CBD Oil Types

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It’s important to learn about the different types of CBD and the various forms in which you can consume CBD before you start shopping. You may have seen full spectrum CBD, broad spectrum CBD and pure CBD when you have been looking at CBD. So what do these common pieces of terminology mean? Knowing the different types of CBD will help you get the exact product you are looking for. Before you buy CBD, read this comprehensive breakdown of how different C Find out more about the three different types of CBD and their benefits. Read our blog post to learn which cbd oil is best for you and your lifestyle.

What To Know About The Types Of CBD

Dr. Myles Spar is a double board-certified medical expert in performance medicine, men’s health, advanced testing and integrative medicine.

Commissions we earn from partner links on this page do not affect our opinions or evaluations. Our editorial content is based on thorough research and guidance from the Forbes Health Advisory Board.

Table of Contents

  • 3 Types of CBD
  • How to Consume CBD
  • How to Use CBD Safely

A recent Forbes Health Survey survey of 2,000 U.S. adults conducted by OnePoll found 60% of respondents have tried a cannabidiol (CBD) product and believe CBD has health and wellness benefits, including the potential to improve sleep, reduce anxiety and/or relieve pain.

Yet one-third of respondents said they don’t fully understand the differences between full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate.

It may be tempting to buy the first bottle of CBD oil you find, but to make an informed CBD product purchase, it helps to understand the different types of CBD and the various forms in which you can consume CBD.

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3 Types of CBD

CBD is largely derived from hemp, a type of cannabis sativa plant. CBD products can contain detectable amounts (no more than 0.3% by dry weight) of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound in cannabis plants known for causing intoxicatingly psychoactive effects.

However, consuming CBD won’t get you “high.” Instead, CBD interacts with receptors in your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which includes the brain and spinal cord, potentially calming the central nervous system, alleviating anxiety, improving sleep quality and/or reducing inflammation and chronic pain symptoms.

Understanding the differences between the three types of CBD—full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate—can help you choose the best type for your specific needs and preferences.

Full-Spectrum CBD

Full-spectrum CBD refers to a hemp extract that contains CBD and other compounds naturally present in the hemp plant, such as terpenes (compounds responsible for the way a plant smells) and minor amounts of THC, says Jeff Chen, M.D. co-founder and CEO of Radicle Science, a wellness clinical research organization in San Diego, and founder and former executive director of the UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative, one of the first multidisciplinary academic programs dedicated to the study of cannabis and cannabinoids.

CBD, terpenes, flavonoids, essential oils and other cannabinoids contained in full-spectrum CBD products can work synergistically to create what’s known as the “entourage effect,” which some research indicates may increase therapeutic benefits of CBD compared to when it’s used alone.

Broad-Spectrum CBD

Broad-spectrum CBD is a hemp extract similar to full-spectrum CBD, with the exception that it typically undergoes an additional extraction process to remove all THC while leaving the remaining compounds naturally present in the hemp plant intact. With that said, testing reveals that some broad-spectrum CBD products retain minimal traces of THC, so it’s safest to refer to them as “nearly THC-free.”

CBD Isolate

As the name suggests, CBD isolate, or pure CBD, doesn’t contain any THC or other compounds from the hemp plant, says Dr. Chen. Unlike full-spectrum CBD and broad-spectrum CBD, CBD isolate cannot create the entourage effect because the extraction method isolates CBD from all other terpenes, cannabinoids and plant compounds naturally occurring in hemp.

How to Consume CBD

There are four main ways to consume CBD:

  • Sublingually (with an oil or tincture absorbed under the tongue)
  • Oral ingestion via edibles like gummies, candies, snacks and beverages, as well as capsules
  • Vaping or smoke inhalation
  • Topical application of a CBD ointment, salve, lotion or cream

“Each way absorbs a different amount, has [a] different time to [the] onset of effects and different side effects,” says Dr. Chen.

Oils and Tinctures

CBD oils and tinctures typically come in bottle sizes ranging from 1 ounce to 4 ounces. The bottle may have a dropper labeled with dose amounts as well, typically at .25-milliliter intervals. When applying CBD oil drops under the tongue, a consumer may feel the effects more quickly than with other forms of CBD. Also, more CBD may be absorbed into the bloodstream via sublingual consumption than with other administration methods.

“Tinctures and oils may be less convenient to take compared to edibles, gummies and capsules since you could spill tincture fluid and you need to look at the amount of tincture in the dropper to determine your dose,” says Dr. Chen. “On the other hand, tinctures may afford a more flexible way to dose.”

