Full Spectrum vs Broad Spectrum CBD: What’s the Difference?

Full Spectrum vs Broad Spectrum CBD: What’s the Difference?

Maybe you’ve heard the hype about CBD’s broad range of potential health benefits, and are ready to see if it has a place in your health and wellness regimen. But purchasing CBD for the first time can be a bit confusing as you begin to notice the various types of CBD and products for purchase. 

One of the key choices you’ll need to make about a CBD product is whether to choose full spectrum or broad spectrum CBD oil—or even a pure CBD isolate product. The key difference among these types of CBD centers on what additional chemical compounds, if any, are working alongside the cannabinoids within a particular product. 

Full Spectrum CBD Benefits

  • Less Processing
  • Full Entourage Effect
  • More Variety of Terpenes and Flavonoids
  • Usually includes THC (but no more than 0.3%)

Broad Spectrum CBD Benefits

  • No Psychoactive Risks
  • Similar Benefits to Entourage Effect
  • May also include less than 0.3% THC

Cannabis has received a lot of attention for its potential in alleviating the symptoms of numerous medical conditions, ranging from epilepsy and arthritis to ADHD and anxiety. In fact, one study published in 2018 showed that 62 percent of participants who used CBD found it helpful in managing medical symptoms, including depression, anxiety, and chronic pain. Even CBD for pets is gaining in popularity! 

Cannabinoid (CBD) and its close cousin tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the two key chemical compounds derived from the cannabis sativa plant, but they aren’t the only ones. In fact, the cannabis plant is quite chemically complex and typically contains more than 100 separate Phyto cannabinoids. CBD and THC simply are the most common (and most likely the ones you’ve heard the most about). 

While both popular chemical compounds have been shown to offer some level of health benefit, CBD appears to have wider applications because it lacks the psychoactive, or intoxicating, effect that comes with using products containing THC. Full spectrum and broad spectrum cannabinoid are two of the major types of CBD oil you’ll find available for purchase. The key difference between the two types is the number of additional compounds each one contains. Both these types of CBD differ from CBD isolate, which is exactly as it sounds: pure, isolated CBD with no other chemical compounds present.

Full Spectrum vs Broad Spectrum CBD: What’s the Difference?

First, it’s important to remember that neither label—full spectrum or broad spectrum—is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. But there are some general patterns in the way the two types of products are marketed. 

The simplest way to think of the differences between full spectrum CBD and broad spectrum CBD oil is to focus on the other chemical compounds present in each type of CBD. Remember that there are as many as 100 different Phyto cannabinoids present in the cannabis plant. The spectrum description gives you a clue as to how many other compounds are present in your product, working alongside the CBD. 

Full Spectrum CBD 

A CBD product that also contains other naturally occurring cannabis plant extracts, such as terpenes and other cannabinoids (including up to .3 percent THC) is considered full spectrum CBD. Just as you might expect, a full spectrum product contains some level of the full spectrum of possible compounds found within the cannabis or hemp plant. All federally legal products will contain less than .3 percent THC, though you may be able to find full spectrum CBD products with higher concentrations of CBD in states with medicinal or recreational programs. 

Broad Spectrum CBD 

On the other hand, a CBD oil that contains several cannabis plant compounds and is classified as a broad spectrum CBD product. It’s important to note, though, that some broad spectrum CBD products may still contain very trace amounts of THC, but fall under the broad spectrum label so long as the THC is less than .3 percent. Some customers find it helpful to think of broad spectrum CBD as the middle version of all CBD options; with the most pure being a CBD isolate that contains nothing but pure CBD.

Full Spectrum vs Broad Spectrum CBD Extraction Process

During the CBD oil production process, cannabinoids—plus flavonoids, essential fatty acids and terpenes—are stripped from the cannabis plant and infused into some type of carrier oil, like coconut oil, for example. The manufacturer then extracts those cannabinoids to determine whether the end result is a full spectrum or broad spectrum product, or even a pure CBD isolate. All of the chemical compounds can be included in the end product—just a sampling or even the pure cannabinoid itself with no other chemical compounds present.

For example, CBD oil is often extracted from both hemp and cannabis plants. Extraction methods use carbon dioxide or ethyl alcohol.  Both are  common extraction methods because they are sustainable and safe.  How pure and clean the CBD oil or hemp oil is depends on the expertise of the chemists and the quality of their lab.. Check out our hemp oil vs. CBD oil if you’re curious on the differences between the two most common cannabis-extracted oils. The result of both extraction methods is generally a full spectrum CBD oil

After the primary CBD extraction, some producers rid their products of THC while retaining the rest of the cannabinoids. This is often achieved through a chromatography process. CBD products whose THC has been removed are typically marketed as broad spectrum CBD products. This end product represents a broad spectrum formula that is rich in CBD, while also containing a wide variety of terpenes and other organic cannabinoid compounds.

