What is full-spectrum CBD hemp oil and what is in it?

The word full-spectrum is often bandied about in the CBD community. But even experienced users are sometimes unsure of what full-spectrum CBD hemp oil is. And more importantly, what you can find in it.

Full-spectrum CBD hemp oil refers to the unadulterated form of oil extracted from the hemp plant. It contains all the same compounds that are found in the original hemp plant, including an array of cannabinoids, terpenes, essential vitamins, minerals, fatty acids as well as proteins and flavonoids.

Why Full-Spectrum CBD Hemp Oil is Important

Many cannabinoid researchers and health care practitioners consider the health benefits of full-spectrum CBD hemp oils to be superior to isolates as its benefits go beyond that of CBD alone. This is because of something called the entourage effect - the idea that the various whole-extract compounds work together in such a way that they magnify each other’s therapeutic properties.

In other words, the complex mix of cannabinoids, terpenes and other plant compounds work together synergistically, to help your body’s endocannabinoid system maintain an optimal state of homeostasis and health.

What is in Full-Spectrum CBD Hemp Oil?

As mentioned, full-spectrum CBD hemp oil contains all the various compounds found in the raw hemp plant. These include:

1. Cannabinoids
Scientists have now detected over 90 different types, of which the majority are in such low concentrations that they are difficult to isolate and study. However, researchers have identified eight of the most abundant cannabinoids, of which three are classified as major, and five as minor cannabinoids.

Typically, a good quality full-spectrum CBD oil, typically containing high amounts of CBD, very little in THC (less than 0.3%) along with smaller amounts of the eight minor cannabinoids. These include:

Major Cannabinoids

Cannabidiol (CBD)
CBD is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid that interacts with a variety of different biological targets. Researchers have discovered that CBD is unique to other cannabinoids in the way it interacts with the body.

Firstly, where other cannabinoids bind directly to cannabinoid receptors, CBD mediating their function without binding to them. Secondly, CBD also has the ability to interact with other types of receptors and genes, modulating and balancing their functions as well.

The beneficial properties of CBD potentially include:

Δ9–tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
THC is most (in)famously known for being responsible for cannabis’ psychoactive euphoric and intoxicating effects. This is because THC is an agonist, or activator, of the cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptor with brain imaging studies showing anincreased blood flow to the prefrontal cortex responsible for decision-making, attention, and other executive functions during THC intoxication.

However, researchers are finding that THC has a variety of therapeutic properties, and when using CBD in combination with THC, they amplify the positive effects of each, while also minimizing the psychoactive properties of THC.

The beneficial properties of THC potentially include:

Cannabichromene (CBC)
CBC is another non-intoxicating cannabinoid that binds poorly to CB1 receptors and appears to be mediated through non-cannabinoid receptor interactions. Instead, CBC seems to bind to other receptors including the vanilloid receptor 1 (TRPV1) and transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 (TRPA1), two types of neural receptors linked to pain perception.

Scientists also believe that CBC works in synchronistically with the other cannabinoids, ultimately helping to increase their efficacy, while also increasing levels of the body’s own endocannabinoids including anandamide.

The beneficial properties of CBC potentially include:

Minor Cannabinoids

Cannabigerol (CBG)
CBG is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that is the progenitor cannabinoid all the other cannabinoids. It is thought to have analgesic, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer properties as well as being a bone growth promoter and intra-ocular pressure reduction aid in glaucoma patients.

Cannabichromevarin (CBN)
CBN is a mildly psychoactive cannabinoid that acts as a weak agonist at both the CB1 and CB2 receptors sites, with a greater affinity with CB2 receptors. CBN is produced from the degradation of THC, usually resulting in very little, to no CBN in a fresh plant. CBN is thought to have analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, anti-bacterial and sedative properties.

Cannabidivarin (CBDV)
CBDv is structurally very similar to CBD that acts on the TRPV1 receptor in addition to epilepsy-related gene expression. Although CBDV has not been researched much, available evidence suggests that it can be useful a(n) anti-convulsive and bone growth promoter.

