Full-spectrum vs. CBD Isolate
It’s important to first understand the difference between CBD isolate and the full-spectrum of phytocannabinoids. To clarify, CBD is only one of over a hundred phytocannabinoids (albeit the most prevalent one). Nonetheless, the presence of other phytocannabinoids alongside CBD, results in a greater synergistic activity. People and scientists commonly refer to this as “the Entourage Effect.” In other words, if you’re just using isolated CBD, you’re not getting the benefits of the other phytocannabinoids and no magnifying effect takes place. On the other hand, “full-spectrum” hemp extract provides the full-spectrum of naturally-occurring phytocannabinoids – which includes a defined amount of CBD. Ultimately, full-spectrum phytocannabinoids at a clinically-relevant dose is exactly what you want.
The lawful status of CBD isolate
With the passage of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, many people are under the impression that “CBD” was made legal. This is incorrect. While hemp for industrial purposes was made legal, this does not necessarily mean that CBD is legal as a dietary supplement – even if hemp is the primary source of phytocannabinoids. In fact, in December (2018), FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb issued a press release where he wished to make the FDA’s position clear. He stated, “it’s unlawful under the FD&C Act to introduce food containing added CBD or THC into interstate commerce, or to market CBD or THC products as, or in, dietary supplements, regardless of whether the substances are hemp-derived.”
So how and why are companies still producing “CBD”?
Former Commissioner Gottlieb’s choice of words is interesting. Specifically, he mentions “added CBD” as the restricted ingredient in dietary supplements or foods. By saying this, he is suggesting that CBD isolate cannot be part of any dietary supplement. However, what about a plant, such as hemp, that contains naturally-occurring phytocannabinoids (of which CBD is one)? Truth be told, there are many different plants that naturally contain phytocannabinoids. Several examples include basil, cinnamon, black pepper, cloves, oregano, which you can find at any local supermarket; so clearly, these plants are lawful to sell in foods or dietary supplements. Ultimately, companies looking to sell legal phytocannabinoid products have adopted the position that products containing naturally-occurring phytocannabinoids from sources like hemp are not problematic – assuming that said product isn’t positioned as a CBD product; this means companies that are, or appearing to (through means of mislabeling or deceptive marketing), sell a CBD product are in clear violation of the FDA’s position and therefore illegal. So, if you’re looking for a legal CBD product, stop asking for “CBD” and start asking for “Phytocannabinoids!”
FYI, a clinically-relevant dose of phytocannabinoids is 25mg per serving. Why 25mg? Check out episode 2 of our weekly video podcast: The Science of CBD. Our in-house expert, Gene Bruno (Prof. Nutraceutical Sciences) discusses dosage discrepancies and what dose of phytocannabinoids everyone should be taking.
You can find it here: https://youtu.be/uuT2MkBsgB4