Keep in mind, as well, that there are a few differences in the legality of various CBD products. For example, hemp-derived CBD oil with less than 0.3 percent THC content is legal at the federal level, but remains illegal under some state laws. Conversely, cannabis-derived CBD oil is illegal at the federal level, but legal under some state laws. Be sure to confirm the laws for your state before making a purchase. It’s also a good rule of thumb to check the legal status in any states you may travel to while using a CBD product.

Full Spectrum vs Broad Spectrum CBD Benefits

Now that we’ve covered the differences between full spectrum and broad spectrum CBD oil, let’s take a closer look at some of their benefits: 

Full Spectrum CBD Benefits

Using full spectrum CBD products has a few unique benefits, including: 

Less Processing

If you prioritize purchasing natural products, you may be interested in full spectrum CBD. Because all of the cannabis or hemp plant’s chemical compounds are kept intact, the final product undergoes slightly less processing than a broad spectrum product, and considerably less processing than a pure CBD isolate product. In fact, a full spectrum CBD oil product is the least processed CBD you can buy. 

Just make note that the lack of processing also means that a full spectrum product may come with a strong taste and hemp smell, which some users find distasteful or overpowering at first, but quickly become used to it. 

Full Entourage Effect

Fewer chemical compounds are removed during the full spectrum CBD oil extraction process, so you’re getting the benefits of the whole cannabis or hemp plant. Some research points to the fact that, when multiple cannabis plant compounds are present with a CBD extract, the health benefits of the CBD itself is intensified. This is known as the entourage effect. 

The theory is that when you combine multiple cannabis compounds, you get a greater therapeutic effect than taking any of these compounds in isolation. And because a full spectrum CBD product will include all Phyto cannabinoids, including THC, you may enjoy a benefit that’s greater than taking any of these compounds by themselves. In other words, a whole plant approach may offer a greater benefit to some people than isolated plant elements.

In addition to CBD and THC, a full spectrum CBD product may contain the following other cannabinoids:

  • Cannabichromene (CBC): A cannabinoid that’s derived from cannabis grown in tropical environments. CBD has been shown useful for a variety of therapeutic effects.
  • Cannabidiol acid (CBDA): This is the two-carboxylic acid form of CBD and a key ingredient of raw cannabis.
  • Cannabidivarin (CBDV): A minor cannabinoid with a molecular structure very similar to that of CBD.
  • Cannabigerol (CBG): A non-intoxicating cannabinoid that is derived from cannabigerolic acid during the decarboxylation process. CBG is being studied for its anti inflammatory and pain relieving effects.
  • Cannabinol (CBN): A cannabinoid made from oxidized THC. The longer raw cannabis matures, the more CBN it will create from THC. This particular compound is known primarily for its relaxing qualities.

When a product features all of these compounds working together, you may see more of an impact or achieve a heightened effect than when using any of them alone. In fact, scientists concluded in one 2015 study that full spectrum CBD provides a better response at higher amounts because it uses compounds from the entire hemp plant rather than simply CBD isolates.

More Variety of Terpenes and Flavonoids

With full spectrum CBD, you get the full range of organic compounds present in the cannabis plant, including terpenes like linalool, myrcene, limonene, and pinene, plus flavonoids that are known for supporting homeostasis and overall wellness. The terpenes of any plant are generally what supply its unique scent. You will also get THC in a full spectrum CBD product, though in order to be a legal product in the U.S., a full spectrum CBD product must contain less than .3 percent THC. 

One study conducted in 2018 suggests that the presence of flavonoids and terpenes in a CBD product may boost anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects. And another 2011 study showed that taking Phyto cannabinoids and terpenes together may help with pain, inflammation and anxiety.

Broad Spectrum CBD Benefits

Broad spectrum CBD products boast their own set of benefits, these include: 

No Psychoactive Risks

Farmer and Chemist CBD products are guaranteed to never have more than .3 percent THC, so you’ll never run the risk of experiencing the psychoactive “high” THC is known for. Instead, chances are you can enjoy the full therapeutic effects of CBD (including the entourage effect) while keeping a clear mind. This is a plus if you live in a state that has not legalized THC, and/or if you work in a field that requires random drug test participation. Remember, THC in concentrated enough amounts can show up on a drug test, even if you’re using a CBD product.

