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What is Full Spectrum CBD and Why it Should be Used Over CBD Isolate

What is Full Spectrum CBD?

Well, what if we told you that it’s a better version of CBD isolate? And for pain and inflammation alone, you should always use Full Spectrum CBD over its purified option?

You’re probably thinking, “oh no, not another CBD marketing ploy”.

Or rather, you probably want details. Reasonable and logical explanations. HARD DATA.

Or maybe, you want a comparison of each, as in the details to what is full spectrum CBD and CBD isolate and then, the good hardy details/arguments.

Either way, we have you covered! So, let’s get started.

What is Full Spectrum CBD and How it Differs from CBD Isolate

CBD isolate, as the name suggests, is CBD extracted and purified to be on its own. Designed to have no other ingredients.

As for Full Spectrum CBD or its other alias “Whole Plant CBD”, it not only contains the prize molecule CBD, but also other medically viable cannabinoids and terpenoids.

This means in Full Spectrum CBD, you’ll find smaller amounts of CBG-V, THC-V, CBN, THC and a whole host more, differing on the manufacturer of course.

Differences aside, however, both concentrates are extracted from the same sources, that being, CBD-rich hemp and cannabis plants.

So with a rudimentary understanding of both, here are 3 reasons why you should use Full Spectrum CBD over CBD Isolate for pain and inflammation. At the least.


What is Full Spectrum CBD: 3 Reasons Why it Should be used over CBD Isolate 


1.The Entourage Effect is Utilized with Full Spectrum CBD

“It’s not in numbers, but in unity, that our great strength lies”
– Thomas Paine

The entourage effect is a term that perfectly conveys the idea that there’s strength in unity. Coined by scientists, it describes the combined medical power of cannabis’ HUNDREDS of different molecules when used together.

For instance, in studies that have compared Full Spectrum CBD and CBD isolate on the same sample groups, Full Spectrum shows to be more effective in treating pain and inflammation, and just as effective in tackling tumor cell growth for different types of cancer.

Figure 1: The entourage effects get its name from CBD playing the main rock star role, while the many other molecules play the “entourage” role. Some scientists argue it should be labelled “the ensemble effect” instead, because they all have an equally important role. Click for better view.

Along with this, there’s also piles of more clinical studies detailing the strength of cannabis’ molecules in numbers.

For better sedation and anesthetic effects, THC with CBN proves to do the trick. For a reduction of cannabis’ short-term memory impairments, pairing THC with the terpenoid Alpha Pinene seems to work better. What about for anxiety? The group of terpenoids – pinene, myrcene and caryophylenne – shows to be more effective.

The studies go on and on, where finding the ideal proportions and relationships for the hundreds of different molecules in targeting certain ailments remains a hot research field.

2. Finding the “Perfect Dose” is Easier with Full Spectrum CBD

“Healing was only observed when CBD was given within a very limited dose range, whereas no beneficial effect was achieved at either lower or higher doses”
– Authors of Full Spectrum CBD Study

In clinical studies, CBD isolate shows to have medical value ONLY within a restricted dosage window. Or in technical lingo, its dosage follows a bell-shaped curve.

Figure 2: Finding the perfect dosage with CBD Isolate is not easy. The main reason is because of below the minimum dose and above the optimal dose, it’s medical efficacy is drastically reduced. Click for better view.

This means anything taken below the minimum and over the maximum levels will have drastically reduced therapeutic effects.

But there’s more to it.

Because when you include that everyone’s dosage window isn’t the same and is dependant on their biology, their symptoms and their circumstances, using CBD isolate becomes an exhaustive quest that requires adjusting day and night. Not to mention needing expert advice.

Yet for Full Spectrum CBD, this exhaustive quest of finding the “right dosage” is SOLVED.

Instead of following a bell-shaped curve, research shows that Full Spectrum CBD follows a linear curve that levels off as the maximum dose is reached.

