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The cannabis plant is filled with hundreds of different compounds, several of which have been studied for decades for their therapeutic benefits. The cannabis compounds that have captured the most scientific interest are known as cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are now used in treatment for a broad—and growing—range of conditions and symptoms, from sleep and pain, to anxiety and inflammation, to Parkinson’s disease and cancer.
Let’s make something clear: CBD-infused coffee will not get you high. While both marijuana and hemp, the plant from which CBD is extracted, are part of the cannabis family, marijuana is a different plant with different effects. Still, I happily spent the rest of my lunch break sipping on my infused latte without a care in the world. I also got really hungry and scarfed down a bagel in a matter of seconds, but I think that was less an attack of the munchies and more due to the fact that I hadn’t eaten since 9 a.m.
Last year, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine released a nearly 500-page report on the health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids. A committee of 16 experts from a variety of scientific and medical fields analyzed the available evidence — more than 10,000 scientific abstracts in all. Because so few studies examine the effects of CBD on its own, the panel did not issue any findings about CBD specifically, but it did reach some conclusions about cannabis and cannabinoids more generally. The researchers determined that there is “conclusive or substantial evidence” supporting the use of cannabis or cannabinoids for chronic pain in adults, multiple sclerosis-related spasticity (a kind of stiffness and muscle spasms), and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. The committee also found “moderate” evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids can reduce sleep disturbances in people with obstructive sleep apnea, fibromyalgia, chronic pain and multiple sclerosis, as well as “limited” evidence that these substances can improve symptoms of Tourette’s syndrome, increase appetite and stem weight loss in people with HIV/AIDs, and improve symptoms of PTSD and anxiety.
Another field in which CBD is creating a buzz is in the area of mood disorders like anxiety and depression. Both conditions have been treated with a variety of medications, courtesy of Big Pharma, that have had varying levels of success. Again, the long list of side effects can be off-putting to someone who just wants to get through the day without the sweaty tension of anxiety or the gray haze of depression.
All this talk about THC lands us nicely in the whole “Full Spectrum vs. Pure Isolate” debate. Once you begin shopping for CBD products, you’ll notice a lot of jargon that gets thrown around without much explanation. Now that we’ve introduced THC into the conversation, we can talk about the difference between, and relative benefits of, Full Spectrum CBD and CBD Isolate (and the lesser-known contender: Broad Spectrum).
The final advantage in the above list of a lower cost per milligram is one worth looking into further. As previously mentioned, because a full spectrum product is derived from a whole plant ex-tract it typically costs more (you the consumer are getting more than just CBD). Chase Terwilliger, CEO of CBDistillery, adds, "It is less expensive to manufacture isolate-based products com-pared to full-spectrum products. Rather than taking advantage of a larger margin, we decided to pass the savings along to the consumers." For those looking for a pure CBD product, you will al-so be delighted to find that CBD oil made from isolate is typically less expensive than a full-spectrum product. Which brings up a final point which is to do your research on the industry standard pricing for cost per milligram to ensure you are not paying an unnecessary premium.