CBD vs THC: Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum and Pure Isolate 2020 Comparison Guide

A properly updated 2020 guide on CBD versus THC along with a complete review of the entourage effect differences and health benefits of using a full spectrum, broad spectrum or pure isolate CBD-infused product.

HealthMJ is actively mapping out the entire CBD ecosystem, from the best CBD oils, gummies, skincare, salves/balms, drinks/beverages and pet products – we got you covered; and one of the most popular questions we receive from our attentive audience is how CBD vs THC works; more specifically the differences between full spectrum CBD, broad spectrum CBD and pure isolates.

As the rapidly shifting landscape of medicinal cannabis continues to unfold in 2020, hemp and marijuana plants are both spectacles to watch in their own right given the prominent cannabinoid community of compounds, namely in THC and its cousin phytocannabinoid CBD.

With all of the new information coming out about CBD and its potential health benefits, it’s only fair that you might question how CBD compares to marijuana or THC-infused products and so forth. Many individuals continue to be concerned about CBD, and while there are many risks and dangerous concerns to address, research says maybe you should consider the options to get ahead of the curve and know the variations best available for you.

When it comes to terms like CBD, THC, full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolates; it’s hard to know and fully understand what these terms mean and just what the differences are between them or how they compare to one another. But our CBD vs THC guide is designed to do just that; remove the clutter, simplify the terminology and showcase each advantage they all have independently as well as talk about the ‘entourage effect'.

The thing is, there is a lot of varying CBD and THC-infused product information available, and it is so very important to educate yourself before passing any judgment on these products. Making an effort to be in the know will not only increase your knowledge base but just might present you with life-changing information given your occupation, bodily needs or desired medicinal effects.

THC vs CBD guide

Understanding that “knowledge is power,” we put together a guide the will detail each of these items in turn (CBD, THC, full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolates) as well as compare them and explain to you how each of these factors might relate to the other.

We will share with you various statistics, studies, definitions, and a ton of valuable information for each subject. To begin, we will break down each subject separately, and then we will come back and tie some information together for your reference.

We hope you will tune into this CBD and THC overview breakdown and the valuable information presented within our cannabis oil-infused product guide for buying the best full-spectrum, broad-spectrum or pure isolate option for you.

CBD: All the Rage, None of the High

CBD and THC full spectrum oils guide

CBD products have taken the world by storm. While it has quickly become the most popular best-selling herbal extract in the health and wellness industry last year, many are still on the fence whether or not to use a CBD-infused supplement. Have you tried them yet? Are you scared to take that step and open the door to the possibilities of what CBD can provide for you? CBD products were initially quite controversial as they are instantly associated with marijuana.

The truth is, CBD really is not comparable to marijuana and, in fact, many times contains no THC (which is the property that typically enacts psychoactive responses in use of marijuana) or a minuscule percentage.

Additionally, CBD products are heavily regulated as to how much THC can legally be in them for over-the-counter distribution. It is no secret by now CBD has become a go-to option for many men and women looking for a natural and potentially reliable solution for issues such as pain relief, anxiety, irritation, and the like. Before choosing a CBD product, it is important to understand the difference between the three of the most common-types of formulas, which are full-spectrum (with THC), broad-spectrum (no-THC) and isolate (pure CBD). Fortunately, this post is here to help.

Are you curious yet? Let’s dive a bit deeper.

What Exactly is CBD?

what is cbd

CBD is short for cannabidiol. This cannabidiol is otherwise known as a phytocannabinoid. These cannabinoids come directly from the cannabis plant. Cannabis plants contain more than 100 cannabinoids in them.

When minerals are extracted from the cannabis plant, CBD accounts for approximately 40% of the extracts, which results in CBD being readily available for processing. CBD can be obtained from hemp without THC in the extraction.

What does that mean? THC is the property that often gives cannabis a bad name. It is THC that produces the “high” that is associated with some cannabis usage, particularly smoking cannabis. However, you should know that THC is either extremely limited or completely non-existent in CBD when it is produced.

In fact, many manufacturers of CBD products extract the cannabidiol with an extreme process specifically for the purpose of delivering a pure product and reducing THC levels. In this manner, the CBD then does not make you high and formats to legal regulations as well.

The Benefits of CBD

Studies have shown that CBD products can produce a significant number of health benefits, many of which you may not have ever been aware of. Research has been increasing, but there is also still a lot to learn about CBD.

There are many benefits that have been discovered through studies and trials thus far. Here are a few of the most common and well-known benefits of CBD products:

  • Pain Relief
  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Anxiety relief
  • Cancer treatment and relief
  • Epilepsy and seizure disorder treatments
  • Alzheimer’s treatment
  • Migraine relief
  • Fight acne
  • Fights neurological symptoms and disorders

You might be able to pick out a few of the items on this list that have been primarily untreatable with everyday medication. When there is medication available, it can have extensive side effects.

But consider a safe and legal treatment to things like cancer, epilepsy, and Alzheimer’s – amongst other hard to treat diagnoses. Does this mean CBD will help your body heal from these disorders, or will it simply help relieve the symptoms?

Research and studies are still new and not fully conclusive. It is hard to say whether CBD could essentially eliminate any of the disorders listed, but if it can help fight or treat the associated symptoms, it is certainly worth consideration.

To give you an idea of how CBD works with these various disorders, let’s break a few of them down further.

CBD and Alzheimer’s Treatment

Alzheimer’s has long been a disorder that is primarily untreatable. Of course, there is medication to help those with Alzheimer’s, but it does little by way of reducing symptoms or slowing the process of the disease.

Alzheimer’s is primarily a brain disorder that progresses rather slowly at most times. It can move quickly though in some people. Alzheimer’s causes the victim to lost memories, history, and even the memory of how to complete specific skills necessary to care for themselves.

As Alzheimer’s progresses, many people revert to old memories and don’t know the people closest to them when they see them. They forgot how to do basic tasks and ultimately become unable to care for themselves safely.

All of these effects of Alzheimer’s are functionally related to the brain suffering from inflammation. This inflammation often causes excessive oxygen to build-up, which in turn leads to the effects we are familiar with as Alzheimer’s. The brain cells become blocked and therefore decline.

In comes CBD products, recent studies show that CBD can reduce this inflammation, allowing that oxygen that has built up due to brain cell blockage to seep out and therefore decreasing many Alzheimer’s symptoms.

This systematic process from CBD acts as an antioxidant for the brain cells by reducing or eliminating the inflammation that causes blockage and therefore causes the disease to take full form. With this relief, the effects of Alzheimer’s are greatly reduced and slowed.

This is not to say CBD cures Alzheimer’s but rather that it can reduce the process and provide relief of many of the symptoms, straight from the root cause.

CBD and Epilepsy Treatment

Epilepsy and other seizure disorders have been studied for health benefits related to CBD treatment. Epilepsy is another neurological disorder in which the sensory processes in your brain are triggered, which then leads to seizures.

Epilepsy has been challenging to treat through the years and at times, is left untreated. There are medications available, but there is no guarantee they will work. They may reduce seizures or the intensity of seizures, but the results vary on individuals, and, of course, the results are only as good as the medicine available.

CBD, also, may not be effective for every user. However, it has been found in studies to dramatically reduce the number of seizures as well as the length of seizures in those affected by the disease.

In 2018, the FDA approved Epidiolex to be used for epilepsy treatment in certain situations. There are two forms of epilepsy it has been approved to treat and an age requirement as well. Epidiolex is a formula of CBD that is purely plant-based but has been studied and researched for its effectiveness in regards to epilepsy treatment.

CBD Pain & Anti-Inflammatory Relief

For a number of years, chronic pain has been treated with pain relievers. Pain relievers that can cause dependency and addiction for the user and often produce side effects that far outweigh the relief of the pain.

Not only can pain relievers lead to addiction but essentially, they can become ineffective because of the dependence effect they tend to have on the user. This is an unfortunate effect for those who are simply seeking relief.

We’ve grouped Pain relief and anti-inflammatory properties together here because they are often related. Chronic pain is typically directly related to inflammation, as are various diseases and disorders that lead to common pain, fibromyalgia, sclerosis, lupus, etc.

Research is still quite limited on CBD’s abilities to reduce pain or inflammation, and therefore, there is no FDA seal of approval yet, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t information available for review.

It is believed through current studies that CBD directly communicates to your ECS or endocannabinoid system. This system signals cells to emit pain signals to your body when an area is damaged. CBD interacts with ECS to improve the quality of these signals, relieving the feelings of pain or inflammation within your body.

CBD and Anxiety Relief

Anxiety has become one of the fastest rising disorders. Anxiety continues to become a common diagnosis, but it shouldn’t be. In this frantic world that is constantly changing and evolving, anxiety is the last thing we should be worried about, and clearly, it is all about “worry.”

Again, research is just beginning, and the results are currently limited. The results of these studies continue to be tested, but for now, we work with what limited information we have available. Studies are showing that CBD can dramatically reduce anxiety and the effects of anxiety.

How does that work? CBD enhances calming properties through the brain. CBD somehow is able to bind to those brain receptors that trigger the anxiety response from your brain, and therefore, your anxiety is reduced, and you remain calmer and more reasonable rather than anxious and concerned.

Do You See a Connection?

Many of the disorders and symptoms you see above have something in common, they are triggered by cells or brain receptors that essentially lead to the disease or disorder. CBD appears to work quite well with disorders that essentially start with brain function.

Studies are still limited and are still taking place. Results are varied, and there is not yet enough evidence to truly rely on CBD, but there are positive results and signs thus far. While many of the disorders we specifically discussed are brain-related, CBD can have positive effects on other ailments as well.

The Legalities of CBD

Legalities of CBD

CBD-infused product supplementation was the number one most trending ingredient in 2019. They have become more pronounced and popular in recent years as people discover just what CBD can offer for health benefits. There are a number of benefits and things still being discovered about CBD and what it has to offer.

It seems like everywhere you go, you can find CBD products from oils, gummies, sprays, and lotions to even CBD pet products. But is it really legal? How do you know it won’t cause you legal issues in the end?

Cannabis is certainly not new, but it still has limited legality for sales, use, and distribution. It cannot be openly sold in many states. Only a few states have passed bills allowing recreational or medicinal use of marijuana in a legal capacity.

However, in 2018, the Farm Bill was passed/updated, and restrictions on CBD specifically were removed from various legal restrictions if the CBD is extracted from a hemp plant. It is now legal to produce, buy, and sell CBD products IF they contain less than .3% THC.

The primary statement here is the products must fall into the guidelines of following the THC level guidelines. Many CBD companies simply meet the minimum guidelines while others take it even farther and purify their CBD or even produce a formula with 0% THC.

CBD Products

CBD Products

How do you take CBD? Do you just eat parts of the plant, is there a pill, which way works best? There are a number of different ways to use CBD products and take advantage of CBD benefits. From capsules, gummies, and oils to sprays, lotions, and more, there is a vast array of options.

Not all CBD consumption options are created equally. Some provide much faster relief as the product is more quickly absorbed by your body while others work best if you take them as a routine daily essential (like your multi-vitamin) and build up the CBD product in your system for lasting relief and benefits.

Additionally, some products last longer than others, and some may require you to take them multiple times a day to truly reap the benefits or find relief from certain ailments.

Here are some of the most common CBD products available:

  • Sprays
  • Gummies
  • Capsules
  • Oils
  • Lotions and beauty products
  • Various Edibles
  • Tinctures

These are just some of the most popular means of CBD products available. There are a multitude of options. We will break these most popular ones down for you and talk about how they work.

CBD Spray

The CBD spray is primarily CBD oil in spray form. The CBD spray is sprayed directly onto your skin and is almost instantly absorbed. This method of CBD works well for anxiety, depression, inflammation, and pain. Additionally, there are profound benefits to your skin with the spray.

Often, the spray is used for ingestion, but it can also be used topically and sprayed directly onto your skin. If you suffer from any type of acne, redness, puffiness, psoriasis, etc. then CBD spray might substantially help your issues.

CBD spray obviously doesn't take a lot of thought or effort to use. It’s simple; you just use one or two sprays at a time. One of the most common ways to take CBD spray is to spray it on the inside of your cheek, but as mentioned previously, you can spray it directly onto your skin as well.

CBD spray works quickly and efficiently. When you spray it, it absorbs quite quickly, and with easy use, that means you are getting the effects as quickly as possible.

