As time has gone on, the way in which hemp is processed has become increasingly more complex. The hemp industry—which is currently booming—has actively been seeking new ways to deliver its product. Designing the perfect hemp extract is a careful balancing act. The inclusion (or exclusion) of various cannabinoids, the ways in which these cannabinoids interact, and the ways in which these products will be consumed are all very important things to consider.
Because these developments in the industry are relatively new, most consumers rightfully have a lot of questions. This simple, but in-depth, guide will explore the various types of CBD concentrates that are currently available and answer some of the most common questions that people have.
What are cannabinoids? What is CBD?
The hemp plant, which is widely recognized as one of the oldest domesticated crops in the world, has many different unique ways of interacting with the human body. Throughout our body, we have many different cannabinoid receptors. These naturally occurring receptors make it possible to consume the plant in a way that is distinctively different than consuming an ordinary plant.
Cannabinoids is a term that describes a wide range of chemical compounds that can be found in the industrial hemp plant. Currently, there are over 100 different cannabinoids that are known to be in existence. The most commonly known cannabinoid is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC has an intoxicating effect that makes most users feel “high.” However, some people do not like or do not desire this feeling. Instead, they prefer to focus on other cannabinoids—such as CBD, CBN, or others—that have distinctively different effects and uses.
Cannabidiol (CBD) has recently become one of the most highly demanded cannabinoids within the consumables sector of the hemp industry. CBD is highly demanded because, while it lacks the intense psycho-activity that is produced by THC, it is still believed to possess numerous different health and wellness benefits. The most effective way to consume CBD is through the use of CBD concentrates.
What is fractional distillation?
Fractional distillation is a process that is not unique to the hemp industry and, in fact, it is something that is used by chemists in many industries all around the world. The goal of fractional distillation is to separate different components—or fractions—of a product in a way in which they can be more effectively isolated from one another.
During the fractional distillation process, a liquid mixture is boiled. Because the various “fractions” within the mixture have different boiling points, as the mixture heats up, these fractions will naturally begin to separate. Once the mixture—which originally contains many different cannabinoids—has been fully separated, it becomes much easier for the designers of hemp-derived products to choose which cannabinoids are included and which cannabinoids will be removed. Additionally, the final product will be noticeably more concentrated than it was before.
What are full spectrum CBD extracts?
As stated, there are currently more than 100 (in fact, there are actually 113) known cannabinoids in existence. Naturally, this means there are many different combinations of cannabinoids that can be used in a given concentrate. In a given extract, CBD is likely going to be the central cannabinoid that is emphasized the most. But, additionally, there may be numerous other cannabinoids present.
A full spectrum CBD extract will include CBD in addition to a “full spectrum” of other cannabinoids. Some of the most common cannabinoids that will be found in these extracts are CBG, CBN, CBC, CBDa, and THCa. The primary benefit of including many different kinds of cannabinoids in frequently referred to as the entourage effect. This term describes the fact that when an extract includes multiple different cannabinoids, instead of focusing on just one, there is a sort of synergy formed that makes the extract distinctively more valuable.
What are CBD isolates?
Unlike full spectrum CBD extracts, CBD isolates focus on isolating CBD to the greatest extent that they feasibly can. These extracts are often sought out by individuals who want the “purest” forms of CBD available. Though CBD isolates certainly lose the entourage effect that makes full spectrum CBD extracts more valuable, there are still many different reasons why someone would want to use them. These reasons can include someone who is using CBD for the first and wants to see it function in isolation, someone who is using CBD for a very specific wellness purpose, and numerous others.
What does it mean for a concentrate to be THC free?
In general, most CBD extracts do not contain very much THC (the most psychoactive of all the cannabinoids) and instead focus on other cannabinoids that are generally considered to be less intense. However, though there still may some amounts of THC that are found in these cannabinoids as well as THCa, THCv, and numerous other comparable compounds.
When a CBD concentrate claims itself to be “THC free”, that means that the producers not only went through the standard fractional distillation process, but the producers took additional steps to make sure that there was absolutely no THC present at all. The process involved in making an extract 100% THC free will typically make the final product more expensive than comparable alternatives. Because the level of THC in the original extract was not very high to begin with, most people consider this increase in cost to not be worth it. But if you have a specific need for the product to be 100% THC free, then this may be a better option for you.
Which CBD concentrate is best for me?
This question can actually be a little bit misleading. There is no one-size-fits-all form of CBD extracts that will always be the best for everybody. Instead, the extract that will be best for you will depend on your intended purpose for consuming, your budgetary constraints, and the kind of cannabinoids you are hoping to consume.
Usually, full spectrum CBD extracts are considered by industry experts to be “the best.” The entourage effect that can be gained from consuming them makes them the most effective at satisfying a variety of different needs. However, there are still many instances in which someone might want to consider consuming a different kind of CBD extract. CBD isolates and THC free extracts can offer a more targeted approach to wellness treatments and being able to focus on CBD and nothing else is sometimes considered preferable.
Regardless of what you are looking for in a CBD extract, there is likely an extract available that will work for you. By taking the time to understand the differences in these products, the usefulness of the fractional distillation process, and the unique workings of the entourage effect, you will be in a much better position to make the choice that is best for you.