Although marijuana and hemp share the same botanical name, cannabis sativa, chemically, the two species are quite different. Marijuana naturally has higher levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound that gives users the feeling of being “high.” Hemp, on the other hand, is naturally low in THC (less than 0.3%) but has higher levels of cannabidiol (CBD), the non-intoxicating compound that is proving to have a long list of reported therapeutic properties.
Cannabidiol is the single most abundant non-intoxicating compound found in both marijuana and hemp. Cannabidiol works by inhibiting the metabolic enzymes responsible for breaking down anandamide, a naturally produced cannabinoid, allowing it to be more prevalent in the body which, in turn, enhances the body’s ability to balance the endocannabinoid system.
Full spectrum products, also referred to as whole plant products, contain all of the phytocannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids naturally present in hemp, including ∆9 THC (less than 0.3%). Maintaining the plant’s original chemical profile allows all of the compounds to work together synergistically to create what is referred to as entourage effect which enhances the body’s endocannabinoid system’s ability to maintain a natural state of homeostasis.
The effectiveness of all of the phytocannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids found in hemp synergistically working together is greater than the individual components working independently.
It depends. Everyone’s body is unique, and we all metabolize things differently. Some of us are more sensitive to THC and other external substances than others. But in general, if you are not exceeding the recommended doses of any full spectrum product, you should be fine.
Drug tests are designed to pick up THC and other common “street drugs.” Although hemp is naturally low in THC, by definition, it has less than 0.3%; even trace amounts can build up in your body and show up in a routine drug test. If you are subject to drug screening, it is best to use broad-spectrum and isolate products that do not contain THC.
Broad-spectrum products contain all of the natural phytocannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids found in hemp except ∆9 THC. If you are subject to drug screening or are THC adverse but still want as many of the phytocannabinoids and other active compounds you can get from hemp, then this is your best option.
Cannabidiol isolates are the purest form of cannabidiol available on the market, and they do not contain any of the other phytocannabinoids found in hemp. For people looking for pure cannabidiol without any amount of THC or other phytocannabinoids, then isolate products are for you.
It can, particularly when taken in high doses. Cannabidiol is metabolized by cytochrome P450 enzymes, the same group of enzymes that metabolize over 60% of the pharmaceutical drugs prescribed today. If you are taking prescription medications and have been advised to avoid grapefruit, cannabidiol may not be right for you (some components of grapefruit are metabolized in the same manner of cannabidiol). When in doubt talk to your health care provider or pharmacist and ask if they see any potential drug interaction risks.
On a lighter note, the first rule of thumb is to not take prescriptions at the same time that you take cannabidiol. Give your body time to metabolize any medications you may be taking before consuming cannabidiol. Remember, everyone’s body is unique, and there are a lot of factors to take into consideration when trying to determine how fast your body metabolizes different substances. To be safe, leave a two-hour window between taking internal medications and cannabidiol. Another option would be to take your medications in the mornings, and take cannabidiol at night before you go to bed or vice versa.
Here’s another, “it depends” answer. When taking phytocannabinoids, it is important to pay attention to what your body is trying to tell you. You are your own best advocate, and you know your body better than anyone else. Always start low and go slow, your body needs time to adjust to anything new. Start on a low dose and maintain that dose for 2 to 3 days. Keep a journal and take notes about what time of day you took your phytocannabinoids, what did you feel or didn’t feel. If you think you need to increase your dose, increase it but then stay on that increased dose for another 2 to 3 days before making modifications.