Full Spectrum Vs. Broad Spectrum Vs. CBD Isolate
You probably have come across products labeled full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and Isolates when shopping for CBD. The three are the most common choices and maybe under the same brand, leading to confusion.
While they all contain cannabidiol as the main active component, some may have other chemical compounds found in industrial hemp that may affect the product’s overall benefits and effectiveness.
This article takes a more in-depth look at full-spectrum vs. broad-spectrum vs. to isolate CBD to help you decide which is the best product for you.
Why Knowing the Difference Matters?
If they all contain CBD, are marketed as CBD, why does the difference between full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolates matter?
Like any product, the chemical makeup is fundamental as it dictates how it will affect the user. For CBD, it is crucial to know the difference because of several reasons, including; if you are expecting a drug test, the effectiveness of your condition, and the intensity of effects or benefits that you will experience.
The compounds present in the different CBD types are also important to know of and how they affect your body. For example, it is possible to be allergic to hemp or cannabis or compounds, i.e., THC.
So What Is the Difference?
Cannabis (including hemp, which is legal in the USA) is a very complex plant comprising hundreds of different compounds. Each chemical compound has its effects on the human body.
The compounds can provide the effects or benefits on their own or work synergistically to provide more significant benefits or even modulate other compounds in the same plant.
The main compounds in the cannabis plant are cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. The plant, however, also contains other chemical compounds, including essential fatty acids.
Cannabinoids are the main active compounds in the cannabis plant. Over 100 cannabinoids have been identified in cannabis, the most notable ones being Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
With the legalization of hemp in the United States, more research into the lesser-known cannabinoids and their potential benefits is underway. Other cannabinoids that have stepped into the limelight include CBN, CBC, CBG, and delta-8-THC.
Cannabinoids have different effects when consumed. For example, THC is infamous for its psychoactive effects (high) that many have come to associate with marijuana, while CBD is non-psychoactive and is associated with calming effects and its therapeutic benefits.
In addition to cannabinoids, the cannabis plant contains another class of compounds known as terpenes.
Terpenes are a large and diverse class of unsaturated hydrocarbons found in plants. They are the compounds responsible for oranges’ citrusy fragrance and pines’ “piney” scent, and of course, they give the different strains their unique fragrances.
But research suggests that terpenes do more than provide the fragrance in cannabis; they also offer health and wellness benefits. They may also work together with cannabinoids to provide more intense effects in what’s known as the “entourage effect.”
Hemp plants also contain another group of natural substances known as flavonoids. These are a group of phytonutrients mostly found in fruits and vegetables. In cannabis, they are responsible for the unique colors of different strains, and they also play a part in flavor and smell.
Flavonoids are potent antioxidants, and they contribute to the entourage effect.
The Entourage Effect
The entourage effect is a mechanism in which cannabis compounds (cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids) work synergistically to provide more intense benefits or create unique effects.
In short, each compound in cannabis has unique effects and benefits. When used together, they may work together to provide more significant benefits or change their behaviors in the presence of other compounds.
Using pure CBD may not provide the same amount of relief as taking CBD in the presence of THC, other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.
CBD is also thought to help reduce THC’s psychoactive effects, which may come in handy for medical marijuana users. However, for hemp plants and their extracts, the legal THC limit is 0.3%, which is way too low to cause any effects.
Types of CBD Products
Full-spectrum vs. broad-spectrum vs. CBD isolates; here is the juice.
As the name suggests, this type of CBD oil contains all the hemp chemical compounds.
Most extraction methods do not target a single group of compounds. Some, including the industry gold standard – CO2 extraction, obtain all the compounds, including cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and essential oils.
In short, full-spectrum products contain the whole plant extract, including traces of the psychoactive THC, although it’s usually 0.3% or lower concentrations. In states where THC is legal, ensure that you check the lab results as it may be found in higher amounts.
Advantages of Full spectrum CBD
- The entourage effect – Full spectrum CBD contains all the plant compounds that may synergistically provide unique benefits.
- It contains other compounds such as essential fatty acids, flavonoids, and terpenes that provide additional health benefits.
- It is the least processed form of CBD – because it is sold as it is, and there is no need for extra processing steps.
What are the downsides of Full spectrum CBD?
- Full-spectrum CBD contains traces of THC that can trigger a positive drug test.
- Strong hempy flavor and scent
Broad Spectrum CBD Oil
This form of CBD contains all plant compounds like in full-spectrum, except THC.
Broad-spectrum CBD gives consumers all the benefits of the entourage effect without THC’s risks, such as positive drug tests.
The entourage effect doesn’t require THC to be present; broad-spectrum CBD contains all the other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids that work together to achieve greater benefits.
This form of CBD is excellent for consumers who, for legal, professional, or personal reasons, can’t have THC in their system but still want to enjoy the combined effects of hemp compounds.
Advantages of Broad Spectrum CBD
- Entourage effect – although THC is absent, you can still enjoy the full benefits of the entourage effect
- No THC
- It is less processed than isolates.
Disadvantages of Broad Spectrum CBD
- It carries the same strong hemp taste as full-spectrum
- There is not much information about its effectiveness.
This is an isolated CBD. After extraction, processors may take the extract through further refinement processes that remove all other cannabis compounds, including terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids such that the only compound remaining is CBD.
CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD, typically measuring at 99% or above.
Advantages of using CBD isolate
- The most concentrated form of CBD – which come in handy if you require a high CBD dosage
- Odorless and tasteless
- There is no risk of getting high or failing a drug test
Downsides to using CBD isolate
- You will not experience the benefits of the entourage effect
- It is the most processed form of CBD
Choosing The Best Form of CBD – Take Away
Many factors may affect your CBD choice, including how it affects you, what you are using it for, and personal preferences.
As you can see from the pros and cons, each form presents unique benefits, and we can’t genuinely say that one form is better than the other.
Full-spectrum CBD is best for individuals in places where THC is legal, those with severe symptoms, or those that prefer minimally processed products. However, it should be consumed cautiously as traces of THC can build up and trigger a failed drug test.
Broad-spectrum works best for users who would like to avoid THC’s risks but would like to enjoy the entourage effect’s benefits.
CBD isolate, on the other hand, is perfect for people who take very high doses of CBD, such as athletes, are afraid of failing drug tests, and prefer odorless and tasteless products.
If you choose CBD isolate, ensure that it’s 99% pure to avoid traces of other cannabinoids.