There are is a lot of CBD products types currently available on the market. One of the main descriptions that you will find on the commercially available ones is "Full spectrum", "Broad Spectrum" or "CBD Isolate". In a previous article titled Hemp extract and CBD isolate: what's the difference? we described the exact difference between the two forms. Below, however, we would like to present the results of research confirming the definite superiority of full/broad spectrum products over products formulated with CBD isolate.
A groundbreaking study from Israel documented the superior therapeutic properties of CBD-rich hemp extract from the entire plant (so-called full spectrum) compared to oil on CBD isolate alone.
An article published in the journal Pharmacology & Pharmacy (February 2015) directly challenges one of the major beliefs circulating and endlessly replicated in pharmaceutical circles-the notion that "crude" botanical preparations are inherently of low quality and less effective than pure, single-molecule compounds.
This article, titled "Overcoming the Bell-Shaped Dose-Response of Cannabidiol by Using Cannabis Extract Enriched in Cannabidiol," is all the more remarkable given the contributions of co-author Lumir Hanus, who was instrumental in the discovery of anandamide, an endogenous cannabinoid compound first identified in the mammalian brain in 1992.
Hanus and two colleagues at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem examined the available scientific literature and noted that over the past fifteen years, numerous preclinical studies have focused on the anti-inflammatory effects of pure CBD in animal models of various pathologies, including rheumatoid arthritis , inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, and diabetes. (See preclinical data on CBD.)
The study showed that administration of pure CBD resulted in a bell-shaped "body dose-response" curve, meaning that once the amount of CBD exceeds a certain point, its therapeutic effect drops dramatically. "Healing was only observed when CBD was administered in a very limited dose range, whereas no beneficial effect was achieved at lower or higher doses," the authors noted. This characterization of a single CBD molecule - manifested by a bell-shaped dose response - creates serious obstacles that limit its usefulness in a clinical context.
The Israeli team sought to determine whether administering full spectrum CBD oil (an extract of the entire plant, containing all the naturally occurring substances in it) would also generate a bell-shaped "body dose-response" curve when administered to mice
Israeli researchers extracted CBD-rich oil from Maple 202. The extract - consisting of 17.9 percent CBD, 1.1 percent THC, 1.1 percent cannabichromene (CBC), 0.2 percent cannabigerol (CBG), and "traces" of cannabinol (CBN) and cannabivarol (CBDV) - was administered to mice to evaluate its anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects.
For comparison purposes, the researchers administered pure CBD (isolate) to another group of mice and evaluated its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. They also compared the extent to which CBD isolate and CBD in full spectrum oil inhibited the production of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFa), a systemic inflammatory signaling molecule. Disregulation of TNF-alpha production is associated with several diseases, including cancer, Alzheimer's disease, clinical depression and irritable bowel syndrome.
In the case of CBD isolate, the study confirmed the results of earlier preclinical studies. Once again, administration of CBD isolate generated a bell-shaped "body dose-response" curve with a narrow therapeutic window.
A different dose response pattern was observed with full spectrum CBD oil. Rather than showing a bell-shaped curve where a therapeutic effect could only be achieved with a certain concentration of pure CBD, full spectrum CBD oil caused direct, dose-dependent inhibition of pain, inflammation and TNFα production. "In contrast to purified CBD" - reported the Israeli team, "the full spectrum extract...provided a clear correlation between anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive responses and dose, with responses increasing with increasing doses, making cbd full spectrum oil ideal for clinical use. "
What's more, Israeli researchers found that a small amount of full spectrum CBD oil was needed to achieve significant pain relief compared to the much larger amount of CBD isolate required to achieve the same analgesic effect. While pure CBD given in "excess" (a dose above the exact therapeutic dose) showed a sharp decrease in efficacy, "overdosing" on full spectrum CBD oil did not affect the therapeutic effect. When more than the optimal dose of full spectrum oil was given, its efficacy stabilized, suggesting that a therapeutic plateau had been reached.
An Israeli study found that full spectrum CBD oil "is superior to pure CBD in treating inflammation. The greater efficacy of the whole plant extract may be explained by additive or synergistic interactions between CBD and dozens of minor phytocannabinoids and hundreds of non-plant compounds cannabinoids. "It is likely that other components in the extract synergize with CBD to achieve the desired anti-inflammatory effects, which may contribute to overcoming the bell-shaped dose response that occurs when using purified CBD." - surmised the Israeli team.
The researchers also felt it was important to examine how o;ley CBD full spectrum compared to commercial painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs. They found that both pure CBD and full spectrum CBD oil showed greater anti-inflammatory potency than aspirin. Aspirin, but not tramadol, showed a slight inhibitory effect on TNFα production, which was insignificant compared to the strong inhibitory effects of pure CBD and and full spectrum CBD oil.
The key finding that CBD in the presence of other hemp constituents improves dose response is supported by recent reports documenting the anti-proliferative effects of cannabidiol on cancer cells and the inhibitory effects of CBD on bladder contractility.
"Many studies have been conducted to isolate and characterize isolated individual components of traditional herbal medicine to find a rationale for therapeutic applications," the Israeli team concluded. "However, our data, together with those of others, provide the basis for the introduction of a new generation of phytopharmaceuticals for the treatment of diseases that were previously treated with synthetic drugs alone. The therapeutic synergy observed with plant extracts means that fewer active ingredients are required, resulting in reduced side effects. "