Full Spectrum CBD Oil vs Softgels

Full Spectrum CBD Oil vs Softgels

Your easy guide to full spectrum CBD oil vs full spectrum CBD softgels. Which is better for you? Learn how to use them and the pros and cons of each.

With such a wide variety of CBD products to choose from, you may wonder which products are right for you. And if you are making the transition from broad spectrum CBD products to full spectrum ones, you may be looking at the two most popular forms: full spectrum CBD tinctures and full spectrum CBD softgels. Today we’ll take a look at each of these and give you some more information about both so you can decide which is best for you.

Key Points


  • What is full spectrum CBD and what makes a CBD oil full spectrum rather than broad spectrum?
  • Why there are different forms of CBD and why you might choose one over the other.
  • A comparison between the two most common oral forms of CBD oil: Full spectrum CBD oil tinctures vs full spectrum CBD oil softgels.
  • Information about the full spectrum tinctures and full spectrum softgels and how to use each for your personalized CBD wellness lifestyle.


What Is Full Spectrum CBD?

You may already be using broad spectrum CBD products and want to make the switch over to full spectrum CBD products. Or this may be your first experience with CBD and full spectrum products are the ones you are considering. Either way, you need to know a little more about these full spectrum CBD options so you can make the best choice for yourself. First, let’s consider what makes a CBD product “full spectrum.”

What Makes a CBD Product “Full Spectrum”?

If you are familiar at all with CBD products, you may have heard the terms “broad spectrum” CBD oil and “full spectrum” CBD oil.

There’s little difference between the two, but the difference is significant. By law, any CBD product can only contain up to 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol, which is THC, the most abundant psychoactive compound in the Cannabis sativa plant, from which all cannabinoids are derived.

For broad spectrum CBD products, THC is not intentionally included in the formulation, although minute traces can still make it into the final formulation as a result of the extraction process for CBD, CBN, CBG, and other components. This is why broad spectrum is considered “THC-free” even though these tiny amounts of THC may be present. “THC-free” means the THC is below the level of detection using validated scientific methods.

Full spectrum is different in that THC is selectively included in the formulation. All of the same other cannabinoids are present, but with the addition of a tiny amount of THC (less than 0.3 percent), so you get the added benefits of THC and a potentially increased entourage effect.

The entourage effect basically means that these cannabis components work together to amplify benefits. For some people, the mild psychoactive effects of THC are desirable. Perhaps they have a greater need for relaxation or feel the THC helps them to get better sleep. There are many reasons a person might choose to use full spectrum over broad spectrum, and vice versa, but the key takeaway here is that you choose based on whether or not you want the THC.

Benefits of Full Spectrum CBD Oil

Full spectrum CBD oil products do have some benefits over the broad spectrum choices, but it really depends on what type of benefits you are looking for in your CBD products.


  • Both broad spectrum and full spectrum can deliver the entourage effect, but it will be a little more well-rounded with a THC-infused full spectrum product.
  • Both formulations provide calming effects, but the full spectrum may amplify these effects because of the added mild psychoactive effects of THC.
  • Full spectrum CBD products may be better for those looking for better sleep. Some people opt to take broad spectrum during the day and full spectrum at night.
  • THC has advantages for those who work out or are athletes, but care should be taken. Check with your athletic organizations to be sure it is allowed.
  • For people who have more trouble managing stress, the full spectrum CBD oil option may be a better choice.


Why CBD Form Matters

CBD oil, whether broad spectrum or full spectrum (which is the type of CBD in a product), also comes in a wide variety of forms. This refers to the mechanism or carrier product that contains CBD. Each form serves a purpose by its use, absorption patterns, and how the CBD moves through your system (or, in the case of topicals, how it works on your skin).

The different forms allow you more choices of how to build the perfect CBD regimen that meets your needs but is also easy for you to manage each day. As you likely know, CBD works best when it is used regularly.

Different CBD Oil Forms for Your Lifestyle

Which forms of CBD you choose have a lot to do with your lifestyle. Do you want something pre-measured and easy to take? Do you want products that can travel with you easily? Do you want to use something that is absorbed quickly but stays in your system longer? Or do you want products that only work on the outside of your body and can be used right where you need them? All of this may factor into your choices of CBD forms.

CBD Oil Forms


  • CBD tinctures – These are CBD drops you take each day with a dropper.
  • CBD gummies – CBD infused into gummies for easy as-needed use.
  • CBD softgels – Similar to the tinctures but wrapped in a softgel capsule. These are taken with a glass of water or other beverage.
  • CBD topicals – CBD products to put on the skin. Often they contain pain-fighting ingredients.
  • CBD skin care – CBD-infused products for your facial skin care.
  • CBD bath & body – CBD in bath and body products for all-over body care. There’s also a massage oil.


