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With a rise in the popularity of CBD oil across the globe, the terminology used to describe products has become increasingly confusing. 

If you have ever looked into trying CBD oil, there is a good chance you have probably noticed there is a “spectrum” of options to choose from.

Understanding the difference between Full Spectrum and Broad-Spectrum Extracts is quite simple. 

Full-spectrum products include a complete range of active compounds found naturally in hemp, like cannabinoids (THC & CBD), terpenes, and flavonoids.

Broad-spectrum refers to a CBD product that contains a range of other cannabinoids but no THC.

Different variations can have unique benefits, and understanding these labels and the ingredients inside can help you make a more informed decision about your CBD oil of choice. 

We’ve created this guide to CBD to help clear up any confusion about what CBD is and how it may benefit you!

The Entourage Effect

To completely understand how CBD spectrums work, we first need to familiarize ourselves with a phenomenon known as the entourage effect.

The entourage effect is a theoretical principle that it is not just one terpene, cannabinoid, or flavonoid working to create the outcome we experience when consuming cannabis.

Instead, every part of the marijuana plant, down to those tiny individual molecules and compounds, makes a whole-body experience.

Research suggests that the entourage effect can majorly contribute to the enhancement of CBD’s and THC’s medicinal properties, either by strengthening their existing impacts or adding newer ones to the menu of their expanded therapeutic effects. 

As the cannabis community has started to research cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, we’ve discovered that each molecule and compound has unique properties. THC, for example, has psychoactive properties. 

Each cannabinoid, terpene, and flavonoid also react differently when they enter the human body. 

This is because of how they interact with the endocannabinoid system.

While each of these molecules and compounds interact uniquely, they also work together to create a unique experience for each user. 

This, again, is just another piece of the entourage effect.

Considering the positive changes caused by the entourage effect, it could significantly contribute to making cannabis a proactive medicinal drug. 

What is Full Spectrum CBD oil?

Full-spectrum refers to the inclusion of this one specific cannabinoid in the spectrum — THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana that gives people a “high” sensation. 

In the United States, the amount of THC in a CBD product must be less than 0.3 percent to be legal, although legality can vary from state to state. 

Even at a low THC level, a CBD product with 0.3 percent THC can still be considered full spectrum.

The oil goes through the cannabinoid extraction process and filtration in a full spectrum extract. However, none of the cannabinoids or other compounds are removed. 

While full spectrum CBD does have THC, it does not contain enough THC to get you high. 

CBD full-spectrum oil also contains all of the terpenes from the cannabis plant. Terpenes are the compounds that plants produce to repel pests and attract pollinators. 

Terpenes are also responsible for the uplifting or soothing aromas of flowers and plants. 

What Is Broad Spectrum CBD oil?

CBD oil labeled broad-spectrum contains almost every compound found in the cannabis plant. 

Broad-spectrum CBD oil is a middle ground between CBD isolate and full-spectrum oils. It has all of the cannabinoids and other chemical compounds except for THC.

It has all the beneficial chemical compounds except for THC, so you’re likely to gain some of the beneficial effects of the entourage effect.

Other cannabinoids, like CBN and CBG, are also preserved in this process, along with various terpenes and flavonoids. Again, this allows the product to generate the entourage effect without THC.

If you are looking for whole-plant benefits without any THC or live in an area with strict cannabis or drug screening laws, broad-spectrum CBD oil may be the product for you.

What is CBD isolate? 

CBD isolate is a good alternative for people who would like to try CBD products but who cannot or do not want to ingest any THC. 

Unlike most other CBD products, which contain a small percentage of THC, CBD isolate refers to pure CBD. It has no other cannabinoids, terpenes, or flavonoids. 

Even though pure CBD oil uses cannabidiol isolates exclusively, the extraction process requires additional work.

The extraction to isolate CBD from all the other cannabinoid compounds goes further than usual to ensure safe human consumption.

CBD isolates are the most concentrated form of CBD. A single isolate typically is up to 90 percent total CBD, making it potent in CBD content but not necessarily having better or more beneficial attributes.

There’s no substantial risk of an intoxicating high or euphoria with pure CBD oil, and it’s unlikely to register a positive drug test reading.

CBD isolates are also ideal for cooking or mixing with food and beverages.

Preliminary studies indicate that while CBD isolate did offer demonstrable health benefits, some of these may not provide the full effects of those gained using a full-spectrum CBD product. 

Sources:

“What’s the difference between CBD isolate and full-spectrum CBD?” by Medical News Today. Published Sept 2020.

“The Entourage Effect: How CBD and THC Work Together” by Healthline. Published Dec 2019.

“What is CBD isolate and what is it used for?” by Weedmaps. Published June 2021.

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