What is full spectrum CBD and the entourage effect?
Whole Plant Hemp (“Full Spectrum”) Versus Canabinoid Isolates
If you see a CBD oil labeled as “whole plant” or “full spectrum,” this means that there are more cannabinoids in there than just CBD, and also that there are usually flavonoids and terpenes present. This is typically preferable (over isolates) because of what is called the “entourage effect.”
The Entourage Effect
The entourage effect is the result of the synergistic interaction of cannabinoids, flavonoids, terpenoids, and fatty acids naturally occurring in cannabis. The entourage effect refers to the benefits that occur because these compounds work together as opposed to one of these compounds working in isolation. The entourage effect is basically the additional benefits you get from ingesting many components of a cannabis plant combined instead of only one component.
Cannabis plants contain approximately 500 compounds, to include more than 113 phytocannabinoids — in addition to terpenoids, flavonoids, and fatty acids.
Flavonoids are phytonutrients which are responsible for the vivid colors (other than green) that we see in plants. For example, the color of shiny red apples and beautiful blueberries is the result of their unique flavonoid profiles. They are known to have antiviral, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory effects.
We learned in a previous post about terpenes. Terpenes also provide medicinal effects, as discussed.
Truly the only reason you would want to take an isolate (only one cannabinoid) rather than a full-spectrum or whole plant product is to avoid consuming any amounts of THC. Even though full-spectrum oils contain only trace amounts (under 0.3%) of THC, this can theoretically be enough to cause a positive result on a drug test, if the test is sensitive enough.