Read the label of any CBD product and you’ll probably see that the active ingredient comes from one of two plants—hemp or marijuana. The difference between the two is simple.
The federal government defines hemp as a cannabis plant with less than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) by weight. (THC is the compound in cannabis that makes you high—and 0.3 percent THC isn’t enough to impact your mental state.) A cannabis plant with a greater THC content is what is often termed marijuana. Essentially, low-THC, hemp-derived CBD grown according to industrial hemp farming regulations is widely known to be legal everywhere.
What about whole-plant CBD vs. CBD isolate?
Two other buzzy phrases you’re likely to see when CBD shopping are “full-spectrum” and “isolate.” This essentially has to do with how the CBD product is formulated—CBD isolate is shorthand for the CBD molecule standing on its own, while whole-plant CBD contains other compounds from the cannabis plant as well.
There’s quite a bit of debate in the industry right now around whether one is superior to the other, and there hasn’t been enough research to settle the argument definitively.
Ingredient Alliance produces Tru Nano raw ingredients and CBD isolates for our customers as this makes it easier to control the dose and purity of the molecule from a manufacturing perspective. Taking it down to the isolate allows us to make sure the CBD we’re putting in the first batch is the same in the last batch. Studies have shown that CBD in isolation may, indeed, be helpful when applied to skin cells, reducing sebum production and inflammation, for example.
We also believe that full-spectrum CBD products are likely to be more beneficial, from a health perspective, and understand that while CBD may have some light benefits as a single molecule, it needs the other active compounds of the plant for optimal results, which includes other cannabinoids and terpenes, which give cannabis its distinctive aroma. These active compounds modulate the effects of one another, reduce the side effects of one constituent while enhancing the effects of another. That’s why it’s so important that we provide a whole-plant, full-spectrum hemp extract.
A 2015 animal study showed full-spectrum CBD extract to be significantly more effective in treating inflammatory conditions than “pure” CBD molecules.
An oft-cited 2015 animal study backed up this theory, showing full-spectrum CBD extract to be significantly more effective in treating inflammatory conditions than “pure” CBD molecules, when taken internally. That said, the effects of a given CBD product will vary based on which other cannabinoids (THC and CBD aren’t the only ones—there are at least 113 known cannabinoids) and terpenes are present in the formula. There are differences in the other compounds present alongside the CBD, hence why there could be a difference in effect between the cannabis extract or the hemp extract.
However, we believe that THC doesn’t need to be present for CBD to be effective. There are certain medical conditions and instances that require THC for optimal results such as pain and nausea relief (hence the rise of medical marijuana). But generally, we believe the hemp species provides all of the benefits of cannabis and more for those who prefer a non-THC approach.