Author: Joy Hughes

Over the last couple of years, CBD has become increasingly popular, and for good reason. It’s most widely known to address insomnia, anxiety, epilepsy, pain, and inflammation.

However, for those considering adding CBD to their daily routine can find it overwhelming when faced with three of CBD’s most popular formulations: Full spectrum, broad spectrum, and CBD isolate.

The terminology of these formulations alone can be confusing for anyone, especially for first time users. Thankfully, it’s not as complicated as it sounds. In fact, these formulations are very easily defined. In this article we’ll go over what each of these terms mean and which one will best fit your needs.

cbd hemp oil being dropped into a glass tincture

What is Full Spectrum CBD?

Full spectrum CBD, also referred to as whole plant CBD, contains everything that naturally occurs within the hemp plant.

All the plant parts include:

  • Phytocannabinoids — CBD, THC (trace amounts - 0.3%), CBN, CBG, THCA, CBDA, etc.
  • Terpenes
  • Flavonoids
  • Vitamines
  • Minerals
  • Amino acids
  • All other phytonutrients

The combination of these natural phytonutrients produce what Israeli biochemist Dr. Raphael Mechoulam calls the “Entourage Effect”. The entourage effect is when phytocannabinoids, terpenes, and all other phytonutrients synergistically interact within the mind and throughout the body in various ways1. Full spectrum CBD is great for treating more serious ailments such as digestive problems, poor organ function, certain brain conditions, etc.

See our recommended full spectrum products

We've partnered with several CBD retailers to help take the guesswork out of the CBD buying process.

What is Broad Spectrum CBD?

Broad spectrum CBD encompasses a whole multitude of phytocannabinoids, terpenes, and nutrients but devoid of all THC. While this particular formulation is free of all THC, it still produces the entourage effect — as it still contains a number of other phytocannabinoids and terpenes that synergistically interact within various parts of the body. Broad spectrum CBD helps in many ways of the same ways as full spectrum CBD. However, with the absence of THC, it may not produce the same results as full spectrum.

What is CBD Isolate?

CBD isolate is pure CBD. During the extraction process, all the phytocannabinoids and nutrients are removed, thus isolating CBD completely. In this case, CBD isolate is free from all other phytonutrients, which does not produce the entourage effect. However, it is highly effective in producing a whole array of therapeutic benefits. CBD isolate is great for calming and relaxing the mind and body.

See our recommended isolate-based products

We've partnered with several CBD retailers to help take the guesswork out of the CBD buying process.

Which is best? Full spectrum, Broad spectrum, or CBD isolate?

There’s a lot of debate circulating around these three formulations. While each formulation contains the therapeutic phytocannabinoid CBD, scientific studies suggest and lean towards full spectrum CBD. In fact, in a recent study, a group of mice were administered full spectrum CBD while another group only received CBD isolate. Researchers quickly noticed that the first group that received full spectrum CBD experienced significant levels of pain relief than the mice who received CBD isolate.2

Other studies suggest that the beneficial effects of THC actually work well with CBD in treating a number aliments — thus suggesting full spectrum CBD to be more effective in a number of ways. Interestingly enough, CBD dominant products, like hemp-derived full spectrum CBD, actually counteract the unwanted psychoactive effects of THC.345

However, broad spectrum CBD still offers the entourage effect minus THC. So for those seeking the therapeutic values of other non-psychoactive phytocannabinoids, broad spectrum is definitely an alternative option.

Now, although hemp-derived CBD products are legal across the U.S., THC is still considered a Schedule I substance. Thankfully, however, the Farm Bill allows consumers to purchase CBD products that contain trace amounts of THC (0.3%) from anywhere in the U.S. But for those who are regularly drug tested, they may find it to be too high a risk to consume full spectrum CBD products. For this reason, broad spectrum and CBD isolate may be the preferred choice, as these two formulations will not result in a failed drug test.6

Conclusion

It’s no doubt that new CBD products are always coming to the market. This is why it’s important to ensure you’re purchasing all CBD products from a reputable company. Unfortunately, due to lack of regulation, full spectrum and broad spectrum CBD products may contain more THC and less CBD than what’s listed on the label, and vice versa. Even some CBD isolate products have been reported to contain synthetic forms of CBD, rather than being isolated from the hemp plant. To ensure you’re getting the highest quality CBD products, it’s important to purchase from companies that thoroughly test their CBD products themselves and use third party testing.

