High-quality full-spectrum CBD products have high CBD concentrations and trace amounts of secondary cannabinoids only. These cannabinoids include cannabichromene (CBC), cannabigerol (CBG), and cannabinol (CBN).
Such products also contain less than 0.30% of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This psychoactive cannabinoid can get users high.
To keep CBD products federally legal, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standardized the 0.30% THC limit.
The Entourage Effect
This process is characterized by different cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and fatty acids working synergistically to regulate the user’s metabolic activity, cardiovascular system, and digestive tract(1).
In full-spectrum CBD products, CBD works together with over a hundred identified cannabinoids to produce the entourage effect(2). Although the range of cannabinoids includes THC, the content is within the 0.30% limit.
The full range of cannabinoids, flavonoids, fatty acids, and terpenes interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS)(3).
The ECS is an elaborate network of cannabinoid receptors that affect the body’s biological functions, including mood regulation, pain perception, and memory.
The endocannabinoid system exists in all animals, except insects(4).
Laws and Legality
This law categorized cannabis under Schedule I narcotics, which are substances without any accepted medical use and could be abused.
With new definitions under the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp is no longer categorized under Schedule I drugs.
This revision allows hemp cultivators to harvest, produce, and sell the agricultural commodity under specified federal conditions.
The Farm Bill of 2018 also granted the FDA permission to regulate CBD’s circulation in the market.
The agency is responsible for maintaining public health by ensuring food supply and medications’ safety and security. As such, the FDA prohibits CBD companies from making unproven claims about the health benefits of CBD products.
How to Use Full-Spectrum CBD
Companies that produce and sell CBD products offer CBD oil products in a variety of forms to suit different people’s needs. Users can take CBD oil directly or apply the product topically, proving its versatility.
CBD dosages may also vary depending on the consumers’ needs.
CBD Oil Tinctures
CBD in oil tincture format is the standard form of CBD products on the market. Users may apply these tinctures sublingually by dropping or spraying CBD oil under the tongue and leaving the CBD for about 30 to 90 seconds before swallowing.
CBD tinctures may be taken daily by applying one or two drops of oil with a dropper.
This method allows CBD to directly enter the body through the mucous membranes without going through the body’s natural metabolic or digestive processes.
One study found that CBD’s sublingual administration improved the participants’ quality of life and did not result in any adverse drug reactions(8).
Ingesting CBD through pills or capsules allows it to enter the body through the digestive system. This method works similarly to food supplements, although the FDA prohibits companies from marketing CBD as dietary supplements.
A study mentioned that patients showed a reduced level of anxiety upon taking CBD capsules(9).
CBD topicals may come in the forms of lotions, creams, balms, salves, massage oils, and other medicines meant for direct, transdermal application.
Typical dosages call for a coin-sized amount of the topical product that users can apply to the affected area.
Research about the use of topical CBD discovered the potential relief that CBD provides to patients with nerve pain. The study stated that patients who used topical CBD experienced an improvement in their pain and other disturbing sensations(10).
CBD Vaping Oils
Where to Get Full-Spectrum CBD Products
Many CBD brands offer full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, or CBD isolates. However, some brands exclusively sell one type only. The following brands include full-spectrum CBD in their product line:
The brand’s CBD oil tinctures come in 700mg to 2,000mg strengths, which customers can apply topically or sublingually.
Oregon-based Rosebud CBD began operations in 2018.
Charlotte’s Web CBD
The brothers shared the new hemp strain with Charlotte Figi, a little girl who had a rare form of epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome(13).
The new strain helped with Figi’s symptoms and reduced the frequency of her seizures.
These positive findings prompted the brothers to name the strain after her.
The capsule variant comes in softgels that contain 15mg of CBD.
Meanwhile, topical products combine full-spectrum CBD with essential oils to allegedly relieve inflammation and pain caused by arthritis(14).
PureKana claims that its products have helped people with several diseases, including chronic pain, inflammation, anxiety, depression, insomnia, schizophrenia, PTSD, delays for diabetes, and fibromyalgia pain.
CBDfx offers full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, and CBD isolates. Its products come in various forms, including vape juice, gummies, tinctures, capsules, cream and topicals, vape pens, oils, pet products, drinks, edibles, face masks, and wax.
Established in 2014, CBDfx claims to be one of the first CBD companies to make third-party lab tests publicly available.
Lab test results’ transparency allows potential customers to verify the potency and quality of the products they desire.
These reports also reveal if a product contains heavy metals, pesticides, and stray solvents.
