January 25, 2021 4 min read

It’s no secret that the CBD industry has exploded in the last couple of years. But many people are still unfamiliar with the basic types of CBD.

At Kanibi, we want you to understand what you’re getting - so we’re going to dig into one of the big questions: What is full spectrum CBD?

What is CBD?

CBD is a cannabinoid. That means that it’s a specific type of chemical that can be extracted from a cannabis plant. There are over 100 cannabinoids that have already been identified, but by far the two most dominant are THC and CBD.

CBD and THC both work by interacting with our endocannabinoid systems, which are composed of chemicals and receptors spread throughout our brains and bodies. Both cannabinoids have multiple potential health benefits, but there’s at least one major difference between them.

THC will make you high. CBD won’t.

In fact, scientists have discovered that CBD counteracts the psychoactive effects of THC. So if you’re trying CBD in the hopes of experiencing a bit of a buzz, you should dismiss that idea from your mind. It’s not going to happen. 

And to fully understand whya CBD tincture won’t give you a buzz, let’s take a look at one of America’s historic crops: the humble hemp plant.

What’s in a Name? Hemp vs. Marijuana

cbd tincture bottle

Before we talk about full spectrum CBD, though, you’ll need to understand a bit about the hemp plant that your CBD comes from. 

Most people understand that CBD is extracted, by some mysterious means, from hemp, but fewer understand what a hemp plant actually is - and this is directly related to full spectrum CBD.

Basically, hemp is a cannabis plant that has less than 0.3% THC. 

That sounds too simple, but that’s really all there is to the definition. It’s true that hemp and marijuana have been bred very differently over the years - hemp to emphasize its fibers and marijuana its THC. But essentially, the only legal difference between a hemp plant and a marijuana plant is whether it has more or less than 0.3% THC.

But of course, there’s more to the hemp plant than CBD and THC. There are many chemical compounds that are part of the plant, including over 100 so-called “minor cannabinoids.” And there are also many terpenes and flavonoids which create the sensory experience of dosing hemp, but also have their own health benefits.

So when a company extracts the oils out of a hemp plant, that oil is going to include CBD predominantly - but it will also have traces of THC and some minor cannabinoids as well. 

Some companies will further process that extract to remove everything but the CBD, and the end product of that process is called CBD isolate.

But if you leave all the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids intact, you’ve got full spectrum CBD oil.

What are the Benefits of Full Spectrum CBD Oil?

hemp and cbd bottle

So far we've talked a bit about the plant and the process that results in a full spectrum CBD oil. 

But why stop there? Why not keep purifying the extract until all that is left is CBD isolate? Isn’t CBD isolate more “pure” than full spectrum CBD oil?

Well, CBD isolate certainly has its place - especially if you’re going to undergo a drug test for work (more on that later).  But there’s good reason to believe thata full spectrum extract may be more effective.

A theory that is referred to as “the entourage effect,” some scientists (like cannabis science pioneer Raphael Mechoulam) claim that all those “extra” plant compounds work together to boost the effects of CBD. 

There are several studies supporting this theory, but a few of the most frequently cited are:

  • This 1998 study which found that two otherwise inactive compounds helped cannabinoids bind with receptors for increased pain relief.
  • 2010 clinical trial of Sativex (a THC and CBD combination drug) in which Ethan Russo found that CBD and THCwork together to control pain.
  • 2018 meta-analysis of CBD for epilepsy which suggested that a full spectrum CBD oil was more effective at reducing the frequency of seizures than CBD isolate. 

So while there’s a long way to go before we can say that the entourage effect has been 100% “proven,” we find the evidence compelling enough to have made our full spectrum tinctures, topicals, gummies, and softgels our signature product.

Will a full spectrum CBD tincture make me fail a drug test?

two people talking with a drug test bottle

This is a big question, and one that is worth paying close attention to. Being tested for drugs is a reality for thousands of people in the US. Anyone working for the government, for example, has to be prepared to take a drug test if asked.

And yes, it’s possible that taking a full spectrum CBD tincture on a regular basis could cause you to fail a blood test. 

Even just trace amounts of THC - and Kanibi tinctures are well within the 0.3% legal limit - could cause a positive test result.

That’s because THC is highly lipophilic and is stored in your fatty tissue over time. So, if you only take it sporadically, and you don’t have much body fat, your chances of failing a drug test are greatly reduced.

But if you have a higher level of body fat, you will have more THC in your system and it’ll take longer for it to leave your body entirely.

For this reason, we recommend anyone who is subject to drug testing to use our CBD isolate based products instead.And we encourage you to check our third party lab reports so you can know for sure that there really is no THC in there.

What should I look for in a full spectrum product?

Many companies will refer to their products as “full spectrum” if there’s a trace amount of THC and no minor cannabinoids.But a true full spectrum product should show some detectable amounts of other minor cannabinoids. 

For example, our current third party lab report shows detectable amounts of CBDA, CBDV, CBN, and CBC. These minor cannabinoids are present in tiny amounts, but put together, you’re going to get some cannabinoid synergy going on.

As always, if you have questions,be sure to shoot us a line. Our knowledgeable customer service reps are happy to get you the answers you need!