Updated: Aug 12, 2021
CBD is the abbreviation for the compound Cannabidiol and it is one of 113 identified phytocannabinoids found in cannabis and hemp. There is good evidence that it has potential benefit to a wide range of systems in our body because it exerts its effect through the body’s endocannabinoid system. We’ve all heard of our body’s cardiovascular system, gastrointestinal system, respiratory system, and so forth, but did you know your body also has an endocannabinoid system?
The endocannabinoid system was identified in the 1992 by Raphael Mechoulam, an Israeli organic chemist and professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel. Studying the effects of cannabis since the 60’s, Dr. Mechoulam ascertained that THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) interacts with the largest receptor system in the human body, the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
He then found that the human brain produces its very own Cannabis-like substance, a chemical they named "anandamide" after the Sanskrit word ananda, meaning “bliss”. Anandamide exerts positive effects on mood, memory, brain function and pain, but it is rapidly inactivated by an enzyme (FAAH) making its effect short lived. CBD actually inhibits the action of the enzyme FAAH so that the body’s naturally made anandamide continues to be active, prolonging the positive effect on mood, memory, brain function and pain relief.
Our body’s ECS has at least two major receptors, CB 1 and CB 2, and also produces other endocannabinoids beside anandamide. The CB 1 receptors are typically found in the brain and throughout the nervous system while CB 2 receptors are primarily found in the immune system. Consequently, we can see why CBD oil is touted to treat illnesses from A to Z…acne, allergy, anxiety, epilepsy, pain, etc.
The Good Ol' Days
Remember the old days of going to the gas station and an attendant came out to provide "full service" (i.e. fill the tank, wash the windows, and check the oil)? Inevitably, the question was raised, “Will that be regular or high test [premium] gasoline?” That experience no longer exists, but a similar choice does regarding CBD Oil as it relates to the choice of isolate or full spectrum.
What is THC?
CBD oil contains a number of different cannabinoids, as well as essential vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and amino acids, but may also contain other active components such as flavonoids and terpenes. THC, the psychoactive component in hemp, is found in higher concentrations in products designed for use such as medical marijuana.
CBD Isolate: "Regular"
The pure CBD isolate variety has absolutely no THC. The CBD isolate also does not contain the additional flavonoids and terpenes so it could be equated to the “regular” gasoline. The pure CBD isolate variety definitely provides benefit to the endocannabinoid system of the body, as we discussed previously: acne, allergy, anxiety, epilepsy, pain, etc.
CBD Full Spectrum: "Premium"
The “high test” (premium) variety of CBD oil, called "full spectrum," does contain these additional active components of flavonoids and terpenes, all working together to provide enhancement called the “entourage effect.” Since the full spectrum variety contains these additional active components, it can also have trace amounts of the psychoactive THC.
However, all full spectrum products available outside of the medical and recreational hemp realm, by law have less than 0.3% THC and therefore have no psychoactive effects on a person, though may possibly result in a positive THC drug screen.
For those not exposed to a potential drug screen, the full spectrum variety of CBD oil may provide a more robust benefit as the cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes wor