Benefits of CBD
CBD products have several purported benefits. However, CBD companies may not make any health claims about their products, per FDA regulations.
The only FDA-approved CBD treatment is Epidiolex, a drug for rare forms of epilepsy(15).
The following alleged health benefits include significant scientific research to back them. Still, further studies are needed to better understand the potential benefits of CBD.
In a 2012 study using animal models, researchers found that CBD had anxiolytic properties(16). They discovered that CBD reduced anxiety in patients with social anxiety disorders.
Similar studies support evidence that CBD may improve sleep and anxiety problems in patients in a clinical population(17).
Researchers have also looked into the potential of CBD as an anti-inflammatory agent(18).
A 2007 study detailed CBD’s effects on chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain among rats(19). The results showed that cannabidiol had therapeutic potential in relieving chronic pain.
A 2019 study discussed the efficacy of CBD as epilepsy treatment(20). Results showed that CBD had similar effects as common antiepileptic drugs.
Meanwhile, another 2019 study looked into the potential of CBD to regulate seizures(21). Evidence indicated that CBD was able to control seizures via the activity of cannabinoid receptors.
A 2020 study investigated the purported analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of full-spectrum CBD in treating neuropathic pain associated with multiple sclerosis(22).
The study suggested that full-spectrum CBD was effective in treating such conditions. Still, further tests for other dosage formulations of CBD remain crucial.
CBD for Pets
Many participants of a 2019 study agreed that marijuana and CBD products offer benefits to humans. Thus, researchers support the use of CBD products in animals(23).
A 2018 study looked into the effects of cannabidiol in treating canine osteoarthritis(24). Results showed a significant decrease in pain and an increase in activity when using CBD oil without any apparent side effects.
Side Effects of CBD
FDA regulations are in place to prohibit companies from making any health claims about their CBD products. Although many studies supporting CBD’s benefits already exist, further research is needed to prove CBD’s efficacy.
Potential CBD users should also note that the substance may interact with existing medications and cause adverse drug events.
A 2019 study looked into potential adverse drug events (ADEs) and the potential for pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic drug-drug interactions (DDIs)(25).
Researchers found that nearly one-half of CBD users who participated in the study experienced ADEs, including sedation, infection, sleep disturbances, anemia, and transaminase elevations.
The researchers urged people to take note of these side-effects before turning to CBD therapy.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Will You Get High with Full-Spectrum CBD?
Full-spectrum CBD does not get users high. Although such products contain trace amounts of THC, the content is not enough for users to feel THC’s psychoactive effects.
Still, regular use of full-spectrum CBD may cause users to fail a drug test because of the existing THC content.
Full-spectrum hemp is usually grown in US states, including found in Tennessee, Kentucky, Colorado, Vermont, and Oregon.
What Is the Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana?
There are several methods to obtain these cannabis extracts. The most common extraction process among CBD companies is the CO2 extraction, which uses pressurized carbon dioxide to obtain cannabis extracts.
Full-spectrum CBD contains the entire spectrum of naturally occurring cannabinoids from hemp plants.
Full-spectrum CBD contains less than 0.30% THC, which is not enough to get people high.
CBD products do not promise to cure any medical condition. Before turning to CBD for treatment or general wellness, users are encouraged to consult with doctors who have prior experience with the substance.
CBD may interact with other prescription medications, which may lead to serious medical conditions and adverse side effects.
Still, research surrounding full-spectrum CBD has garnered significant attention from medical professionals. Several studies also support the therapeutic properties of CBD for different ailments.
Despite the existing research, CBD is strictly regulated by the US FDA.
- Ferber, S.G., Namdar, D., Hen-Shoval, D., Eger, G., Koltai, H., Shoval, G., Shbiro, L., Weller, A. (2020). The “Entourage Effect”: Terpenes Coupled with Cannabinoids for the Treatment of Mood Disorders and Anxiety Disorders. PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7324885/
- Gamage, T. F., & Lichtman, A. H. (2011). The Endocannabinoid System: Role in Energy Regulation. Pediatric Blood & Cancer, 58(1), 144–148. https://doi.org/10.1002/pbc.23367
- Silver R. J. (2019). The Endocannabinoid System of Animals. Animals : an open access journal from MDPI, 9(9), 686. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090686
- Gallily, R. , Yekhtin, Z. and Hanuš, L. (2015) Overcoming the Bell-Shaped Dose-Response of Cannabidiol by Using Cannabis Extract Enriched in Cannabidiol. Pharmacology & Pharmacy, 6, 75-85. doi: 10.4236/pp.2015.62010.
