CBD Extracts Guide: How to Choose the Right Cannabidiol Extract

full spectrum whole plant extract
whole plant extract

Recent developments in the hemp industry have created an exciting new world of possibilities. Hemp related enterprises have become more possible—and profitable—than ever before. The potential for growth is alive and well.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a useful compound that naturally exists in hemp. CBD can potentially be used for a variety of different purposes. Extracts, oils, gummies, and other CBD products are constantly being introduced to a rapidly growing market.

Because the hemp industry is so new, it can also be a bit overwhelming. Finding the extract that is right for you might require a bit of research and background knowledge. Extracts that are high in CBD and low in THC have generated a significant amount of public interest. This guide can help you determine exactly which extract is right for you.

What is the difference between CBD and THC?

When choosing a specific hemp extract, the first thing you will want to think about is your desired CBD to THC ratio. Though there are many different cannabinoids—active compounds that can be found in the hemp plant—CBD is most commonly mentioned.

THC (which stands for tetrahydrocannabinol) is largely featured in the kind of marijuana you might consume recreationally. THC is distinctively psychoactive and it is the compound that is responsible for people feeling “stoned.” Marijuana strains that are THC dominant will usually be classified as sativa, indica, or hybrids.

CBD (which stands for cannabidiol) is another example of a cannabinoid. Unlike THC, CBD is not known for having strong psychoactive effects. Instead, CBD is typically used for things such as tension relief and other wellness reasons.

Though you can purchase CBD in its original plant form, one of the most common ways of acquiring CBD is through the use of extracts. CBD extracts are generally easy to consume. If you are purchasing from a reliable source, there will be a lot they can tell you about your specific extract.

Are there products that are THC free?

Some people enjoy consuming medical marijuana (with heavy amounts of THC) or in states where it is recreationally legal, while others do not. Fortunately, no matter what your preference may be, there are plenty of consumable (and sometimes delicious) hemp products that are completely THC free.

In the State of Colorado, only hemp that has less than 0.3% THC can earn the title of “industrial grade.” There are numerous things that can be done in the breeding process to minimize THC levels and maximize CBD levels. The use of extracts are a particularly popular option. As new generations of hemp plants develop, their genes will continue to improve.

What is the difference between isolated and full spectrum CBD?

The CBD ratio will indicate the portion of your plant that is actually CBD. Many consumers prefer to find extracts with the highest CBD ratio they possibly can. This is considered to be the most efficient way to consume.

The highest CBD strains will still only have a CBD content of no more than 20%. This means that 80% of the plant must be something else. When your CBD extract is labelled as “full spectrum”, this means you are not only getting CBD as a cannabinoid. You are also getting other cannabinoids which can include THC, CBN (cannabinol), CBL (cannabicycol), and numerous others.

Isolated CBD extracts, as the name might imply, feature CBD on its own (in isolation).  Though it was once claimed that isolates were more effective than full spectrum CBD, recent studies have suggested that this is simply not the case.

In fact, most people involved in the hemp industry will actually tell you that full spectrum CBD is the cleaner and more potent option. Full spectrum CBD has also been claimed to last longer than isolated CBD which can be especially useful for individuals growing large crops or buying in bulk.

What is the difference between molecular distillation and extraction?

Another important distinction that needs to be made is whether a hemp product was made using molecular distillation or extraction. These processes yield distinct products with notably different qualities.

During the hemp extraction process, the product is initially brought into contact with some sort of solvent. Usually this solvent is ethanol, propane, butane, or something similar. The desired compound—such as a specific cannabinoid—is then dissolved into the solvent. To complete this process, the solvent is eventually evaporated. What remains is a specific extract of the initial product.

Molecular distillation is similar to extraction in the sense that both processes are trying to find a way to further isolate a specific compound (in this case, CBD). However, there are a few important ways in which the molecular distillation process is different. Instead of using a solvent, the separation of compounds is conducted by using differences in boiling points.

Molecular distillation is done to yield the purest compounds possible. Prior to purification, extracted cannabinoids will usually be about 50-70% pure. After purification, the content can be upwards of 95% pure. Clearly this process makes a major difference—before purchasing any CBD extracts, you will want to know whether or not the product was distilled.

How do I know which CBD extract is right for me?

There isn’t one particular CBD extract that will ‘right’ for every individual consumer. The kind that will be right for you, ultimately, will significantly depend on your personal needs and tastes.

Before deciding on a final CBD extract, you should ask yourself some fundamental questions.

  • How much THC do I want there to be in this extract?
  • Do I want an extract that is isolated? Or would I prefer for this product to be ‘full spectrum’?
  • Does it matter if this extraction has been molecularly distilled?
  • What qualities are the most important?
  • What is the best CBD ratio available? What other cannabinoids are relevant?

If you can answer these questions, finding the CBD extract that is best for you will be a much easier process. Understanding the specific qualities you are looking for will be very beneficial once you are actually able to meet with a supplier.

CBD extracts can be incredibly useful. People suffering from a wide variety of conditions have claimed these extracts have changed their life. Though you will want to check to see what specific extracts are available in your market, this guide can help you get pointed in the right direction. For more information on CBD extracts, or to speak to a member of our team, please explore our website.