The downside is you just simply don’t know how much you need to take. Dosage calculations are unclear, and it can be challenging to determine how many sprays you need or how often you need them.

CBD Gummies

CBD gummies are taken orally, much like you would take a vitamin. What’s really fun is there are hundreds of options for CBD gummies of varying flavors, shapes, and sizes so you can play around and see what you like or don’t like.

Taking CBD gummies is convenient. You can make taking them part of your routine; there is no need to tote around oil droppers or lotions. They are also quite portable if you want to take them on the go with you.

CBD gummies are recommended for things like calming anxiety or helping you fight insomnia. Of course, they can be beneficial for other uses as well. CBD gummies can have other additives, so you will want to pay attention to the ingredient list to make sure everything in them is ok for you.

Many CBD gummies have undergone third-party testing practices, so this is something useful to look for when you are diving into your options. You should also look for things like potency, absorbability, and the source of the CBD in them.

The downside to CBD gummies is they aren’t all equal. They come in so many different serving and potency options that you may be challenged to determine where to start. We recommend starting with small doses as you can always increase if necessary. Starting with taking as low as 2.5 mg is ideal while you figure out what dose will work best for you.

Additionally, gummy CBD use is recommended as taking daily. They typically work within about an hour of consumption and usually last up to about 6 hours.

CBD Capsules

CBD capsules are one of the most common forms of CBD because, again, you can take it daily or routinely, much like you would a vitamin. This allows people who take it to simply add it to their daily vitamin routine and not have to worry about carrying it with them or remembering to take it.

CBD capsules are known for the treatment of a vast array of things, from cancer, anxiety, and insomnia to inflammation and seizure treatment.

CBD capsules are quick and convenient, and they work efficiently. You can simply take your capsule with a glass of water and move on with your day. Just as with gummies, you can expect to find additional ingredients in capsules.

Some capsules contain herbs or ingredients that will help your body absorb the CBD while others contain unnecessary additives, so be sure to pay attention to your options and what will or won’t work for you.

One of the best things about CBD capsules is the dosage is easy to understand and adapt. The dosage is defined per capsule, so you know exactly how much you are taking, and you know you can adjust from there if you need to.

CBD capsules usually work within an hour for their intended purpose. There is no immediate relief, as you might find with topical or drop-style products. Be sure to watch your labels to know whether the CBD capsule is THC-free or falls within the legal .3% or fewer requirements for most states.

CBD Oils

CBD oils are another popular CBD solution. Why are CBD oils so popular? Well, they work almost immediately. They are highly effective, and they are essentially easy to use on an as-needed basis.

If you want a solution that you don’t have to take routinely or simply just want to use when you really need it, this may be the best option for you.

You should note that CBD oil is extracted from the cannabis plant but then is also diluted with oils like hemp seed oil or even coconut oil to best help your body absorb or handle the oil from CBD.

CBD oils may or may not contain THC, so you will want to be mindful of that when you are perusing your options. CBD oils can be added to foods or drinks, or they can be taken by using the dropper and ingesting drops under your tongue.

CBD oils can treat a number of diseases or symptoms, and dosages may vary by the person or by ailment. A challenge of CBD oil is you may not know how much you need or how often you should take it. It may require some experimentation to nail down what works for you.

CBD oil may not be ideal with some medications or ailments.

While it is fast-acting and provides quick relief, it is also fairly potent, so you may want to discuss with your doctor to be sure it is safe for you to use.

CBD Creams, Topical Solutions, and Beauty Products

CBD is commonly found in cream or lotion form, but more recently, it has become increasingly popular to find CBD in various beauty products like makeup, moisturizers, bath bombs, soaps, and more. These products are essentially a base product enhanced with CBD.

The best ailments to treat with topical solutions, creams, or beauty products are things like inflammation, pain, or skin conditions. This is because you can apply the product directly to the source of discomfort.

With this type of product, there are no ingestion or dosage worries; you simply use the product and appreciate the benefits it offers for your specific external ailment. We note external because that is what these products are primarily geared towards.

Again, it is up to you to check product labels and be certain you are ok with whatever else might be in the product. But this is a suitable option, and since you apply it to the skin, it works rather quickly and is absorbed efficiently.

This subject is still new and requires further testing, but these products continue to take the market by storm.

CBD Side Effects

As with any type of medical treatment or activity, CBD does not come without potential side effects. Here are the most common side effects associated with the use of CBD products:

  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhea
  • Lightheadedness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Drowsiness

There have been some signs of liver damage from the use of CBD, but these are minimal, and little is known about this potential effect still. Overall, CBD is considered mostly safe for consumption.

Additionally, it is recommended that if you are on any kind of medication, you visit with your health professional before using CBD products as they may not interact well with certain prescriptions.

THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol)

THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol)
We’ve covered a lot of ground related specifically to CBD. You’ve seen the term THC mentioned multiple times, but it’s time to talk about how it truly relates and what you should know about THC or how it could possibly affect your body, your mind, and your CBD products.

What is THC?

Marijuana and cannabis have long been given a negative reputation primarily because, until recent years, these were used as a drug to experience a certain “high.” In most states, recreational use of these plants is still not legal, while some states have adapted use for medicinal treatments.

This is why there has been such a trend in CBD usage in the market because CBD is fully legal and contains either extremely minuscule amounts or possibly no THC at all.

So what is exactly is THC? THC is short for tetrahydrocannabinol. This is a chemical commonly found in marijuana or cannabis that causes the high when marijuana is used by a person. THC produces a psychoactive response in your brain.

THC is quite similar to CBD, but THC has dramatic side effects that CBD actually works to negate or fight. THC directly affects your neurons and the way in which they transmit, changing your body’s natural reactions to things.

THC can impact memory, movements, reactions, concentration, coordination, thought-processes, time, and sense. This is a vast list of concerning things that can be affected by THC use, which is why THC is still heavily regulated and illegal.

There remain a lot of unknowns about THC, and even in states where it is acceptable, there are restrictions and recommendations for things like driving or operating heavy machinery.

THC is a cannabinoid, much like CBD is. Clearly, not all cannabinoids are created equally. We will discuss some benefits associated with THC, but may we point out that CBD provides many of the same benefits without legal worries or nefarious side effects.

