Full Spectrum CBD, Broad Spectrum CBD, or Isolate CBD. What’s the difference?
CBD is a wonderful product. But, from seemingly nowhere, today there are hundreds of brands competing for your attention. Accordingly, it’s important to be able to understand the differences in CBD products and brands.
You may not know this, but many brands of CBD simply “white label” – meaning they aren’t actually making their own CBD; they are simply putting a label on another company’s product. While there is nothing intrinsically wrong with this approach, it may obscure some of the product details, including where and how the plant material was grown, how it was distilled into oils, and what sort of quality controls and testing were incorporated into the process.
As CBD becomes more and more popular, questions about how it’s prepared become more and more relevant.
One important question about CBD is, “What’s the difference between Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, and Isolate CBD?” The follow-up question is, of course, “Which one is better?”
In order to provide a proper answer, we must first explain how these products are made.
WHAT IS FULL SPECTRUM CBD?
Full Spectrum CBD is processed to include the multitude of cannabinoids present in the original plant, including cannabinol (CBN), Cannabicyclol (CBL), tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), and cannabichromevarinic acid (CBCVA). Trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are also found.
Full Spectrum CBD, quite simply, includes all the compounds originally present in the plant, and it usually retains its earthy flavor and scent.
Since Full Spectrum CBD products contain all the compounds from a cannabis plant, including low doses of THC, the “entourage effect” is strongest and most pronounced.
WHAT IS BROAD SPECTRUM CBD?
Broad Spectrum CBD also contains cannabis plant compounds, but it is entirely free of THC. Like Full Spectrum products, Broad Spectrum CBD contains cannabinoids and terpenes, so it will also produce an entourage effect, which has been reported to increase the likelihood that the product will produce beneficial effects.
The main difference between Full Spectrum and Broad Spectrum is important: Full Spectrum can contain low amounts of THC (up to 0.3%), while Broad Spectrum typically will not. In some cases, Full Spectrum CBD may lead to a positive drug test.
For people that want the “entourage effect” of a Full Spectrum product, but don’t want the THC, Broad Spectrum CBD is the ideal choice.
WHAT IS ISOLATE CBD?
Isolate CBD is pure CBD, with no other cannabinoids or other naturally occurring substances like flavonoids or terpenes. Isolate CBD is created when the cannabidiol is separated and isolated from the other cannabis compounds of the source plant. Isolate CBD is flavorless and odor-free.
It was previously believed that since isolated CBD was stronger and more concentrated than Full Spectrum CBD, it was therefore more desirable. However, a 2015 study conducted by the Lautenberg Center for General Tumor Immunology in Jerusalem, concluded that Full Spectrum CBD offered greater relief when administered to mice in higher dosages.
To produce CBD Isolate, manufacturers use various processes to extract all the compounds and other substances from the cannabis plant. The process leaves behind pure CBD in crystal form.
Manufacturers usually then grind the crystals into a powder to make the product easier to use in production.
WHICH IS BETTER: FULL SPECTRUM CBD, BROAD SPECTRUM CBD, OR ISOLATE CBD?
Based on the foregoing information, it is now widely believed that Full Spectrum and Broad Spectrum CBD are more effective than Isolate. However, Broad Spectrum products are preferred for patients and consumers who want to avoid THC.
Broad Spectrum CBD may be the right choice if you want:
- The benefits of the entourage effect
- No THC
- An earthy flavor profile
- A less refined, more natural product
While no single product is right for everyone, it’s important to understand the key differences between CBD types and select the one that is best for you.