What is Full Spectrum Hemp Oil? How does it differ from CBD Oil?
A lot of websites mention ‘full spectrum hemp oil’, and the descriptions are not always very clear. I was puzzled by this and decided to investigate. Before I continue, CBD or cannabidiol and other cannabinoids are ONLY found in the flowers of the Hemp or Marijuana plant.
So what is Full Spectrum Hemp Oil exactly?
In a nut shell….Full Spectrum Hemp Oil is a concentrated oil extracted from a ground up mix consisting of the leaves, stem and flowers of the Hemp plant. Extraction is done through alcohol, butane, propane or CO2 method. The same can be done with Hemp’s cousin, Marijuana. This produces the crude full spectrum oil. However, the waxes found naturally in the plant oils have to be removed if the oils are to be used for vaping or used in edibles. The waxes are what gives the crude oil it’s bitter taste.
The Cannabinoids in the flowers are the most important but the nutrients and other chemical components in the leaves and stem also have their part to play in healing. Think of them as the supporting cast for the lead actors.
When using solvents like butane or propane, they are forced through the ground up Cannabis plant, which in turn forces out the oils in the plant mix. This process uses heat. After that, the solvents must of course be removed from the resulting heavy oil. There are various ways of doing this.
Some alchemists advocate that fruit alcohol, like grape alcohol is the best way to remove the valuable full spectrum oils, leaving the terpenes intact. The alcohol can be saved with a certain piece of equipment as well, making this a cost effective process.
The companies mentioned below use the CO2 process which used cold temperatures instead of heat to extract the oils. The result is a high quality solvent free product as well. Once the oil is extracted, the oil goes through a heated process to remove the wax and other impurities. This also decarboxylates the cannibinoids, changing them from an acid to it’s more active form. THCA changes to THC, CBDA changes to CBD etc. Since a picture or in this case a video, can be worth a thousand words, I have included a short video of a small CO2 oil extraction going on in a lab.
When I was looking for Full Spectrum Hemp oil Tinctures on various websites, the description usually stated that Full Spectrum Hemp oil was better than CBD Hemp oil because the whole plant was used. Yet, in most instances, the description was vague whether they were meaning the whole plant with the flowers or the whole plant with the seeds.
Hemp seeds contain no cannabinoids, and the leaves certainly don’t either. One Hemp product company, HempWorx, only states that their tincture contains PCR Hemp Seed Oil and flavour. This is puzzling because the oil from the seeds DOES NOT contain cannabinoids. Nutritionally it’s a good oil but Hemp seed oil by itself is not a source of CBD (cannabidiol) or any of the other cannabinoids.
You notice the word ‘Seed’? How can Hemp seed oil, made from the seeds be full spectrum as some products advertise? PCR means phytocannabinoid rich, simply means the product is rich in cannabinoids. Still not very clear! By the description, PCR Hemp seed oil implies that this is seed oil rich in cannabinoids. The only way that is possible is if an extract from the whole plant has been added to the seed oil. Many don’t state this however.
Another tincture product by PhytoLogica states the following ingredients in their tinctures- “Grape Seed Oil, Hemp Seed Oil, Peppermint Oil, Phytocannabinoid Hemp Extract, Stevia”. I really don’t like to see Grape Seed oil listed because it is highly inflammatory and a cheap by product of the grape/wine industry.
The second ingredient is Hemp oil, which you have to assume is from the seeds, next is some peppermint flavour. Second from last you finally see the actual Full Spectrum Hemp extract, and last is Stevia, a natural sweetener. At least this product clearly lists the Full Spectrum extract.
This tincture from Pure Spectrum with 500 mg of CBD, has the following description “Organic full-spectrum hemp CBD oil, organic nutraceutical-grade CBD isolate, and organic MCT oil.” The first ingredient is Full Spectrum Hemp CBD oil, followed by CBD isolate and lastly MCT oil, which is used to enhance absorption.This product has it’s natural cannabinoids boosted by 99% pure Cannabidiol (CBD) called Isolate. Ingredient list shows there are no other ingredients added.
A powerful tincture product by VerifiedCBD with a whopping 1500 mg of CBD from Full Spectrum Hemp oil states “PCR Hemp (full spectrum) oil.” No other ingredients are listed. It is a much more expensive product too. To get the different strengths that they offer, other oils, like Hemp seed oil or MCT would be added to dilute the Full Spectrum oil.
Hemplucid, has two Full Spectrum tinctures, one has the PCR Hemp oil bonded to a vegetable glycerin so it can be mixed into water or other liquid for a tastier experience. Straight up Hemp or Cannabis extract tastes pretty bad, from my experience. Hemplucid has another Full Spectrum tincture and it’s bonded to MCT. No other ingredients are listed.
What is MCT? I have mentioned it a few times now. MCT is a man made product made from Coconut oil and or Palm Kernel oil. If you have ever used Coconut oil, you will know that it is solid at room temperature, unlike other oils like Olive , corn, sunflower, canola and others.
Using certain manufacturing methods (molecular distillation or solvents), the Lauric Acid (a healthy fat) is removed from the oil, leaving a liquid and changed product. Therefore, MCT is actually a by product from removing Lauric Acid, which is used in the cosmetic industry. This changed oil is odour less, tasteless, staying as a liquid at colder temperatures, making it popular as an additive to certain supplements.
In summary, full spectrum hemp oil (or Marijuana), is the oil extracted, through various methods, from the whole plant. By whole plant, I mean the flowering plant, not the seeds. This heavy oil is refined further to remove the waxes if it’s to be used for vaporizers. The Full Spectrum oil is mixed with other mediums like Hemp seed oil, glycerin, MCT and others, to produce oils of particular strengths. There you have it.
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