CBD Products: What Are The Different Types And How To Choose Them?

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Added 15 July 2022

CBD oil

CBD oils are growing so much in popularity that almost everyone wants to try them. However, with so many products around, it can be confusing to choose the one you need.

In addition, most cannabis products are referred to as CBD oils, regardless of whether they are derived from hemp or cannabis. The terminology most people use to describe various CBD products is extremely confusing. 

If you're looking for a specific type of CBD, like oils containing nothing but CBD, it can be slightly difficult to choose, especially when there's so much misinformation. 

Furthermore, companies have begun offering so many types of CBD oils and products that it adds to the confusion. Sometimes, they offer little information, leaving the customer to make an educated guess themselves. 

If you want to get rid of your doubts and are looking to understand the differences between various CBD products, you've come to the right place.

In this guide, you'll learn about CBD, its various types, and what to look for while choosing them. 

This article may be confusing if you don't know anything about CBD. To know a bit more, read our other guides about CBD, ways to consume it, and its benefits and side effects

However, if you're short on time, we will give you a quick explanation of CBD and its benefits.

What is CBD and what does it do?

What is CBD

CBD is one of the many cannabinoids produced by the cannabis plant. Like THC, CBD is also a cannabinoid. However, CBD doesn't produce any psychoactive effects THC is infamous for. 

In short, you won't get high if you consume CBD so it's a way of receiving the benefits the plant has to offer without experiencing adverse effects.

Due to legal reasons research is still limited on CBD but it has known to offer many therapeutic benefits including alleviating pain, managing depression and anxiety, and also managing seizures.

CBD may offer benefits mainly due to its interaction with the human endocannabinoid system. The ECS is a network of receptors that is responsible to regulate many important functions of the body including fertility, behavior, mood, pain, etc.

Types of CBD products

CBD products

Before you begin understanding various types of CBD products out there, you need to first be familiar with the common terminology used to describe CBD oils. This will help you whenever you research CBD or try to purchase a product.

For example, many companies refer to CBD oil as raw CBD or hemp oil. And then you see terms such as CBD tinctures, CBD concentrates, CBD edibles, and so on. 

Understanding what each of these terms means will give you better information and the ability to purchase exactly what you need.

Here's a list of the most common CBD products you'll find today:

  1. CBD concentrates
  2. CBD oils
  3. CBD tinctures
  4. CBD edibles such as gummies, coffee
  5. CBD vape cartridges
  6. CBD topicals

1. CBD Concentrates

CBD concentrate

Any CBD extract containing high amounts of cannabidiol or CBD is considered a CBD concentrate. If you are looking to consume high doses of CBD, CBD concentrates can help.

You can consume CBD concentrates in many ways including smoking or vaping them. Some of the most common CBD concentrates are:

  • CBD extracts
  • CBD wax
  • Crumble
  • Crystals or isolate
  • Shatter

These concentrates contain about 40% to a whopping 99% of CBD. Typically, these products are designed to give you high doses of CBD in a short period. 

You can consume very little and get maximum cannabinoids, making concentrates very attractive for those looking for high CBD doses.

In addition, most CBD concentrates are considered pure especially if the manufacturer has taken a lot of care to process them. This is why it is important to lead the labels. 

Also, it's imperative that you hop on to their website and read about the manufacturer's extraction technology to understand more about your product. 

Next, check for lab reports so you don't end up buying products that were manufactured long ago. In addition, the lab reports will give you a detailed list of contaminants that could be present in the product. 

If a manufacturer does not post lab reports we recommend that you look elsewhere for CBD products. Ultimately you should be able to buy CBD products that are devoid of any contaminants or chemicals.

2. CBD Oils

CBD oils

Hemp CBD oil or Cannabis CBD oil

If you research some sites, you are likely to run into terms such as hemp CBD and cannabis CBD. So what is the difference between both the terms?

Well, hemp CBD is derived from hemp while cannabis CBD is extracted from the cannabis plant. Both plants are varieties of the cannabis sativa plant, but there's just too much confusion, so let's clear it up for you.

In short, the biggest difference between hemp and cannabis is that hemp contains CBD in abundance while cannabis contains more THC compared to CBD.

However, it is important to note that the benefits and side effects of CBD will remain the same no matter where it is extracted from because there is no change in the chemical structure.

Manufacturers mostly use hemp plants to extract CBD because it reduces the costs due to the high amounts of CBD present in the plant.

Another difference between hemp CBD and cannabis CBD is their legal status. While products derived from hemp plants are legal, any product derived from cannabis plants containing more than 0.3% THC is still illegal in many parts of the world.

But if a manufacturer labels the product as CBD oil it will have to contain less than 0.3% THC to avoid legal ramifications.

You might have also seen manufacturers refer to CBD oils as PCR hemp or PCR CBD oils. Phytocannabinoid-rich (PCR) oils are nothing but CBD oils containing a large number of phytocannabinoids or cannabinoids the plants produce. 

Raw CBD oils

Raw CBD oils refer to oils that are manufactured without the application of heat. Think of it as cold pressed oils where the nutrients remain intact in the oil.

