Tetrahydrocannabinol is the most abundant cannabinoid in most medical and recreational marijuana strains. However, in hemp THC is a minor constituent and appears only in trace amounts under 0.3% by dry weight, as required by the U.S. government for hemp products. THC mimics the action of anandamide, a neurotransmitter naturally produced in the human body, and binds to CB1 receptors in the endocannabinoid system found mostly in the brain. The extremely low levels of THC in hemp make hemp oil non-psychoactive and safe for all ages to use.
To better understand how these two CBD formulas differ, imagine being presented with two types of spaghetti sauce. In the first bowl, you’ll find a simple spaghetti sauce made out of pure tomatoes (CBD isolate). In the second bowl, you can find a more complex spaghetti sauce, containing roasted garlic and fragrant Italian herbs (full spectrum CBD). It’s clear that both bowls are holding spaghetti sauce – but the second recipe is more flavorful and interacts with one’s taste buds differently (also known as the “entourage effect”).
Yes, CBD oils made from marijuana (sativa or indica) can have higher concentrations of both CBD–as well as CBN and THC (the latter is the “main attraction” because it’s psychoactive). But because not everyone can lawfully buy them (and those who can must purchase in person from a state-licensed dispensary) and they’re not available online except to customers living in certain recreational-weed-legal states, they aren’t being reviewed here. Also, MJ-derived CBD oils are not as widely produced and sold.
The aforementioned entourage effect is the main reason behind the efficacy of whole plant extracts. There are over 100 ‘identified’ compounds in the cannabis plant. While most of these compounds have their own therapeutic benefit, they combine synergistically to provide a far better performance than any single compound, including CBD. Here are a couple of examples of conditions that benefit from the entourage effect: