CBD tinctures exemplify the benefits of full-spectrum extracts. And the reason is that CBD oil, made from hemp, is more accessible to a wider range of patients. In contrast, full-spectrum extracts made from cannabis contain higher concentrations of THC, whose psychoactive effects are undesirable for many users.
What is a Full-Spectrum Extract?
With so many new products entering the cannabis market, it’s good to understand what full-spectrum actually means. Basically, the goal of full-spectrum extraction is to deliver the full array of benefits provided by the natural cannabis sativa plant.
Because the cannabis plant contains terpenes and other cannabinoids, a full-spectrum extract contains them too. And scientific research has supported the Entourage Effect theory of cannabis, which suggests the sum total of cannabis compounds offer more therapeutic benefit than any compound working in isolation.
Full-Spectrum Extracts vs Broad-Spectrum Extracts
Full-spectrum CBD extracts like those made by Daily, are derived from hemp flowers or buds. These extracts contain all cannabinoids found in the plant, including trace amounts of THC. But it is important to note that these small amounts of THC aren’t sufficient to be classified as ‘psychoactive’, whereas a full-spectrum extract derived from cannabis certainly is.
Some cannabis sativa fans are incredibly sensitive to its effects. For these individuals, even trace amounts of THC can produce psychoactive effects. Luckily, broad-spectrum extracts are available, offering similar benefits to full-spectrum extracts.
In the case of broad-spectrum CBD oils, hemp is used to achieve a full-spectrum extract, whose trace THC is then removed with some further refinement. The resulting oil contains absolutely no traces of THC, which is preferable for some users who would rather abstain entirely from psychoactive ingredients.
Stimulate the Endocannabinoid System With Full-Spectrum Extracts
In addition to containing high concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids, full-spectrum extracts can encourage relaxation, sleep, digestion, and other positive health-related outcomes. We will outline some of the most promising medical uses near the end of this article.
Just how do cannabis extracts achieve such a wide range of applications? By engaging directly with our Endocannabinoid System.
ECS Basics: Your Body in Balance
The ‘Endo’ in Endocannabinoid System, or ECS, is actually misleading. It means it is ‘endogenous’, meaning it comes from within our body. While this is absolutely true, it can confuse people into thinking that it has everything to do with cannabis. And this is not the case!
Dr. Ruth Ross, who has studied the ECS for almost 30 years, jokes that even if you haven’t smoked cannabis, you still have an ECS (Ross, 2019). Indeed, its vital actions begin in utero, even before birth.
Playing an essential role in maintaining balance across body systems, the ECS is designed to oversee and respond to stimuli inside and outside our bodies to accomplish this role. Using hormonal ‘lock-and-key’ mechanisms throughout the body, the ECS triggers emotion and action cascades, like the fight or flight response.
Cannabinoid Keys Unlock CB Receptors
You may see CB1 and CB2 receptors mentioned in various articles and product descriptions of full-spectrum extracts. And that’s because they’re vitally important to how full-spectrum extracts interact with the ECS. These receptors are the locks in the ECS. And cannabinoids, from your body or from a plant, act as the key.
Our body produces endocannabinoids specifically to interact with the ECS. Phytocannabinoids, like those produced by cannabis and some other plants, are exogenous, meaning they come from outside our bodies. Both initiate chemical interactions whose final goal is to establish balance and order in the body.
For example, Anandamide or AEA is our body’s endogenous version of THC. Even more interesting is that AEA is the true runner’s high molecule. Endorphins were once credited for the runner’s high before the Endocannabinoid System was discovered.
This and other interesting, in-depth information about the ECS can be found in our article, ‘What is the Endocannabinoid System’.
Why Full-Spectrum Extracts Work
For certain applications, broad-spectrum oils and distillates are desirable and appropriate. However, full-spectrum extracts are receiving more attention for good reason. Namely, they have additional cannabinoids and terpenes that also have unique therapeutic benefits. And this is where the Entourage Effect comes into play.
Feel The Entourage Effect With Full-Spectrum Extracts
It so happens that CBD makes very weak contact with CB1 and CB2 receptors, while THC fills them readily. And yet, CBD strongly influences the ECS in complex ways that are beyond the scope of this article. Essentially, this influence is boosted by those trace amounts of THC working in synergy with CBD.
Although this small amount of THC won’t have psychoactive effects on most people, it is sufficient to enhance the multi-faceted, therapeutic characteristics of the plant. And this is why Daily and other tinctures are available as balanced blends of CBD and THC, like 800mg CBD:200mg THC by Daily.
Cannabinoids and Terpenes Work Better Together
Until recently, it was believed that only cannabinoids interact with the ECS. This year, LaVigne and colleagues conducted studies showing that “terpenes and cannabinoids can produce an additive effect when combined. This study is also the first to identify the CB1 and A2a receptors as terpene targets, and describe the role of these receptors in producing terpene cannabimimetic effects in vivo.” (LaVigne et al, 2021)
These findings not only support the case for the Entourage Effect but also for full-spectrum extracts. Since they contain all of the terpenes and cannabinoids found in natural hemp and cannabis, full-spectrum extracts allow users to benefit from this newly confirmed additive effect.
Full-Spectrum Extracts For Appetite Stimulation
Another benefit of full-spectrum extracts that can be traced to the ECS is appetite stimulation. Does that sound familiar? Indeed, when you smoke a good Indica cannabis strain, you may get the munchies half an hour later. And that is because the phytocannabinoids from cannabis are acting as analogs on our ECS, effectively initiating hunger pangs.
For this reason, full-spectrum extracts and other cannabis products are effective treatments for low appetite, nausea, and other issues affecting optimal food intake. While pure CBD tinctures may be too gentle to stimulate a seriously lacking appetite, a balanced extract like 600mg CBD: 600mg THC by Daily will.
With Full-Spectrum Extracts, You Don’t Need to Inhale
Speaking of smoking a good Indica cannabis strain … you don’t have to. And you can still get all the benefits of the unadulterated cannabis plant.
At SacredMeds, we are vapor fans, from dabbing concentrates to vaping premium BC buds. But we understand that inhalation isn’t everyone’s preference. Luckily, full-spectrum extracts deliver a natural, wholesome sublingual or ingested cannabis experience.
Start Low and Go Slow with Full-Spectrum Tinctures
Ingesting THC-containing cannabis produces a different sensation from inhaling it. Because the onset can take up to half an hour or more, inexperienced users may think their tolerance is high and take more before it takes effect.
Don’t make this mistake!
If you are new to full-spectrum extracts and intend to use both THC and CBD tinctures, make sure you read our Cannabis Edibles Safety Guide first. It will teach you how to enjoy edibles safely.
In general, the effects of full-spectrum CBD extracts are relaxing and gentle. While it is unlikely that even extremely high doses will make someone feel ‘high’, the mantra never changes:
Start Low, Go Slow!
Chronic Pain and Full-Spectrum Extracts
Chronic and neuropathic pain are two broad areas of suffering that benefit from full-spectrum extracts containing CBD and THC. Originating from diseases and injuries to the nervous system, neuropathic pain is a common symptom of nerve compression and trauma, like corneal neuropathic pain (CNP).
And chronic pain also persists with certain infections and autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and hypothyroidism. Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients experience both generalized and neuropathic pain, as well as spasticity and spasms. Diabetes patients can also experience severe chronic pain. Pharmaceutical opiates are prescribed to many of these patients in order to cope with daily life.
CBD Is an Effective Add-On Treatment for Chronic Pain
By incorporating all helpful facets of the cannabis sativa plant, full-spectrum extracts are able to exercise a wider influence on the ECS. And they are actively helping chronic pain patients take control of their symptoms and lessen their total dependence on addictive opiates.
THC-CBD oromucosal spray improved the quality of life for MS patients across several randomized, controlled clinical studies (Zettl et al., 2016). The same findings applied to patients with severe chronic pain (Ueberall et al., 2019). While CBD might not be sufficient, it has been deemed an effective add-on treatment by the same study.
While cannabis products offer a safe alternative to harmful pharmaceutical drugs, a tandem discovery is equally promising. CBD has shown efficacy in treating the painful side effects of cocaine, meth, and crack addiction.
‘CBD For Pain Management’ explores these findings and ones cited above in greater detail.
‘Full-Spectrum CBD and Isolate: What’s the Difference?’ will walk you through other cannabis extract options.
LaVigne, J. E., Hecksel, R., Keresztes, A. and Streicher, J. M. (2021) “Cannabis sativa terpenes are cannabimimetic and selectively enhance cannabinoid activity,” Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group UK, [online] Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8050080/ (Accessed 20 September 2021).
Ross, D.R. (2019) Demystifying the endocannabinoid system. | Ruth Ross | TEDxMississauga, TEDx Talks, [online] Available from: https://youtu.be/8GsmTFytBYI (Accessed 20 September 2021).
Ueberall, M., Essner, U. and Mueller-Schwefe, G. (2019) “Effectiveness and tolerability of THC:CBD oromucosal spray as add-on measure in patients with severe chronic pain: analysis of 12-week open-label real-world data provided by the German Pain e-Registry,” PMC US National Library of Medicine, [online] Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6535492/ (Accessed 20 September 2021).
Zettl, U., Rommer, P. and Hipp, P. (2016) “Evidence for the efficacy and effectiveness of THC-CBD oromucosal spray in symptom management of patients with spasticity due to multiple sclerosis,” PMC US National Library of Medicine, [online] Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4710104/ (Accessed 20 September 2021).