Different Types Of CBD: The Benefits And Risks of Each Type

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical compound derived from the Cannabis plant. Many claims CBD alleviates many medical conditions, but few clinical studies support these claims. This article explains the terminology and preparations of CBD oil to help you understand your options.

Key takeaways:

Why should you use CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring cannabinoid found in the Cannabis sativa plant. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD has no psychoactive properties and does not produce the mind-altering effects of marijuana. However, CBD has shown some positive effects on various medical conditions such as anxiety, depression, pain, and inflammation relief.

Given their relatively safe side effect profile, CBD preparations have been increasingly studied as an alternative to traditional medications. If you are considering alternative options for treating a medical condition, discuss CBD oil with your doctor or pharmacist to see if it is right for you. Despite its safety profile, CBD can interact with other medications, highlighting the importance of discussing it with a healthcare professional if you are considering taking it.

CBD types: What are they? Benefits and risks of each

CBD is typically divided into three types based on the presence or absence of additional compounds. The three types include full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate CBD.

  1. Full-spectrum CBD products. These products contain CBD and other compounds naturally present in the hemp plant. These often contain minor amounts of THC. Additionally, they will contain terpenes, flavonoids, essential oils, and other cannabinoids that may have additional beneficial effects on the body.
  2. Broad-spectrum CBD products. This refers to products containing CBD, as well as terpenes, flavonoids, essential oils, and other cannabinoids that are naturally present in the hemp plant. An additional extraction process is performed to remove the THC; however, some may still contain extremely low amounts.
  3. CBD Isolate products. These products contain pure CBD. Extraction processes are performed to remove all the THC and other terpenes, cannabinoids, and essential oils that are present in the hemp plant.

The benefit of full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD supplements is the proposed “entourage effect.” This refers to the increased benefits of CBD when combined with other chemicals such as THC, terpenes, flavonoids, and others. However, the presence of THC in these can be detrimental to those with jobs or programs that test for THC. Therefore, the most significant benefit of CBD isolate is that it is free of THC, but has the drawback of not producing an entourage effect.

CBD terminology: the most commonly used terms

If you're learning about CBD types, it's essential to understand the relevant terms. Here, we provide a comprehensive list of most commonly used CBD terminology.

Term Definition
CannabinoidA group of naturally occurring compounds found in the cannabis plant.
BioavailabilityThe amount of drug absorbed into the body.
CB1 & CB2 ReceptorsReceptors found in the human body, in which cannabinoids exert their effect.
An oil containing CBD that is often concentrated and used in tinctures, vaporizers, edibles, capsules, topical, etc.
Extract Any substance from the cannabis plant containing CBD.
ConcentrateA cannabis product that has been purified into a more potent form.
WaxCBD wax has a wax-like appearance and is a concentrated and incredibly potent form of CBD.
DistillateContains 70–80% CBD with other natural plant substances but has undergone distillation to remove “undesirable” chemicals.
EndocannabinoidsA group of cannabinoid chemicals naturally produced by the human body.

Which CBD type is best for me?

Determining the best CBD type for you depends on why you want CBD. Many products containing CBD make claims to treat a multitude of medical conditions. However, CBD has only been approved by the FDA to treat two rare forms of epilepsy. Therefore, before deciding if CBD is appropriate for you, research the forms and talk to a trusted healthcare professional.

In addition, the presence or lack of THC should be considered. Some research suggests THC can improve the efficacy of CBD when used in small doses. However, everyone reacts to THC differently, and if you want to avoid the “high” associated with THC, it is best to stick to CBD products derived from hemp.

Products containing CBD are not regulated by governing bodies and require intense scrutiny to ensure you get precisely what is intended in the bottle. One way to ensure this is to look or ask for a certificate of analysis (COA) that provides an outside laboratory report of the level of THC, CBD, and other contaminants in the finished product. Taking it a step further, look for the COA performed by a nationally respected organization such as the Association of Official Agricultural Chemists (AOAC), the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP), or the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP).

Different products vary in effectiveness

Finally, one must consider how quickly they want CBD to take effect. If a rapid onset is required, administering CBD oil sublingually can produce the most rapid absorption.

The onset of topical creams rubbed into the skin is erratic and differs from patient to patient. However, this form limits the amount of CBD and other ingredients entering the bloodstream. Edibles are another option, but can often take up to 30 minutes or more to produce effects.

Overall, finding the best CBD product for you requires the consideration of these aspects to match them the closest to your expectations. Due to the numerous options available, it is essential to talk to a knowledgeable healthcare professional regarding using CBD as an alternative treatment option.

How you can consume CBD

CBD oil is a generic term that refers to an oil containing concentrated CBD. This oil can be administered in multiple forms, each with pros and cons.

ProductAdministration formBenefitsDrawbacks
CBD tincturesCBD oil available in drops or spray.Rapid onset and improved absorption when used under the tongue.Difficult to properly dose.
Topical CBDCBD oil-infused creams or rubs.Does not get into the bloodstream and can be applied at the site of pain.Takes time to work and might be expensive.
CBD ediblesCBD oil contained within a food or drink (e.g., gummies, coffee).Improved taste compared to other forms; available at many retailers.The amount absorbed can vary depending on the formulation and other food consumed with it; slow onset.

Does CBD oil contain THC?

Yes. Many CBD oils contain THC at very low concentrations. However, CBD isolates are a purified form that does not contain THC. Otherwise, if the CBD supplement is not listed as an isolate, it is safe to assume some THC is in the product. To be certain, always check the certificate of analysis.

CBD products extracted from hemp will contain the smallest amount of THC, less than 0.3%. If the plant has more than 0.3%, federal regulations require it to be marketed as marijuana and thus sold at specific locations (i.e., dispensaries).

CBD supplements are becoming increasingly popular, and the number of products makes it difficult to choose the right one. However, understanding the terminology and classification of CBD supplements will ensure you find the best product for your specific needs. However, always consult your doctor or pharmacist before trying a CBD supplement.


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