September 04, 2016

Before we can delve into the debate of Full Spectrum vs. Isolate we need to understand what each means.

Full Spectrum is made up of multiple cannabinoids, such as, CBD, CBG, CBN or CBC. Essentially, full spectrum can be compared to a multi-vitamin.
Isolate contains only one cannabinoid.

Outside of THC the most popular cannabinoid right now is CBD. This makes sense because THC and CBD are the two major cannabinoids found in cannabis. The percentage make up of these two cannabinoids is much greater than other cannabinoids. Cannabinoids that make up a smaller percentage of the plant are constantly being discovered. At the time of writing, there have been a total of 113 cannabinoids discovered. Science is taking these newly discovered cannabinoids and testing them and trying to determine their wellness value. For example, here is a few of the lesser known cannabinoids and what they have been discovered to assist with:

CBG – kill or slow bacterial growth, improve bone density and reduce inflammation
CBN – Sleep aide for those who suffer from insomnia
CBC – The Italian Cannabinoid study found CBC May Increase Neural Progenitor Stem Cells

What has just recently been discovered is cannabinoids produce a synergistic effect; it gives merit to the saying, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” This is where the debate between Full Spectrum and Isolate begins.

Since the discovery that cannabinoids produce a synergistic effect it has been argued that this effect makes the cannabinoids act differently when combined. Combining CBD with THC and CBG will provide different results than if you were to use a pure form of CBD.

The process of extracting THC and CBD has come a long way and is becoming more exact every day. Yet, the cannabinoids that are not as prevalent in cannabis as THC or CBD the process is a bit trickier. Logically you cannot expect to use the same process of extracting the two most prevalent cannabinoids within cannabis when trying to extract a cannabinoid that is less prevalent within the plant. The process of extraction undoubtedly creates some degradation to the cannabinoid which is acceptable when you are dealing with the percentage makeup of THC and CBD. But, any degradation to the smaller cannabinoids such as CBC can be impactful.

The argument can also be had that people do not want to risk the effects that other cannabinoids can bring, such as drowsiness. Using the vitamin analogy, if I have cold I am not going to take a bunch of multi-vitamins. Instead, I am going to power dose vitamin C. If I have anxiety, psychosis or feeling nauseous I am going to want the full dose effect of CBD. 

On the flip side, studies are being conducted and advancements are being made to the full spectrum extracts. Israel is leading the world right now in the study of Cannabinoid research particularly with full spectrum extracts. An interesting study was published out of the Lautenberg Center for General and Tumor Immunology in Jerusalem. The study examines the effectiveness of administering isolatedcannabinoid extracts (a CBD-only formula) versus whole plant extracts (which contain the full range of the plant’s cannabinoid content). The study sought to compare the effectiveness of a completely purified CBD extract versus a full spectrum extract of cannabis flowers containing large quantities of CBD. The conclusion of the study was that the whole plant extract, which contained a large percentage of CBD but also contained traces of the other cannabinoids, proved far more effective than CBD-only solutions in alleviating inflammation and pain sensation. The study demonstrated that a whole plant extract, containing the entire range of cannabinoids present in raw cannabis, will continue to provide relief for inflammation as the dose is increased. When supplied as an isolated cannabinoid extract, CBD on its own yielded a bell-curve of effectiveness, which is not desirable for medical treatments seeking effective relief that corresponds with the dosage.

Personally, at this point in time I am all about the Isolate. Then again I am the guy who loves to power dose vitamin C at the onset of a cold. It has to always come down to what are you are treating and what are the results you want. Taking a full spectrum approach may be what’s best for you. You may have a found a full spectrum product that consistently provides the same results and that works for you.
After reading the results from the Lautenberg Center for General and Tumor Immunology study that I mentioned above I am certain my opinion will change at some point. I know for a fact that the discoveries and progress that is being made with cannabinoid research all of us will have to constantly reassess how to approach and manage our own wellness.
Keep an opened mind and stay tuned. New discoveries are on the horizon.

 Keep it weird

 - Weirdo

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