Benefits of THC

Benefits of THC

There are benefits to THC, many of which can also be found in CBD. Remember, these are both cannabinoids and therefore have similar properties, but don’t be fooled because not everything about them is the same.

THC results are even more limited than CBD results as the acceptance of THC is much lower due to the psychoactive properties. However, there are still some health benefits that are associated with THC, and it is considered to be effective for many health matters or ailments, possibly.

Here are some of the possible benefits of THC:

  • Multiple sclerosis spasms and pain relief
  • Reduce muscle stiffness
  • Reduce chronic pain
  • Significantly reduce the pain that is neuropathic
  • Improves glaucoma
  • Reduces anxiety
  • Improves sleep time, but not the quality of sleep

Unfortunately, while there are some studies that point to these potential benefits, there is very little clinical research or evidence to back these allegations. In fact, it is rather unclear whether THC would be effective with any of these symptoms as a stand-alone or whether it only helps when compounded with CBD.

If this is the case, it makes THC somewhat unnecessary for the treatment of symptoms. However, it may still be viable if you are specifically after the “high” that is associated with THC. We will get into the legalities of this matter here shortly.

Limited THC Testing Results

Limited THC Testing Results

Information related to the health benefits of THC is pretty limited. Until 2018, it really could not even be clinically tested, and testing takes considerable time and resources. Most of the completed testing has been performed primarily on mice or animals rather than humans.

Here are some bullet points of things that have been discovered so far through testing. Keep in mind that these are still in testing processes and are not considered final or conclusive results.

  • THC causes neuroreceptors to react slower. This means those pain receptors simply don’t respond to the pain as quickly, tricking your mind and body into believing there is not pain at the time; therefore, the pain is temporarily relieved.
  • THC appears to increase overall pain tolerance of the mind and body.
  • THC appears to reduce seizure rates but is not necessarily known to treat seizure disorders or reduce the effect of seizures.
  • Increases blood flow in the brain, reducing inflammatory properties.

These are a few of the current things we know from clinical research that could potentially be positively impacted by THC, but further testing and studies are needed to reach conclusive results.

Side Effects of Using THC

Side Effects of Using THC

THC is widely negated because CBD has such beneficial properties without many of the negative side effects that often accompany THC products. THC potentially provides some health benefits, but unfortunately, it appears to have significant side effects that might make you wonder whether it is worth the risk.

What has been concluded is that THC is far more likely to cause addiction or dependency, particularly when used for pain relief purposes. THC was closely associated with prescription painkillers and opioids in this regard.

Additionally, those who do regularly use THC-based products may suffer from withdrawals if they discontinue use, making it challenging to stop using this type of product. Your body and brain become attached to the effects and are simply unable to cope if you stop delivering.

THC is categorized as a schedule 1 controlled substance because it has been connected with the possibility of use leading to abuse. While THC properties have potentially been deemed as medicinal, only a few states have ruled to allow recreational usage.

Another downfall of THC use for symptomatic relief is that you could potentially need higher dosages to find relief from your symptoms than you would need of things like CBD. As well, you may have to increase dosage as your body becomes dependent upon THC.

Here are some of the most common known side effects of THC, particularly when in high dosage:

  • Paranoia
  • Increased anxiety when not under THC influence
  • Dry Mouth
  • Red eyes that feel very dry
  • Increased hunger or appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Drowsiness
  • Memory loss or impairment
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Respiratory malfunctions or ailments
  • Reduced heart health

It’s quite clear, given the side effects, why THC is heavily questioned throughout various markets. Keep in mind that CBD provides many proven health benefits without these side effects and can actually combat some of the THC-related side effects.

The Legal Side of THC

The legality of THC is a complicated subject matter. At this time, THC inherent in CBD or marijuana is highly regulated. THC remains termed a controlled substance.

Medical cannabis has been approved for use, primarily in the treatment of epilepsy throughout 33 U.S. states. Additionally, 10 states, 4 territories, and Canada have approved marijuana for recreational use as well.

Many states have laws that control how much THC can legally be found in a product to make that product legal for production, distribution, and consumption. The general requirement for legal CBD products is that they must contain less than .3% of THC.

The FDA has approved both Marinol and Syndros for prescription use, both of which have high traces of THC. Marinol is used to increase appetite for people who suffer from AIDS or other weight loss illnesses. Syndros is used primarily to reduce vomiting and nausea side effects for patients who are receiving cancer treatments.

Full Spectrum CBD Guide

Full Spectrum CBD Guide

Full-spectrum is a term specifically related to cannabis and CBD rather than a component of cannabis that is extracted, like CBD or THC. Full-spectrum is really a whole different dinosaur. Because full-spectrum is not really its own compound or cannabinoid, there will not be as much relevant information to share. However, we plan to cover all aspects still.

What is Full Spectrum CBD?

The easiest way to discuss full-spectrum is to compare it to pure wholesomeness. Full-spectrum means that the product contains all of the natural elements of the cannabinoids like terpenes, flavanoids, essential oils and amino fatty acids rather than simply extracting the cannabidiol portion of the cannabinoids.

This leads to all parts of the cannabinoids working succinctly together. The primary consideration is that full-spectrum products are understood to be more effective for various treatment purposes because it contains all components and allows them to work closely together instead of separating CBD from its fellow cannabinoids.

Full-spectrum obviously contains CBD, but it also contains 100+ more cannabinoids than just CBD. Remember, though, that nearly 40% of cannabinoids are CBD. THC makes up another large percentage, and then there are additional nameless cannabinoids as well.

Here are a few of the lesser-known cannabinoids with explanations:

Cannabigerol (CBG)

CBG is a parent compound to both CBD and THC and essentially breaks down into one of these parts by the enzymes of cannabis. However, it is known that CBG can help with glaucoma, Huntington’s disease, IBS/IBD, and potentially cancer.

In regards to CBD vs CBG, cannabigerol is not a well-known substance, but it is one whose reputation is certainly development. CBG is a cannabinoid present in the cannabis plant. Unlike THC and CBD, it is often at a lower concentration, but it its effects can be just as prominent and powerful.

First discovered in Israel in 1964 by marijuana researchers Yehiel Gaoni and Raphael Mechoulam, the substance is just starting to gain prominent due to its presence in the cannabis plant and its potential benefits.

