Full Spectrum vs. Broad Spectrum vs. CBD Isolate

Manufacturers have responded quite positively to the high demand for CBD. Many sellers are offering these products in a wide variety of CBD products. However, with an increase in the variety of these products, many new questions are arising around them.

Looking at the different labels you too must be curious to know about different types of CBD oils like Full Spectrum oil, Broad Spectrum oil or CBD isolate?

Well, to get answers to all these questions, it would be important for you to know a little about the source of all the different types of CBD extracts. Besides, it would also be pertinent to know about various compounds present in the source plant.

Cannabis Plant and its Compounds

Cannabis Sativa plant is the source of all CBD extracts. It contains over 500 different compounds including more than 113 cannabinoids; flavonoids, terpenes, and other phytochemicals. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the two major cannabinoids present in a Cannabis Sativa plant.

Between the two, THC possesses strong psychoactive properties while CBD does not have any such property. The proportion of THC and CBD depends on the variety of the plant used in extracting CBD.

The Hemp plant contains a high concentration of CBD with a trace amount of THC. On the other hand, Marijuana, which is another variety of cannabis plant, has a higher THC concentration. 

There are three broader categories of CBD extracts viz. Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, and CBD Isolate. The difference in the three types of CBD lies in the different mix of the plant compounds present in the extract.

CBD Extraction

There are many methods to derive CBD from cannabis plants. Some manufacturers use chemical solvents to extract it while others use CO2 for the purpose. The CO2 extraction method is the safest method that offers high-quality CBD without transferring any harmful chemicals in the product. You can derive all the three types of CBD products using this method. 

Full Spectrum CBD

A Full Spectrum CBD contains all the compounds present in the whole plant including THC, CBD, other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. If it is derived from the Hemp plant it would contain less than 0.3% of THC.

The Full Spectrum oil is also used interchangeably with Whole Plant Oil. Moreover, the Full spectrum oil is a refined version of Whole Plant CBD. Whole Plant CBD contains fats and waxes that are removed through a purification process to derive Full Spectrum CBD.

Now, as the Full Spectrum CBD contains all the compounds present in the plant, each one of them imparts its respective health benefits to the product and enhances its overall effectiveness through the entourage effect.

However, the presence of THC, though in trace amount, can fail you in a possible drug test, particularly if you consume a higher dosage of CBD.

CBD Isolate

Remove all the compounds other than CBD from the Full Spectrum oil and you have CBD Isolate. So, CBD Isolate does not contain THC as well as all the other cannabinoids terpenes and essential oils.

CBD isolate offers 99+% pure CBD. It means you get the maximum concentration of CBD per dosage. Besides, it also ensures that you wouldn’t get any ill effects caused by the THC. You would neither get any high nor would fail in a drug test.

However, on the flip side, it deprives you of the health benefits offered by the individual compounds present in the original plant and their entourage effect. 

Broad Spectrum CBD

So, these were the two extremes of CBD. Broad Spectrum falls in the middle of the two and offers a balanced formula. It contains all the compounds present in the original plant excluding THC.

So, theoretically speaking, Broad Spectrum Oil is the Full Spectrum Oil minus the THC. In this way, the extract not only possesses the benefits offered by other phytochemicals but also eliminates the disadvantages caused by the THC.

However, in the absence of THC whether the Broad Spectrum oil can give the same entourage effect as provided by the Full Spectrum oil is still a debatable issue.

There are two ways to produce Broad Spectrum CBD. Some manufacturers derive Full Spectrum and remove THC through further processing while others drive CBD Isolate and add other phytochemicals to get Broad Spectrum.

In the latter method, the manufacturer can selectively add the phytochemicals in the Isolate rather than adding all the compounds present in the original plant. So, it is an important consideration to make while comparing the properties of Broad Spectrum oil with that of Full Spectrum Oil. 

What type of CBD Should You Prefer?

From the above explanation, it is clear that two major factors are affecting the usage of CBD.

  • Presence of THC
  • Entourage Effect
  • Benefits of other compounds

So, before deciding on the type of CBD you should prefer, let us have a brief understanding of these factors.

Presence of THC

There are a few important considerations to make concerning the presence of THC in the CBD.

