The Difference Between Full Spectrum and Broad Spectrum CBD

The Difference Between Full Spectrum and Broad Spectrum CBD

If you’ve ever searched for any CBD products or CBD oil in general, then you’ve most likely come across different types of cannabinoid spectrum choices. There are three main types: full spectrum CBD, broad spectrum CBD, and CBD isolate.

Understanding these labels is important when recognizing the cannabinoid ingredients inside your choice of CBD oil. Each type has unique benefits, depending on your preferences.

In this article, you’ll learn how full spectrum CBD differs from broad spectrum CBD, what full spectrum CBD is exactly, what broad spectrum CBD is, and which one is better for daily use.

What is the Difference Between Full Spectrum CBD and Broad Spectrum CBD?

CBD oil doesn’t necessarily just contain CBD and oil. Cannabis sativa synthesizes over 100 phytocannabinoids, with CBD and THC being two of the most well-recognized cannabinoids in the scientific community.

Each spectrum identifies the various other components that work alongside the CBD molecules, enhancing the wholesome CBD benefits. Whether CBD is full spectrum or broad spectrum depends on how it's further processed after its extraction.

How are Full Spectrum and Broad Spectrum CBD Extracted?

When raw hemp goes through the extraction process, cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes are stripped from the material and then infused into a carrier oil; however, the cannabinoid profile of your CBD oil may be different based on the strain of cannabis used during the process.

Hemp-based extracts, for example, will usually contain less than 0.3 percent THC – making them non-intoxicating and retaining high amounts of CBD. Other times, cannabis extracts are pulled from strains that have an equal CBD-to-THC ratio or THC content that’s higher than 0.3 percent.

What CBD manufacturers do with the extracted cannabinoids will determine whether the final product is labeled full spectrum or broad spectrum – and in some cases, just a CBD isolate. Here’s what each cannabis spectrum means:

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What is Full Spectrum CBD?

Full spectrum CBD means that it uses all of the phytochemicals found in Cannabis sativa; this includes cannabidiol along with terpenes, essential oils, and other cannabinoids, which means THC. However, the THC content can still be under 0.3 percent.

Even though the THC content of the full spectrum CBD oil for sale is negligible, full-spectrum CBD can trigger a false positive drug test reading if you’re consuming high doses of it regularly. But you may never feel intoxicated from the trace amounts of THC.

Full spectrum CBD typically allows consumers to experience the “entourage effect.” This effect requires the combination of whole-plant cannabinoids and additional terpenes, and it is quite different from pure CBD that uses CBD isolates only.

So if you don’t mind a bit of THC inside your CBD oil, or you live in an area within the United States that legalizes cannabis for adult use, then you may choose to use full spectrum CBD for your needs.

What is the Entourage Effect?

The active compounds of hemp in full spectrum CBD work together to enhance the benefits expressed by the individual cannabinoids. When these compounds and cannabinoids work synergically like this, they produce the entourage effect.

The entourage effect refers to cannabis components working together to boost or intensify the benefits of hemp. Other than CBD, full spectrum extracts will contain additional cannabinoids, including:

  • Cannabinol (CBN) – a cannabinoid made from oxidized THC. The longer raw cannabis matures, the more CBN it will create from THC. It’s known for its relaxing qualities.
  • Cannabigerol (CBG) – a non-intoxicating cannabinoid produced from cannabigerolic acid during decarboxylation.
  • Cannabidivarin (CBDV) – a minor cannabinoid with a molecular structure similar to that of CBD.
  • Cannabidiol acid (CBDA) – the 2-carboxylic acid form of CBD and an essential ingredient found in raw cannabis.
  • Cannabichromene (CBC) – a cannabinoid that particularly comes from tropical-region cannabis; it is useful for a variety of beneficial reactions.

With full spectrum CBD, the added terpenes and cannabinoids can affect cannabinoid receptors – either blocking or allowing other cannabinoid molecules to bind or communicate with the connectors.

In a 2015 study, scientists concluded that full spectrum CBD provides a better response at higher amounts because it uses compounds from the entire hemp plant rather than CBD isolates alone.

White crystals of cbd isolate sit on a bright green leaf leaf above a glass table

What is a CBD Isolate?

A CBD isolate means pure CBD: it contains no other cannabinoids, terpenes, or flavonoids. And even though pure CBD oil uses cannabidiol isolates exclusively, its extraction requires a great deal of additional work.

Earlier, it was briefly mentioned that the extracting process of raw hemp materials pulls out all of the active ingredients inside hemp, along with its terpenes and flavonoids. The extraction to isolate CBD from all the other cannabinoid compounds goes further than usual to ensure safe human consumption.

CBD isolates are the most concentrated form of CBD. A single isolate typically is up to 90 percent CBD, making it potent in CBD content but not necessarily having better or more beneficial attributes.

