Is Whole Plant CBD Oil Better than Other CBD Oils?
What exactly is CBD?
While CBD wasn’t discovered until 1940, people have benefitted from this key cannabis ingredient for thousands of years. The ancient Chinese used cannabis-infused tea to assist with memory and treat diseases such as gout and malaria. It was also used by other civilizations such as the ancient Indians to treat pain, insomnia, and even gastrointestinal disorders.
CBD is present in both the hemp and marijuana species of cannabis, and is believed to be responsible for many of the plant’s benefits. Hemp generally has higher concentrations of CBD than marijuana. In contrast, marijuana has much higher levels of THC compared to hemp. THC is the psychotropic cannabis ingredient that gets you high, and it may offer benefits such has helping with insomnia, anxiety, and pain.
Hemp has a small amount of THC, but not enough to get you high according to research. This is why hemp-derived CBD is legal to purchase, whereas marijuana-derived CBD can only be bought where the use of marijuana has been legalized.
Types of CBD oils
Whether you are currently using CBD oils or are considering using them, it’s important to know about the different types so you can find the one that’s right for you:
- Whole-plant CBD – Also known as full-spectrum CBD, whole-plant CBD oil is derived from the entire hemp or marijuana plant. This means it not only contains CBD and THC, but other potentially beneficial phytocannabinoids as well.
- Broad-spectrum CBD – This type of CBD oil is derived from the entire plant with one exception: the THC has been removed. THC may not be allowed in certain products or locations, in which case broad-spectrum may be a viable alternative.
- CBD Isolate – While it is made from either a marijuana or hemp plant as well, CBD isolate contains only the CBD from these plants. The molecules of this type of CBD are also purified after they are extracted.
- Nano-CBD – This type of CBD oil contains cannabidiol molecules that have been shrunk down to very small sizes. The end product is a water-based CBD that passes through the skin more quickly and easily than other CBD oils. Nano-CBD may be whole-plant, broad-spectrum, or isolate.
- Hemp Seed Oil – Because it is cold-pressed from hemp seeds, hemp seed oil contains no CBD or other phytocannabinoids. It is, however, rich in essential fatty acids and protein.
Is whole plant CBD the best?
Though CBD isolate was thought to be the superior form of CBD for many years, recent evidence suggests that whole-plant CBD is more beneficial than isolate, as well as other types of CBD. One study found that purified CBD isolate was only anti-inflammatory when given in a very limited dose range, which inhibited its usefulness. Whole-plant CBD, on the other hand, was found to be more effective as dosage was increased. This led to the conclusion that whole-plant CBD extract “is superior over CBD of the treatment of inflammatory conditions.”
Research also shows that many other cannabinoids in whole-plant CBD have beneficial properties. Cannibinol (CBN), for instance, is known to help with sleep, and cannabichromene (CBC) is beneficial for gut health, among other things. And then there’s the more well-known tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Despite its negative side effects, this cannabinoid can be effective at treating serious medical conditions such as cancer and seizures.
While these and other cannabinoids can be beneficial on their own, they have been found to be even more effective when combined together. The compounds work together synergistically in the body, which would explain why the body is able to utilize whole-plant CBD better than the isolate form. Because of this synergy, a broad-spectrum CBD oil with the THC removed will not have as many benefits compared to the whole-plant oil.
Benefits of whole-plant CBD oil
In addition to containing beneficial cannabinoids, whole-plant CBD also has phytochemicals called terps (terpenes & terpenoids) that can provide other health benefits, as well as increase the effectiveness of cannabinoids. Terps have an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effect, and some of them also stimulate the body’s neurotransmitters. Research also shows that terps can make the cannabinoids in cannabis more bioavailable.
Phenolics, or phenols, are another substance found in cannabis that has been found to have positive health effects. Phenols are not only found in cannabis, but all other plants as well. Generally, they are powerful antioxidants that may play a role in preventing diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. Additionally, phenols are known for their neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties.
Because of these synergistic substances, whole-plant CBD oil maximizes the benefits of the cannabis plant, which may include:
- Inflammation reduction
- Nervous system protection
- Improved cognitive function
- Seizure prevention
- Stress & anxiety reduction
- Cancer & tumor prevention
- Acne reduction
- Improved sleep
CBD oil, especially the oil derived from hemp, is considered safe to use and is typically well-tolerated. There are some side effects associated with its usage, however. The most common side effects of CBD oil are diarrhea, tiredness, and changes in appetite.
CBD oil containing THC in significant amounts can have more serious side-effects. Along with getting you high, these side effects may include nausea, join paint, heart issues, fatigue, hair loss, and neuropathy.
The good news is that a full-spectrum CBD oil can actually reduce or eliminate the side-effects that cannabinoids such as CBD and THC have on their own. And if you want to reduce side-effects further and avoid the high that comes with THC, hemp CBD oil will be a better choice than marijuana-derived CBD.
Precautions & dosage
Many people are looking to capitalize on the CBD oil gold rush. This has led to some manufacturers putting cheap, inferior products on the market to maximize profits. In addition, the cannabis plants from which CBD oils derive may contain pesticides and other harmful chemicals. To avoid using a poorly-made or toxic whole-plant CBD oil, make sure that it has been tested and is free of contaminants.
Another thing to be aware of is that the right CBD dosage will vary depending on the individual and the severity of their health problems. But generally speaking, the range for everyday health is about 25-40 mg. More serious health problems may warrant about 2.5 times that amount, while chronic conditions may require around 10 times that amount.
Regardless of your condition, it’s best to start out with small amounts of CBD and increase slowly until you find the optimal amount. But before that, make sure to visit with your practitioner first to find out if CBD is a good option for you—especially if you have a serious medical condition or are taking medications.
Whole plant CBD oil from hemp is now legal in many areas, as long as the THC content does not exceed 0.3%. At this amount, the oil will not get you high. This amount of THC is not likely to show up on a drug test, unless you take a considerable amount of it. If you are concerned about testing positive, you may want to opt for a broad-spectrum CBD oil that has the THC removed just to be 100% safe.
If legal in your area, you have the option to choose a whole plant CBD oil derived from marijuana. Again, this may provide more benefits due to the higher THC content, but it also comes with more side effects.