As for deciding between full spectrum CBD, broad spectrum CBD, and CBD isolate, consider what you’re wanting to use the CBD for before purchasing. Always read the reviews of any CBD product, and be diligent in your research.

Supplemental CBD Information

Cannabidiol (CBD) is the second most abundant and active component in cannabis. Unlike the first active component, THC, CBD is completely non-psychoactive.

Amazingly, CBD is just one of over 100 cannabinoids that naturally occur in the cannabis sativa. In each one of our bodies, there is a unique biological system composed of receptor cells found throughout the body, the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). The sole purpose of the ECS is to communicate and maintain homeostatic balance. This is made possible through our own endogenous cannabinoids, however, the ECS is very receptive to plant based cannabinoids, like CBD.

Looking for CBD that actually works?

Find out what we thought about CBDfx and get access to an exclusive coupon.

CBD and Exercise: Separating Fact from Fiction

April 16, 2020

Exercising is one of the best things to do in spare time because after all, there are so many well-documented benefits to regular physical activity. Still, it’s essential to choose the right type of workout, so you’ll be able to feel comfortable and productive every time you decide to exercise. Not all people are suited…

5 Benefits of CBD for Cats & Dogs

August 13, 2019

After years of struggle to step out of the drug image, cannabis is finally receiving all the praises it deserves. The medical community is widely supporting the launch of medical cannabis, and cannabis-infused products that promise to heal and lead away to a healthy lifestyle. Across the world, scientists are researching more extensive areas to…

Best CBD Flower for Energy

December 31, 2020

It’s 3pm, and the energy you felt from your triple espresso this morning is quickly fading. The more you try to power through, the less alert you feel, and now your concentration is officially gone. Before you know it, your eyes become heavy, you’re yawning every 10 minutes, and waves of sleepiness begin to hit…

The Benefits of Adding CBD to Your Coffee

June 18, 2020

Author: Jason Beverly With science proving that a daily cup of coffee can lower your risk of heart disease, prevent diabetes and liver cancer, and improve symptoms of depression, there’s certainly reason to enjoy the beverage from time to time. With coffee being beneficial in itself, there’s no need to combine it with anything else…

5 Epic Ways CBD Can Skyrocket Your Sex Life

October 18, 2020

Author: Zia Sherrell Unhappy with your sex life? You’re not alone. A significant 50% of Americans feel the same. Even though having a satisfying sex life confers a myriad of health benefits, a considerable proportion of us are not engaging in the enjoyable sex that we desire and deserve. There are a thousand different reasons…

How does CBD interact with medications?

January 16, 2019

Author: Joy Hughes When ingesting CBD, it first must metabolize through the digestive system and then filter through the liver. It is in the liver that CBD, along with other medications, must filter through a system known as the cytochrome P450 (CYP 450) — a family of various enzymes. It is through this system that drugs…

Best Delta-8 THC Gummies

February 20, 2021

Delta-8 THC is the new cannabinoid on the block and it’s quickly growing in popularity. Delta-8 THC should not be mistaken with its close cousin, Delta-9 THC. Delta-9 THC is the active ingredient found in cannabis which is known to get you high. Delta-8 THC, or Delta 8 for short, can also get you high…

A Beginner’s Guide to CBD Oil: What It Is, How to Use It, & Where Do I Buy

November 18, 2020

During its initial years of discovery in the 1840s, cannabidiol, currently more popularly known as CBD, started as a controversial substance. The Irish physician and medical researcher William O’Shaughnessy first investigated on his research the therapeutic effects of the cannabis plants. Later, other medical professionals considered studying the applications of cannabis to health and medicine.…

CBD & Cats – Everything you need to know

November 18, 2020

While your kitties probably make all of your pain go away just by existing in all of their furry glory, it may require a little bit more effort than that for them to feel comfortable – and what they can definitely benefit from is CBD as a safe, alternative method of alleviating some types of…

Delta-8 THC Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

December 5, 2020

Delta-8 THC is not the same substance as Delta-9 THC. We recommend learning more about Delta-8 THC before trying it. In addition to reading up, we always recommend you consult with your doctor before consuming any new substances. If you are new to Delta-8 THC, check out our review of the best Delta-8 THC brands.…

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Joy Hughes

About Joy Hughes

Joy Hughes writes about health, nutrition, and all things cannabis. Having experienced the therapeutic effects of cannabinoids first hand, she's been spreading the word ever since. She currently travels the country in an RV with her husband and beloved beagle.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments