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We’re now positioned to take full advantage of the medical potential of cannabis and we look forward to the rescheduling of cannabis at the federal level. But do you know the difference between CBD oil and full spectrum cannabis oil? If you answered “no”, you’re not alone. While cannabis oil remains in the headlines not just in the United States but worldwide, there is a knowledge gap regarding the various types of CBD oil available on the market. The public is attempting to come to terms with “CBD” and “cannabis” everything that appear in health food shops, online, and at clinics and dispensaries. Now to define what makes the two distinct, understand why is it so important to know the difference between CBD oil and cannabis oil, and explore their differences in the paragraphs that follow.

There are various important distinctions between cannabidiol, aka CBD oil, and what constitutes full spectrum cannabis oil, and these products need to be certified. Much like variants in the essential oils sphere, differences range from how CBD and full spectrum oil are made, their legal status at the state and federal level, and what are we trying to target as far as an effective treatment goes. Though these substances have been around for many years, it’s not easy to stay on top of all the news and developments since official lab testing and controlled environments have only just come into being. Research needs to be proven or even re-proven depending on the regulating authority (the FDA will not simply accept research from a foreign nation without its own independent studies).

Potential harm can arise when products are misapplied. If you believe you can “cure cancer” using 3% CBD oil from the farmer’s market, you might very well be skipping out on an effective treatment that full spectrum cannabis oil is thought to possess, but not a weak CBD extract. CBD oil has wonderful properties, but all things should be applied according to their proper use. A 3% CBD oil that’s currently commercially available is not prescribed to cure cancer or stop seizures. On the other hand, anecdotal evidence suggests full spectrum cannabis oil sometimes can do these things and the research is catching up.

CBD oil is not psychoactive. It does have relaxing and anti-anxiety properties but the only cannabidiol in an oil sold as CBD is the cannabinoid CBD. It’s often blended with one or more carrier oils such as coconut and may be given some type of flavoring to make it more appealing. A full spectrum cannabis oil, aka FSO, contains the complete range of compounds known as cannabinoids and terpenes. Since FSO contains THC, is illegal (for now) everywhere that cannabis is illegal so check your local regulations before trying to order. The cannabinoids and terpenes extracted from the cannabis plant are known to have a multitude of medicinal properties, many of which are still undergoing research and exploration. FSO also contains all of the bioactive compounds of the source plant (there are approximately 500 natural components in the cannabis plant), so that the “entourage effect”, or the valuable synergistic effect cited by CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, benefits the end user in ways CBD oil can’t.