Figure 3: As you increase the dose of Full Spectrum CBD, you should expect its medical efficacy to increase. That is, up to the “optimal dosage”. where above that, it levels off. Click for better view.

Or in other words, Whole Plant CBD is dose dependant, meaning, the more you take, the more medical value you can expect, that is, up to a maximum point. And when this maximum point is crossed, medical value simply stagnates, instead of being drastically reduced, like the case for CBD isolate.

So with Full Spectrum CBD, there’s no more worrying and constant titillating of medication to find the “right dosage”. Atleast, not to the extent of CBD isolate.

3. Full Spectrum CBD Holds Very, Very Little Psychoactive Effects

We get it. The psychoactive effects of cannabis, especially THC, isn’t for everyone. And it proves why many prefer CBD isolate over consuming whole cannabis for symptom relief.

But if not feeling mentally perturbed is the main reason why you prefer CBD isolate over Full Spectrum CBD, you might want to reconsider.

Because Full Spectrum CBD can have just as much psychoactive effects as your morning coffee or tea. That being, extremely little and not enough to interrupt your daily responsibilities.

At a maximum, Full Spectrum CBD can hold 0.3% THC, because they’re generally extracted from hemp plants, which are required by law to hold that exact level of THC.

But if they’re made from CBD-rich cannabis plants, Full Spectrum CBD can hold higher amounts of THC, ranging between 1-5%, so we suggest you do your research when finding the right Full Spectrum product if psych activity is a factor.

Important to Note: CBD is proven to be WAY more medically effective when paired with THC.

You might be thinking, what about THCv and THCa? Which Full Spectrum can have higher amounts of.

Research shows that THCv in smaller doses produces no psychoactive effects, while still having medical value. And as for THCa, this molecule serves as the mentally harmless precursor to THC, so it holds absolutely zero psychoactive properties.

What is Full Spectrum CBD? A Better CBD Isolate

With the changing paradigm of cannabis unfolding in front of our eyes, the access to its medical power is increasing.

But what’s also increasing is the research that’s trying to discover just how powerful it is.

There’re over 400 cannabinoids and 100 terpenoids in cannabis plants. Not to mention the number of flavonoids. All mysterious and being discovered for helping with specific conditions over others.

But as unclear as the functions of the hundreds of molecules may have, one thing remains clear:

When cannabis’ molecules are consumed together, they’re more beneficial to us. Thus, Full Spectrum CBD utilizes the “full spectrum” of cannabis’ mysterious, yet therapeutic properties.

And CBD isolate, well, it’s arguable that it doesn’t do as well of a job.

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Ask a Marijuana Doctor: How to Use Medical Marijuana for Pain

Dr. Joseph Rosado is an experienced physician who specializes in Physical Therapy & Alternative Addiction Therapy/Management. caught up with him at his Florida practice to discuss how and why medical cannabis is an ideal choice for treating all kinds of pain.

What types of pain is marijuana best at treating?

Dr. Rosado: Cannabis is incredibly powerful for pain management. As a medical director I oversee the care of patients who have been put on cannabis for all kinds of pain, and we’re not talking mild pain you treat with aspirin, not just back pain from muscle spasm—but truly debilitating pain. Pain associated with failed back and neck surgeries, pain from scoliosis, degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis, pain from sciatica, neuropathy symptoms, and nerve pathology.

In particular, neuropathic pain can be devastating. Not only are patients in excruciating pain, this type of pain doesn’t respond well to pain medications. And patients can get this sort of nerve damage from all sorts of circumstances: chemotherapy, from an old type of HIV medication, from infections like Lyme disease, and from certain vitamin deficiencies like from B-Vitamins.

I also see a lot of diabetic neuropathy, associated with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. That’s when prolonged high blood sugar causes permanent damage to a diabetic’s nerves, most often in the legs and feet, and it’s a very painful condition. And, we’re finding that cannabis can treat this sort of pain very, very well.