Gummies and Other Edibles

CBD-infused gummies and other edibles, such as candies, cookies, brownies and other foods or beverages, don’t typically kick in as quickly as oils and tinctures.

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When you eat gummies and edibles, they must first be processed by the digestive system, which means there is a delay in the onset of effects—and less CBD ultimately enters your bloodstream— says Dr. Chen.

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Capsules

CBD is also available in oral capsule form. As with gummies and other edibles, when you take CBD capsules, there is typically more of a delay in the onset of effects since they must be processed through the digestive system first, says Dr. Chen.

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Lotions, Creams and Other Topicals

Many people seeking potential relief for chronic pain and various skin conditions apply lotions, salves, ointments and other CBD-infused topicals to the affected area.

“With topical forms of CBD, such as lotions or creams, only minimal amounts reach the bloodstream and thus may avoid some of the potential side effects of CBD that does reach the bloodstream, such as diarrhea and lethargy,” says Dr. Chen. However, consumers seeking relief for non-skin conditions like pain, insomnia or anxiety tend to benefit more from CBD when it reaches the bloodstream and should use a non-topical product instead, adds Dr. Chen.

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Vapes and Smoking Flower

CBD vapes come in slim, pre-filled or refillable cartridges, or “pens,” where CBD oil is administered via inhalation. You can also smoke dried flowers from the hemp plant to consume CBD.

Consuming CBD via vaping or smoke inhalation typically results in a faster onset of effects and increased absorption of CBD in the bloodstream. “However, inhalation of CBD by vape or smoking flower has a theoretical risk of damage to the lungs, makes it harder to control dose and has not been well studied,” says Dr. Chen.

There are other risks to vaping, too. Vaping can cause inhalation of vitamin E acetate, heavy metals or other compounds present in the oil or solvents used to make the CBD oil vapable, such as propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin. These additional compounds can cause pulmonary or systemic negative health effects.

How to Use CBD Safely

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t approved any over-the-counter (OTC) or consumer CBD products and has only approved one prescription drug called Epidiolex, which is used to treat seizures associated with certain forms of epilepsy and tuberous sclerosis complex, a rare genetic disease.

In fact, the FDA has issued warning letters to several CBD manufacturers, finding that many products don’t contain the levels of CBD listed on their labels. The letters also addressed companies’ illegal claims that their CBD products can prevent, diagnose, alleviate, treat or cure certain diseases, as well as their marketing of CBD products as dietary supplements.

With those FDA warnings in mind, consumers can take certain steps to ensure they’re using CBD as safely as possible. Most potential CBD benefits are based primarily on anecdotal reports because human clinical data is limited, says Dr. Chen, who stresses the importance of CBD dose.

“Most consumers are taking well under 100 milligrams of CBD a day, and although the effectiveness of CBD in this dose range hasn’t been well studied, CBD appears to be safe at the serving sizes recommended by most consumer product manufacturers,” he says. The risk is low, but possible side effects of CBD at these lower doses may include diarrhea and lethargy, he adds.

“In general, my advice on dosing any product is to find the lowest dose that is effective and doesn’t cause any intolerable side effects,” says Dr. Chen. “Consumers should start at a low dose and gradually increase, paying close attention to possible effectiveness and side effects.”

CBD may also interact with certain drugs, including antidepressants, antipsychotics and opioid medications, potentially causing adverse or side effects.

“Consumers should avoid taking CBD with medications that carry a grapefruit warning, such as certain blood thinners and anti-seizure medications, since CBD and grapefruit interact with similar medications,” says Dr. Chen. “CBD should also be avoided by anyone with liver disease or during pregnancy.”

Consumers can go one step further to investigate individual CBD products by checking the certificate of analysis (COA) for the lot number of that particular CBD product. If the manufacturer offers access to the product’s COA, it may be posted on its website.

The COA lists what’s contained in a CBD product based on an analysis performed by a third-party laboratory. Generally, the COA includes hemp extract concentration, percentage of THC and other cannabinoids, and whether the product contains yeasts, molds, bacteria, pesticides or residual solvents.

Because the FDA has approved only one prescription product containing CBD, most health care providers have minimal formal education on CBD, says Dr. Chen. However, many holistic health practitioners, such as naturopathic doctors, are experienced in CBD and its effects on their clients.

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“There are ‘cannabis clinicians’ in states that have legalized cannabis who have undergone additional training and/or have significant experience overseeing cannabis use in their patients, including the use of CBD,” he says. “You can find such clinicians through organizations like the Society of Cannabis Clinicians.”