CBG influences the endocannabinoid system, a complex network of receptor cells, endocannabinoids, enzymes, and other elements. The two main receptors are C1 and C2, with the former being present in the nervous system, while the later is present in the rest of the body – particularly in the immune system. With the research that does exist, it suggests that CBG binds to the CB2 receptor cells and when it is present in high doses, it may be able to block substances from binding to CB1 receptors.

This ultimately causes the “entourage effect.” Though the full implications of this effect are still being researched, the preliminary studies suggest that it may have a beneficial impact upon one’s system.

CBG Uses

CBG is currently used for its potential ability to address physical and psychological conditions. Here are just a few of the conditions that it may be able to address:

Inflammation

Inflammation is often an underlying cause of many health conditions. CBG was used in one study concerning mice with inflammatory bowel disease. Upon being given CBG for a period of time, the mice exhibited fewer bouts of the condition. Though CBG’s potential to address inflammation is clear, there is still a great deal of research that needs to go into the product. If it can indeed help those with inflammation, it may be a prime substance due to its natural properties and positive effects.

Neuroprotective Effects

CBG may also have neuroprotective effects upon one’s system. For instance, the substance is considered to be similar to an antioxidant in that it can protect the nervous system from damage. In one study, those with motor deficits were helped by the CBG.

Antimicrobial Effects

CBG may also have antimicrobial effects. The substance was tested against a number of strains of staphylococcus bacterium. CBG was able to mitigate the abundance of CBG. However, given that such bacteria are becoming more powerful and resistant, there is no telling how CBG will be able to interact with such bacterium.

Stimulates Appetite

Those who have a weak appetite may be aided by CBG as well. In one study, rats were given CBG and researchers observed their feeding habits. Rats who were given CBG experienced an improved appetite and their food intake increased as well.

These are just a few of the primary advantages associated with CBG. Though there still needs to be a great deal of research into the effects of CBG and its properties, what is known about the substance is already a good start.

Cannabinol (CBN)

CBN generates relaxation, pain relief, and appetite. This is one of the minor properties of cannabis but has a broad range of benefits. CBN is commonly used for fighting insomnia.

Cannabichromene (CBC)

CBC is known to work best when it is combined with the other cannabinoid properties. CBC is most commonly associated with its ability to fight cancer or reduce the risk of cancer.

Keep in mind that we have discussed a total of 5 cannabinoids, 2 of those being CBD and THC. There are more than 100 cannabinoids in full-spectrum blends.

Is Full Spectrum Legal?

Now the question arises whether full spectrum versions of cannabis products are legal because it is the natural blend of cannabis. This is a 2-part question.

Full-spectrum cannabis CAN contain high doses of THC because it is the natural by-product of the cannabis plant rather than just the extraction of a single cannabinoid, like CBD.

However, because THC is heavily restricted and most products are required to contain less than .3% THC for legal distribution, the THC is typically removed after the extraction process occurs in order to keep the full spectrum cannabis compliant and desirable on multiple levels.

However, full-spectrum still contains the other cannabinoids that have significant benefits, as discussed in the previous section.

Broad Spectrum CBD Guide

Broad Spectrum CBD Guide

Just as with full-spectrum, broad-spectrum is another specific process of cannabis that has its own unique aspects and characteristics. However, broad-spectrum simply does not involve THC in the process at all. Let’s dive a bit deeper into this discussion.

What is Broad Spectrum?

Broad-spectrum, much like full-spectrum, extracts all of the natural components and cannabinoids of the cannabis plant EXCEPT for the THC. This means that broad-spectrum includes CBD, CBG, CBN, and CBC, as well as 100 other cannabinoids from the plant, but absolutely no THC is extracted in the mix.

If you’re looking for a cannabis product and wish to be unequivocally certain that it does not contain THC (for whatever reason), then you may want to look for broad-spectrum products specifically.

The great thing about broad-spectrum is that it contains a number of minor cannabinoids that have essential benefits you can enjoy without providing you with THC that could potentially cause psychoactive effects or lead to a positive drug test.

Full-spectrum and broad-spectrum cannabis are quite similar in that they both provide relative cannabinoids and other nutrients of the plant that you simply may not get from a pure CBD extraction compound.

The primary difference between full-spectrum and broad-spectrum products is that full-spectrum does contain THC in the initial extraction, which is then later removed or reduced through processing methods while broad-spectrum does not even extract THC and therefore there is no trace of it.

Is Broad Spectrum Considered Legal?

Broad-spectrum products are considered fully legal as they do not contain any trace of THC. You don’t have to worry about broad-spectrum affecting a drug test or giving an indication of “drug use” through your cannabis product.

Broad-spectrum is considered the safest form of cannabis or CBD-related product because it is free of THC but is still enhanced with the minor cannabinoids that have multiple health benefits related to them when included in the compound.

CBD Isolate Guide

CBD Isolate Guide

The final cannabis aspect that we are going to review and compare is Isolate, typically referred to as CBD isolate. What sets isolate apart from the others, and what makes it a viable option to consider? Is isolate just another form of cannabis to try to keep separate?

What is Isolate?

Isolate, by definition, means to separate or to extract something from other parts. Isolate, when it comes to CBD or cannabis terms, is much the same. Isolate in this context means that the CBD was extracted in pure, crystalline form.

With isolate, there are no other proteins, nutrients, or cannabinoids, and it is strictly CBD alone that was purely extracted by itself from the cannabis plant. Nothing else was simultaneously extracted and is therefore not part of the equation in an isolate product.

You’ve read the benefits of CBD products that contain minor cannabinoids, but there is also something to be said of pure, isolate CBD in comparison to full spectrum or broad spectrum. Each of these has its own unique qualities and identifiers, as well as benefits.

Benefits of Isolate

Isolate comes in powder form, so it is CBD, but it is specifically a pure powder rather than oil, capsules, gummies, tinctures, etc. There are certain benefits associated with utilizing the pure powder isolate rather than other options.

Here are some benefits that are specific to isolate:

  • Zero trace of THC
  • Free of impurities potentially contained in the cannabis plant
  • Versatile
  • No odor or flavor
  • Wholly pure CBD
  • Easy to dose

CBD Isolate certainly has a lot going for it. These benefits listed are solely based on what isolate can offer you that other CBD forms might not be able to. This purity factor sets isolate apart. Of course, there could also be downsides.