We’re even seeing results with this really rare, but freaky, condition called RSD, or Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy — also now called CRPS (or Complex Regional Pain Syndrome) — and this is where the main symptom is nerve endings firing with extreme pain, out of proportion to the injury, and the condition gets worse over time. We were able to treat a 17-year-old girl suffering from RSD—because doctors applied a cast too tightly after a minor foot fracture—and for months she’d been in so much pain she was unable to tolerate the sensation of a bedsheet, or even the wind from a fan, on her foot. She hadn’t left her bed in months, and was on megadoses of opiates. Cannabis was able to alleviate her symptoms almost immediately. Granted, it will be a condition she’ll be treated for for the rest of her life, but she’s able to leave her house now and live her life. It’s amazing.

How does cannabis medicine treat pain, and chronic pain?

Dr. Rosado: As part of our nervous system, our brain sends and receives messages sort of like on an information railroad, via receptors that go from different parts of your body and run up your spinal cord to the brain, and back down again. And chronic pain is when the signals keep firing—and get completely overworked.

Over 140 phytocannabinoids in cannabis, particularly one called CBD, work to really calm these pain signals in the body, in particular via the receptors CB1 and CB2. And this is what can make a huge dent in chronic pain. Another, CBG, is an anti-inflammatory—twice as strong as hydro-cortisone, and up to 20 times stronger than aspirin. This is powerful stuff.

What makes cannabis particularly well-suited for treating pain?

Dr. Rosado:  Pain is often treated with strong pain medications like opiates. But opiates work on a single brain receptor. For example, opiates work on our endorphin receptor, and some antidepressants like SSRIs work specifically on the serotonin receptor.

Well, cannabis doesn’t work on just ONE receptor, it targets multiple receptors, located all over our body: in our gut, our brain, in the spinal cord. In a single dose of medicine you can treat not only the sensation of pain, but also treat the source of that pain, at the same time you’re engaging all the healing mechanisms of the body. This is through our endocannabinoid system.

On top of that, though it takes some experimentation because everyone is different, with cannabis you’re able to fine tune to treat different conditions, because each individual marijuana strain will have a different ratio of phytocannabinoids and a different ratio of CBD to THC. You’re also able to select between an indica for nighttime use or sativa for daytime use, and that kind of versatility doesn’t exist in any other kind of pain medication in pharmacology right  now.

Why is cannabis better than other sorts of pain medication?

Dr. Rosado: First, depending on the method of cannabis ingestion, the medication can be either fast-acting or slow-acting. This is huge for the treatment of pain, because often a patient needs both. First there’s the baseline pain—often a dull ache or pain that’s constant, and then also what we call “breakthrough” or acute pain. So, we treat the breakthrough pain with a fast-acting form of marijuana such as a tincture, smokeable flower or vaporized oil. And then we can also treat the baseline pain with longer-acting medication in the form of edibles or pills. Edibles can even replace the long-acting opiates in the 6-8 hour range, while vaporized or smokable marijuana comes on in about 3-5 minutes, and lasts up to 2-4 hours. .

Speaking of pain medications, some are calling cannabis some kind of cure, or hope, for the opioid epidemic. What do you think?

Dr. Rosado: Truthfully the opioid epidemic is where I see cannabis making the most difference in health care right now. More and more, I’m weaning patients—who, by the way, have spent decades addicted to pain medications—off their pills in a matter of months, if not days. One patient, a 45-year-old man, was taking up to 42-58 pills per day. We’ve also had success weaning patients off not only opiates, but other kinds of medications like benzodiazepines, antidepressants, anti-epileptics, antipsychotics.

But with millions of Americans addicted to painkillers, cannabis is poised to do really positive things in communities, getting patients to reduce the amount of pain meds they take if not stop them altogether. We’re seeing tolerance reductions for pain meds go up by up to 1.6 times on average. Cannabis can reduce the therapeutic dose for morphine by up to 3.6 times—and 9.5 times for codeine. That’s huge. I just weaned an 80-year-old woman off of opiates, for example, who’d been suffering terrible, chronic pain from a botched surgery. She’d been on opiates probably over a decade—and in a matter of months she was off her pills, having replaced them all with cannabis. This is really breakthrough therapy.

