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The Difference Between Full-Spectrum CBD, Broad-Spectrum CBD, and CBD Isolate

When you’re looking at the different types of CBD products available on the market, the odds are that you are slammed with industry terms about different spectrum options to choose from.

Everything from gummies to CBD Oil Capsules is available in full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, and CBD isolate. While these three types of CBD products all sound like the same thing, they are not the same. It’s important to educate yourself so that you can purchase the products that are right for you.

In this article, we’ll discuss the different types of CBD products out there. After reading this, you’ll be able to determine which CBD type is the correct fit for your needs!

The Three Different Types of CBD Products

An Overview of Cannabinoids

Cannabinoids are phytochemicals found within the industrial hemp plant. There are over 113 cannabinoids, and CBD is just one of them. THC is another. Cannabinoids interact with your body through the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system is a complex network of cannabinoid receptors and neurotransmitters in the brain, central nervous system, immune system, and more. The ECS controls a range of functions within your body.

Unlike THC, CBD does not give a person that “high” feeling. It’s completely non-psychoactive. It’s been found that CBD can actually alter the psychoactive effects of THC. It also may deliver a range of health benefits, as demonstrated in numerous studies.

Hemp Extracts

CBD is extracted from the cannabis plant using solvents, most often CO2. During the extraction process, cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids are stripped from the cannabis plant and dissolved in oil.

Hemp extracts typically contain little to no THC. The legal limit is 0.3%, so most products you’ll find will be at that threshold or below. 0.3% THC or lower means that the CBD is non-psychoactive.

It’s important to note, however, that if you live in a state where cannabis is completely legal, you can find CBD products with a higher THC content.

The Entourage Effect

Before we can go into discussing the difference between full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, and CBD isolate, you’ll have to understand a phenomenon called the entourage effect.

This phenomenon refers to the synergy achieved by all of the compounds within cannabis working together to enhance any of the potential benefits of the plant. Each compound can amplify the properties of the others.

Additional cannabinoids other than CBD that can be found in some hemp products include: 

  • Cannabinol (CBN)
  • Cannabichromene (CBC)
  • Cannabigerol (CBG)
  • Cannabidiol acid (CBDA)
  • Cannabidivarin (CBDV)

The Cannabis Spectrums

As we have mentioned, there are three different types of CBD products you’ll find on the market. Let’s discuss them so that you understand just how different they are from one another.

Full-Spectrum CBD

Full-spectrum CBD contains all of the phytochemicals naturally found in the cannabis plant. This includes CBD, trace cannabinoids, terpenes, and essential oils. Full-spectrum hemp extracts from hemp also come with a THC content below 0.3%, the legal limit.

It’s called full-spectrum because it has the full spectrum of active compounds. These compounds are extracted from hemp and work with one another to amplify the benefits of each individual cannabinoid further. This is called the entourage effect.

While full-spectrum CBD is non-psychoactive, it can result in a false positive on a drug test because it still contains THC. If you consume high doses of CBD daily, it can have a significant impact on a drug test.

Because of the benefits of the entire plant, these products are typically priced higher than broad-spectrum, and CBD isolate.

Broad Spectrum CBD

Broad-spectrum is similar to full-spectrum CBD but with one significant difference. It contains cannabidiol and all of the same compounds as full-spectrum CBD, except THC. The THC is completely removed after the initial extraction phase.

Broad-spectrum hemp extracts contain multiple cannabinoids, which means that it will also produce the entourage effect, just without the THC. 

CBD Isolate

CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD available on the market. It’s made by pulling CBD from its natural environment and removing all of the other ingredients, including the other cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and THC.

CBD isolate has the highest concentration of CBD per serving, and isolates are typically 99%+ pure, so one gram of isolate powder can have about 990 mg of pure CBD. 

Unfortunately, with CBD isolate, there is no entourage effect, because there are no other compounds in the mix. You can, however, benefit solely from the effects of CBD. These products are typically lower in price and demand than full or broad-spectrum CBD. 

Which Spectrum Should You Choose?

When choosing CBD products for yourself, it’s important to remember that no one spectrum is necessarily better than the others. Each person reacts to CBD and will have different needs, so you should base your decision on which spectrum will work best for your particular case. 

  • Full-spectrum CBD may be ideal for those who would like the full entourage effect with trace amounts of THC. 
  • Broad-spectrum CBD may be best for individuals who are sensitive to THC or want to avoid THC, but still want to achieve all of the same benefits from the entourage effect. 
  • CBD isolate is best for those who want to take extremely high doses of CBD or those sensitive to THC and other cannabinoids. These products are also often flavorless, making them ideal for those who don’t like the natural aroma or taste of cannabis products. 

Your unique body chemistry, weight, lifestyle, and more can all affect the way you react to different cannabinoid profiles. What works best for you may depend on some experimentation so that you can find the right product.

Remember, however, that not all CBD is created equally. Do your research about a particular company and confirm with lab results whether or not there is THC in any of the products you purchase.

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