CBD Explained: Full Spectrum vs. Broad Spectrum vs. CBD Isolate

cbd chemical compound

Full Spectrum vs. Broad Spectrum CBD, What’s The Difference?

What are the differences between full spectrum vs. broad spectrum CBD?

What about CBD isolate vs full spectrum?

And more importantly, which type of CBD product is best for you?

CBD products have grown incredibly popular. Gone are the days of only finding CBD in oil form, CBD can now be found in capsules, gummies, vape e-liquids, creams, and even beverages.

Yet, CBD remains confusing for users. One common source of uncertainty are product labels, which use terms like full spectrum, broad spectrum, and CBD isolate.

To clear the confusion, let’s start by explaining what these terms mean -- in detail.

Full Spectrum CBD

In our full spectrum vs. broad spectrum explanation, we’ll start by saying that full-spectrum CBD is the most common type of extract used in CBD products.

It contains all of the beneficial active compounds naturally present in industrial hemp: a variety of the cannabis plant with low THC levels.

Although CBD is still the main ingredient, full-spectrum extracts also contain trace amounts of THC (<0.3%), many other cannabinoids such as cannabichromene (CBC), cannabigerol (CBG), and cannabidivarin (CBGV), terpenes, flavonoids, fatty acids, minerals, and other natural compounds.

During the extraction process, these preparations are made by extracting the whole hemp plant material and removing fats, lipids, waxes, and chlorophyll.

Full-spectrum CBD is a popular type of CBD extract because of something researchers call the “entourage effect.” This effect refers to the synergistic relationship between all of the different compounds found in cannabis.

When you use full-spectrum hemp extract, you’re not only benefiting from CBD, but all of the other beneficial compounds found in hemp, and the synergy between them. Simply put, the combined effects of CBD, other cannabinoids, terpenes, and other cannabinoids and active compounds are greater than CBD on its own.

Is Full-Spectrum CBD Legal?

Despite containing trace amounts of THC, full-spectrum CBD is legal. This is because the legal status of CBD is based on its source, the hemp plant.

By law, hemp must contain 0.3% or less of THC. This small amount is not high enough to cause intoxication (for most consumers), which is why hemp was made federally legal in the United States by the 2018 Farm Bill.

Broad Spectrum CBD

Full spectrum vs broad spectrum are extracted differently, broad-spectrum CBD extract is the same as full-spectrum, but with one key difference: zero THC. It’s made by removing THC from full-spectrum extract or combining pure CBD with other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.

Although the amount of THC present in full-spectrum CBD extract is already minimal, it can pose a problem in two cases.

On one hand, some employees have to pass marijuana drug tests which look for the presence of THC in your system. If you use a full-spectrum CBD product, it’s possible to test positive on these tests.

On the other hand, some people are so highly sensitive to the effects of THC that even the lower doses present in full-spectrum CBD products are enough to cause psychoactive effects and other negative reactions. That’s why just to make sure, it’s better to get some medical advice before starting using broad spectrum CBD products like oil or capsules.

When trying to decide between the potential benefits of full spectrum vs broad spectrum CBD, the important thing to remember is that broad-spectrum CBD extract offers similar health benefits as full-spectrum products but without any of the potential risks of THC.

CBD Isolate

Let’s now take a look at CBD isolate and the main differences between isolate vs full or broad spectrum.

As the name suggests, this extract is made by isolating CBD from all the cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other hemp compounds.

CBD isolate typically starts out as a full-spectrum extract that undergoes further processing. The result is >99% purified CBD, which looks like a white, crystalline powder. This powder can then be sold by itself or formulated into standard products like CBD oils and capsules.

Similar to broad-spectrum CBD, isolate is an excellent choice for people who want to completely avoid THC for one reason or another.

However, the main attraction of CBD isolate is that you can use it to formulate your own CBD preparations. You can use CBD isolate powder to make your own CBD oil, vape juice, add it to beverages such as coffee and tea, and even use it in cooking. Another benefit of CBD isolate is that it’s cheaper than other types of CBD extract when bought in its pure, powdered form.


full spectrum vs broad spectrum cbd in tea

Which Type of CBD is Best?

When choosing between the types of CBD extracts available today isolate vs. full spectrum vs. broad spectrum it all depends on your context.

As with most things in life, your specific needs and circumstances will determine which CBD extract suits you best.

For the vast majority of people, full or broad-spectrum CBD is the best choice because it maximizes the entourage effect and can offer the greatest efficacy and health benefits. Meanwhile, for someone who wants to create their own CBD preparations with precise CBD levels, CBD isolate would be the clear winner.

In the end, choosing a CBD product or extract is a matter of personal taste. But no matter what type of CBD oil, capsule or topical you decide it’s best for you, just make sure you select a reliable CBD brand. It’s the only way to ensure that what you buy and use is safe and beneficial for your health.

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