Full Spectrum vs Broad Spectrum vs CBD Isolate: How To Choose the Best CBD Spectrum Type?

  • Updated November 24, 2021

  • Published March 9, 2019

  • 1 Comment
Full Spectrum vs Broad Spectrum vs CBD Isolate: Choosing the Best CBD Spectrum Type

CBD products are now incredibly popular, but you may not know what type of product you are selecting. While you can choose from tinctures, capsules, edibles, vapes, there are also differences between a full spectrum product and an isolate. These products can come from different sources, and they can provide you with various benefits.

At first, glance, choosing a product that will benefit you can seem overwhelming. That’s why it is important to conduct adequate research before you make a purchase. With CBD (or cannabidiol) only being one out of over 100 different compounds within the Cannabis Sativa species, other cannabinoids could be very helpful for the issue that you are attempting to treat. Some work quite well together. Of course, CBD can also provide benefits all by itself.

The three main forms of CBD spectrum are very different from each other because of the cannabidiols and other compounds retained during the production process. Let’s take a closer look at what full spectrum, broad spectrum and isolate products are. It will allow you to make an educated decision regarding what type of product you want to try out.

What Is Full Spectrum CBD?

A full spectrum CBD product will contain a wide variety of essential vitamins, protein, fatty acids, chlorophyll, flavonoids, fiber, and terpenes. Hemp contains a large number of different cannabinoids. Some of these cannabinoids are found in tiny amounts.

The most common are CBD and CBDa. CBDa is seen more frequently in the hemp plant. It requires manufacturers to use the process of decarboxylation, which heats the oil and changes the CBDa into CBD. Remember, CBD that comes from cannabis is only legal in states that allow medicinal marijuana use. CBD from hemp is legal in all 50 states thanks to the US Farm Bill of 2014. 

The Benefits of Full Spectrum

A very comprehensive study took place in 2015, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Hadassah School. This study was a comparison between full spectrum extracts and standalone CBD. Full spectrum product was more beneficial for people dealing with persistent discomfort.

The active compounds extracted from hemp and placed inside of full spectrum CBD work together to increase the therapeutic effects on your body. When these compounds and cannabinoids work synergically, they produce what’s called the “entourage effect“. Many reputable brands are now selling full spectrum products as their primary item because of this effect.

What Will You Find in a Full Spectrum Hemp Oil Product? 


full spectrum cbd oil

THC and CBD are two well-known cannabinoids. There are over 100 others than you can find within a full spectrum product

Cannabigerol (CBG)

It’s the stem cell of cannabinoids. CBG oil is known as this because of its ability to transform into other cannabinoids. Most plants will have a low level of CBG because of this fact. 

Cannabinol (CBN)

As THC degrades, it turns into CBN. The fresh plant contains very minimal levels. Decarboxylation raises CBN in a final product. You will notice a psychotropic effect with the presence of CBN, as it affects the CB2 receptor more than the CB1 receptor. 

Cannabichromene (CBC)

While now scientists have not done a lot of research on CBC, but it is very prevalent in certain types of marijuana.  With little information known on this compound, it is unclear if CBC has the same effects on the body that a full spectrum CBD oil and other cannabinoids have. 


full spectrum hemp oil

Terpenes are chemicals that work well with cannabinoids to heal and balance the body. Some of the most common terpenes include: 

1. Limonene

A reliever that can boost the mood, and it helps with specific gastrointestinal issues. 

2. Pinene

Pinene helps with mental alertness and memory retention. It also has anti-inflammatory properties. 

Minerals and Vitamins

The most common vitamins found in a full spectrum tincture product are vitamins A, C, E, and B complex vitamins. There are also minerals that are necessary for proper health and nutrition. It includes iron, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, and potassium. 

Protein and Fats

You will also find as many as 20 amino acids in a full spectrum CBD isolate product. Essential fatty acids like Omega 3 and Omega 6 are included. They promote heart health, and they help repair bodily tissue. 

What Is Broad Spectrum CBD?

Broad spectrum CBD contains CBD, trace cannabidiols and other compounds like terpenes, pinene and myrcene with one exception. Though some products may contain a trace of THC so negligible that it does not register, broad spectrum CBD typically does not contain any THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Broad spectrum is between full spectrum CBD and CBD isolate.

It is a broad spectrum CBD product in which the CBD extracts are mixed with a carrier oil for ease of use. There are a variety of carrier oils used, including coconut oil, hemp seed oil, olive oil, and grape seed oil.

What are the Benefits of Broad Spectrum CBD?

Broad Spectrum CBD Oil

Broad spectrum CBD is very popular for several reasons. Following are some of the main benefits.

  • May offer the “entourage effect” as well.

Broad spectrum CBD is a whole plant extract. Since the broad spectrum CBD oil contains many cannabidiol compounds, product users may get a synergistic effect. The theory says that compounds working together produce more benefits than a compound working alone.

This product is ideal for people who do not want to consume or use any THC. Since there is no measurable THC, people undergoing drug testing do not have to worry.

People consuming broad spectrum CBD have noted it helps them relax either before going to sleep or throughout the day.

  • Soothes the skin

People using topical CBD oil products, including lotions and creams, have found relief for dry, flaky, or irritated skin.

