United States markets are inundated with CBD oils and tinctures. All you want is to benefit from anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, or other properties of CBD, but you may feel daunted trying to understand all the differences marketed by suppliers: “Full spectrum, isolates, high concentration, low concentration …” Where to start? This article will help you understand the differences in potency and strength of CBD products.
Concentration is important but may be misleading
The first thing to realize is that the most-concentrated CBD oil/tincture is not always the most potent one. Because you are not dealing with the same extract when comparing two producers, do not put too much weight on the numerical value next to the mg/mL unit. Each extract is produced using a different strain(s) of the hemp plant, which is grown in different soil and in a different environment. As such, each extract will have its own “cannabinoid profile” ‒ that is, the percentage share of various cannabinoids such as CBD, CBDa, CBG, CBN, THC, THCa, and others. CBD is a dominant cannabinoid in these products, while other cannabinoids interact with each other and cause the potency of extracts to vary.
Some producers isolate the CBD molecule and use it alone to make their tinctures and oils. I wouldn’t recommend overspending on high concentrations with CBD isolate. In a study in 2015, Ruth Gallily and fellow researchers showed that dose response for CBD isolate is bell-shaped, meaning the response will increase up to a certain limit, after which it will actually go down. This makes it unnecessary to pay for highly concentrated isolates-based tinctures because our bodies do not respond to those doses. Studies also showed that the response is stronger for the same dose when CBD is administered as a full spectrum. Other than that, the addition of other components such as terpenes and flavonoids also cause differences in potency. Feeling confused yet? That is not surprising.
Nobody knows which exact full-spectrum cannabinoid profile will work best for you, and you will need to experiment. Concentration does make a difference when comparing two identical full-spectrum-based products. When you double or triple the same full-spectrum extract, the response is expected to increase. However, there is only certain amount of CBD your body’s receptors can interact with. If you are just starting to use CBD oil, begin with a low concentration and experiment with doses rather than pay for highly concentrated products. You may find that low-dose CBD oil works well for you and you do not need more CBD in your oil or tincture. I would recommend starting with 300-500 mg of full-spectrum CBD per 30 mL bottle, and experiment between a 0.5 mL and 1.0 mL per serving, twice a day.
How about choosing full-spectrum?
As mentioned earlier, nobody knows which cannabinoid profile will work best for you. However, there are some things you can decide on before you buy a product. Ask yourself whether you want any tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the product. The legal level of THC is below 0.3 per cent. At such a low level of THC, you will not experience any high or euphoria; however, THC will add medicinal and boosting effects and work well at lower doses. However, if you are very sensitive to THC or are routinely drug tested, I would avoid THC completely. There are full-spectrum CBD extract producers that remove THC and yet keep all the rest of cannabinoids. This is additional work for producers, but these are some of the best-selling CBD oils/tinctures.
Start with deciding whether you want THC in the full-spectrum oil/tincture. If you are comfortable with either, get one bottle with THC, and one with zero-THC, and experiment. Give yourself two weeks for each product; start with small doses of 0.25-0.5 mL twice a day and gradually increase to 1.0 mL. See how you feel, how the product helps to alleviate symptoms or simply improves wellbeing, and take notes on the results. While experimenting, you will be working on improving your health and become more attuned to the products.
Last but not least, when choosing a product, remember to look at the lab reports. Make sure the reports are consistent with the product’s label. If you don’t know how to obtain and read lab reports, keep following our page and find an article on “How to read CBD lab reports” next week.