Choosing CBD Forms

Some factors in choosing a CBD form include ease of use, your daily habits and preferences, portability and on-the-go applications, and whether or not you want the CBD to go into your system internally or remain on the skin for targeted application.

Bioavailability in CBD Forms

Here at cbdMD, we’ve worked very hard to make an extensive line of CBD products so that you can choose the forms that work best for you and fit into your lifestyle. The more suitable a product is for you the more likely you are going to enjoy using it regularly and see the greatest benefits. But the form of CBD oil isn’t just about convenience or personal preference. Form also has to do with bioavailability.

Bioavailability refers to how quickly and easily your body can absorb the CBD you take. Some forms of CBD are more quickly absorbed and used by the body, meaning they have a higher rate of absorption and are more bioavailable.

The highest bioavailability belongs to the tinctures, at least if you hold them under your tongue for 30 to 60 seconds before swallowing. That way, some of the CBD can permeate the mucous membrane without having to go through the digestive tract.

With gummies and softgels there is a little more time involved, as there is more to digest before the CBD can be absorbed by the body. For all of these oral CBD options, it takes about a half hour to two hours to get into your bloodstream, depending on how quickly your body metabolizes them and whether or not you take them on an empty stomach.

Now that you’ve got a little background information on broad spectrum CBD vs full spectrum CBD, and a little about the different forms available, let’s discuss the two biggest choices for full spectrum CBD: the full spectrum CBD oil tinctures and the full spectrum CBD oil softgel capsules.


cbdMD full spectrum cbd oil 750mg bottle with shapes in the background


Full Spectrum CBD Oil Tinctures

The full spectrum CBD tincture is a liquid solution that comes in a small bottle equipped with a dropper that’s hash marked with serving measurements. CBD, CBN, CBG, THC, and select terpenes from the hemp plant are all infused into a carrier MCT oil to make it easier for you to take.

About This Form of CBD Oil

The tinctures stand out as the most flexible CBD option available to you. You can choose from several strengths, and you can adjust the amount of each serving you take. You can also take a CBD tincture twice a day at regular times and then add CBD gummies or other CBD products as they are needed to complete your perfect CBD daily regimen.

Here’s a little about the features that make this powerful solution a go-to for many CBD fans and wellness-focused users:



  • Made with premium full spectrum extract from non-GMO hemp grown in the USA.
  • Contains CBD, CBN, CBG, THC, and terpenes.
  • Uses the flowers and aerial parts of the hemp plant.
  • Comes in three strengths: 750 mg, 1500 mg, 3000 mg.
  • Comes in two flavors: unflavored Natural and delicious Chocolate Mint, which is made with peppermint oil extract.




  • Helps to promote a sense of calm.
  • Aids in exercise recovery.
  • Helps with everyday stress management.
  • Supports a daily wellness routine.
  • Contains the added benefit of THC.
  • Fast-acting and easily absorbed by the body.
  • Flexible uses and measurements.




  • Needs to be measured with each serving. Consistency could be an issue if not measured the same way each time. For some, the hash marks may be hard to see or the lighting may not be good, which could lead to measuring errors.
  • Some people may find it more difficult to use as an on-the-go option.
  • THC may present a problem if you’re under some professional or athletic organization restrictions.


How to Use CBD Tinctures

It may feel a little awkward or even intimidating the first time you use CBD tinctures. It’s not super complicated, but knowing a few things will help those first few weeks go a little more smoothly.

First, plan to take your tinctures twice a day at the same time and keep this up for at least a month before you make any adjustments to the amount you’re taking. You’ll squeeze the dropper and suck up the tincture oil into the dropper, using the hash marks as a guide. Squeeze the contents under your tongue. Do not allow the dropper to touch the inside of your mouth, tongue, or lips. Hold the liquid under your tongue for 30 seconds, then swallow.

Secondly, begin with a lower serving size, say ¼ to ½ a dropper, instead of a full dropper serving. This allows your body to adjust to the CBD and gives you time to determine how it is affecting you.

Thirdly, after a month or so, adjust the serving size up as needed and take a week or two to evaluate the new serving size and how it affects you.

This careful and deliberate method will help you home in on the right amount for you. If you find you are taking a full serving size and not getting the results you want, you can consider moving up to the next CBD strength available. Then, start at the beginning again with small servings initially and adjust up every other week or so until you get to the perfect amount for you.

