So, you’re deciding which CBD product is the best choice for you. How can you tell if pure, THC-free isolate CBD oil or terpene-rich, full spectrum CBD oil will benefit you the most? It depends on a few factors, including how you plan on consuming the CBD oil and what health effects you hope to gain from a CBD regimen. If you’re leaning towards full spectrum CBD products, you should know that consuming CBD and THC together often results in a synergistic, multi-part process within your body known as the entourage effect.
What is the Entourage Effect?
The growth of the entourage effect within the cannabis community stems from the concept of whole, full spectrum CBD oil being greater than the sum of its parts. The parts, in this instance, are the various cannabinoids and terpenes as well as the powerful combination of CBD and THC together in a single, complex substance. Although terpenes are often considered nonessential cannabis byproducts, their presence in full or broad spectrum CBD oil increases the activity of cannabinoids, producing more powerful physiological effects than isolate CBD oil alone.1
What are Terpenes?
Terpenes are naturally occurring plant compounds known for possessing unique, potent scents in addition to a multitude of natural health and wellness benefits. Terpenes have been used in plant-based medicinal treatments since ancient times to heighten anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, improve digestive functioning and more.2 Their scents range from earthy to citrus and most cannabis users can instantly recognize their unique smell in hemp-derived CBD products. While many associate the “skunky” aroma of marijuana with THC, it is actually terpenes responsible for emitting this powerfully intoxicating natural odor.
Terpenes, CBD and THC Together
While there are multiple scientific theories on how the entourage effect occurs, recent research from The University of Sydney shows consumption of a full spectrum of cannabinoids, including the dominant compounds of CBD and THC, results in increased concentrations of cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) in the blood plasma—14 times higher than pure CBD oil, to be exact.3 With increased CBDA comes increased benefits, especially in reducing anxiety and mood disorders.
When terpenes, phytocannabinoids, CBD and THC join forces, research shows they target CB1 and CB2 receptors within the endocannabinoid system without triggering addictive tendencies. While CBD is the most important component in regulating mental health disorders including depression and anxiety, the combination of CBD and low levels of THC are shown to have heightened antidepressant effects.1
Impact on the Gut-Brain Axis
Another positive contribution CBD and THC have when combined in a full spectrum CBD oil is the ability to alter the gut microbiome.1 By targeting sites of excess inflammation, the primary cannabinoids strengthen the intestinal barrier and work to reinstate equilibrium among the gut’s billions of microorganisms.
How does this impact the aforementioned mood disorders? An overwhelming body of research shows gut health is directly tied to brain health. There are many reasons for this; one of which is because approximately 95 percent of the body’s serotonin, a feel-good neurotransmitter, is produced in the gut.4 What happens when an unhealthy gut quits manufacturing the necessary serotonin to make you feel good? Your mood becomes unstable for either a short or long period of time depending on how quickly and efficiently your gut health is remedied.
Low THC, High Impact
While the combination of THC and CBD together carries so much potential, it is important to note the greatest health benefits gained from the entourage effect tend to occur when THC is at very low levels. In Farmulated Full Spectrum CBD products, for instance, THC must have less than 0.3 percent potency in order to offer the safest possible CBD products to customers. Research on the exact percentage of THC to stimulate benefits without adverse effects is ongoing, but Farmulated customers can rest assured our third-party tested hemp-derived CBD offers the highest quality CBD products without ever exceeding federal THC standards.
The Case for Isolate CBD Oil
Although combining CBD and THC is a physiological win for most CBD users, there is evidence that the addition of THC may be more impactful in males than in females.1 Additionally, those with a history of substance abuse may be medically advised against the consumption of THC despite studies showing no addictive tendencies in low doses. Always consult with a physician before beginning a CBD regimen if you are concerned about the impact of THC.
Because every person’s physiology is unique, it is important to listen to your body if full spectrum CBD ever produces unwanted side effects. In such an instance, isolate CBD oil will still grant many of the same benefits of full spectrum CBD oil but at a lower blood plasma concentration and without a trace of THC. Isolate CBD oil is also a great option for those who enjoy mixing CBD into beverages or baked goods, offering a pure, easy-to-blend flavor profile.
Isolate vs Full Spectrum CBD
Whichever you choose, know that pure CBD in itself still carries many of the same benefits as a full profile of cannabinoids and terpenes. If you’re interested in maximizing the benefits of your daily CBD regimen, choose premium, low-THC CBD products for the greatest chance of achieving anti-inflammatory, anxiety-reducing, health stabilizing effects. When terpenes, cannabinoids, CBD and THC come together, your body welcomes the greatest possible impact of CBD-backed natural wellness.