Full-Spectrum Cannabis Extracts vs Broad Spectrum Cannabis Extracts – How do they differ?
Full-spectrum cannabis extracts differ from your typical run-of-the-mill distillate cannabis extracts commonly found on the market today.
How do full-spectrum and distillate cannabis extracts differ?
In a phrase, it’s “about the plant.”
The flower of a cannabis plant includes resin glands called trichomes. To create an extraction from cannabis, this resin, or oil, must be separated from the plant matter via a mechanical or chemical process. The mechanical function is typically pressure and temperature, or dry sieving/wet sieving, while the chemical process includes ethanol, carbon dioxide, propane, and other chemicals.
The various extraction methods net cannabis concentrate that contains the essential elements of cannabis, cannabinoids, oil, terpenes, and flavonoids.
The product type – full-spectrum or distillate is determined by the extraction method and how many processes the concentrate receives.
What is distillate – broad spectrum cannabis?
Distillate or broad-spectrum cannabis extract contains fewer elements of the cannabis plant. The concentrate initially extracted is usually processed via several methods to render a cannabis oil containing only the psychoactive component of cannabis, Delta 9 THC (and sometimes other minor cannabinoids.) If minor cannabinoids are included, they can often be from other sources, including hemp-derived cannabinoids purchased in bulk or from a separate extraction. Broad-spectrum distillate oil extracts are popular because of the concentrated D9 THC. Many distillate extract products will commonly feature additional flavoring that masks the harshness left by the numerous extractions steps necessary to create the extraction.
What are full-spectrum cannabis extracts?
Full-spectrum extracts contain more of the properties you want from the flower instead of focusing only on a high THC concentration. They are derived through more gentle extraction processes because the plant’s beneficial components, including the terpenes and cannabinoids, can be destroyed by harsh extraction techniques.
Full-spectrum cannabis extracts contain a higher percentage of the beneficial components of the cannabis flower. These extracts deliver something called the “entourage effect,” referring to the synergistic effect of the broad array of natural cannabis components contained within.
What is the “Entourage Effect?”
The “Entourage Effect” was coined in 1988 by Raphael Mechoulam. He is also the person who first identified Delta 9 THC. His work theorizes that cannabinoids, including the “fun part” of cannabis (D9 THC), work better together than alone. In addition to the “fun” aspects of the D9, many researchers believe cannabinoids can provide many health benefits. There is still much research to do, but it is looking promising.
In addition to the “stronger together” Entourage Effect theory, terpenes can give full-spectrum extracts various effects, like calming or energizing, and distinct and pleasing natural flavors. People who enjoy many types of microbrew beer will probably recognize some of these terpenes as more than a few are found in both products.
Over the decades, terpenes have been heavily researched. The National Institute of Health stated in 2019 that “Terpenes have a wide range of medicinal uses, among which antiplasmodial activity is notable as its mechanism of action is similar to the popular antimalarial drug in use—chloroquine. Monoterpenes specifically are widely studied for their antiviral property.”
To summarize, distillate or broad spectrum typically includes more processing and fewer plant components. At the same time, full-spectrum is derived from more gentle techniques and includes more of the best that cannabis has to offer.