There’s no substantial risk of an intoxicating high or euphoria with pure CBD oil, and it’s unlikely to register a positive drug test reading. CBD isolates are also ideal for cooking or mixing with food and beverages.

But because CBD oil containing only CBD isolates doesn’t utilize the full hemp plant, it can’t offer the more extensive benefits created from the entourage effect.

Why Should I Use Full Spectrum CBD?

Full spectrum CBD allows you the benefits of the entourage effect because it contains additional cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. It’s best suited for people who live in states with a legal cannabis market and don’t mind trace amounts of THC in their CBD oil.

However, heavy use of full spectrum CBD may cause a positive drug screening, and the THC content may be illegal under state and local laws. Some people also might not enjoy the strong natural taste and smell of hemp associated with full spectrum CBD.

And it may also deliver greater benefits than CBD isolates. But if your main concerns are THC levels and drug tests, then your best choice might be broad spectrum CBD instead.

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What is Broad Spectrum CBD?

Like full spectrum, CBD oil labeled broad spectrum also uses cannabidiol with all the other compounds found in hemp. However, there’s one active ingredient that gets removed after the extraction process – THC.

Broad spectrum CBD retains several of the different cannabinoids, such as CBN and CBG. And because broad spectrum also uses additional terpenes and flavonoids, it can generate the entourage effect without THC.

Even though broad spectrum CBD shares similarities with full spectrum, it still has that one primary difference that separates it from the other. And you may decide to use broad spectrum CBD if you’re looking for whole-plant benefits without any THC content or you live in an area in the U.S. with stricter cannabis laws.

Why is Broad Spectrum CBD Different From Full Spectrum CBD?

From a straightforward perspective, you could think of broad spectrum CBD as a combination of CBD isolate and full spectrum CBD. It uses compounds from the whole hemp plant minus the THC, so it’s also less likely to cause any false positive drug readings.

Without THC content, broad spectrum CBD is particularly useful for people who want the benefits of full spectrum CBD with fewer worries about random drug tests or THC accumulating within their system from daily use.

Why Should I Use Broad Spectrum CBD?

Broad spectrum CBD could be viewed as the best of both worlds in terms of CBD oils. Like CBD isolate, broad spectrum has no risk of any psychoactive effects, but like full spectrum CBD, it also offers benefits from the entourage effect.

It’s most useful for people who might be sensitive to THC or those living in areas with strict THC regulations – and it may be the best choice for people wanting to use CBD oil for the first time but held back due to warnings of THC.

It may also provide greater benefits than just CBD isolates.

The chemical composition of cbd is shown over an explosion of multi-colored dust

Why Should I Use Broad Spectrum CBD?

Broad spectrum CBD could be viewed as the best of both worlds in terms of CBD oils; like CBD isolate, broad spectrum has no risk of any psychoactive effects, but like full spectrum CBD, it also offers benefits from the entourage effect.

It’s most useful for people who might be sensitive to THC or those living in areas with strict THC regulations – and it may be the best choice for people wanting to use CBD oil for the first time but held back due to warnings of THC.

It may also provide greater benefits than just CBD isolates.

A hand holds a brown glass dropper bottle with a large purple question mark on the label

Which Is Better – Full Spectrum vs. Broad Spectrum CBD?

If you’re currently wondering which spectrum of CBD oil is better than the other one, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a competition between the two. Our bodies process CBD differently based on a variety of factors.

Your initial question regarding broad spectrum vs. full spectrum CBD should be which one will better suit your needs. Your physiology, lifestyle, and even health history can influence how your body reacts to cannabinoids.

For some CBD users, broad spectrum is their best choice because it’s like receiving all of the good and none of the bad, if that’s your particular point of view. Others may be fine with full spectrum because their lifestyle, living area, or work environment is more lenient towards THC or consists of fewer drug screenings.

Some users may be completely satisfied with CBD isolate because it works for them, while others probably can’t notice a difference between full spectrum and broad spectrum CBD or CBD isolate.

Why Choose Full Spectrum or Broad Spectrum CBD?

The point here is that many factors can drive your decision to choose one type over the other, so choose the one that best fits your preferences – instead of trying to decide which could inherently be better than the other.

You now know that both spectrums use whole-plant extracts containing CBD with terpenes, essential oils, and most importantly, other cannabinoids. And because each spectrum includes cannabis elements other than CBD, they allow for the “entourage effect.”

However, the main difference between the two is the THC content: full spectrum CBD contains THC and broad spectrum CBD doesn’t. The THC included with full spectrum CBD oils isn’t enough for consumers to become intoxicated, although extraneous use may lead to a positive drug test reading.

Broad spectrum CBD might serve best for people who are a bit more cautious about having THC in their system or who live in a state with tighter laws regarding cannabis for adult use.

And if you’ve already tried them all, let us know your story. Or share your reason why you chose one spectrum over the other. You can also post your experiences with broad spectrum or full spectrum CBD on our Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram page.


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