Full-Spectrum, Broad-Spectrum, and CBD Isolate. What’s the difference?

CBD or Cannabidiol is everywhere right now. It’s in grocery stores, in your local coffee shops, and even in the news. Just like with anything you buy in the holistic health care industry, it’s extremely important for consumers to be educated on what they’re buying.

I am here to help you distinguish the three (3) different classifications of CBD oil. Which are: Full-Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, and CBD Isolate.

I think the best way for us to start is to define a cannabinoid. In the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a cannabinoid is defined as a substance that is structurally or functionally similar to cannabinoids derived from hemp or cannabis.

In layman’s terms, a cannabinoid is a molecule that exists within cannabis plants. CBD is a molecule that is produced uniquely by the cannabis family. It is one of the 113 identified cannabinoids in cannabis, and accounts for 40% of the plant’s extract.  

To extract the cannabinoid content from these plants, the three most common processes use Carbon Dioxide, Steam Distillation, and Hydro Carbon. We will get more into these processes in a future blog. For now, just know that during the extraction process, other compounds are removed, including terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids.

Depending on the compounds included in the final CBD product, it then classifies into either Full-Spectrum, Broad-Spectrum, or CBD isolate.

What is CBD isolate?

CBD isolate is exactly in its name; it is a CBD product that is isolated from all of the other cannabinoids. Any traces of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), terpenes, waxes, oils, etc, are all removed, it then leaves you with 99% pure CBD. For those of you that don’t know, THC is the cannabinoid found in marijuana and is the molecule that gives you the psychoactive effect of being “high.”

What about Full Spectrum?

Full spectrum CBD products contain a variety of different cannabinoids. This means that it incorporates terpenes, flavonoids and other cannabinoids extracted from a hemp plant. Yes, including THC, but very miniscule trace amounts.

Scientists have conducted studies on cannabis and have concluded that CBD actually has an “entourage effect,” which is the idea that cannabinoids and other cannabis compounds have a greater effect combined than consumed alone. This is a big reason why Full Spectrum products are so popular.

Got it… And what about Broad Spectrum?

Broad Spectrum CBD products include all of the different terpenes, oils, and cannabinoids, but contain ZERO traces of THC. It’s basically Full spectrum, minus THC. Manufacturers of Broad Spectrum products eliminate as much THC as possible while conserving the other therapeutic cannabinoids in the hemp plant.

In Conclusion…

Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum and CBD isolate are all very different, and each have their pros and cons.

CBD isolate is amazing because you’re buying the purest form of cannabidiol, nothing else. On the other hand, CBD isolate doesn’t have the “entourage effect,” so some of its therapeutic benefits might be lost.

In regard to Full Spectrum, you are receiving all of the therapeutic elements from each cannabinoid. In contrast, this product does contain THC, so you could possibly feel the psychoactive effects.

Although there is less research available for Broad Spectrum products, you have the benefits of the entourage effect, without the psychoactive effects of THC.

So… Which is best for you?

To be honest, it’s pretty difficult to say. There are so many different variables that go into it. CBD Isolate and Broad spectrum might be best for you because there is zero THC in these products. Meanwhile, Full Spectrum might be the most beneficial because of the entourage effect.

So, I’m going to be “that guy” and say… It depends… 

I hope this blog was helpful and that you are now educated on the three different classifications of CBD products.

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