  • Less processed than CBD isolate

Since all the compounds are extracted, there is less processing needed compared to CBD isolate.

  • Wide range of products

Broad spectrum CBD is found in many different products, including oils, creams, lotions, capsules, and gummies, to name a few.

What is a CBD Isolate?

Isolate CBD Oil Tincture

You will see CBD isolate oil for sale when shopping for CBD products. It is CBD isolate mixed with a carrier oil. It is also available in crystal form.

CBD isolate is exactly what the name implies. The CBD in the cannabis plant is isolated from all other compounds during processing. This means that other compounds, like flavonoids and terpenes, essential oils, and other plant parts are processed out. CBD isolate does not contain any THC, or like broad spectrum CBD, may contain a minute amount.

Purchasing isolate CBD is the way to get the purest form of CBD. To extract just the CBD requires more processing than needed for full spectrum CBD and broad spectrum CBD. However, high quality isolates are 99 percent pure, so you get the highest concentration of CBD possible per serving.

What Type of CBD Spectrum Should You Use?

The type of CBD spectrum you use depends on your needs. All three CBD spectrums have proven beneficial to different people. It is really a matter of personal preference plus consideration of the qualities of each spectrum. It is important to know what you are using or consuming.

For example, select a CBD spectrum only if able to answer questions like, “Does full spectrum CBD contain THC?” and “What is the difference between full spectrum and isolate CBD?” and “What is the difference between full spectrum vs broad spectrum CBD?”

Main Differences Between Full Spectrum Broad Spectrum and Isolate CBD oils

If you want a small amount of THC, choose full spectrum CBD which has less than 0.3 percent THC by law. If you want a high concentrated dose of CBD, you will prefer CBD isolate. If you want to make sure you can pass a drug test, then you will buy products with broad spectrum CBD or isolate CBD.

Some of the things to consider when choosing the type of CBD spectrum include the following.

• Sensitivity to THC
• Flavor preferences
• Whether you undergo drug testing for work or other reasons
• State laws concerning CBD products
• Biological makeup, i.e. weight, chemical makeup, etc.
• Reasons for using CBD, i.e. difficulty falling asleep, general entourage effect, etc.
• Product forms and price

Before selecting a CBD spectrum, make a list of the reasons you are interested in the products. Then compare your needs to the pros and cons of each spectrum type.

Full Spectrum CBD

Full spectrum CBD contains CBD, all other cannabinoids and compounds and THC within legal limits. It is the best spectrum choice for people who want to enjoy the benefits of THC and CBD.

Cannabinoid Profile of Full Spectrum CBD



Offers the “entourage effect” because it contains all the cannabis plant compounds

Contains a low legal amount of THC – 0.3% THC

Requires less processing than broad spectrum CBD and isolate CBD

✔ Ideal for those who are open to THC and seeking enhanced effects

✔ Provides a deeper, whole-plant CBD experience


Full Spectrum Bestellers:

Broad Spectrum CBD

Broad spectrum CBD contains a variety of cannabis plant compounds but no THC. It is a good choice for people who want the additional benefits of the inclusion of all the cannabinoids and not just CBD. Some studies suggest but have not proven, that it is the cannabinoids and other compounds working together that provide the greatest benefits.

Cannabinoid Profile of Broad Spectrum CBD




Offers the “entourage effect” because it contains all the cannabis plant compounds

Contains no or trace amount of THC (0.0% THC)

Minimally processed

✔ Can be used in states where cannabis is legal

✔ Perfect if you are subjected to drug tests

Broad Spectrum Bestsellers:

CBD Isolate

CBD isolate is pure CBD and is best for people who want to take higher doses of CBD than the other spectrums offer. It is also a safe choice for people who regularly take drug screening tests and live in states where there are strict laws concerning THC.

CBS Isolate

Highest quality CBD product

Pure CBD product which means there is no other cannabinoids to consider in terms of potential effects or sensitivities

Contains no THC, so no concerns about psychoactive effects

Will not test positive for THC on a drug test

Odorless and tasteless

Can add to any beverage or food because it is odorless and tasteless

Isolate Bestsellers:


Consuming a full spectrum CBD vape oil, tincture, capsule or other product is much more beneficial than just CBD on its own. While a CBD-based product can help your body function optimally, there is still a lot of room for improvement. Choosing a full spectrum CBD wax provides you with many different cannabinoids, terpenes, vitamins and minerals that you need each day to live your best life.

The bottom line is that the main difference between full spectrum and broad spectrum CBD is that CBD full spectrum contains less than 0.3 percent THC, and CBD broad spectrum does not contain measurable THC. The main difference between full spectrum and isolate CBD is that full spectrum CBD contains THC and other compounds, while isolate CBD only contains CBD.

The main difference between full spectrum CBD and broad spectrum CBD versus CBD isolate is that isolate is pure CBD and does not contain other cannabis compounds, while both full spectrum and broad spectrum do.

It may seem confusing at first. Medical research is ongoing as to the effectiveness of each type of spectrum. There is some research though that has demonstrated evidence for cannabidiol health benefits. Once you learn what makes the CBD spectrums unique, it is much easier to determine which spectrum and which products are the best ones to try. It is a journey of discovery to determine which CBD spectrum works best for you and your situation.

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