Cannabichromevarin (CBCV)
Related to CBC, CBCV is very similar, but shorter in structure. Although not that much is known about CBCV, it is thought to have similar properties to CBC making it useful as an analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-depressant, antibiotic, antifungal and neuroprotectant

Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV)
THCv is structurally it is very similar to THC, but is known as a CB1 antagonist in lower dosages, an agonist at higher concentrations, and a partial CB2 antagonist. THCV can be useful as a(n) anxiolytic, appetite suppressor and bone growth promotor.

2. Terpenes

Hemp terpenes are thought to have their own set of beneficial properties because they are formed in the same resinous trichomes as cannabinoids. This provides hemp terpenes with additional properties, effects and benefits that reflect those of the cannabinoids that formed alongside them. And just like with cannabinoids, researchers have identified eight main terpenes found in hemp that we’ve summarized in a quick-reference table.


Terpene Characteristics Found In Therapeutic Properties
Caryophyllene Peppery, spicy, woody, clove aroma Black pepper, cloves and cinnamon Analgesic, Anxiolytic, Anti-depressant, Gastroprotectant
Humulene Herbal, woody aroma Hops, sage, ginseng, coriander, cloves, basil and ginger Anti-cancer, Anti-bacterial, Anti-inflammatory, Appetite suppressant
Limonene Citrusy, lemony aroma Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and limes, rosemary, juniper and peppermint Analgesic, Anti-cancer, Anxiolytic, Anti-depressant, Anti-inflammatory
Myrcene Peppery, spicy, herbal aroma Mango, thyme, lemongrass, parsley, hops and bay leaf Antiseptic, Pain Relief, Antimicrobial, Antioxidant, Anti-inflammatory, Muscle relaxant
Ocimene Sweet, herbal, woody aroma Mint, parsley, pepper, basil, mangoes, orchids, and kumquats Anti-viral, Anti-fungal, Antiseptic, Anti-bacterial, Anti-inflammatory , Anti-oxidant
Pinene Fresh, pine aroma Pine needles, conifers, rosemary, basil, parsley and dill Relieves asthma and other respiratory issues, Pain relief, Anti-cancer, Anti-inflammatory, Elevates mood, Anxiolytic, Protects gastrointestinal tract
Terpinolene Piney, floral, herbal aroma Nutmeg, tea tree, conifers, apples, cumin, and lilacs Anti-bacterial, Antioxidant, Anti-cancer, Anti-microbial

3. Vitamins & Minerals

In addition to cannabinoids and terpenes, full-spectrum CBD hemp extract also contains various vitamins like vitamin A (including beta-carotene) as well as vitamins C, E and B-complex vitamins (including riboflavin, thiamine and niacin). In addition, full spectrum CBD hemp oil also contains minerals like magnesium, zinc, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, and iron.

4. Essential Fatty Acids

Essential fatty acids are vital for maintaining a variety of biological activities. These include things like membrane structure and function, vision, nervous system development and function, as well as heart and cardiovascular health. There are two primary types of essential fatty acids; Omega-3 and Omega-6. Full-spectrum CBD hemp oil offers both of these, and in their optimal ratios of 3:1.

5. Amino Acids

Amino acids function as the building blocks for proteins, in addition to playing many other critical roles in the body like synthesizing of hormones and neurotransmitters, developing and repairing muscles and regulating immune function and energy production. Full-spectrum CBD hemp oil contains all the 20 amino acids found in the hemp plant, including the nine essential amino acids vital to optimal health.

Bottom Line

Although the science behind CBD is ongoing, a picture is starting to emerge showing that full spectrum CBD hemp oil not only provides a wide range of therapeutic benefits, but can also be a source of vital nutrients.

However, since the CBD market is still largely unregulated, it is important to use the best full-spectrum CBD oil you can find and afford. To make sure you are getting a product that deliver all the above-mentioned benefits, look for the following: