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  • by Nicola Boulton August 31, 2022 5 min read

    The Difference Between Full-Spectrum, Broad-Spectrum, and CBD Isolate

    CBD products have gained popularity worldwide due to its benefits. They are available in different formulations and types, with varying effects to the human body.

    There are three types of CBD oil. They are made of different compounds and concentrations. They include: Full-spectrum CBD, Broad-spectrum CBD, and CBD isolate. Full-spectrum CBD is made of all chemical compounds which occur naturally in the cannabis plant including a little content of THC which should not exceed 0.3%. Broad-spectrum on the other side is made of all chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant except the THC compound which has psychoactive effects. CBD isolate is pure CBD because it is made of 99% of pure CBD without any other cannabis compound in it.

    What is CBD?

    CBD is one of the common chemical compounds occurring naturally in the cannabis plant. According to Maroon & Bost (2018), CBD compound has health benefits because it is believed to interact with the endocannabinoid system which is made of the receptors responsible for regulating body functions. Unlike THC compound, CBD does not cause high effect making it highly used as a natural medicine in dealing with anxiety, epilepsy, stress, regulating sleep, treating cancer-related symptoms, and many other health conditions.

    What Is Full-Spectrum CBD?

    Full-spectrum CBD is very different from CBD isolate because it contains all the cannabinoids available in the cannabis hemp plant. It contains cannabinoids such as terpenes, fatty acids, flavonoids, and little content of THC, which is less than 0.3%.

    When extracting full-spectrum CBD, the oil goes through the cannabinoids extraction process, but none of the compounds is removed from the oil, making it a whole plant extract, as explained by Russo (2019). The content of THC contained in the full-spectrum CBD is not enough to get you high, but it can show in roadside mouth swab drug tests.

    According to Jin et al. (2018), broad-spectrum CBD oil is beneficial because all the cannabinoids found in it have healing properties, so it plays a greater role in entourage effects. Terpenes in the cannabis plant have anti-inflammatory effects, and others help promote calmness and alertness, enhancing the benefits of CBD.

    Moreover, full-spectrum CBD has greater benefits for medical purposes than pure CBD. This is because full cannabis extract will help the entourage effect, giving the highest benefits.

    What Is Broad-Spectrum CBD?

    Broad-spectrum CBD is found between full-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate. This is because it has all the chemical compounds found in the cannabis hemp plant, just like full-spectrum CBD, except the THC compound, which makes it different from full-spectrum CBD.

    Broad-spectrum CBD contains all other chemical compounds found in the cannabis hemp plant. It also has the entourage effect. According to Russo (2019), the present terpenes help promote health benefits differently. Different terpenes play varying roles, helping each other result in the desired impacts.

    To get broad-spectrum CBD, the normal extraction process is performed. Still, in the last stage, all THC content is removed from the oil, leaving behind other compounds like terpenes, flavonoids, and other important cannabinoids. Broad-spectrum can be made by adding terpenes, flavonoids, and other minor cannabinoids to CBD isolate. Other it can be created by removing the THC content from the full spectrum CBD via distillation. Broad-spectrum CBD does not show in drug tests because it does not contain THC.

    What Is CBD Isolate?

    CBD isolate is a pure CBD that does not contain any other natural chemical compounds in the cannabis hemp plant. It is made of 99% pure CBD with no other compounds like terpenes, fatty acids, or cannabinoids.

    CBD isolate is made using the same process as full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD. The difference is that after the extraction of cannabinoids, it is filtered and goes through the winterization process, which is done to remove all other chemical compounds leaving behind 99% of pure CBD.

    The final result is in crystal form, broken down into powder form to make it easy to consume. It is administered by putting the required amount under the tongue and holding it there for some seconds to allow it to get absorbed into the bloodstream. CBD isolate cheaper and has no THC content, so it can't get you high or show in a drug test. Although it gives you the desired effects, it does not have the entourage effects like the other types of CBD, which are brought by the presence of other cannabinoids such as THC and terpenes improving the potential benefits.

    How to Choose the Right Spectrum?

    Choosing the right spectrum is a very challenging task. Marinotti et al. (2020) explained that both full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD offer the entourage effect because they are made with different compounds that participate in the desired potential benefits. Those minor compounds give CBD its depth by creating flavor and smell, which improves the taste of cannabis, making it more pleasant.

    CBD isolate, on the other hand, offers quality products due to its consistency and standardization. It gives the same effects to the consumers every time as long as the reliable supplier.

    Choosing the correct spectrum starts with the manufacturers choosing the best extract material and using the purer extract methods. This helps produce safe and pure products for consumers' use. The product should be free from pesticides, heavy metals, and molds.

    Also, it is important to seek healthcare professionals' guidelines on using CBD products. Getting the right CBD product will highly depend on several factors like your body's desires, the type of ailment you are treating, and your body conditions.

    If you are sensitive to THC but still need the entourage effect, then you should stay away from full-spectrum CBD products because they contain THC compounds and choose broad-spectrum CBD because it will give you the entourage effect without THC. However, if you don't mind the effects of THC, then full-spectrum CBD is right for you. CBD isolate is mostly recommended for beginners of CBD because it contains pure CBD. Learn more about types of cbd isolate


    All CBD products give the potential benefits that broad-spectrum and full spectrum have an added advantage over CBD isolate. This is because full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD contains other cannabinoids found in the cannabis hemp plant, which has the entourage effect of improving the CBD benefits. When choosing the best spectrum, you should be directed by your body conditions and the ailment you want to treat. However, the best spectrum for CBD beginners is CBD isolate.


    Maroon, J., & Bost, J. (2018). Review of the neurological benefits of phytocannabinoids. Surgical neurology international, 9.

    Russo, E. B. (2019). The Case for the Entourage Effect and Conventional Breeding of Clinical Cannabis: No "Strain," No Gain. Frontiers in Plant Science, 9.

    Jin, D., Dai, K., Xie, Z., & Chen, J. (2020). Secondary metabolites profiled in cannabis inflorescences, leaves, stem barks, and roots for medicinal purposes. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 1-14.

    Marinotti, O., & Sarill, M. (2020). Differentiating Full-Spectrum Hemp Extracts from CBD Isolates: Implications for Policy, Safety and Science. Journal of Dietary Supplements, 17(5), 517–526.

    Nicola Boulton
    Nicola Boulton

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