Forbes Health covers CBD and cannabis products in accordance with FTC guidelines. Learn more about Forbes Health’s practices and policies regarding how we cover CBD and cannabis as a publisher.

What are the different types of CBD?

You may have seen full spectrum CBD, broad spectrum CBD and pure CBD when you have been looking at CBD. So what do these common pieces of terminology mean? Knowing the different types of CBD will help you get the exact product you are looking for. Before you buy CBD, read this comprehensive breakdown of how different CBD types differ, and why each has its own importance.

Types of CBD

Whole Plant CBD

Where some CBD products solely extract the CBD, whole plant utilises the entire spectrum of hemp compounds, including essential terpenes, flavonoids, waxes and oils. This makes it a premium product, however it is often too thick and unrefined for regular use.

Whole plant CBD products can include CBD oils, CBD edibles and even premium CBD e liquids. Whole plant CBD does not necessarily contain illegal amounts of THC and they can be found in the UK. However, whole plant CBD is rarer to find and only appeals to a small percentage of hemp fans.

Full Spectrum CBD

Full spectrum CBD doesn’t have the waxes and oils found in the whole plant, but it still retains trace elements of THC. Full spectrum products are more common in countries with relaxed laws around THC. Where full spectrum CBD products are legal, you will find an assortment of products with CBD oils and CBD vape liquids proving popular.

Full spectrum CBD is not legal in the UK due to the presence of THC in quantities greater than 0.2%. Most CBD users however, will not be looking for full spectrum CBD due to its psychotropic properties; zero THC is a safer and much more popular way to take CBD.

Broad Spectrum CBD

Broad spectrum CBD products contain 0% THC and retain additional cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids, whilst removing the waxes and oils. This is a popular form of CBD across the UK and is commonly found in CBD balms and CBD vape liquids.

Broad spectrum CBD products offer a more ‘complete’ hemp experience but don’t offer any particular advantages for users looking for CBD. The presence of terpenes and flavonoids also create a more ‘hempy’ flavour in oral products, which may not be to the taste of many.

Pure CBD

Pure CBD products,also known as CBD isolate, only extract CBD from the hemp plant. Pure CBD contains 0.0% THC, does not retain the additional hemp compounds found in the other categorisations, and works well when blended with specially curated ingredients.

CBD Extraction: Natural Precision

If a CBD product describes itself as ‘whole plant’ or ‘pure CBD’, it’s referring to the way the CBD has been processed and what it now contains. Whilst the phrasing “whole plant” conjures up images of a giant blender where thousands of hemp plants are thrown in, in fact it’s far more complex.

In Whole Plant CBD for example, a CO2 process forms the core of the product, while ethanol extraction is carried out simultaneously. This specifically extracts key waxes and oils that are too thick and stubborn for a supercritical extraction to procure.

Whether it’s pure CBD, broad spectrum CBD or even whole plant, it’s important that the correct extraction method is used. That way, the best quality CBD can be obtained that retains the inherent natural benefits of CBD. For more information about how to obtain CBD, checkout our useful CBD extraction guide.

Respecting Natural Cannabidiol

The natural world as we see it today is the result of many millions of years of evolution. Every blade of grass, every feather, and every opposable thumb is the result of countless organisms and biological systems gradually developing alongside each other.

Whilst modern horticultural methods allow for further honing and tweaking, Vitality CBD believe that the best CBD comes from respecting and working in conjunction with that natural order. Properly harnessing this natural balance is part and parcel of our Pure CBD products.

Learn More About CBD

At Vitality CBD, we have complete faith in each of our products because we understand the science behind them, but simply telling you that isn’t enough. We believe that a well-informed user is a happy user, which is why we’ve assembled and curated an extensive CBD knowledge base at the tip of your fingers.

If you have any unresolved questions about any of the forms of CBD, our experienced team are always on hand to field any questions. Reach out to us on our CBD contact page. We want you to feel confident when you buy cannabidiol.

Types of CBD: What are the different types of CBD?

With a number of unfamiliar words surrounding CBD oils, it is easy to get confused. You might have come across different CBD oil designations, such as: full spectrum CBD, broad spectrum CBD, or CBD isolate.

In this article, we will cover the different types of CBD oils and their benefits. While there is no clear answer to which one is the best one, we will talk about the properties of each CBD type so that you can choose which one is right for you and your lifestyle.

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How many types of CBD are there?

