CBD stands for cannabidiol, and it’s one of the hundreds of active compounds in the Cannabis sativa hemp plant. Hemp CBD oil is made from a combination of hemp extract and one or two carrier oils, like MCT coconut oil or hemp seed oil, that help the body better absorb the cannabinoid compounds (as these plant bioactives are fat-soluble).
There are three types of hemp extracts featured in hemp CBD oil products: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or a CBD isolate. As the name suggests, CBD isolate only contains cannabidiol, while broad-spectrum hemp contains some additional compounds found in the cannabis plant.
Full-spectrum hemp (sometimes referred to as “whole full plant” CBD) contains multiple cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other plant-based compounds, including trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. (FYI, hemp CBD contains less than 0.3% THC by dry weight, per the legal definition in the U.S.). As far as which is the most effective type of hemp CBD oil, it comes down to personal needs and preference—though full-spectrum CBD is often considered the gold standard due to the entourage effect.
Along with including different types of hemp, CBD formulas also come in different strengths, often categorized as gentle, moderate, or strong. According to Timothy Byars, director of Cannabis Programs at the Pacific College of Health and Science, 1 to 10 mg of hemp CBD per serving is considered a gentle dose, 10 to 30 mg of hemp CBD constitutes a moderate dose, and 40 mg or higher of hemp CBD can be considered a strong dose. (Internally, mindbodygreen categorizes less than 20 mg of hemp CBD as gentle, 20 to 40 mg of hemp CBD as moderate, and 40+ mg of hemp CBD as strong.)