The Different Types of CBD and What Makes Them Unique


CBD’s incredible ability to treat countless conditions is far from a secret at this point. Where you could once only find one or two dispensaries in town that carried CBD products, you can now find items with CBD in them everywhere from the gas station to the airport. If you’ve decided that you’d like to try CBD then you have likely encountered the several types of CBD such as full-spectrum, CBD isolate, and CBD distillate. The 3 different options can be somewhat overwhelming and I’ve known people that stopped using CBD because they didn’t like the first one they tried. 

Each option has its own unique benefits and being aware of what sets them apart can make a world of difference in knowing how to treat what ails you.

While these can be pretty confusing to beginners, you’ll soon learn why there are so many options. 

In addition to the different forms of CBD products, you also have to understand the different methods of administering or consuming CBD. While each method ensures that you receive CBD, they each have their own unique characteristics.

What are the different forms of CBD?

There are four major forms or types of CBD. All contain CBD of course, but what makes them different from each other is the what makes up the rest of content, or lack of it, in some cases. 

Full-Spectrum CBD

When discussing full-spectrum CBD, it means that all essential compounds have been extracted from the plant (be it hemp or cannabis). So, when you see a CBD product labeled as full-spectrum CBD, it will contain not only CBD but trace amounts other cannabinoids as well, like THC, CBN, CBG, etc.


In addition to the cannabinoids, full-spectrum CBD also contains essential terpenes such as humulene, limonene, pinene, linalool, myrcene, etc.

One major advantage of this type of CBD is that you benefit from the entourage effect. This essentially means that all of the different compounds work together to alleviate your symptoms.

Some Full-Spectrum CBD oils will specifically extract other cannabinoids as well such as CBN or CBG or specific terpenes making it even more effective. 

One thing to be aware of is that while the main cannabinoid extracted is CBD, there will often be trace amounts of THC, meaning you may feel very subtle psychological effects. You may not feel high necessarily but people say they can often feel the presence of the THC. For those who are very sensitive to THC or want to avoid feeling stoned at all, there are other CBD options.  

CBD Distillate

If the product is labeled CBD distillate, it basically means that it contains CBD and other cannabinoids. However, what makes it different from the other forms is that it has a relatively high level of THC. While the main cannabinoid extracted is CBD, distillate is often made from cannabis plants, rather than low THC hemp plants, and therefore has a stronger psychological effect. 

Similar to Full Spectrum, you can benefit from the various other cannabinoids, but with a higher percentage of THC than terpenes. 

CBD Isolate

CBD Isolate, on the other hand, is as pure as you can get. Exactly as it’s name says, it is isolated unadulterated cannabidiol (CBD). This means there are no other cannabinoids present, and no terpenes either. Compared to CBD distillate, CBD Isolate is oftentimes sourced from hemp which is known for its higher CBD level and very minute THC content.

Of all the different forms of CBD, Isolate is arguably the best option for beginners. CBD, by itself, already has ample healing properties that can help relieve mild to moderate symptoms and maintain good health. 


As we recently discussed in our blog on dosing with CBD, research has shown that CBD is most effective when accompanied with THC.

With that said, there are some people who are sensitive to THC or dislike the feeling of being stoned. For some, it’s enough of a reason to not take CBD at all. They’d rather not even take the risk. In cases like this CBD Isolate is the perfect option.

Now that you have a better understanding of the different types of CBD, now let’s look at the different methods of consumption.


This method includes smoking and/or vaping CBD flower or oil. Of all the different methods of CBD administration, inhalation offers the fastest onset of effects. As soon as you inhale the cannabinoid-rich smoke or vapour, your cells immediately absorb them. The cannabinoids then delivered to different parts of your body via the bloodstream. However, the inhalation method also has the shortest duration of effects.

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For those who need immediate relief, this method works the best. However, for those seeking long term relief, ingestion and sublingual is a far more effective method.


The ingestion method includes edibles and capsules. Although ingestion is the most popular method for its convenience and straightforward administration, it has the slowest onset of effects (30 minutes to two hours) simply because the cannabinoids still have to pass through several organs (digestive system and liver) before they reach the bloodstream. Through this process, a small percentage of the cannabinoids lose some of their potency due to first-pass metabolism. However, compared to inhalation, ingestion offers the longest duration of effects since the cannabinoids stay longer in the body, making it the most effective treatment for longterm pain.



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Sublingual’s include tinctures and sprays. With this method, you have to place the product under the tongue and hold it there for about two minutes. Similar to inhalation, it also offers a fast onset of relief since the cannabinoids are immediately absorbed by the capillaries before entering the bloodstream.



Topical’s are creams, balms, gels, massage oils, ointments, salves, transdermal patches, and even lotions that contain CBD and other cannabinoids and terpenes. Topical’s are typically used for skin conditions like acne and psoriasis. They can also be used to relieve muscle aches, pains, and spasms.


Topical’s offer only local relief and won’t reach the bloodstream. Similar to edibles, the onset of relief is slow since it has to pass through the skin barrier before the cannabinoids reach their target destination.


Although suppositories are certainly not the most popular method of CBD administration, or of any medication really, it does also offer fast onset of effects. The cannabinoids are immediately absorbed by the capillaries in the rectum or vagina and go directly into the bloodstream.

Suppositories work best for menstrual pain and cramp, hemorrhoids, pelvic pain, and other lower abdomen and extremity problems.

Final Thoughts

There are many different types and methods of CBD administration, and it can be pretty confusing to beginners. So when choosing a CBD product, you have to know what you’re looking for in the first place.

Is it for your overall health, for a specific symptom or variety symptoms, for localized or generalized pain, etc.? Do you want the product to contain THC, other cannabinoids, and terpenes? Or do you prefer pure CBD

What method of administration are you most comfortable with? Are you okay with inhaling CBD or prefer methods like sublingual and ingestion?

Only when you know your needs, as well as all of the options, can you make an informed decision on the type of CBD to use or its method of administration. When it comes to medical cannabis, it really boils down to the user’s preference. There is no best CBD form or method; there’s just what works best for you. If you need more help in making a decision, you can always reach out to us and we’d be happy to help you find the right product.

For any medical condition we always recommend talking to your doctor first. You should be able to have an open dialogue about your wants and needs. 

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