Though in theory there can be hundreds of different CBD oil types, depending on their cannabinoid content and extraction process, there are three different types of CBD you will likely come across:

  • CBD Isolate
  • Full Spectrum CBD oil
  • Broad Spectrum CBD oil

CBD Isolate

As the name suggests, CBD Isolate is an isolated form of cannabidiol, or CBD. To put it simply, CBD Isolate oil corresponds to the purest form of CBD oil, since it does not contain any other cannabinoids or natural compounds of the cannabis plant. For this to be possible, all of the plant’s compounds are thoroughly removed, except for CBD, through an extensive extraction process.

Depending on the extraction process type, high-quality CBD isolates are usually over 99% pure. This level of purity is the biggest benefit of this type of CBD since you can maintain the potency of CBD even when added to other substances, such as foods, lotions or shampoo.

CBD Isolate can also be a great choice if you want to avoid THC altogether, since Isolates do not contain any other cannabinoids, including the famous psychoactive constituent of cannabis. This CBD type is highly used therefore by people who have to undergo drug testing, though there is always a slight possibility that THC will show up too, since all CBD products may contain trace amounts of THC.

Finally, CBD isolate might be right for you if you’re looking for a flavourless and odourless product. However, you can find CBD isolate oils with added flavouring if you prefer flavoured products.

Our Pro CBD oil with Vitamin D3 has a peppermint flavour and is great for athletes or anyone who wants to support their active lifestyle. It is BSCG tested and approved, so you can trust you’re compliant whether you’re a drug tested sports professional or hard working blue lighter.

Full Spectrum CBD Oil

Full Spectrum CBD oil corresponds to an oil rich in CBD, alongside small amounts of THC (up to 0.2%), terpenes and flavonoids. Some people prefer to take full spectrum CBD oil over CBD isolate due to the entourage effect theory. This theory defends that taking CBD and THC together, along with other cannabis compounds may be more effective than taking cannabidiol alone.

Moreover, most full spectrum CBD oils will contain a wide range of terpenes and flavonoids, which can have their own beneficial effects. Therefore, this type of CBD oil can be right for you if you prefer a less refined product and if you don’t mind its earthy flavour, though you can find flavoured full-spectrum varieties.

It’s worth noting that from the 1st of April 2021, this type of CBD might no longer be available to buy in the UK due to the Novel Foods act. This act basically applies to foods that weren’t consumed in large quantities before 1997, and as such need to be regulated and licensed. Since full spectrum CBD oil contains small amounts of THC and other cannabinoids, it might be challenging for CBD brands to get this CBD oil type licensed. At fourfive, we don’t sell this product but we offer a range of CBD broad spectrum oils made from 100% natural ingredients.

Broad Spectrum CBD Oil

Broad spectrum CBD sits somewhere in the middle between CBD isolate and full-spectrum CBD. To put it simply, this CBD oil type contains mostly cannabidiol alongside small amounts of other cannabis compounds, but it doesn’t contain THC. However, some products will contain trace quantities.

Like full-spectrum CBD, this form of CBD may also produce heightened effects because they contain additional components that work together. Some of the usually added compounds include cannabinol (CBC) and terpenes, such as limonene, myrcene and pinene.

People who want to benefit from the entourage effect without having to take THC usually prefer this type of CBD for greater benefits.

What is the best type of CBD oil?

Not enough scientific research has been done to determine which type of CBD produces the best benefits with the least side effects. Therefore, the best type of CBD oil will completely depend on your lifestyle, personal preference and what you use CBD oil for.

Other factors might also influence your decision. For example, if you’re an athlete you will likely want to stick to THC-free products.

For instance, if you prefer a refined product that can be added to a variety of substances without losing its potency, you will likely opt for CBD isolate. On the other hand, if you don’t mind small amounts of THC, you can benefit from full spectrum CBD for greater benefits, though as mentioned above, this type of CBD oil will likely stop being sold in the UK from the 1st of April this year due to the Novel Foods act. Therefore, CBD broad spectrum is probably your best bet if you’re looking for a CBD oil that can produce heightened effects.

Whether you pick broad spectrum or isolates, CBD oil supplements are not an all-size-fits-all sort of thing, so sometimes you might have to do a bit of trial and error and see what works best for you. This also applies to finding your optimal CBD dosage .

If you’d like to get up to date with the latest laws on CBD regulation and legality, make sure to read our CBD legality in the UK article for 2021. You can also find multiple blog posts about all things related to our CBD on our learn articles section .

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