CBD oil has exploded in popularity in recent years, so much so that people who previously would have balked at buying a cannabis-derived product are getting interested. That’s because CBD oil doesn’t contain the psychoactive compounds that make cannabis a popular recreational drug. Instead, it contains all sorts of other natural chemicals that may have a positive effect on the body. But because CBD is so different to regular supplements, it can be difficult to know where to start. All sorts of terms like ‘full spectrum’, ‘broad spectrum’ and ‘endocannabinoid system’ can be intimidating for a beginner. So, what kind of CBD oil is the best? Where should you start, and which should you switch to if you’re looking to maximise the effects of CBD? Let’s find out.
Which Different Kinds of CBD Oil Are There?
The first thing you should know is that CBD is a contraction of the term ‘cannabidiol’. Cannabidiol is a harmless, non-psychoactive chemical that’s found naturally in cannabis plants. There are many different kinds of cannabis plant. Some are solely grown for recreational use. Hemp, or more correctly industrial hemp, is a kind of cannabis that can’t be used for recreational purposes. However, it still contains fibre which is an excellent material to make clothes, rope and paper out of. It also contains natural chemicals like CBD. These chemicals are extracted for use, e.g. in CBD oil. Like many similar products, there are different kinds of CBD oil for you to choose from. Variables include:
- CBD oil extracted in different ways. Some ways are harsh, and can destroy some of the natural CBD and other chemicals in the hemp.
- CBD oil that contains different ingredients (full-spectrum, broad-spectrum and pure CBD isolate).
- CBD oil that has different concentrations of CBD. Lower concentrations are better for beginners, while higher concentrations are great for when you want to up your dose.
- CBD oil that’s packaged in different ways, e.g. oils, capsules and pills. Below, we explore each of these differences and explain exactly why you might prefer one kind over another.
Different Concentrations of CBD Oil
The most basic difference is that CBD oil can come in different concentrations. Like any other substance, a higher concentration means that there’s more of some active ingredient in one bottle than in another bottle of the same size. When it comes to CBD oil, the active ingredient is CBD. It also has other cannabinoids, e.g. CBG, that may have further effects. The downside of picking a more concentrated oil is that it will cost more. Prices work on a sliding scale, and depend on the amount of CBD that you get. So, if a heavily concentrated bottle of CBD oil costs three times as much as a less concentrated bottle in the same range, it’s likely to have three, four, even five times the amount of CBD oil per drop. But it can be diluted by a carrier oil, e.g. hemp oil, if you want your CBD to go further.
Full Spectrum CBD Oil vs CBD Isolate
You can also choose between full spectrum CBD oil and CBD isolate. Full spectrum CBD oil contains CBD, of course, but it also contains other natural compounds derived from the extraction process. So, CBD is a certain kind of cannabinoid (and, in fact, that’s what it’s short for). But full spectrum oils also contain other cannabinoids like CBN and CBL. Research is only just beginning to understand what positive effects if any these extra cannabinoids might have. In addition, full spectrum oil also contains other compounds from the extraction process which aren’t cannabinoids. These included pinene and limonene, which are aromatic compounds, i.e. they give cannabis its smell. The oil may also contain flavonoids. The point is that full spectrum oil contains all sorts of natural chemicals and compounds that may have additional effects. They may even work together to produce a combined effect. More research is necessary to find out whether that’s the case. On the other hand, CBD isolate is pure CBD. It doesn’t contain anything other than CBD. If that’s what you want, you can buy it, but most people prefer having a full natural oil rather than an isolate. Aside from these two, you can also choose broad spectrum CBD oil. This is like a mix between full-spectrum and CBD isolate. It will have some, but not all, of the cannabinoids and phytochemicals you get from processing hemp. It’s a middle ground option.
Extraction Methods for CBD Oil
You can also buy CBD oil that was extracted using one of several different methods. The most common, and the highest quality, is CO2 extraction. This is where the hemp used to make CBD oil is placed under very high pressure CO2, which isolates the cannabinoids and other chemicals needed for CBD oil but blasts away the physical remnants of the hemp. If you’re worried, don’t be—the CO2 extraction process doesn’t leave any CO2 as residue, and even if it did, it wouldn’t be harmful. Other companies use propane, butane or alcohol to strip CBD from hemp. There’s a possibility that this process damages the cannabinoids in some way, although this needs to be researched more thoroughly. CBD acquired through the CO2 extraction method is typically more expensive, because it’s higher quality. But that extra expense is worth it.
Different Forms of CBD
The most common way companies sell CBD is as an oil. The extraction process naturally creates an oil, in the same way that essential oils are made. It’s possible to then add more oil to create a lower dilution, if you want. There are two ways you can get this oil. The first is as a capsule. These are like Omega-3 capsules, in that they’re filled with oil, and have a lining that will break down when it reaches the gut. The second is as a tiny bottle with a dropper, again like an essential oil. You can then add the oil to food, i.e. as a food supplement, or take it directly. The final way you can get CBD into your system is as a pill. These are like capsules, except they don’t have liquid inside. They’re just like any other supplement or vitamin that’s in pill form, i.e. solid and chalky. Or, you can have CBD solids inside a capsule. Our capsules are decarboxylated, high quality, 100% ground hemp bud. There’s no right or wrong answer as to which is best for you.
Which Kind of CBD Oil is Best for Me?
Generally speaking, the purest and highest concentration CBD oil is the best. If CBD oil has scientifically provable effects, then those effects would be clearer after taking a more concentrated oil. Hempura offers a range of oils at different concentrations of CBD per drop. It's worth noting that we recommend controlling CBD amount rather than bottle strength, though. As dosages gets higher, it is easier and better value to opt for the high concentration bottles. We would also recommend a full spectrum CBD oil rather than a pure CBD isolate. While more research needs to be done, including other cannabinoids and plant substances in a CBD oil could have beneficial effects.
How to Take CBD Oil as a Beginner
If you’re thinking of taking CBD oil, but you never have before, you should start with a lower concentrate of oil. Doing so will let you experience the effects in a steady, educational way, so that you can understand how CBD affects your body and makes you feel - see our guide here on dosage amounts. We therefore recommend starting with 10 to 15mg of CBD oil per day, taken in one dose or two, to start with. This is roughly two to three drops per day. From there, you can then build up your dose gradually. You can either switch to a higher concentrate, or simply take more drops, e.g. four or five. There are multiple ways to actually take CBD oil. Hold under the tongue sublingually for oils and chocolates for higher bioavailability, or swallow capsules & vape vapes. More than anything, we recommend doing your research and making your own choice. The legality of CBD is a victory of both choice and health—so explore your options and decide what’s best for you.