Across the entire cannabis industry, manufacturers continue to struggle with properly identifying exactly what it is their products. Many claim to have 100% pure cannabis products even though they are adding cutting agents to their oils in order to stretch profits. Additionally, some say their products are full spectrum or “whole plant” even if the medicine is derived from distillate or isolated cannabinoids. This may not seem like an issue, but when medical patients are consuming these products, it is important for them to understand exactly what they are taking. Full spectrum cannabis products offer patients the benefits of the entourage effect, which is the synergistic relationship between the many different cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids in the plant. No matter which route patients choose, it is important to understand what they are trying to get out of the experience and which medicine is best for their situation.
As mentioned above, full spectrum cannabis contains a combination of many different cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids of the plant. All of these compounds work together, providing effects that are sometimes greater when working in conjunction rather than on their own. While CBD has shown to be somewhat beneficial for patients, many claim greater results when combining it with small amounts of THC and other cannabinoids due to the entourage effect. Meaning the physiological effects of the compounds together are greater than the sum of their parts. Isolate products contain only a single cannabinoid and distillate products usually contain one major cannabinoid with very few other compounds. Single cannabinoid products can certainly have some benefits for patients, but as we are starting to see, a lot of these products have an efficacy that slowly fades as the user becomes used to the dose and medication. Isolates and distillates can provide the compounds we are looking for in cannabis, however they don’t contain the magical combination found in nature.
Whatever the product may contain, it is important for manufacturers to properly identify any and all substances found inside. Medical patients are relying on legal producers in their new and evolving local markets to provide safe and reliable products. This means being transparent with patients about what’s being used in products and marketing them accordingly. Whole plant and full spectrum are the same when it comes to describing the type of product. They are made up of many different compounds found in cannabis and contain them in similar ratios found in the plant itself. This offers patients an opportunity to experience the more obscure cannabinoids and terpenes which you would not find in most isolates or distillates. Again, it is up to the consumer to decide what they are looking for when it comes to consuming cannabis.
Single cannabinoid isolates and distillates vs. full spectrum? In the end they both have their benefits and it is up to the consumer to decide which products they wish to use. Full spectrum offers patients a potentially more medicinal product with a wider range of beneficial compounds. Single cannabinoid isolates are great for testing specific compounds and for accurately dosing edibles or other products. We believe in the entourage or ensemble effect in cannabis. The plant has been healing people for thousands of years with its many different compounds and we believe it is most effective this way.