This process does take time, but it is worth it to get to that sweet spot that works for you, makes you feel better, and helps you live a life of improved wellness and calm.

Why Choose CBD Oil in a Tincture Form?

CBD tincture form works perfectly for those who want fast-acting CBD in amounts over which they have full control. To get it down to the exact measurements that you need, it is easier to make minute adjustments when using the tinctures.

Tinctures also make it easy to take micro servings before or after a workout or before a super-stressful part of your day. These smaller micro servings can help give you a boost when you need it. When you’re using the tinctures, careful measurement and consistency is key.


cbdMD full spectrum cbd oil 1000mg and 2000mg containers next to each other


Full Spectrum CBD Softgel Capsules

These CBD softgels contain the same premium full spectrum CBD but are packed in a gelatin capsule for easy swallowing. They’re fortified with vitamin E, which has many benefits as an antioxidant. For some people, taking a quick capsule is far more appealing than the dropper-measuring process of CBD tinctures. This is a matter of personal preference, though there are no real reasons why one form would be far superior to the other.

About This Form of CBD Oil

Where the tinctures provide the most flexibility, the capsules provide a quick and easy way to keep CBD in your system. You can take them twice daily, as you would the tinctures, but you’ll swallow a capsule with a glass of water or other beverage instead of measuring and taking the tincture drops. It’s a consistent way to get the same amount of CBD at the same time each day.



  • Premium full spectrum extract from non-GMO hemp grown in the USA.
  • Contains CBD, CBN, CBG, THC, and terpenes.
  • Uses the flowers and aerial parts of the hemp plant.
  • Based on simple MCT oil, like the tinctures, but encapsulated in a gelatin capsule.
  • Fortified with vitamin E
  • Available in 30-count and 60-count bottles.




  • Helps to promote a sense of calm.
  • Aids in exercise recovery.
  • Helps with everyday stress management.
  • Supports a daily wellness routine.
  • Contains the added benefit of THC.
  • Has vitamin E, whereas the tinctures do not.
  • Easy to take with a glass of water.
  • Does not have the flavor or “mouth feel” of the tinctures, if you don’t like that.
  • No measuring is necessary. Provides more consistency than the variable measuring of tincture drops.
  • Small and easy to swallow – and it may remind you at least twice a day to drink a glass of water.
  • Can help eliminate mistakes made in measuring tinctures.
  • It may be hard for some people to see the measurements of a tincture dropper due to eyesight issues – not an issue for taking the softgels.




  • Takes a little longer to absorb due to the gelatin capsule that must be digested – but this is minimal.
  • May not be a good choice for those who have difficulties swallowing capsules.
  • THC may present a problem if you’re under some professional or athletic organization restrictions.


How to Use CBD Softgels

Take one or two capsules (depending on the strength you are using and how much CBD you take) twice daily with a full glass of water.

Some users prefer to take their CBD more than twice daily. You can do this with the softgels as well, as long as you are mindful of the amounts you are taking and when you take them. For example, some users (perhaps those with a higher metabolism) may opt for a lower strength CBD and take it three equidistant times each day. Do what works best for you.

Why Choose CBD Oil in a Softgel Form?

If you want quick, easy, no-fuss CBD servings, softgels may be the choice for you. They also look a little less intimidating and may feel more “normal” to you if you are a little shy of the tincture formulas. When it comes to quick and easy, you can’t go wrong with the softgels.

Can You Use Both the Tinctures and the Softgels?

Many people like to use a combination of CBD products to develop the perfect wellness routine. You can use both the CBD tinctures and the CBD softgels as part of this personalized plan. As long as you are aware of how much you are taking and when, you can use a combination of the two products, or alternate the forms as you need.

For example, some people prefer to take a softgel in the morning and evening and add a half-serving of tinctures for extra calming in the evenings when they need it before bed. Others face a high-stress day and may opt to use more CBD in the morning than in the evening.

There are no hard rules except to be deliberate in the amounts you take and to work your way up to the CBD regimen that best suits your needs.

To Sum It All Up

Let’s get the nutshell version here:


  • Full spectrum CBD oil is different from broad spectrum in that it includes THC in the formulation.
  • Full spectrum options include CBD oil tinctures and CBD oil softgels – and which you choose is a matter of preference.
  • Tinctures and softgels are consumed and absorbed a little differently, but stay in your system pretty much the same way.
  • cbdMD offers a wide range of CBD options, both broad and full spectrum, in a variety of forms so you can mix and match for the perfect CBD regimen.


For more information on our full spectrum CBD products, you can follow our educational blog, check out our Find-Your-Product quiz, or check out our product pages on our website.