The Types Of CBD Oil & How They Are Extracted

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The Types Of CBD Oil & How They Are Extracted

CBD has become very popular in the past few years, and with the new law in the US that legalized it on December 20, 2018, it is set to become a multi-billion-dollar industry in the next 2-5 years in the US alone. It is big business and that is not surprising, considering its long list of benefits.

Though there has been a lot of research on cannabis and CBD in particular, CBD is still very new to society. When new CBD users see product labels with words like CBD isolate, broad-spectrum CBD and full spectrum CBD they tend to get confused. So, we’ll will discuss the various types of CBD Oil and clarify the differences between them.

A Brief History of CBD – From The Roots

Cannabis has been used for medicinal purposes for millennia in Asia and Africa. Many rural African traditional healers never stopped using cannabis as a medicine (for asthma, epilepsy and many other ailments) even though it was banned at a commercial level.

In the West, cannabis was originally used by doctors as a pain killer until it was banned in the 1930s by various governments. Still, interest in the medical benefits of cannabis continued. In 1940 Roger Adams, a chemist who had just graduated from Harvard University, managed to extract a chemical compound from Cannabis Sativa though he had no idea what he had done. This later led to many decades of research on CBD. In 1946 Dr. Walter Loewe proved that CBD is not psychoactive. Later that year Dr. Raphael Mechoulam identified the 3-D structure of CBD. In the 1960s the first CBD for therapeutic use was released by the British Pharmacopeia. In 1980 Dr. Mechoulam ran a trial that showed that CBD could be a key factor in treating epilepsy. Research continued with many positive results and gradually some governments began to legalize cannabis and CBD oil for medicinal purposes.

Why CBD is an Effective Remedy?

Though the use of cannabis oil as medicine was banned in most countries in the 1930s, scientists now agree that though there are possibilities of mild addiction, the therapeutic value of cannabis is too high to ignore (1). Still, the countries that are legalizing cannabis are legalizing mostly hemp (and CBD) because it contains very low levels (less than 0.3%) of THC. CBD is mostly sold as CBD oil to be used by people who have health problems and need a natural remedy. It is well understood in the natural health sector as a very effective remedy for a long list of health problems. Research continues all over the world for its medicinal properties.

CBD oil is available as full spectrum, broad spectrum, and isolates and you can basically order it online and have it delivered to your doorstep. You may also come across products labeled as “whole plant” or “pure CBD” and get more confused by the terms. Since CBD is becoming more and more available, it is very important that people understand the difference between these three major types of CBD products so that they are equipped to make an educated decision when they buy.

How CBD is Extracted?

Do your research. If the product that you plan to buy is extracted using harsh chemicals such as butane and hexane, you may want to avoid them because the extract will have traces of carcinogenic compounds. CBD oil is safer if it was extracted using CO2 extraction or cold ethanol extraction. After extraction, the oil derived is either classified as full spectrum CBD (recently changed to be inclusion of THC), broad-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate.

Full Spectrum CBD (Includes THC)

Hemp contains hundreds of different phytochemicals including cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds. CBD is the major cannabinoid present. CBD oil is made by extracting CBD from the hemp plant and then diluting it with a carrier oil like coconut or hemp seed oil.

When you see a product that contains full spectrum CBD or “whole plant” the CBD is minimally refined, leaving most of the cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, fatty acids and the other compounds intact. In other words, the full plant extract is included and it provides the hemp’s molecules in the same ratios and quantities that they are found in the plant. CBD, the other cannabinoids, and all other compounds have been found to have healing effects. For example, cannabinoids CBN and CBG found in most full spectrum CBD have been studied and found to contain anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and pain-killing properties.

Researchers have found that cannabinoids and terpenes (natural essential oils that give the plant its powerful aroma) work in synergy in what is known as the entourage effect. This means when they work together, they enhance each other’s efficacy in healing the body. Terpenes basically moderate the body’s interaction with cannabinoids and the effect varies from terpene to terpene. Here are some of the many known terpenes and their effects on the body:

  • Myrcene enhances cannabinoids, induces sleepiness and has anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and painkilling effects.
  • Limonene is an energizing anti-depressant.
  • Terpinolene is lightly sedative, anti-cancer, anti-bacterial and anti-oxidant.
  • Beta-caryophyllene is a strong anti-inflammatory that also protects the digestive system.
  • Alpha-pinene, a compound also present in pine needles, is energetic and therapeutic.
  • Humulene is a hunger suppressant and a strong anti-inflammatory agent.

The presence of terpenes in full spectrum CBD oil obviously enhances the benefits that you can get from your product and this has been confirmed by scientific research (2). Just be aware that there is THC present as well though in minute amounts, as low as 0.3%, so there will be a very mild or no psychoactive effect. Most laws allow a maximum of 0.3% THC in any product as that is deemed to be safe.