How does one go about getting a prescription for marijuana for pain?

Dr. Rosado: Until the federal laws around cannabis change, “prescriptions” for cannabis are called recommendations, and qualifying patients with a variety of pain conditions can seek out a certified local cannabis doctor to guide them through the process of registering with the state, applying for a medical card, and purchasing cannabis medicine through a licensed dispensary. Though with services like Marijuana and others, this process has become very fast and easy these days.

Dr. Joseph Rosado is a cannabis physician, lecturer, podcast host, and author of the book, Hope and Healing: the Case for Cannabis. Considered a pioneer in the medical cannabis community for being one of the first internal medicine doctors to recommend cannabis to patients in his home state of Florida, he’s treated hundreds since with cannabis medicine and proudly shares his expertise as a renowned speaker at police agencies, physician training programs, community groups, and medical associations all over the country as well as the world.

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It wasn’t until the 90’s that a vast receptor system was discovered in our bodies, they named this the endogenous endocannabinoid system.

Now where things get really interesting. The purpose of your endocannabinoid system is to create and maintain balance or homeostasis in your body, meaning when something in your body is overactive (stress, anxiety) or underactive (illness or pain) your Endocannabinoid system is supposed to kick into gear to bring you back into a state of balance.

Now it’s important to note that your own body actually produces these cannabinoids naturally and they are called Endocannabinoids. So the theory goes, when you’re totally healthy your own body is producing these endo- cannabinoids, it’s triggering your system to maintain balance keeping you happy and healthy and all is good.

Unfortunately with chronic stress, poor diet, and chronic pain our endocannabinoid system is negatively impacted which causes endocannabinoid dysfunction. Some of the diseases associated with this are: autoimmune diseases, epilepsy, migraine headaches, fibromyalgia, anxiety and depression just to name a few. Basically if your endocannabinoid system is not functioning well, you are out of balance.

So, the question is, how do we fix it?


And here is where it gets really fascinating. The compounds found in cannabis act as a lock and key within our body’s endocannabinoid system. If we have a cell that is depleted or out of balance and we ingest some CBD or CBG, the plant compound goes into our body, attaches to the receptor on our cell that needs some TLC and “wala” that cell is now more balanced. This is why we are seeing cannabis helping with absolutely everything, it works in harmony with our bodies and helps regulate balance in our cells.

Now this receptor system is literally everywhere in your body – it’s in your brain and your immune system, its in most of your major organs, in your lymph system, your digestive system, its in your spine, pretty much everywhere – well except for your brainstem which controls your breathing, and this is why it’s impossible to lethally overdose on cannabis like you can on opiates.

In essence when your body is not producing enough of these molecules to feed your system this plant is there to supplement and that’s why cannabis has been so useful in treating so many different conditions.

So if we put this all together it makes sense, you have this vast receptor system that exists everywhere in the body. This system is designed to trigger homeostasis to keep you in balance. If your body goes out of whack you need your endocannabinoid system to kick into gear and help you restore. If your body is not producing enough natural cannabinoids you need to supplement with an external source, which in this case is phyto (plant) cannabinoids from cannabis. And hopefully when taking the right dose you return to a happy and healthy self.

For so many years we’ve been told that cannabis is bad for us, for our brains, for our bodies and even bad for our society. But science is actually telling a very different story.

And what if cannabis is not only NOT bad for you but is actually the key to health, happiness and longevity. Because in so many areas of our society we’re already accustomed to taking herbs and plants to support our health and happiness, echinechea for colds, st Johns wort for depression, chamomile for calming and on and on. So maybe it’s time to take a closer look at this special plant and to be open to whether cannabis might have a profoundly positive impact on our health, well-being and society, don’t you think?

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