  • The US Federal Government has conditionally legalized the farming, manufacturing, selling, and consumption of Hemp-derived CBD products having less than 0.3% THC. Having said, different states in the country have different rules & regulations around the product.
  • The Department of Transport (DOT) does not allow anyone to drive under the influence of THC. So, while on CBD supplement if for some reason you fail the drug test while driving you can have serious repercussions including suspension of driving license and applicable state penalties.
  • You might personally not prefer to consume CBD with a higher concentration of THC for its intoxicating properties.

Entourage Effect

While studying the effects of CBD on THC, scientists discovered that CBD not only suppresses the effects of THC but also becomes more effective in the presence of other phytochemicals present in the extract. This is called the entourage effect.

The collective effect of all the organic compounds working together is more than their total individual effects when working separately.

This phenomenon is particularly helpful in increasing the range of dosage of CBD. It gets reflected in the typical bell curve showing the effectiveness of CBD with increasing dosage. The CBD starts showing its effect at a lower dosage and continues to show effectiveness at a higher dosage as compared to the dosage when consumed in isolation.

Benefits of other compounds

There are many different compounds other than cannabinoids present in cannabis plants. Cannabinoids terpenes, essential oils & flavonoids are some of those compounds that are responsible for imparting peculiar aroma to any plant.

Terpenes & essential oils present in the cannabis plant also link with different body receptors and offer many health benefits. Apart from the entourage effect, all these compounds also transfer their specific health benefits to the product.

Advantages and Disadvantages of different CBDs

Having understood the two major factors while using CBD, let us know the pros and cons of all three types of CBD products. This will help you in understanding which type of CBD is most suitable for you.

Full Spectrum CBD

Full Spectrum CBD or the extract with all compounds has the following pros and cons.


  • Entourage effect increases the range of CBD dosage
  • Imparts individual benefits of other compounds like cannabinoids terpenes, essential oils, and flavonoids, etc.
  • Minimum processing steps


  • May have psychoactive effects
  • May show on a drug test
  • Strong raw flavor & odor of the source plant

Who should choose Full Spectrum CBD?

Looking at the benefits it offers you should select Full Spectrum oil if you want to have a more effective CBD to treat severe medical conditions by utilizing the synergetic effect of all the compounds. Besides, you should select it if you wish to reap the benefits of the other phytochemicals and cannabinoids present in the oil. Moreover, you can also use it in a state which has more relaxed rules & regulations related to cannabis products.

CBD Isolate

Next, we have the extract with no compounds except CBD. Let us look at a few plus points of CBD Isolate along with its few disadvantages.


  • Highest concentration per serving
  • No intoxication
  • Can’t fail the drug test
  • Beneficial for those who can’t tolerate other phytochemicals
  • No flavor or aroma of the raw plant


  • Doesn’t give the benefits of the entourage effect
  • No  benefits of other compounds
  • Maximum processing steps

Who should choose CBD Isolate?

CBD isolate is recommendable to you if you do not want to consume THC even in trace amounts or if you are not confident that the Full Spectrum CBD oil has THC within the allowable limits.

Besides, if you do not want to get positive in the drug test results you should prefer CBD isolate over the Full Spectrum. Also, you should select this form of the product, if you are living in a region where the rules & regulations related to cannabis are pretty stringent 

Broad Spectrum

Finally, it’s the Broad Spectrum Oil. We have the extract with all compounds except THC. Will it have the benefits of the above two or would only have their flipsides.


  • Offers advantages of entourage effect
  • Imparts health benefits of the other compounds
  • No psychoactive effects
  • No complications during drug screening
  • Fewer processing steps than CBD Isolate


  • More processing steps than Full Spectrum oil
  • Benefits of other compounds depending on the compounds added
  • Strong flavor & aroma of the source plant

Who should choose Broad Spectrum CBD?

If you do not want to consume THC or are not sure of the THC content in Full Spectrum oil but at the same time do not want to compromise with the effectiveness of the supplement, you should prefer Broad Spectrum CBD. Moreover, if you reside in a state with strict rules & regulations related to cannabis products you should go for CBD in this form.


All three types of extracts have the specific properties that they impart to the final CBD products. You should select the supplement as per your requirements, preference, and the laws prevailing in your respective states.

It is often difficult to select the right type of CBD in the absence of correct information about different products. Hopefully, the information provided in the article has helped you select the most suitable CBD product and help you make the right decision that will treat your medical disorder more effectively in the long run.

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