Though there is a lot that scientists still do not know about CBD and more research is needed, so far studies have found that full-spectrum CBD is superior to CBD isolate because of the presence of other cannabinoids, terpenes, fatty acids and other compounds that create that desirable entourage effect. One study confirmed that the synergistic effects of a full spectrum of CBD oil were superior to an isolate in the effective treatment of inflammatory conditions (3). One can conclude that a higher quantity of CBD per serving as seen on a bottle is not necessarily superior to a full spectrum CBD. It is advisable, whenever possible, to leave the plant extracts closer to the way nature made them and enjoy the many benefits of full spectrum CBD. There are so many beneficial health potentials that are waiting to be unlocked by further studying the compounds found in hemp.

About Broad Spectrum CBD

Broad spectrum CBD is a new term in the industry and was once considered the same as full spectrum CBD. Broad spectrum is full spectrum CBD without any THC, because THC has been removed. It provides the entourage effects (still contains terpenes and cannabinoids) that full spectrum CBD provides without any “high” from THC. It is a wise choice form people who are not allowed to have any traces of THC in their bodies for legal reasons, for sports or other reasons.

Broad spectrum is typically grown from plant genetics are very high in cannabinoids excluding trace to little amounts of THC.

The user of any products containing broad-spectrum CBD can be confident that they will pass any drug test or they can work on any machine without any psychoactive effects. As mentioned above, scientists have found that a full profile of cannabinoids and terpenes are better than just CBD isolate, when it comes to treatment of health problems. By removing THC to make broad spectrum CBD, manufacturers make sure that users get the maximum benefits of CBD but do not get into trouble with the law and will pass any competition-related drug tests. Also, users will reap the full benefits of CBD without any mental incapacitation at work or while driving.

What Is CBD Isolate?

CBD isolate is a pure form of CBD, but they science has shown isolate to be less beneficial as whole plant CBD oil. Products made from CBD isolate are labeled as containing 99% or more pure CBD. CBD isolate or “pure CBD” comes as a white powder or as a mix with a carrier oil such as MCT oil. There are no other active ingredients, therefore, there is no entourage effect described above. That means CBD isolate has the benefits of CBD only and lacks the benefits that come from other compounds and benefits that accrue from the entourage effect. That makes it inferior to both full spectrum CBD and broad-spectrum CBD.

During the CBD isolate extraction process, all the compounds found in the plant are removed, including any traces of chlorophyll, waxes, fatty acids, terpenes, and THC. The manufacturer ends up with pure CBD (almost pure).

Advantages of CBD Isolate

During the early days of research, there was a belief that pure CBD was the “gold standard” of non-psychoactive cannabis therapy. Without more information, it seems to make sense. If CBD is the primary active ingredient that provides medical benefits, we should benefit more from its pure version. However, it is now known, thanks to research, that this is not the case. Though CBD isolate has limited medicinal effects compared to full spectrum CBD and broad-spectrum CBD, it has the following advantages:

  • The user easily gets large amounts of CBD and they know exactly how much they are getting. Therefore, CBD isolate should not be disregarded as a potential for many conditions including pain, inflammation, anxiety, depression, and diabetes.
  • It does not have any flavor so it is easier to take orally and to use for cooking or for mixing into CBD cocktails.
  • Due to its lack of flavor, it may be a more appealing option for making CBD products for personal use (massage oils, lotions, etc.).
  • It can be used by people who are sensitive to THC.

Disadvantages of CBD Isolate

Main disadvantages to isolate are:

  • It can often come from overseas which has different regulations when it comes to manufacturing.
  • Lack whole plant properties (CBG, CBN, CBC, Terpenes, Flavonoids, etc.) that provide synergistic healing.

When you decide to purchase CBD isolate, it is important to verify the purity. The very pure oils are in the range 99.9+% with no identifiable levels of THC. There are also products that have low purity (such as 99.5%) that may have traces of THC that tend to show up in the lab though it is very low compared to amounts found in full spectrum products. If you are going to be tested for drugs you might want to be careful and avoid the low-purity isolates.

Which CBD Oil Should You Use?

If you cannot decide which option is better for you, get to know the different CBD products. Try them all to see how you react. Your reaction will depend on your illness. If your condition does not react in a significant manner to full spectrum CBD oil, then try an isolate and see if it makes a difference.

The need for research cannot be over-emphasized. Do plenty of research to find a reliable CBD manufacturer before you waste your money on bogus products. The industry is still unregulated by the United States FDA, therefore there are many phony companies that are trying to make a quick buck before people wake up.


  1. Natalya M. Kogan, and others. (2007, Dec). Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience. Cannabinoids in Health and Disease.
  2. Paduch R. and others. (2007, Sep). ArchivamImmunologiae et TherapiaeExperimentalis. Terpenes: substances useful in human healthcare.
  3. Gallily R. and others. (2015, Feb). Overcoming the Bell-Shaped Dose-Response of Cannabidiol by Using Cannabis Extract Enriched in Cannabidiol.

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