Full Spectrum? Broad Spectrum? Isolate? What do these terms mean? Whether reading the labels of CBD infused food items, or shopping for CBD products at your local pharmacy, you are likely to come across these terms. In this article, we will clear your confusion about the three main CBD variants and also guide you on which CBD is best suited for your unique needs.
What is CBD?
CBD is a shortened term for Cannabidiol. It is a naturally occurring chemical extracted from the Cannabis plant. CBD holds many beneficial medical properties. It can stimulate the mind and, at a high dosage, act as a potent sedative. Ingesting CBD can help in treating epilepsy, easing anxiety, aiding digestion, alleviating headaches and inflammation, and much more.
Unlike THC, another naturally occurring Cannabis chemical extract, CBD is a non-psychoactive drug, meaning that its consumption does not give the user any psychoactive side effects such as a ‘high’ feeling.
Now back to our main question; what is the difference between the various CBD types – Full Spectrum vs. Broad Spectrum vs. Isolate? These terms are used as indicators of how refined a particular CBD product is. During the extraction process, the Cannabis plant will yield a range (spectrum) of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. The range of chemical composition a particular CBD product contains defines the label it is sold under.
Full Spectrum CBD implies that the product contains the full range of cannabis extracts, apart from just CBD. Depending on the cannabis species the product is extracted from, the composition of the Full Spectrum CBD end product will differ. For example, most commercially available Full Spectrum CBD is extracted from the hemp variety of Cannabis Sativa, and contains little or no traces of THC. Meanwhile, Full Spectrum CBD products that are made from Cannabis indica contain a far higher level of THC content.
Broad Spectrum CBD products are similar to Full Spectrum CBD ones, except for one main difference. After initial extraction, psychoactive chemicals such as THC are completely removed from the CBD mix when making the Broad Spectrum CBD.
CBD Isolate is, as the name suggests, manufactured by refining other cannabis components out of the mix until only CBD remains. Most CBD isolate products are often 99% pure; meaning that one gram of isolate powder carries about 990 mg of CBD.
The Entourage Effect
The entourage effect refers to the synergy achieved by all the components present in cannabis. Working together, these components elevate the potent medical properties of the plant. Each component increases the therapeutic properties of the others, while lessening their potential side effects. Both Full Spectrum and, to a lesser extent, Broad-Spectrum CBD take advantage of the entourage effect.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Full Spectrum CBD
- Offers the full range of benefits of Cannabis
- Less processed, more natural
- Contains terpenes and flavonoids, which provide additional health benefits
- Benefits from the entourage effect
- May test positive in a drug test
- Risk of psychoactive side effects
- May have a strong natural flavor and odor
Broad Spectrum CBD
- Offers the full benefits of Cannabis without its psychoactive side effects
- More natural that CBD Isolate
- Also contains terpenes and flavonoids
- Benefits from the entourage effect
- Difficult to acquire
- Little medical research has been conducted on this variant
- Similar to Full Spectrum CBD, may suffer from a strong taste and odor
- Entourage effect not as potent
- Purest form of CBD (Will not test positive in drug tests)
- No psychoactive side effects
- Considered safe for general consumption
- Tasteless and odorless
- Provides no benefit of the entourage effect
Which CBD is Best?
No one type is objectively better than the other. Determining which CBD is best depends on your specific needs and situation. If you live in a jurisdiction where products containing THC content are illegal, then Broad Spectrum CBD and CBD isolate are recommended. Additionally, if you don’t prefer the taste and smell of Broad Spectrum CBD, then CBD isolate would be better for you.
CBD isolate is also the best for people who may be sensitive to the effects of THC or other cannabinoids, or were recommended high CBD dosages. They are also more recommended for first time cannabinoid users, as its side effects are very mild.
Those living in states were THC products are legal and would want to benefits from its effects or with conditions that CBD alone cannot mitigate may opt for the Full Spectrum type.
On an additional note, each person’s lifestyle and body chemistry is different. Therefore, it is always recommended to consult a medical professional beforehand to understand which CBD is best for you.
In recent years, Cannabis products, thanks to their myriad health benefits, have enjoyed a huge surge in popularity across the states. Research on the CBD spectrum is still relatively new, and every year, we are learning more about the various health benefits of CBD and other cannabinoids. What is certain is that the future for CBD products looks bright, and has the potential to change countless lives in a positive way.