The Endocannabinoid System
To understand the human endocannabinoid system, it’s helpful to know a little about one of the most fundamental concepts in biology: homeostasis. And the best way to understand homeostasis is to think of Goldilocks and the three bears.
That classic fairy tale illustrated the idea that the best outcome often lies somewhere in the middle, between two extremes. We don’t want things too hot or too cold, but just right.
Because of its crucial role in homeostasis, the ECS is widespread throughout the animal kingdom. Its key pieces evolved a long time ago, and the ECS can be found in all vertebrate species.
The three key components of the ECS are:
Cannabinoid receptors found on the surface of cells
Endocannabinoids, small molecules that activate cannabinoid receptors
Metabolic enzymes that break down endocannabinoids after they are used
CBD and your System
This picture graph gives a visual representation of what parts of the body the CBD receptors are targeting. This can be particularly helpful when deciding the proper medicine for your condition.
Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum and Isolate
When shopping for CBD, you’ve probably come across products labeled as full spectrum, broad spectrum, or CBD isolate.
While the three terms may sound similar, they are far from the same.
So, what do they mean and how are they different?
In a nutshell, they are used to define which type of CBD is used in a product. Each type presents important factors to consider, and understanding the difference is essential for every CBD user.
In scientific terms, an isolate is the purest form of a compound, which is produced by singularly extracting that compound from its environment and isolating it from all other compounds.
With that being said, CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD, which is produced by removing all other compounds found in the plant including terpenes, flavonoids, plant parts, and other cannabinoids.
CBD Isolate is typically extracted from Hemp, due to its low to non-existent THC-content.
Full spectrum CBD is an extract that contains all compounds found naturally occurring in the plant, including terpenes, essential oils, and other cannabinoids.
The full spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenes, and essential oils extracted from the plant work together to magnify the therapeutic benefits of each individual cannabinoid. This is commonly referred to as the “entourage effect“.
It was previously believed that CBD in its isolated from was more effective than Full Spectrum CBD; however, in 2005, this theory was debunked by a study from the Lautenberg Center for General Tumor Immunology in Jerusalem.
In the study, researchers found that test subjects administered with full spectrum CBD were provided with higher levels of relief, compared to subjects administered with CBD isolate. In addition, the results showed that full spectrum CBD provided enhanced effects with higher dosages, while the effects of CBD maintained consistent with increased dosages.
Broad spectrum CBD is a bit of a mix between Full Spectrum CBD and CBD Isolate.
Like Full Spectrum CBD, the other compounds found within the plant are preserved in the extract; however, like CBD Isolate, THC is completely removed.
Because Broad Spectrum CBD contains multiple cannabinoids, it can deliver the enhanced benefits of the “entourage effect,” without the risk of psychoactive effects of THC.