What are the types of CBD?

As we’ve said a gazillion times, CBD products in the UK must contain less than 0.2% THC and be derived from hemp plants not marijuana. Hemp plants are CBD dominant plants and so are much easier for farmers to meet local THC requirements given that the plants themselves contain trace amounts of THC. It does mean though that CBD derived from hemp can have a different effect to CBD derived from marijuana this being due to the cannabinoid profile. Americans would argue that CBD products derived from marijuana may be more effective. 

However, in this post we wanted to explain the different types of CBD that can go into CBD products. You will have read or heard brands say “this product contains CBD isolate” or “broad spectrum” or “full spectrum” but what on earth does this all mean? 

Well, each refers to the amount of additional cannabinoids present in the CBD used or in essence how “pure” or isolated the CBD is. So here is a quick explanation: 

  1. Full spectrum CBD products derived from hemp use the full chemical profile of the hemp plant which often isn’t significantly different from broad spectrum products (in the UK / Europe / other countries where CBD products are derived from hemp). If a product is genuinely full-spectrum, it would include all of the cannabinoids, terpenes and other compounds in the hemp plant, including THC.  This is important to be aware of because, although some products are labelled full-spectrum in the UK, if they are abiding by regulation and do not contain THC (or only trace amounts), they are technically only really broad spectrum as the amount of THC is unlikely to make a huge difference. In the US (or areas where THC is like) a full spectrum product would signify a much bigger difference as the CBD may have been derived from marijuana where the % THC could be much more impactful. 
  2. As explained above, broad spectrum CBD products contain all other cannabinoids of the cannabis or hemp plant that they come from, but have had all the THC removed.
  3. CBD products made from CBD isolate contain nothing but CBD. As the name would suggest, this is CBD in its purest form when all other other cannabinoids, terpenes, plant matter and flavonoids are refined away from CBD extract / distillate. 

The type of CBD used does impact the effects of the CBD. As we explain here, CBD has been found to be more effective at stimulating the endocannabinoid system when it interacts with other cannabinoids and terpenes - the “entourage effect” - suggesting that broad spectrum or full spectrum CBD will have a greater effect than CBD isolate. This is the main reason why we use broad spectrum CBD in all our CBD products.