The primary downfall to CBD isolate is that you have separated the CBD qualities, which are great in themselves, from other benefits that are enhanced with other cannabinoids included in the plant. There are multiple essential benefits that are derived from the micro cannabinoids, which are missed out when using pure CBD isolate.

There are handoffs, either way, you can enjoy the isolated versatility and purity, but you might miss additional benefits, or you can enjoy all of the benefits with THC in the mix or processing and impurities as well. There’s not necessarily a right or wrong in this scenario.

CBD vs THC Product Type Comparison Guide

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This article has provided some extensive information regarding CBD, THC, full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate, but the question is, how does all of this tie together, and how do the various makeups compare ultimately?

How can you possibly choose which one you need? There is no clear answer that points you down the perfect path or a magic formula with a quiz to tell you which one to try but we can certainly provide you with a recap of the essential information in comparison form in an effort to help you best understand what lies before you as far as your options go.

The primary cannabinoids of any cannabis product are CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Essentially, every cannabis product has CBD, and that is where the majority of health benefits are found. It is the largest extract of cannabis available. THC is the second largest.

When it comes to comparing CBD and THC, there really isn’t a comparison. CBD is fully legal, while THC is extremely limited as far as legality goes. Some states allow recreational use of marijuana, and that is where THC has free rein in legal terms. Otherwise, THC must be limited to .3% or less in any product to be legally distributed.

The question, in this case, becomes, do you want THC in your CBD product or HOW MUCH THC are you willing to have? Of course, this is up to you. Most CBD products fully disclose the exact percentage of THC in their formulas, while some will proudly wear a THC-free label.

CBD alone has been shown to offer a number of health benefits that can certainly catch your interest and make your foray into the CBD world well worth your while, while THC products are known for their psychoactive capabilities that are typically most used to give the user a high.

CBD is mostly safe with a few sidebars, such as potential negative interactions with a few medications, while THC is still questionable. THC does offer some health benefits, but the list of potential side effects and the questionable dosage requirements make it a less popular choice.

CBD can certainly contain THC, but there do not appear to be any definitive reasons that you need to specifically obtain THC, unless of course, you are seeking the high. However, there are 2 medicinal THC uses that are common (weight gain and cancer side effects) while there is only 1 FDA-approved medicinal use for CBD (to treat epilepsy).

The end question becomes not whether THC is better than CBD, or vice versa, but rather whether THC in your CBD product is desirable or necessary. Remember that most products will contain .3% or less, even if you specifically want a product with THC.

Remember that you are not really comparing apples to apples when it comes to CBD vs. THC, you simply need to determine whether you are ok with THC in your product or whether you want a THC-free product in the end.

Next, we bring in a full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate. Isolate is a product of its own, but full-spectrum and broad-spectrum are just forms of CBD that are specifically related to the extraction process. In that manner, CBD is also related to the extraction process, but it still falls into its own category.

So, we know that no matter what, you get a CBD product. Nothing here stands up against CBD in the end. Every option is CBD, but it is a matter of selecting the form of CBD you want and how you want it essentially.

Full-spectrum CBD has every part of the cannabis plant, in natural form. This includes THC. When full-spectrum CBD is extracted from the cannabis plant, it contains more than 100 cannabinoids, many of which bring their own benefits to the table.

THC is the most questionable cannabinoid, and the only one whose percentage allowable is regulated, so it is then removed or reduced to .3% or lower, which is the allowable amount.

Broad-spectrum, on the other hand, extracts everything together from the cannabis plant EXCEPT for THC. This means broad spectrum pulls in all of those natural minerals and various cannabinoids that cannabis has to offer, but ignores THC wholly.

This is a great way to ensure that you don’t have to worry about THC, particularly if you are concerned about potential risks or side effects. Remember that THC has some adverse side effects but also that it can have addictive properties as well.

Broad-spectrum simply eliminates that factor from the beginning and extracts everything the cannabis plant has to offer while leaving THC where it is. Then there is no need to reduce or remove THC during processing later on.

Here, we bring in another layer; isolates. Isolates are the purest form of CBD you can possibly find. It comes in either crystalline or powder form, and it is just as it sounds, pure, isolated CBD only, no other cannabinoids, no THC, nada.

Understanding & Choosing Your Options

All of this information can certainly be overwhelming, but there are some differentiating factors that could help you make a selection.

Here are the things you need to break down first:

  • Do you want a product that is THC-free? If you answered yes, you should steer towards a broad-spectrum or isolate CBD products. If you’re not concerned about THC, you don’t need to narrow down your options.
  • Do you want pure CBD, or do you want the benefits of other cannabinoids? If you like the idea of pure, you should stick to isolate.
  • What type of product is your end goal? Do you want a versatile powder, or would you prefer a gummy, a capsule, or a tincture oil?

Your first step is to determine whether you want a THC product or whether you want a wholly pure product. Once you make this differentiation, you can move forward to selecting a specific product. Your only hold back is if you want a wholly pure CBD product, you must be willing to have only powder or crystalline as an option.

If you simply want no THC in your product, you can look for nearly any CBD product on the market. You just want to watch for a broad spectrum or designations that specify THC-free. You are not necessarily limited to any one product, and you just need to watch the ingredients and understand your labels.

Finally, you should consider the dosage when you are choosing. If you plan to take a routine daily dosage, you need to keep it pretty small. If you’re treating specific symptoms, the dosage can vary from time to time. Again, understand your product labels and prepare for your specific needs.

The Cannabis Compound Entourage Effect

In its most natural state, the cannabis bud is rather beautiful. Resin covers these buds in sticky and glittering dots. However, there’s much more than beauty that comes from these particles. In fact, they are responsible for the reaction that consumers have to the compounds inside the cannabis when it is consumed.

Most people know about the most popular compounds associated with cannabis mentioned above – THC and CBD. However, there are over 500 compounds that cannabis is responsible for making, which all help to sway the user’s reaction to the strain that they use. While these compounds are not nearly in the same abundance of the two aforementioned substances, but there’s a theory that they help to create the sensation in the body that is known as “the entourage effect.” As we have touched on above, this deserves its own breakdown even further for those wanting a more detailed look at how CBD and THC work together along with the other cannabinoids found in the hemp and marijuana cannabis plants.

What is the Entourage Effect?

