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Full Spectrum vs Broad Spectrum: The Differences Explained

When you’re shopping for CBD, you might see terms such as Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, and CBD Isolate.

These terms may sound confusing at first but they are wildly different from one another.

In this blog post, we’ll dive deep into what makes them different and which you should consider buying yourself.

In a nutshell, these terms are used to define which type of CBD is used in a product. Each of these types represent important factors to consider and understanding the difference is very important for a CBD user to know.

Let’s begin by reviewing the factor that defines each type of CBD – cannabinoids.

What are cannabinoids and why does it matter?

As you already probably know, there are a class of compounds in the hemp and marijuana plant known as cannabinoids. The ones you’re familiar with are CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (the psychoactive compound known to make you “high”).

Amongst these two compounds are over 100 more which scientists have discovered are naturally occurring within strains of cannabis.

In the past few decades, researchers and scientists have discovered that these compounds interact with receptors in our Endocannabinoid system (ECS). We go over in more detail about the ECS in our blog post.

In short, cannabinoids like CBD could deliver unique health benefits within the body by working with the ECS.

It’s later known that each different cannabinoid has it’s own unique health properties and works with your body in different, useful ways.

For instance, CBD doesn’t get you high, THC does. CBD can actually counteract the psychoactive effects of THC. Read our published blog post about the differences between THC and CBD.

Other cannabinoids like Cannabigerol (CBG) and Cannabinol (CBN) are amongst the cannabinoid spectrum which we’ll get into now.

The Cannabinoid Spectrum

The cannabinoid spectrum range contained within a certain product is what determines whether the product is full spectrum or broad spectrum.

So how does it work?

To create a CBD product, the CBD content is extracted from the cannabis plant using methods such as CO2 extraction. During this process, other compounds found within the plans are also extracted, including terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids.

Depending on the strain of the plant and the extraction process used, the composition and cannabinoid profile will differ.

Many companies will choose certain strains, where it’s grown, and how it’s extracted to meet their certain product needs and wants.

Once extracted, the company can then choose to refine the extract to contain certain cannabinoids and other beneficial plant compounds.

The end results of all this arduous process determines if the end product is broad spectrum, full spectrum, or CBD isolate.

As always, whenever you’re buying CBD products, please make sure they are third-party lab tested for quality assurance.

What’s CBD Isolate?

CBD isolate is the purest form of the compound, which is produced by singularity extracting that compound from it’s environment and isolating it from all other compounds. No other compounds we mentioned will be included such as terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids.

Usually, this results in a clean and pure substance that is virtually free from THC.

Full Spectrum CBD

Full spectrum CBD is an extract that contains all compounds found naturally occurring in the plant including terpenes, essential oils, and other cannabinoids like CBG and CBN.

These full spectrum of all these compounds from the plant work harmoniously together to magnify the therapeutic benefits of each individual compound. This is referred to as “the entourage effect.”

It was previously believed that CBD in its isolated from was more effective than Full Spectrum CBD; however, in 2005, this theory was debunked by a study from the Lautenberg Center for General Tumor Immunology in Jerusalem.

In the study, researchers found that test subjects administered with full spectrum CBD were provided with higher levels of relief, compared to subjects administered with CBD isolate. In addition, the results showed that full spectrum CBD provided enhanced effects with higher dosages, while the effects of CBD maintained consistent with increased dosages.

Broad Spectrum CBD

Broad spectrum CBD is somewhere in the middle of full spectrum and CBD isolate.

Similar to full spectrum, the other compounds found within the plant are preserved in the extract. However like CBD isolate, THC is completely removed.

Because Broad Spectrum CBD contains multiple cannabinoids, it can deliver the enhanced benefits of the “entourage effect,” without the risk of psychoactive effects of THC.

What Type of CBD Should You Use?

Now that you have an understanding of what these types of CBD mean, you’re probably wondering why someone would prefer one over the other, and more importantly, which type you should use.

Let’s make one thing clear: either of the types are better than the other. Each of them have their own unique characteristics, pros and cons.

Everybody has different needs and understand these terms more helps you pick products that will work for you.

Let’s start with CBD Isolate…

As we discussed above, this is the purest form of CBD – all other compounds and cannabinoids have been completely removed via different extraction processes.

This results in the purest form of CBD with no THC – leaving you with no psychoactive effects (you won’t get high!)

– Purest form of CBD
– Zero THC so you won’t get high.
– Considered to be safe.
– Tasteless and odorless.
– Will not test positive for THC on drug test.
Does not deliver the benefits of the entire cannabis plant

Who would buy this?

  • Individuals who were recommended to take high doses of CBD for certain conditions.
  • Individuals with sensitivity to THC or other cannabinoids
  • Individuals who regularly undergo drug screening tests
  • Individuals who prefer light flavors or no flavor
  • Individuals living in states that have strict THC-laws
  • First-time users that may be hesitant about other cannabinoids

Full Spectrum CBD

If you recall, full spectrum CBD contains contains the entire plant profile – cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes. Full spectrum also has trace amounts of THC (less than .03% THC) – not enough to get you ‘high’ but enough to cause an entourage effect. You’ll benefit from everything the hemp plant has to offer.

– Offers the full benefits of the cannabis plant.
– Undergoes fewer processes.
– Entourage effect – get all the health benefits from the entire plant profile.
– May have psychoactive, sedative, and other possibly unwanted side effects.
– May show up in drug tests.
– THC content may cause legal issues.
– May have strong taste and odor.

Who would benefit from full spectrum CBD?

  • Individuals who were recommended a certain THC to CBD ratio
  • Individuals with more severe conditions or conditions that CBD isolate and Broad Spectrum could not alleviate
  • Individuals living in states where Cannabis is legal
  • Individuals who don’t need to take drug test and like the benefits from other cannabinoids.

Broad Spectrum CBD

Broad spectrum has the benefits of having some compounds and cannabinoids but with zero THC.

– Offers full benefits of Cannabis plant.
– No risk of psychoactive effects.
– Zero THC so don’t worry about drug tests.
– Less research and availability.
– May have strong taste and odor.

Who would benefit from broad spectrum CBD?

  • Individuals with conditions that CBD isolate alone could not alleviate
  • Individuals with sensitivity to THC
  • Individuals living in states that have strict THC-laws
  • First-time users that are hesitant about THC

Overall Thoughts on Different CBD Spectrums

Let’s make one thing clear. One type isn’t better than other other.

For some, broad spectrum CBD may be the best choice as it delivers the full benefits of the cannabis plant without the “getting high” from THC. For others, the controlled dosage of pure CBD from CBD isolate may do the trick.

It’s important to understand the research and know what type you’re getting in each product. Many companies are very vague when describing what type of CBD they use with generic terms being thrown around. We advise you do your due diligence when it comes to shopping CBD. We at are here to help you on your journey to discovering your wellness through the use of CBD.

If you have any questions, please shoot us a message at! We’re happy to answer any of your CBD questions.

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