Broad spectrum CBD products don’t contain any THC, except in trace amounts; which means you don’t have to worry about intoxicating or psychoactive effects. In fact, that’s the chief difference between full spectrum and broad spectrum CBD—they are largely identical, with the exception that broad spectrum CBD has the THC removed.

Similar Benefits to Entourage Effect

With a broad spectrum CBD product, you will get additional compounds from the cannabis plant, which may include cannabinol, or CBN, cannabichromene, and terpenes. In particular, CBN may have antibiotic, antiseizure and anti-inflammatory effects. 

It’s because broad spectrum CBD retains cannabinoids like CBN and CBG that it’s able to produce a similar entourage effect without the THC. In fact, THC is really the only thing broad spectrum CBD oil is missing when compared to full spectrum CBD products, so it’s very likely that broad spectrum products provide a level of therapeutic effect that approaches or meets the entourage effect.

Bottom line: CBD generally is more effective when combined with other compounds than it is when consumed alone. The additional organic compounds contained in broad spectrum CBD work together to produce the entourage effect, even without THC. 

Full Spectrum vs Broad Spectrum CBD: Which is Better?

Many factors may influence whether a full spectrum or broad spectrum CBD product is better for you—and much of it depends on your own lifestyle and preferences. It’s important to remember that the key difference between full spectrum CBD and broad spectrum CBD is that you’re much less likely to get a dose of THC higher than .3 percent with a broad spectrum CBD product. So, you don’t have to worry about experiencing intoxicating effects. In addition, a CBD product with a high enough concentration of THC could register positive on a standard drug test. You don’t have to worry about that with a broad spectrum CBD product, but if you live in an area where cannabis use is legal and/or you aren’t subject to drug testing or concerned about the psychoactive effects of THC, a full spectrum product may be an option. 

For many CBD customers, broad spectrum products represent the best of both worlds. You get the therapeutic effects with no risk of psychoactive action, much like CBD isolate products, but you also get the synergistic effect of CBD combined with other compounds, much like a full spectrum CBD product. It’s important to note that broad spectrum CBD products may not be as widely available for purchase as the full spectrum versions, so just make sure to do your homework before purchase. 

The most important thing, no matter which type of CBD oil you choose, is to make sure you’re purchasing your CBD products from a reputable retailer that you trust—and one that will make sure you know exactly what’s in the product you’re buying. Because CBD is largely unregulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, it’s important to ensure you buy a product that’s been third-party tested and comes with a certificate of analysis. Doing so gives you the peace of mind that you can read and understand every compound that’s in the CBD product you choose.

And above all, be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist about the best way to incorporate CBD, either full or broad spectrum, into your health and fitness regimen. CBD has been known to react with some prescription drugs, so this step is especially important if you’re already using prescription medications to manage the symptoms of a medical condition.

Farmer & Chemist Broad Spectrum CBD Oil

You can rest easy knowing that any broad spectrum CBD oil you purchase from Farmer and Chemist meets our extremely high standards for purity, safety, and quality. Our products are all broad spectrum CBD products. Our products are responsibly sourced and manufactured in the United States, ensuring they are Farm Bill compliant. 

One of the major differences you’ll see when buying your products from Farmer & Chemist is that we have a team of pharmacists on hand to answer any questions you have and to help you make CBD choices that are right for your health and wellness needs. Our trained team of professionals will educate patients on the appropriate uses of CBD, including how to take CBD oil, dosage recommendations, comorbidities, and potential adverse events and drug interactions. 

Overall, Farmer & Chemist is committed to elevating health and wellness by providing the highest quality CBD products on the market while also providing access to expert pharmacists who can address questions and concerns. In addition, our products provide a pure, concentrated CBD formula that ensures patients get the right CBD treatment at the right time.

Full Spectrum vs Broad Spectrum CBD: The Main Difference is the THC Content

Both full spectrum and broad spectrum CBD have their own unique benefits and medical applications; the difference between the two types of CBD largely comes down to the product’s THC content. Full spectrum products will typically include the THC, whereas broad spectrum CBD strips it out, leaving only very trace amounts. 

The choice between a full spectrum or broad spectrum CBD product largely comes down to personal preference based on your desired effect and lifestyle—though local laws can also impact the types of CBD products available. 

Whenever you’re ready to add CBD to your daily health regimen, the knowledgeable team at Farmer & Chemist can help you identify the broad spectrum CBD product that’s right for you. Give us a call at 385-900-8997 or visit our Midvale, Utah CBD shop today! 

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