts. What does that mean for a user, though?
Well, the entourage effect proposes that the impact of CBD is diminished when you separate it from its natural assistants. Since cannabis research is in its relative infancy, in part due to the stigma surrounding it, our understanding of how the compounds interact with one another is still limited.
However, the entourage effect goes some way to explaining the more pronounced outcomes resulting from products that harness more of the hemp plant, rather than just CBD in isolation.
Extracting the whole spectrum
Vitality CBD is continually researching and developing the cleanest contemporary extraction techniques to ensure we properly harvest the whole range of cannabinoids for our full and broad spectrum products, and the additional waxes and oils for our Whole Plant E-liquid.
Where some CBD producers solely use solvents to strip the cannabinoids and terpenes from the hemp plant, simultaneously extracting potentially harmful compounds like chlorophyll, instead, we prioritise a supercritical CO2 extraction.
Widely recognised as the safest and most efficient extraction method, a supercritical CO2 extraction involves increasing the temperature and pressure of the CO2 to a point where it adopts the properties of both a gas and liquid.
In this supercritical state, CO2 essentially functions as a solvent without denaturing the hemp, drawing out out the key compounds as it’s passed over the plant. The resultant solution is then run through a separator that does what it says on the tin - namely dividing the desired compounds from the CO2.
If a product describes itself as full or broad spectrum, this is the type of process it’s specifically referring to. Whilst the phrasing conjures up images of a giant blender where thousands of hemp plants are thrown in, in fact it’s far more complex, requiring a great degree of accuracy. This is where scientific understanding is essential in facilitating nature’s innate qualities.
For whole plant, this CO2 process forms the core of the product, but a careful ethanol extraction is carried out simultaneously. This specifically extracts key waxes and oils that are too thick and stubborn for a supercritical extraction to procure. Since it’s focused on viscous substances, this negates some of the aforementioned risks typical of solvent extraction.
Our utilisation of different processes when appropriate is why we’re proud of our entire range. Vitality CBD’s whole plant, full spectrum and broad spectrum products contain all of the essential compounds found in hemp, but they’re extracted with precision.
Whole plant vs. broad spectrum
This all still leads to one final question: namely, what’s the real difference between whole plant and broad spectrum?
In simple terms, broad spectrum retains many of the cannabinoids necessary to feel the benefits of the entourage effect, but the whole plant offers a more complete experience, adding natural hemp waxes and oils to create a more premium product.
Broad spectrum oils are still a high-end experience, but are more palatable for new users due to their slight dilution. For people concerned about the possibility of THC, they also offer peace of mind that no trace elements of the psychotropic substance is found in the CBD oil.
Whole plant, on the other hand, is for true CBD aficionados, its naturally waxy quality calling to mind essential oils harvested directly from flora. Whilst it does contain THC, it's still only present in very trace amounts.
At Vitality CBD, we have complete faith in each of our products because we understand the science behind them, but simply telling you that isn’t enough. We believe that a well-informed user is a happier user, which is why we’ve assembled and curated an extensive knowledge base at the tip of your fingers.
If you've got any unresolved questions about whole plant, full spectrum, or any other form of CBD, our experienced team are always on hand to field any questions. Reach out to us on our contact page here.