- Hudak, John. The Farm Bill, hemp legalization and the status of CBD: An explainer. The Brookings Institution. 2018 December 14. Retrieved from https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2018/12/14/the-farm-bill-hemp-and-cbd-explainer/
- Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970. FindLaw. 2019 February 4. Retrieved from https://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-charges/comprehensive-drug-abuse-prevention-and-control-act-of-1970.html
- Larsen, C., & Shahinas, J. (2020). Dosage, Efficacy and Safety of Cannabidiol Administration in Adults: A Systematic Review of Human Trials. Journal of clinical medicine research, 12(3), 129–141. https://doi.org/10.14740/jocmr4090
- Hu, D., Cullen, B., Tang, M., & Fang Y. (2020). The Effectiveness of Topical Cannabidiol Oil in Symptomatic Relief of Peripheral Neuropathy of the Lower Extremities. Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, 390-402. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31793418/
- Peace, M. R., Butler, K. E., Wolf, C. E., Poklis, J. L., & Poklis, A. (2016). Evaluation of Two Commercially Available Cannabidiol Formulations for Use in Electronic Cigarettes. Frontiers in pharmacology, 7, 279. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2016.00279
- Shmerling, R. Can vaping damage your lungs? What we do (and don’t) know. Harvard Health Publishing – Harvard Medical School. 2019 September 4. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/can-vaping-damage-your-lungs-what-we-do-and-dont-know-2019090417734
- Maa, E., & Figi, P. (2014). The case for medical marijuana in epilepsy. Epilepsia, 55(6), 783–786. https://doi.org/10.1111/epi.12610
- Hammell, D. C., Zhang, L. P., Ma, F., Abshire, S. M., McIlwrath, S. L., Stinchcomb, A. L., & Westlund, K. N. (2016). Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis. European journal of pain (London, England), 20(6), 936–948. https://doi.org/10.1002/ejp.818
- National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2017). The health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids: the current state of evidence and recommendations for research. National Academies Press.
- Schier, A., Ribeiro, N., Silva, A., Hallak, J., Crippa, J., Nardi, A., & Zuardi, A. (2012). Cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent, as an anxiolytic drug. Brazillian Journal of Psychiatry, 104-110. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22729452/
- Shannon, S., Lewis, N., Lee, H., & Hughes, S. (2019). Cannabidiol in anxiety and sleep: a large case series. The Permanente Journal, 23. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc6326553/
- Atalay, S., Jarocka-Karpowicz, I., & Skrzydlewska, E. (2020). Antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties of cannabidiol. Antioxidants, 9(1), 21.
- Costa, B., Trovato, A. E., Comelli, F., Giagnoni, G., & Colleoni, M. (2007). The non-psychoactive cannabis constituent cannabidiol is an orally effective therapeutic agent in rat chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain. European journal of pharmacology, 556(1-3), 75-83.
- Silvestro, S., Mammana, S., Cavalli, E., Bramanti, P., & Mazzon, E. (2019). Use of Cannabidiol in the Treatment of Epilepsy: Efficacy and Security in Clinical Trials. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 24(8), 1459. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24081459
- Farrell, J. S., & Soltesz, I. (2019). Plants come to mind: phytocannabinoids, endocannabinoids and the control of seizures. Addiction (Abingdon, England), 114(8), 1343.
- Maayah, Z.H., Takahara, S., Ferdaoussi, M. et al. The anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of formulated full-spectrum cannabis extract in the treatment of neuropathic pain associated with multiple sclerosis. Inflamm. Res. 69, 549–558 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00011-020-01341-1
- Kogan, R., Schoenfeld-Tacher, R., Hellyer, P., & Rishniw, M. (2018) US Veterinarians’ Knowledge, Experience, and Perception Regarding the Use of Cannabidiol for Canine Medical Conditions. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 5: 338. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6338022/
- Gamble, L. J., Boesch, J. M., Frye, C. W., Schwark, W. S., Mann, S., Wolfe, L., … & Wakshlag, J. J. (2018). Pharmacokinetics, safety, and clinical efficacy of cannabidiol treatment in osteoarthritic dogs. Frontiers in veterinary science, 5, 165.
- Brown, J. D., & Winterstein, A. G. (2019). Potential Adverse Drug Events and Drug-Drug Interactions with Medical and Consumer Cannabidiol (CBD) Use. Journal of clinical medicine, 8(7), 989. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm8070989. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6678684/
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