Cannabis edible : Full Spectrum Vs. Isolate

The cannabis plant is historically known for its wide-ranging therapeutic benefits and versatility. Cannabis users can choose how they want to take their cannabis based on their health concerns or preferences. When looking for a cannabis product, the most common use is smoking, or inhaling.

Today we can find many cannabis-based product usually separated in two categories: Full Spectrum and Isolate-based.

What are Tinctures, Edibles, and Drinks?

Tinctures are taken sublingually (under the tongue) to increase absorption and promote therapeutic effects (1) , tinctures have high bioavailability and are an excellent option for many cannabis beginners.. Absorption times are also slower as the cannabis has to be processed throughout the digestive system (2).

Cannabis edibles are foods that have been infused with cannabis, including baked goods, gummies, mints, and chocolate. Cannabis-infused edibles are popular since consumption is easy and straightforward. However, taking edibles can be less regulated than other forms of cannabis since the exact amount eaten is hard to control.

Like edibles, cannabis-based drinks can be a convenient and hassle-free way to take cannabis. In these drinks, cannabis-infused droplets disperse the cannabis compound into the drink, ready for consumption (3).

Isolate vs. Distillate

Not all cannabis-based products are the same. Two common terms thrown around in the cannabis marketplace are isolate and distillate.

Isolate is the "pure" form of a cannabinoid that has undergone an isolation process, removing all the other natural compounds (4).The leftover isolate is free from any additional smell or taste and also free from contaminants. Since the isolate is virtually free from any other cannabinoids found in cannabis, they are often used in food and cosmetics.

Distillates can be obtained using various extraction methods such as CO2, press or solvents. Distillates will replicate the molecular profile of the extracted plants. They contain all of the plant's components and benefits which is generally a combination of cannabinoids, terpenes, and various acids and vitamins (5). This complete molecular profile is commonly named “Full Spectrum”.

Full Spectrum vs. Broad Spectrum

Today, two terms are often used to market cannabis products, “Full Spectrum” and “Broad Spectrum”.

Full-spectrum products are made of distillate and can contain a relatively high concentration of natural organic compounds, including various cannabinoids and terpenes (6). Studies have shown that Full Spectrum products present an “Entourage Effect”. The Entourage Effect is the combination of all natural components of the plant “working together” to provide final effects to the user, often perceived as more efficient. Also, full-spectrum products in the current CBD market often contain minimal amounts of THC (about 0.3%). While the THC cannabinoid is known to produce a psychotropic “high”, such small amounts are unlikely to create this effect.

Broad-spectrum is similar not a natural molecular profile but is designed to have virtually no THC content (7), to comply better with current regulations. Producers will use isolates to “recreate” a potential Entourage Effect. This has shown to be less efficient than the natural products. Also, users can experience side effects when using products made with synthetic cannabinoids.

Our Thoughts

When looking for a cannabis-based product, users should choose a way of taking cannabis according to their preferences and needs. Our recommendation? Whether you opt for a tincture, edible, or drink, select cannabis extracts that are distillate and full spectrum.

Distillate and full-spectrum may be better for you because there is less transformation of the cannabis plant with a natural profile, so all the benefits are retained (8). Distillate forms of cannabis are also popular for the entourage effect. This effect highlights how compounds within the cannabis plant can work synergistically with each other, amping up the overall therapeutic effect (9).

The Bottom Line

There are many ways of taking cannabis-based products, which also come in different forms. Choosing an option that is right for you will depend on what you need.

The cannabis plant has many compounds, all with various benefits. Utilizing all of these unique properties can make for a better and more effective user experience.

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7558665/
[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2689518/
[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6154611/
[4] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32543253/
[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7120914/
[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7281216/
[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6100014/
[8] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32239248/
[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7324885/