Typically such types of oils are derived through the carbon dioxide extraction process. Since the oil or the resulting product contains most of the cannabinoids, it is in its purest form, also known as full-spectrum oils. In addition to the cannabinoids, you will also find terpenes that are responsible for the flavor and aroma of the cannabis plant.

Now that you understood the basics let's get a little deeper into how CBD oils are segregated.

Many people refer to any CBD product as CBD oil to make it easier. However, most often this is inaccurate because CBD oils do not necessarily contain CBD alone. It can also contain other cannabinoids such as CBG and THC in small amounts.

In addition, most of your CBD products will be derived from hemp. Thus, it is easier to distinguish between CBD oils according to the cannabinoid content.

Most manufacturers will differentiate between CBD oils by separating them into three categories such as:

  1. CBD isolate
  2. Full spectrum CBD oil
  3. Broad spectrum CBD oil

Let's go over each of these types so you can make better decisions before purchasing anything.

CBD Isolates

Aas the name implies, CBD isolates contain only CBD in their isolated form. Known as the purest form of CBD, it doesn't contain terpenes, flavonoids, or other cannabinoids such as THC, CBN, CBG, etc. 

If you don't mind incorporating CBD isolates into your food or oils you can buy CBD isolates in powder form. However, you should know basic chemistry to measure the dosage. 

Some companies also sell CBD isolates mixed in a carrier oil such as MCT oils. CBD isolates are also manufactured just like other extracts and oils but the cannabidiol is filtered at the final stage. 

The next step is to chill the cannabinoid through a process known as winterization to eliminate chemicals, resulting in nothing but pure CBD.

You can administer CBD isolates by placing some powder under your tongue for fast relief. However, you should be aware of the dosage as mentioned earlier.  

Again, read the manufacturer's instructions carefully to understand how you can use the CBD isolates apart from incorporating them into food or vaping it.

Although CBD isolates offer a great way to consume CBD, they don't have anything except CBD, so you'll not be able to experience the entourage effect that involves a combination of all cannabinoids the plant produces.

Full-spectrum CBD Oil

As you can probably guess by the name, full-spectrum oils contain all cannabinoids of the plant including THC. It also contains flavonoids, terpenes, and other essential fatty acids produced by the plant naturally. 

As a result, you get the full benefits of the plant rather than just consuming CBD.

To produce full spectrum extracts, the manufacturer uses their regular extraction process but they don't remove any compounds, terpenes, or cannabinoids from the final extract. 

Therefore it requires very less processing compared to other types such as isolates. Inert solvents are typically used to derive these oils. On the other hand, although isolates are considered pure, they need extreme processing measures to arrive at the final product.

Full spectrum oils have a lot of benefits because of their healing properties that contain all the compounds of the plant including terpenes. Terpenes have tons of benefits on their own ranging from anti-inflammatory to antibacterial properties that may improve your quality of life. 

They also enhance the overall properties offered by the cannabinoids called the entourage effect where all the cannabinoids work in synergy to give you more benefits.

In conclusion, full-spectrum oils are thought to be more beneficial compared to broad-spectrum oils and isolates.

Now, you're probably wondering how you can consume full-spectrum oils especially when it contains THC. There's nothing to worry. 

Full-spectrum oils will contain less than 0.3% THC to be considered legal. Also since the oils contain trace amounts of THC, they will not produce adverse psychoactive effects. 

It is pretty tolerable even if you have not had prior experience consuming THC. In other words, you won't get high or develop a drug dependency. But, you may want to read the labels and lab reports carefully if you are working in an office that conducts random drug tests as the THC consumed via full-spectrum oils can show up on drug tests.

Broad Spectrum Oils

Broad-spectrum oils contain all cannabinoids of the plant except THC. They also offer users the entourage effect but you will not be able to gain the benefits of THC. 

To be perfectly clear, full-spectrum oils have the highest potential to offer the entourage effect.

Earlier, it was challenging to find good broad-spectrum oils but now things are changing as many companies offer a huge range of broad-spectrum products.

Companies manufacture broad-spectrum oils the same way as isolate and full spectrum oils. However, the THC is eliminated or filtered out of the final product, especially in regions where it's completely illegal. Needless to say, THC will not show up on drug tests if you use broad-spectrum oils.

3. CBD Tinctures

CBD tincture

CBD tinctures are nothing but CBD extracts combined with a carrier agent such as alcohol. As you can surmise, the biggest difference between CBD oils and tinctures lies in the type of carrier agent used.

Carrier agents can be both oil or alcohol depending on what you want to achieve. For example, CBD oils use oil as a carrier agent while tinctures use alcohol as the base. 

For most people, CBD oils and tinctures look the same but there are differences between both products.

Tinctures are typically created by infusing CBD extracts with alcohol. You can also do it at home if you have access to high-proof alcohol. The mixture containing cannabis and alcohol is subjected to low heat until the alcohol soaks up all the cannabinoids. 

Finally, the alcohol is separated from the extract by heating it again. Tinctures can be stored for a longer period compared to oils.

4. CBD Edibles

CBD edibles

CBD edibles cover a huge range of products. Anything edible or drinkable infused with CBD is known as CBD edible.

Many people prefer edibles because the effects last longer. For example, smoking a CBD flower may take about 15 minutes for the effects to start. Then, it lasts for about 2 to 3 hours whereas edibles last up to 6 hours although it takes a bit of time for them to start working.

In addition, CBD edibles are perfect for those that don't like the bitter taste of hemp or CBD. Most edibles such as gummies come in different flavors to appeal to your taste.

Here's a the of CBD edibles you can find:

CBD gummies - Most popular because it allows the user to adjust the dosage and pop a gummy every day.

CBD chocolates - CBD chocolates are nothing but dark chocolates infused with CBD and possibly other supplements.

CBD teas - CBD teas are herbal teas mixed with CBD extracts. Some companies also sell raw hemp teas containing loose plant material.

CBD shots - CBD shots are energy drinks infused with CBD extracts designed to give you a quick boost.

Other types of CBD edibles include CBD honey sticks that dissolve in honey, chewing gum, coffee, and even CBD water.

5. CBD Vape Cartridges

CBD vape cartridge

CBD vape cartridges are nothing but canisters filled with vape choose infused with CBD. vaping is perfect for those that don't want to smoke but also want the benefits of CBD for instant relief.

Since smoking and vaping provides immediate relief, you can buy vape cartridges in a flavor of your choice. Compared to smoking, vaping is a safer choice.

6. CBD Topicals

CBD topicals

CBD topicals are for those looking to gain relief from pain, acne, etc. There are various types of topicals available, including balms, oils, lotions, creams, salves, etc. 

Some products are also infused with other pain relieving ingredients like menthol to increase the overall benefits.

Do not underestimate the skincare benefits CBD has to offer. Although the research lacks in quite a few areas, what we have now looks very promising. Here are a few ways CBD Topicals can help:

Inflammation and pain

A study conducted in 2016 on rats shows that applying CBD topically could help them control inflammation and pain associated with chronic conditions like arthritis.

Skin disorders

Again research is minimal but preliminary findings show that CBD may be beneficial for those suffering from skin disorders such as eczema.

A review conducted in 2020 suggested that applying topical CBD could help control conditions like eczema and acne. 

Another review was conducted in 2021 but this time on humans. Again, the study suggested that using topical CBD products could be beneficial for various skin conditions. 

However, the report also noted that one can feel side effects including itching and a burning sensation. Therefore it is recommended that you talk to your physician before delving into the world of CBD topicals.

How to choose CBD products

Now that you're aware of the various types of CBD products including oils, tinctures, edibles, concentrates, and topicals, you must also understand how to choose them.

There are a variety of companies offering different CBD products. But, how do you know which one's fake and which one's genuine? After all, you are taking CBD to improve your lifestyle so you must put in the time required to research good companies.

Here are a few simple ways to find out whether the manufacturer is genuine and trustworthy:

  1. Quality

Not every CBD product is created equally. Many companies resort to using cheap oils to cut costs.

The effectiveness of any CBD product depends on several factors including the source of their plant material, the dosage, and the quality.

The quality of your CBD product depends on the hemp the manufacturer uses. Some companies import cheap isolate from countries such as China and India to reduce costs. 

To avoid complications look for manufacturers that source their hemp from farms in the United States.

If possible, look for organic hemp sources as they tend to have the highest cannabinoid and terpene content. It is not very challenging to grow hemp without the use of harsh fertilizers and pesticides so make sure you stick to organic sources.

  1. Third-party tests

Make it a habit to read labels. But, apart from that, you need to do your due diligence because you can't just believe everything the manufacturer claims.

Therefore look for lab reports or certificates of analysis (COAs) conducted by third-party laboratories to ensure that you are getting a high-quality product. 

Lab reports will tell you a lot about the potential contaminants the product contains. In addition, it will prevent you from purchasing products that are expired or old.

Any company can make tall claims but if they fail to provide the third-party tests, you're better off not purchasing from them.

  1. Carrier agents and other ingredients

Making CBD oil is pretty easy. For example, CBD oil requires just two ingredients such as the carrier oil and a CBD extract. Thus, pay attention to the type of carrier agent used.

Common carrier oils used by most companies include MCT oil, hemp oil, olive oil, and sweet almond oil. Among these, hemp oil and MCT oils are considered to be premium since they contribute to the overall effects. Hemp oil in particular is considered the best as it is obtained from the hemp plant itself, so you'll be consuming a product made only from hemp.

Summary: CBD Products: What Are The Different Types And How To Choose Them?

Any product infused with CBD is considered a CBD product. There is a vast array of CBD products including oils, tinctures, topicals, edibles, etc.

As long as you take the time and effort to choose a good manufacturer who abides by good manufacturing practices, sources organic hemp that's grown locally, and provides third-party tested COAs or lab reports, you will be able to choose a good product.

Regardless of whether you are purchasing CBD oils edibles or topicals, make sure you read up on everything about it on the website. Also, look for other ingredients used along with CBD.

Hopefully, this guide will help you choose high-quality CBD products and offer you benefits in the long run.


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very nicely written. It would still be nice to write an article about the production process at home. Or at least some general guidance.
@Lapolda, anything specific you need?