What is Full Spectrum CBD? What is Broad Spectrum?

As the popularity with CBD and hemp-derived products continues to rise, and access to them becomes available in convenient stores, gas stations, vape shops and online, no wonder why it can be quite confusing for first-time buyers and users to decide on what type of CBD product is best for them. Here we will discuss full spectrum CBD to help you determine if it is right for you. 

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What is Full Spectrum CBD?

When you come across a bottle of CBD oil or a jar of CBD capsules or gummies and you see the words “full spectrum” or “whole plant extract” or “PCR” (phytocannabinoid rich) on the label, the manufacturer or distributor is telling you that their CBD product is made from the flowering buds and leaves of the hemp plant, and therefore, they contain hundreds of medicinal plant compounds that are captured during the extraction process.  

Full spectrum CBD contains 3 main components that give it its therapeutic value. They include: 

  • Cannabinoids – CBD and THC are two of over 140 cannabinoids in hemp. While CBD is non-psychoactive, THC can cause euphoria; however, not typically in a hemp plant because of the nominal amounts present ≤0.3 % (less than or equal to three tenths of 1%,) so people who use full spectrum CBD products should not feel “high.”  
  • Flavonoids – they are responsible for the wide array of colors you see in fruits and vegetables, and they have therapeutic benefits. 
  • Terpenes – they create the essence and aromas that come from plants and fruits and vegetables, and terpenes have also been studied for their potential health benefits.

What are the Benefits of Full Spectrum CBD?

People who use CBD products are looking for a more natural and effective way to address symptoms from a variety of conditions like anxiety, insomnia, depression, chronic pain etc… Those who are “in the know” when it comes to hemp-derived products would agree that a full spectrum CBD product would provide the greatest chance for a therapeutic response because it contains all the components like cannabinoids, including a little bit of THC, flavonoids, and terpenes which create a synergistic effect known as the Entourage Effect.  

Let me ask you a question; if you were going to fight a battle, and that battle was a symptom of a condition, i.e., anxiety, would you want to march into battle with one soldier, dozens and dozens of soldiers or hundreds and hundreds of soldiers? Of course, you would elect to go with hundreds and hundreds of soldiers, and that is the support that full spectrum CBD provides. You have a better chance of addressing a wider variety of symptoms with greater results than if using a broad-spectrum CBD product or an CBD isolate.

Is there a Difference between Full Spectrum vs. Broad Spectrum or Isolate?

The difference between full spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, and a CBD isolate comes down to a few things. While full spectrum CBD contains up to 0.3% THC, broad-spectrum CBD contains no THC. It is believed that THC, even in nominal amounts, potentiates the other cannabinoids and compounds in the product creating the Entourage Effect mentioned earlier. 

Another difference may be in the number of cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenes present compared to a full spectrum CBD product. Sometimes during the process of extracting all the THC out of the plant, other compounds may accidentally be removed, possibly decreasing the therapeutic potential. 

CBD isolate is exactly what its name implies, only CBD is extracted from the hemp plant, while all the other cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenes are discarded. There is no Entourage Effect with a CBD isolate and it typically takes a higher dose (milligram) to address certain symptoms. CBD isolate typically comes in the form of a white powder that can be added to beverages, food or it can even be vaporized, but CBD isolate tinctures, gummies and capsules are also widely available.

Who is Full Spectrum CBD Good for?

Full spectrum CBD is good for people who have stubborn symptoms that tend to be more chronic and persistent in nature. Full spectrum CBD is also good for anyone who does not have to worry about the very small possibility that they may fail a drug test by using a full spectrum product. 

While the likelihood of this is so nominal, because of the popularity of CBD products, you must be careful when purchasing a full spectrum product to ensure it is within the legal permissible limit of THC. You can do this by asking for a Certificate of Analysis (COA) for the product.  

If someone does not want any exposure to THC, but still wants a product that may address a broader range of symptoms, then a broad-spectrum CBD product may be good for you.  

And for people that do not want anything to do with THC or the other compounds of the hemp plant, and who cannot take any chances of failing a drug test due to a false positive for THC, then a CBD isolate product is the best route for you.

If you have any questions, please contact your healthcare practitioner or someone knowledgeable about cannabis and hemp-derived products that can help answer any other questions you may have.