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Choosing the right CBD oil: An expert guide #WidsomToWellness

Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum or Isolate? Lab reports? CBD or CBG? THC free or Whole Plant? 500mg or 2000mg? It’s enough to put you off the idea entirely. To help, Dermactiva asked Ruby Deevoy to put together this expert guide on how to choose a CBD oil for your needs.

Ruby Deevoy

Keen to try CBD oil but don’t know where to start? You’re not alone. It’s not easy choosing the right CBD oil. For one, there are now literally thousands of brands touting their wares and on top of that, there’s an awful lot of lingo thrown about on product pages that makes very little sense to a newcomer.
Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum or Isolate? Lab reports? CBD or CBG? THC free or Whole Plant? 500mg or 2000mg?
It’s enough to put you off the idea entirely. 

So, to help, we’ve worked with CBD Consultant, Ruby Deevoy, to put together this expert guide on how to choose a CBD oil for your needs. High quality and effective. No more confusion, no more wasting your precious time and money.

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Photo by Rita Morais     Choosing the right CBD oil

How to choose a CBD oil: Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum or Isolate?

When choosing a CBD oil, you’ll see there are generally three types available: Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum or Isolate. You may also see ‘whole plant’ oil – we’ll come to that shortly.

Full Spectrum CBD Oil

  • Full spectrum oils usually contain at least 5 different cannabinoids (there are 147 known cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, CBD being one of the most abundant) including a very small, legal amount of THC. If you get a really good product, there should be some terpenes (aromatic compounds) and flavonoids present too.
Although you’d be right in thinking THC is the main psychoactive molecule in the cannabis plant (the one most famously linked to getting you high), it’s also regularly prescribed in higher doses via private medical cannabis clinics and the NHS due to its well known therapeutic potential. The amount of THC available in CBD products sold in the UK is not enough to make you feel stoned, but it may be enough to show up on drug tests which may be something to consider if you’re a pro athlete or subject to drug testing.
Many experts believe full spectrum (or ‘whole plant’) cannabis medications and CBD oil supplements yield the best results due to something called ‘the entourage effect’. This is a term used for all parts of the plant working together in synergy to help the body regain or maintain balance in the most holistic way. 
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Photo by Elsa Olofsson             how to choose a CBD oil

Broad Spectrum CBD Oil

  • Broad spectrum oils should be the same as full spectrum without the THC. However, (and this also applies to full spectrum products), be sure to check lab reports of the products before purchasing as, unfortunately, some brands will label their products broad spectrum when in actual fact any cannabinoids other than CBD are present in such low amounts they’re hardly worth including. Learn how to read these reports here.

Isolate CBD oil

  • Isolate oils contain just the CBD molecule on it’s own, suspended in a carrier oil. Some isolate products are ‘terpene infused’, meaning they also include a terpene blend to impart some extra benefits from these aromatic compounds. Find out more about terpenes here.

Although using CBD isolate limits the effects the oil can have, some people prefer to opt for this. Perhaps due to terpene allergies. Or due to the fact that most randomised control trials (the ‘gold standard’ of clinical testing in the UK) are looking specifically at isolated CBD or isolated THC. However, it’s worth noting that the reason for this is that the whole cannabis plant doesn’t lend itself to these sort of trials, due to how complex the plant is.

Which strength of CBD oil should I choose?

500mg is a good starting dose to build on. For some, that’s all you’ll ever need - others may find they prefer something stronger. Finding your own dose is all part of the CBD journey as everyone is completely unique! 

CBD Oil Dosage

Start low, with 2 or 3 drops of a 500mg oil 3 times a day, and build up gradually, drop by drop and, if necessary, product strength by strength.

CBD Oil Side Effects

You’ll know you’ve reached your dose if you listen to your body - the right amount and you should feel well balanced. When you take more the effect plateaus, or, if you take too much, you may feel a little light headed, racy, or experience a mild headache or nausea. This is about as bad as side effects get and the WHO deems CBD oil to be perfectly safe - even at very high doses (most studies only start at the 50 - 100mg per dose mark! MUCH more than you’ll be starting with).

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Photo by Jeff W on Unsplash      choosing a CBD oil

Cannabinoids and terpenes to look for when choosing a CBD oil

With tens of thousands of cannabis studies to draw from, and a whole bunch more looking at terpenes too, the scientific community is well aware of the differing potential many of these compounds have. But this valuable information often doesn’t extend itself to CBD product pages, which is not very helpful for consumers!

While there are too many to list here, there is a small selection we will cover briefly that you’re likely to come across that are well worth being aware of. If one sparks your interest, investigate further – you’ll be amazed by what you find.

CBDa (Cannabidiolic Acid)

A water-soluble compound found in raw cannabis. A recent study found CBDa to be 1000 times more effective at combating nausea and anxiety than CBD! It’s also known for being a potent COX-2 inhibitor (NSAIDS, like aspirin and Ibuprofen, work via COX-2 inhibition). CBDa is usually found in ‘whole plant’ oils or hemp/cannabis tea.

CBG (Cannabigerol)

CBG is a minor cannabinoid which has shown such impressive results in studies that is has been brought to the forefront in many formulations. You can even buy CBG oil instead of CBD oil. Unlike CBD, which supports the endocannabinoid system via indirect activation (supporting the synthesis and release of internally produced endocannabinoids rather than activating ECS receptors itself) CBG does directly activate both CB1 and CB2 receptors found all throughout the body and brain. For this reason, there are now many studies exploring its actions as a potent pain-reliever, anti-inflammatory, vasolidator, anti-oxidant and neuroprotectant.


Myrcene is best known for its sedative effects and also for the ability to impart a sense of euphoria.


The most abundant terpene in the cannabis plant, commonly found in full spectrum and whole plant CBD oils. This particular compound has been well studied for a vast range of therapeutic effects, some of which you can read about here.

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25 years of wisdom and heritage

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Dermactiva was created using over 25 years of wisdom and heritage from Herman Patiño’s proven base product, using certified Organic Cannabis Sativa Oil.

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