Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring compound found in the resinous flower of cannabis, a plant with a rich history as a medicine going back thousands of years. Today the therapeutic properties of CBD are being tested and confirmed by scientists and doctors around the world. A safe, non-addictive substance, CBD is one of more than a hundred “phytocannabinoids,” which are unique to cannabis and endow the plant with its robust therapeutic profile.

Before we directly compare the both, let’s break down what each is. Full spectrum CBD oil comes with all the cannabinoids present in hemp. If you see full spectrum hemp CBD oil for sale, it’ll include many cannabis compounds such as Cannabicycol (CBL), Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), Cannabinol (CBN), Cannabichromevarinic Acid (CBCVA) and more. It also contains a very small amount of THC, (.3%, as is legally allowed).
‘CBD has proven anti-anxiety effects and may be helpful in depression, based on anecdotal reports,’ says Dr Gordon. ‘I use high CBD prescription cannabis medicine products as part of a mental health protocol with my patients suffering with anxiety and depression. The antidepressant effects of CBD have been shown in animal models, but we now need large, depression-specific studies in humans as the next step.’
That being said, though, CBD isolate still has a very relevant place in the cannabis market. A lot of people, for instance, use it to concoct their own personal daily CBD remedies – they mix the pure powder with oil, or they add it into their coffee, or they make edibles out of it. Since it comes in an easily-measurable powder, it’s a great option for those individuals who are trying to calculate exact personal dosages of CBD medication by the milligram.
There's also the question of CBD's legality – something that's a lot grayer than the black-and-white picture most companies paint. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration considers CBD, like all cannabinoids, a schedule 1 drug. That means it's just as illegal as heroin and ecstasy. Meanwhile, hemp – a variety of the cannabis plant regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture – is legal , so long as its THC content is negligibly low. But because the agriculture department doesn't test for CBD – only THC – in hemp, more companies are getting away with selling products they say contain CBD, says Sara Jane Ward, an assistant professor of pharmacology at the Temple University Lewis Katz School of Medicine who's been studying CBD in rodent models for more than 10 years. Needless to say, the legality of CBD is "very confusing and very gray," she says.
After seasonal harvests of specific cultivars, these high-CBD hemp crops are put through a specialized solvent-free extraction process to yield a hemp oil that is naturally high in cannabidiol. This high CBD oil is different from hemp oil that is used in cooking. This pure hemp extract is then tested for safety, quality, and cannabinoid content before being exported to our processing facilities in the United States. Importing any cannabis or hemp product into the United States is a complicated and serious task, so we leave nothing to chance before our high-CBD hemp oil makes its journey across the Atlantic Ocean.
With that being said, let’s discuss the wonderful thing we call CBD oil. CBD, cannabidiol, is one of over 85 active cannabinoids identified in hemp and other cannabis plants. CBD oil is derived from hemp, due to its abundance naturally occurring in the plant. CBD oil is extracted using the whole plant, stalks or flowers. Since hemp contains only trace amounts of THC, CBD oil products are non-intoxicating. 
With the variety of CBD concentrations and other compounds that hemp offers, full spectrum CBD products can cover all ground. If we were to directly compare the two, scientists point out that full spectrum CBD works with the endocannabinoid system entirely. Isolate products, such as crystal, the highest quality cannabidiol and natural ingredients, and will deliver the most amount of CBD to your system at once. Ultimately, preference is subjective to the user’s condition and system.
Some work-place drug screens and tests detect THC and not the presence of Cannabinoids or other legal hemp based constituents. However, studies have shown that ingesting hemp can cause confirmed positive results. Based on this information, if you are subject to any form of drug screening or testing or are a member of the United States Armed Services, we cannot recommend that you ingest this product. Please consult with your healthcare practitioner as well as your employer or drug screening company.
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When looking at isolate, it is important to verify the purity. While many are in the 99.9+% range with no identifiable amounts of THC, there are lower purity ones (such as 99.5% or lower) that may still have trace amounts that show up on the labs. This small amount is typically negligible, and is nowhere near the amount usually found in full spectrum products. But it’s still something to be aware of for those seeking the purest they can find.
Buying online is less reliable still because there’s no regulation or standardization. What you see on the label may not be what you are getting. A 2017 study in JAMA found that of the 84 CBD products researchers bought online, 43% had more CBD than indicated, while 26% had less, and some had unexpected THC. “There’s a 75% chance of getting a product where the CBD is mislabeled,” says Marcu, one of the study’s coauthors.

Answering the question “what is CBD oil” would be incomplete without mentioning the many CBD oil benefits. In addition to positively affecting the endocannabinoid system, CBD has been the focus of more than 23,000 published studies about cannabinoids in relation to various medical indications including anxiety, epilepsy, inflammation, cancer and chronic pain to name few. You can even find CBD for pets that is specially formulated to safely allow your pets to experience the natural benefits of CBD. For a more comprehensive look at these and other studies, visit our medical research and education page. Stay up-to-date on the latest developments in CBD and cannabis in our medical marijuana news section.
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