In the fast-changing global hemp market, new ingredients, products, and definitions are developing at such fast speed that this industry often becomes overwhelming for a lay person, a patient, a regulator, or a hemp-based start-up. Indeed, when one looks at a variety of products online or in hemp or cannabis retail shops, the sheer number of products and brands can be overwhelming. Furthermore, when faced with a variety of hemp products at the retail locations, it is rare to find a well-educated sales person that can confidently explain the difference in the multitude of products.  A good sales person should be able to explain some basic concepts about hemp, phytoactive elements, including phytocannabinoids, explain the differences in the products at hand, and to not overstate hemp’s medicinal value.

While the level of consumer and seller education is evolving, more and more interesting hemp products will enter the market, concurrent with the increasing demand and daily consumption of the whole hemp plant elements, like non-psychotropic phytocannabinoids like cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol (CBG), and their acidic forms, CBDA and CBGA, respectively. Given that it is estimated that only few percent of the total population currently knows what CBD is, the market is still at the emergent stage. Yet the small number of people who start discovering how hemp may benefit them, inevitably first look at the products, but then quickly want to learn more about the plant, CBD, and terpenes, as well as potentially learn about the endocannabinoid system.  Education is required before consumers spend tens or hundreds of Euros for an unknown brand or product that has no scientific backing, but instead a great marketing machine. Subsequently, once feeling aware of some of these concepts, consumers surf back into web shops or venture off to retail stores, talk to the consumers on social media, and seek for accredited, legitimate experts that can explain about the products.

                                                                                                                           Hemp CBD Oil Drops

Retail shops of hemp or cannabis offer an unprecedented opportunity not only to educate the public, but to allow for consumers to look at the products much closer, to smell, touch, and try first.  After they have potentially learned some basic information about hemp and the endocannabinoid system, these are some of the most common questions that, typically, follow immediately:

                                 What is the difference between full spectrum hemp oil and CBD oil?

                                What is CBD isolate?

                                How is hemp oil different from hemp seed oil?

                                Which product is good?

……..So, to answer some of these questions we should walk through some of the important definitions below:

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Full Spectrum

Full spectrum hemp oil is typically made from hemp flowers, leaves, and the top stems. Often, the plants are used with the seeds inside of the flowers. When cold extraction methods (example: super critical CO2, cold alcohol) are used to extract the whole plant or its parts, like flowers or upper stalks, the resultant concentrate will contain a whole full spectrum of cannabinoids, flavonoids, chlorophyll, waxes and terpenes. Within hemp, CBD is the most prevalent phytocannabinoid. However, other minor cannabinoids are also present, like CBG (cannabigerol), CBC (cannabichromine), and the acidic cannabinoids (CBDA, CBGA, THCA).

It is thought that the full spectrum oils and natural waxes may provide for the most interactions for a variety of whole plant molecules. Full spectrum oils would then be most in line with the wholistic approach of treating the whole body with the whole plant(s). Florance Hemp CBD Oil 250 is a good example of a full spectrum raw hemp oil with these factors.

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Broad Spectrum

For broad spectrum formulations, the same or select parts of the plants would be used: flowers, leaves, trim, stalks. During heating, extraction process, or post-extraction processing of the concentrate, the oil may lose some of the components mentioned above. Acidic cannabinoids may become completely decarboxylated by heat and some terpenes may also evaporate. Removals of the natural hemp waxes in the extracts may remove terpenes and some cannabinoids. Filtering or processing with heat will further reduce the full spectrum of molecules into the broad spectrum. The most volatile terpenes may also be lost in this post-process.


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PCR stands for phytocannabinoid rich. In this case, typically, using alcohol distillation, the most dominant phytocannabinoids (THC and CBD) and terpenes are separated. This process allows to produce extractions that are 0.0% THC and to preserve a partial set of terpenes from the original plant.  Post-extraction, the extracted and separated terpenes can then be combined back with CBD. PCR oils are typically CBD oils that are 0.0 THC and can be up to 90% CBD and 10% terpenes. Although PCR oils are stripped of some of the beneficial hemp components, they are also effective, can usually be shipped internationally, and should not show any positive THC test in the blood. Furthermore, PCR oils allow to explore for benefits of whether a given person is reacting to CBD and a small subset of terpenes, in the absence of other hemp molecules.

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Isolate or CBD Oils

CBD can be reduced to a powder or crystal form? Yes, this is a natural CBD that comes from the plant. It is not synthesized, but it is isolated from all of the rest of the molecules. It looks like grain flower that dissolves in oil. Thus, CBD isolate is typically 25-50% cheaper than the full spectrum extract. In addition, CBD isolate is often used to infuse other oils, like olive oil, with CBD. However, CBD oil is not hemp oil. CBD can be dissolved in hemp seed, olive, avocado, MCT (medium chain triglyceride oil), and other oils.

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Why would you want CBD in olive oil or MCT or other oils?

From a consumer’s perspective, they are already familiar with olive oil, but they are not with hemp seed oil or hemp oil. MCT oil contains mostly caprylic and capric acids with C8 and C10 carbon chains, respectively. This oil is also popular with the athletes and body builders. Thus, when combined with the ingredients that are known to the consumer and have known benefits, CBD finds its way into our daily diet, on top of the salad or in a smoothie at the gym.

Does this mean that CBD Oil is not as good for me as the PCR or Full Spectrum oils?

Some have criticized hemp as a dirty plant, compared to marijuana grown in green houses.  Wait a minute, I though to myself, does one only want to eat tomatoes grown in the green houses? – no! Doesn’t the plant evolve with the environment that surrounds us, while we are evolving with it as well? – yes! Isn’t there “dirty marijuana” and “bad products”? – yes! The argument that hemp is a great bioremediatory and can suck up everything from the ground is also true about cannabis grown in artificial environments. We should want hemp to give us the cleanest and most complex output of the earth, sun, and wind.

Its all about the quality.

So let’s demystify “dirty hemp” and lets talk about quality ingredients and quality products. As with any food supplement, cosmetic, or medical products, there are good products and bad products. Hemp and hemp products can be pristine, harvested and processed by hand, or they be of poor quality. The same goes for the THC cannabis plants and products. The final quality of the plant and the product depends on many variables, but most importantly on the people and process behind it. Products made from pristine hemp with the highest quality ingredients, formulations, and innovations will stand the test of time. Products made with real scientific substance and care for quality will establish themselves in the market place long term.

Whether consumers pick CBD oil or full spectrum hemp entourage products, they will find their favorite, safe and most effective products with the help of additional research and education. More hemp in our daily food chains is inevitable, so learning what products to select, how to use them, and what to expect after using them is key for hemp regaining its royal thrown with vitamins CBD, CBG, CBC and terpenes as their loyal entourage.

Dr. JZ – Jokubas Ziburkus, PhD (

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Previously published in Hanf Magazin