Any time that cannabis is consumed, whether by smoking or vaporizing it, the body accepts hundreds of compounds, which all have different ways that they impact the body. In fact, the presence of these compounds can react with and against each other, changing the effects that the user experiences by choosing their particular strain. This is what is called the entourage effect.

To understand the way that these compounds work, let’s start with THC and CBD. During a study published in 2010, researchers gave either a pure THC extract or an extract with a fairly even balance between THC and CBD to patients experiencing cancer pain. In the results, the patients that took the latter extract ultimately reported less pain that individuals with the THC extract alone.

However, as this whole article will show, cannabis doesn’t exclusively contain THC and CBD – they just happen to be the only ones that have media attention. Some of the other cannabinoids include CBN, CBC, CBG, and many others, and there are multiple terpenes that give the cannabis its fragrance. These terpenes are also present in essential oils, like lavender, orange, black pepper, eucalyptus, and more. Considering the diversity in cannabis there are many possibilities, but there’s a substantial lack of studies to show how these terpenes impact humans.

How Cannabinoids and Terpenes May Work Together

A review called “Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects” describes the theory of the entourage effect. Written by Dr. Ethan Russo, the neurologist and pharmacologist discusses the common cannabis compounds, stating that the pharmacology can determine the possible effects.

To address this matter, let’s discuss a common strain of cannabis – Granddaddy Purple. Granddaddy Purple features THC prominently, as well as myrcene, caryophyllene, and pinene. This strain’s combination could be recommended for stimulating sleep (myrcene), while the combination of THC and caryophyllene are ideal for consumers that want to reduce inflammation and pain. Considering the way that terpenes and cannabinoids react in the flower, it should come as no surprise that consumers that use THC to treat certain symptoms tend to opt for the natural flower.

  • The “Taming THC” report also includes a few other discoveries in synergy –
  • Pinene, the pine-scented terpene, could help with the memory issues that THC can cause while in use.
  • Caryophyllene, a peppery terpene, can be combined with CBD to potentially fight addiction.
  • Limonene, a citrusy terpene, can be combined with CBD to potentially alleviate anxiety.
  • CBN and THC may be able to improve sedation effects.

Even with this research, it is worth mentioning that the entourage effect is still a theory and it still hasn’t been proven. However, all more of this evidence arises, it is possible that additional research will take place to support these findings, giving more validity to the argument that cannabis can be used for specific effects.

Medicines That Exclusively Use THC and CBD

If the entourage effect is real, a new question arises – which cannabis products are the most likely to provide this entourage effect? Clearly the flower offers a variety of terpenes and cannabinoids, since it is the raw herbal version of cannabis. However, there are many cannabis extracts that have already been developed that provide a rich plethora of different cannabinoids and terpenes. These extracts are referred to as being full-spectrum extracts.

These extracts can come in many formats, whether they be oils, ingestible capsules, dabs, and vape cartridges. To be considered full-spectrum, the products have a long list of their chemical compounds, which could include any of the aforementioned terpenes and cannabinoids.

However, all cannabis extracts are not created equal, and they do not capture the full profile of compounds that cannabis has. These formulas are called broad-spectrum cannabis extracts, which means they do not have THC. However, when only one compound is included, which presently comes with just CBD or THC, is referred to as an isolate.

cbd oil, full spectrum, broad spectrum, isolate, marijuana

In general, there are many people that prefer to use cannabis products with many terpenes and cannabinoids, isolates can still serve a major purpose. When isolates are used, consumers know what cannabinoid they are getting, which means they can target a specific reaction. Furthermore, the user doesn’t get any other reactions than what they are planning.

Two of the major THC-only medicines include Marinol (dronabinol) and Cesamet (nabilone). Both of these medicines are approved by the FDA for the treatment of pain and nausea related to cancer. A study in 2010 mentioned that it is possible for both THC and CBD to work together, which inherently makes them potentially more effective than isolates alone.

Considering that CBD has been shown to help with some of the negative effects of THC, there are many people that prefer a combination between the compounds over THC alone. A survey in 2011 revealed that there were only about 1.8% of patients (out of 953 patients) who preferred to use a synthetic THC isolate, as opposed to and infused method or inhaled substance.

Cannabis Has a Wealth of Medicinal Possibilities

One of the most respected cannabis researchers, Raphael Mechoulam, stated in a 2005 paper that cannabis is a “neglected pharmacological treasure trove.” Though the comments were primarily in reference to researchers, it is clear that consumers have done much of the same.

Cannabis has been popularized for its ability to provide the body with THC. Even in areas where there are many options for consumers to choose from, THC is often the primary compound that consumers go for. Through this journey to use THC, the primary efforts have been to maximize the amount of THC found in cannabis, breeding the plants to have a higher percentage. The other terpenes and cannabinoids become an afterthought, and there’s a lot of time needed to bring back the “treasure trove” of compounds that Mechoulam sees in cannabis. To make them marketable, consumer demand is also necessary.

Even if the pace is slow, there is starting to be interest in the other cannabinoids and terpenes. For instance, some cannabis breeders are starting to work on producing more CBG, and extract creators are starting to create products that capture CBN, CBC, and delta-9=THC more effectively.

As more information arises and legalization efforts spread, it may not be too much longer before the full impact that cannabis can create becomes a reality.

Do Drug Screens Detect CBD-Infused Products?

cbd-thc-drug-tests-full-spectrum

One of the most important considerations to understand when trying a full spectrum CBD-infused product is whether or not your job tests you for THC. While many wonder whether or not CBD oil will show up in drug test screenings, THC absolutely will and should be addressed accordingly given your specific situation and needs.

Why Does CBD Oil Not Show Up in Drug Tests

Does CBD oil show up in random drug tests? Do you have to be concerned if random drug tests at the company will show that you use a hemp related product? If you use CBD oil, chances are that you might be worried about the possibility CBD oil showing up on your drug tests. And you’re not alone.

According to a Gallup Poll taken in April, about 14%, or one in seven, Americans reported using CBD products. The group most likely to use such products are young adults who are based in the Western United States.

Of those who report using CBD, the poll indicates that 40% do so for pain, 20% for anxiety, and 11% for sleep insomnia. Other uses were for migraines, stress, muscle spasms, and general health. Even with more adults using cannabis, there are still concerns as to whether the substance can appear on a drug screening. This can be especially unnerving when one is being screened for employment purposes.

