What's The Difference Between Full Spectrum vs. Broad Spectrum CBD Products

What's The Difference Between Full Spectrum vs. Broad Spectrum CBD Products

When it comes to CBD oil and other CBD products, there are an array of options available across the cannabinoid spectrum.

Typically, three primary spectrum types exist for consumers to choose from:

Each of these spectrum types differs in how it’s extracted and how it is formulated. In addition, each interacts differently within the body’s endocannabinoid system. When choosing a CBD product that is right for you, it is important to understand the differences between these spectrums, as each has distinctive and unique benefits. 

This post will focus on full-spectrum CBD vs. broad-spectrum CBD vs. CBD isolate products so you can decide which one best suits your needs.

CBD Products: They’re Not Just CBD

When it comes to hemp-based products, CBD and THC are the most recognized cannabinoids, but they are not the only players in the game. More than 100 phytocannabinoids are synthesized by hemp, including CBG and CBN, which are arguably just as important.

When purchasing CBD oil or a related product, it will be labeled as either a “full” or a “broad” spectrum formula. This label offers information on how much (or how little) THC is contained in the product and whether additional cannabinoids, like CBG and CBN, are present in the formula.

Each spectrum label helps identify the other components working alongside CBD molecules to enhance its benefits. Full-spectrum CBD vs. broad-spectrum CBD depends upon how much it is processed post-extraction.

CBD: Understanding the Extraction Processes

The raw hemp extraction strips away cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes, infusing them into a carrier oil. Hemp-based extracts contain a THC concentration of less than 0.3 percent, so they are typically non-intoxicating while still retaining a high CBD count.

What occurs next during the manufacturing process ultimately determines the final labeling of the product, either as a full-spectrum CBD product, a broad-spectrum CBD product, or a CBD isolate.

Full Spectrum CBD

A full-spectrum CBD product is formulated using all the phytochemicals from the plant, including cannabidiol, terpenes, oils, and all other cannabinoids, like THC. However, the THC content will be below 0.3 percent.

A full-spectrum CBD product delivers what is known as an “entourage effect,” which essentially means that the various compounds interact with each other to boost the overall therapeutic benefits compared to using isolated CBD alone.

In addition to CBD, a full-spectrum CBD product contains additional cannabinoids such as:

  • CBN (cannabinol): CBN, known for promoting relaxation, is derived from the oxidation of THC. The longer the raw cannabis plant is allowed to mature, the more CBN it produces.
  • CBG (cannabigerol): CBG is a cannabinoid produced during decarboxylation.
  • CNDV (cannabidivarin): CBDV is a minor cannabinoid that has a similar molecular structure to CBD.
  • CBDA (cannabidiol acid): CBDA is the precursor molecule to CBD.
  • CBC (cannabichromene): CBC is usually found in cannabis from tropical regions and may be useful in providing beneficial reactions.

Full-spectrum CBD products containing various cannabinoids and terpenes alongside CBD may interact with the endocannabinoid system through mechanisms involving cannabinoid receptors. These interactions could potentially involve blocking or facilitating the binding and communication of other cannabinoid molecules with these receptors.

As a result, some researchers hypothesize that full-spectrum CBD might demonstrate enhanced potential benefits at higher dosages compared to isolated CBD products. This theory stems from the belief that the complete profile of compounds found in the whole hemp plant offers a more complex and potentially synergistic effect (the entourage effect) compared to using solely purified CBD.

CBD Isolates

CBD isolates are pure CBD. That means any CBD isolate product will not contain other cannabinoids, terpenes, or flavonoids. Pure CBD oil exclusively uses cannabidiol isolate, but the extraction process is labor intensive.

While the extracting process is generally the same as the one used to create a full-spectrum CBD product, more thorough processing must occur, and great care must be taken to isolate CBD into its purest form.

Because it represents CBD in its most concentrated form, a single CBD isolate, it is up to 100 percent CBD. 

Although it is the most potent form of CBD, it is not necessarily better or more beneficial compared to broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD products.

Since CBD oil derived exclusively from CBD isolates does not utilize the entire hemp plant, it cannot offer the benefits of an entourage effect. When you couple that with the more extensive extraction process, CBD isolate is a far less popular option for those seeking a daily CBD product to be used for wellness purposes.

Broad Spectrum CBD

Just like full-spectrum CBD products, CBD oils that are labeled broad-spectrum utilize all of the compounds within the hemp plant, with one difference – THC is removed following the extraction process. However, it retains several different cannabinoids, including CBG and CBN, and uses other flavonoids and terpenes, allowing an entourage effect minus the THC.

Many consumers choose broad-spectrum CBD products to access whole-plant benefits without the THC content.

Full-Spectrum CBD Products vs. Broad-Spectrum CBD Products: Which Are Better?

When it comes to determining which is the best choice between full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolate produce, it really comes down to one’s personal needs and goals. In fact, different bodies process CBD differently based on several factors, including your lifestyle, physiology, and personal health history.

For some consumers, broad-spectrum CBD products are the ideal choice because they offer all the benefits without having to worry about THC content, and, for some people, that lack of THC is of paramount importance. For others, a full-spectrum product works for them because they are less worried about THC content, either because of where they live, their lifestyle, or their work environment.

Sometimes, CBD isolates do the job just fine, or the consumer can’t recognize the difference between using it vs. broad spectrum and full spectrum products. At the end of the day, your decision to choose one product over the other will be based on your preferences, and no one type is inherently better. Both the broad-spectrum and full-spectrum products utilize whole-plant extracts, including other cannabinoids, essential oils, and terpenes combined with CBD for the entourage effect, and the primary difference is the THC content (or lack thereof).

It is important to note that any THC found in a full-spectrum CBD oil or product typically isn’t enough to cause intoxication. However, some consumers still want to avoid THC altogether. In that case, they have the option to choose broad-spectrum CBD or CBD isolate Products.

As noted, your preference for one formulation versus another may depend on your lifestyle, desired effect, and whether you want the inclusion of THC. Sometimes, the best course of action is to try different formulations to determine which of those formulations is right for you.

At Vlasic Labs, we offer broad-spectrum products, full-spectrum products, and CBD isolate products, allowing you to choose which product is right for you. You can even combine products to create a wellness regimen that is right for you.
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