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Taking any medication safely requires knowledge of the drug itself. You might have jumped on the CBD bandwagon and are now looking for the facts, but who knows what the facts are? And what is the difference between the facts and misinformation or commercial interest?
At the moment, there are a bewildering range of CBD products on the market. From “full spectrum” to pure CBD, from waxes to dabs and other strange products, it can feel like an impossible task to fully understand it all.
Relax, you are in good hands. This article will take you through what a full spectrum oil is, whether it contains THC, and whether this might actually be a better choice than pure CBD.
Of course, we will provide the sources of our information so you can check them out for yourself.
What does Full Spectrum Mean?
In physics terms, it means all the wavelengths that are useful to life. For cannabis oils, the meaning is very similar. It means all the cannabinoids, and all the other goodies from the cannabis plant, in an oil. More or less.
Full spectrum CBD is a bit of a misnomer. CBD is one chemical: Cannabidiol, which is found in abundance in the cannabis plant, and is the main source for use in the CBD industry. When you extract everything possible from a cannabis plant, you get a lot of CBD.
But, full spectrum CBD oil is not exactly a full spectrum, and here is why: When you do a supercritical extraction of a cannabis plant using CO2 under intense pressure (the most efficient and popular method), you get a collection of gunk from the plant left over. It feels a bit like smooth peanut butter. This is not quite what you are probably thinking of when you think of a full spectrum CBD oil. The reason it is so gunky and thick is the presence of waxes and other impurities. Try to vape it, (which we don’t recommend), and you will find it horrible. Don’t do it.
One reason the left-over gunk is so awful is the presence of chlorophyll – the chemical that makes leaves green and absorbs sunlight. Turns out it really does not taste good when heated up.
In order to get rid of this gunk and just leave all the nice cannabinoids and terpenes that you want, you have to distil it. Ethanol is the usual method. It is added to the mix, frozen, then filtered and left to evaporate. The resulting mix is all the non-ethanol dissolving chemicals – the cannabinoids – which will dissolve in fats, but not ethanol.
This is a full spectrum CBD oil. Or just a full spectrum cannabis oil. At this point, there is no difference.
Does this Full Spectrum Oil have THC in it?
Yes, in all likelihood, it probably contains a lot of THC. Unless you just used industrial hemp, you will have used a drug-type marijuana that contains high concentrations of THC, and THCA, which is transformed into THC by heating.
There are varieties of cannabis in production that have very high levels of CBD and low levels of THC, but even then, there is still some trace amounts of THC around.
Is this THC Harmful?
It depends on what you mean by harmful. Used appropriately, THC is a perfectly safe drug. It does have a large capacity for abuse and there is some risk of harm, however, and should be taken only at the discretion of your doctor.
What about Entourage Effects?
This is one of the important points. Pure CBD or pure THC are less effective than CBD and THC in combination. Not only do they make each other more effective, CBD makes THC more tolerable. One mix of CBD and THC at a 20:1 ratio was found to be more effective than pure CBD in a trial.
THC binds to the CB1 receptor in the brain, causing the psychoactive effects that make cannabis famous. CBD does not intoxicate. It modulates how THC binds to CB1 receptors, altering the interaction slightly to make it more enjoyable and tolerable.
What Will a Full Spectrum CBD Oil Do?
A full spectrum CBD oil will probably get you high, depending on how much THC is in it. If the source plant was a rare variety that has more CBD than THC, you are in luck. It probably will not have much psycho-activity. However, most full spectrum CBD oils have more THC than CBD, so you will get baked if you vape or eat it. Putting it on your skin probably will not have any effect.
Should I Get Rid of the THC?
If you just want a pure CBD oil, you should look for just that, not a partial or a full spectrum oil. Many people find the psychoactivity of THC intolerable, and so look for a partial spectrum or pure CBD oil.
Partial Spectrum Oils?
A partial spectrum cannabinoid oil is one that has been specially filtered to remove unwanted chemicals. A full spectrum oil does not just have cannabinoids in it, and < a href="https://www.heylocannabis.com/post/what-are-terpenes" target="_blank">also includes terpenes and other plant chemicals.
Some people experience irritation when they consume terpenes, so they look for a partial spectrum that has the terpenes removed and the bits they want left in.
However, partial means partial. It does not indicate what is left in or taken out. They could have no THC and lots of terpenes, or no terpenes and no THC. You get the picture.
Make sure you look carefully at what is in the sample. And if the person selling you the oil cannot tell you what is in it, do not buy it.
Independently tested and verified CBD oils are available that show you exactly what is in the oil you are taking, so look for those if you want to be sure.
Is Full Spectrum Better than Pure CBD Oils?
So far, nobody has done any real research into them, so it is impossible to say with any certainty. At the moment, there is a very patchy scientific record and a lot of commercial interests clamouring for attention. Claims of miraculous properties and incredible benefits are everywhere, but very few of them have any evidence to support them.
If you are unsure, just ask the vendor for the proof of what they are saying. If they get defensive or do not produce any evidence, look for someone who can provide the answers, or admits that there are no real answers.
The cannabis industry is in its infancy, there is a lot to learn and everyone is trying to figure out how everything works, so be careful, be smart, and be safe.
Talk to your Doctor
Full spectrum CBD oil is a drug. In fact, it is a large collection of drugs. There are about 60 cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, most of which will end up in your CBD oil. The properties of these cannabinoids are not well known, if they are known at all. We know what CBD and THC do, but the rest of them are not well known.
Because there is so little data, you need to talk to your doctor before you take a full spectrum CBD oil. They can monitor your health and the effects it is having and help you make the best choices available in the absence of solid evidence.
The risks are small but they do exist, particularly if you have a family history of mental health disorders.
Full spectrum CBD oil contains THC and therefore has all the risks associated with that drug. A full spectrum oil is the oily equivalent of taking cannabis in its raw form, so keep that in mind.
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