Before delving into whether the substance can appear on a drug test, it is important to understand a bit about the intricacies of CBD, marijuana and hemp. According to Shape, CBD is a compound that is present in the cannabis plant. Marijuana is the cannabis satvia species, which usually features a high amount of THC and some CBD. Lastly, hemp is a plant that is high in CBD and that is low in THC, usually under 0.3 percent.

The CBD products on the market are mainly derived from hemp. And unlike their counterparts, CBD products usually do not feature any THC, which can prevent a high. Users will also notice that CBD products can either come in full-spectrum or isolate form. The former contains terpenes, cannabinoids, and other substances that may be able to provide users more benefits. On the other hand, the latter is just the CBD itself – there are no terpenes, cannabinoids, or flavonoids.

The good news is that CBD oil never shows up in drug tests. How’s this possible? After all, its sister compound THC does show up. Well, the answer is pretty simple:

More Focus on THC

During drug tests, people’s urine, blood, sweat, and/or hair are randomly tested for illicit substances. These tests often carried out randomly in the workplace, are designed to find out if the person is ingesting prescription or psychedelic drugs.

The most common way to do this is through urine drug testing (UDT) and the use of both a screening test and a confirmatory test. The first detects substances, the second actually confirms the presence of whatever substances are in the urine.

When companies carry out their random drug tests, they’re typically looking for substances potentially capable of impairing your cognitive abilities, affecting your productivity at work, and putting you at risk of endangering others.

In this instance, THC is the only hemp substance that does this. CBD oil doesn’t get you high or affect your productivity negatively, so there’s no need to test for it.

Drug tests focus on the presence of 11-nor-deltag-caboxy-THC, a major metabolite of the psychoactive substance. This is why CBD oil users aren’t flagged for the consumption of illicit drugs.

CBD and Drug Tests

According to U.S. Drug Test Centers, Quest Diagnostics Director of Science and Technology, Barry Sample, it is unlikely that CBD will appear on a drug test.

“If the product contains only CBD and has had the THC removed, then an individual being tested would not be expected to test positive for marijuana or marijuana metabolite.”

This is under the condition that the CBD product one uses contains just CBD and has had its THC removed. In this case, the individual is unlikely to test positive for marijuana or marijuana metabolite. If there is THC in the formula, then it could trigger a positive test result.

Another consideration to take into account is the cut-off points. The cut-off point is the amount of a substance that will trigger a positive test. Understanding the cut-off points can reduce the risks that users face when it comes to drug testing.

In addition, users may want to read the product labels of the substance that they are buying. The Federal Food Drug & Cosmetics Act requires that CBD-infused health and beauty product labels are not false or misleading, that they properly displace label information, that they do not violate the Poison Prevention Packaging Act of 1970, and that they provide the required information. By reviewing the labels of the products that one uses, individuals can take steps in the right direction when it comes to CBD use.

Moreover, users may also want to review what is called a certificate of analysis concerning a product. These certificates are lab reports on the chemical composition of a CBD product. If available, can usually be found on the product’s website. If it is not, then users may want to contact the brand and request the certificate. This information will provide users with a more in-depth overview of what is in the products they are using.

Finally, you need to be very careful about the CBD oils you buy and use. Users should be aware that no matter the labeling and the information that is at hand, there is always the risk that the CBD product will trigger a positive THC finding on a drug test. Many watered down CBD oils contain trace amounts of THC. If the volume of THC present in the oil is above 0.03 percent, chances are it’ll show up on random drug tests.

So, make sure to only buy pure, highly potent CBD oils, even if they’re more expensive. Poor quality CBD oils can contain significant amounts of THC, enough to trigger a false positive and put you in trouble.

This is important considering that you need to be careful about how much THC you ingest. The truth is it doesn’t matter if you have THC in detectable levels in your body. Once a random drug screen reveals it, you could potentially lose your job or face disciplinary workplace measures. If you’re in doubt about your workplace’s stance on CBD oil, talk to your HR person about it. If you’d rather not have the conversation in person, you can simply check the company policy guidelines for acceptable drugs and substances.

Companies aren’t currently testing for CBD. However, you should keep yourself updated about any new updates. This way, if a drug test is carried out, you wouldn’t be caught off-guard.

CBD Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum & Isolate Recap

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Ultimately, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to the variation of these products or choosing the right product. From A to Z, each of these has its own list of benefits as well as negative factors, and it’s up to you to determine what will work for you or simply what you’re interested in.

Choose with care and a full array of knowledge but also choose knowing there are a multitude of CBD variances, which we’ve seen portrayed in this article, and you may need to try different approaches or options to find what works for you truly.

As a recap for those who skim on the vital importance of understanding CBD vs THC and full spectrum vs broad spectrum as well as pure isolate:

Full-spectrum CBD features all of the naturally-occurring compounds in the marijuana plant. These compounds include cannabidiol as well as THC, but also all of the terpenes, fatty-acids, essential oils, flavanoids and tetrahydrocannabivarin. These substances work together to provide users with the soothing ‘entourage effect' that they are hoping for. Further, studies show that the full-spectrum substance may be much more effective than isolate. And, broad spectrum essentially means everything that full-spectrum delivers but zero-THC.

Isolate, on the other hand, is stripped of all of these important substances. The purified CBD can be effective, though, when it comes to treating a number of ailments. For example, isolate may be more beneficial than full-spectrum when one needs a particularly strong and potent formula that can be controlled for a particular dosage. Unlike full-spectrum formulas, isolate products test to be free from odor, flavor, and they are also cheaper as well.

This guide was meant to provide clarity and insight as to which option may be best for you.  As the cannabis oil-dominated green rush continues in 2020 and beyond, knowing the differences between CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) along with comparing the entourage effect differences between full-spectrum, broad-spectrum and pure isolate product infusion types is vital for every user to comprehend.

Melissa Meyer
Melissa is a Georgetown Law grad with a background startups, advocacy, and health. Melissa spent much of 2010 – 2013 in the Lombardi Cancer center where she was being treated for a life-threatening blood disease. In that same period, she experienced the loss of her two closest girl friends to cancer. Her life goals include destroying cancer and helping patients improve their quality of life through alternative medicine. She does everything for HealthMJ that she can’t find someone else to do better.

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