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Full Spectrum CBD: A Brief Overview

Posted by Justin Adair on Jul 1, 2019 4:32:00 PM
Justin Adair

What Is Full Spectrum CBD? A Brief Overview

CBD - a derivative of cannabis or hemp that contains little to no THC - has been rapidly growing in popularity over the past few years due to the buzz about its potential benefits. 



In your search for the best CBD product to help you, you've likely come across full spectrum, broad spectrum, or CBD isolate. But what's the difference between these CBD products? Or is it the same product, but with a different name?


What is Full Spectrum CBD?

As you may have learned, CBD contains compounds known as cannabinoids, which act directly and indirectly on cannabinoid receptors in the body to maintain stability and health.

The amount of cannabinoids and other compounds contained within a product determines whether it's full spectrum, broad spectrum, or CBD isolate.

Scientifically speaking, an isolate is the purest form of a compound. Therefore, an isolate is produced when a compound is extracted from its environment by isolating it from other compounds. CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD and is produced by removing all other compounds found in the plant, such as terpenes, flavonoids, plant parts, and other cannabinoids. Along with other cannabinoids, all traces of THC are typically removed in the process of manufacturing CBD isolate .

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Full spectrum CBD preserves many compounds found naturally occurring in the plant such as terpenes, essential oils, and other cannabinoids. It is thought that these compounds work together to maximize the therapeutic benefits of each individual cannabinoid. In fact, one study showed that when participants used full spectrum CBD, they reported higher levels of relief compared to those who used CBD isolate.


What Is Full Spectrum CBD? A Brief Overiew


Broad spectrum CBD is sort of a combination of full spectrum CBD and CBD isolate. In broad spectrum CBD products, other compounds and cannabinoids found within the plant are also included in the extract. At the same time, there is typically little to no THC contained in broad spectrum CBD products. 



What Does Full Spectrum CBD Contain?

As stated above, full spectrum CBD contains compounds other than CBD, including:

  • Cannabinoids (CBG, CBC, CBN, THC): Full spectrum CBD products typically contain cannabinol (CBN), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC), and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Although full spectrum CBD products contain THC, which is known to produce psychoactive effects, it is a small amount that isn't enough to get you "high".
  • Terpenes: The natural compounds that are responsible for the smells, colors, and flavors found in the cannabis plant. At least 100 terpenes are produced by the cannabis plant. Terpenes not only affect how CBD products taste and smell, but also how they affect the body and mind. They are known to have a unique effect on the endocannabinoid system (ECS) since they deliver different sensory experiences and target different conditions. Some terpenes promote alertness and focus, while others are thought to relieve pain and anxiety. Terpenes also help produce what's called the "entourage effect" because they enhance or downplay the effects of other cannabinoids. This allows the compounds to work together in harmony to produce the maximum effect, instead of counterbalancing each other, which can diminish the beneficial qualities of CBD.
  • Vitamins, Minerals, Fats, and Proteins: Full spectrum CBD also contains naturally occurring vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, C, and E and B complex vitamins like riboflavin, thiamine, and niacin. These vitamins and minerals are important for a variety of bodily functions, nerve function, and metabolic processes. They help nourish the bones, blood, skin, and hair. Essential fats and proteins are instrumental in building and repairing tissues. They are also great for maintaining heart and cardiovascular health.

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Pros & Cons of Full Spectrum CBD 

Full spectrum CBD has many benefits, but no supplement is perfect as all of them have their pluses and minuses. Below are some pros and cons of using full spectrum CBD:



  • Benefit from the whole plant: Full spectrum CBD offers the full benefits of the cannabis plant.
  • Additional compounds other than CBD: Full spectrum CBD offers a diverse array of cannabinoids and terpenes. 
  • Entourage effect: Because full spectrum CBD includes additional compounds, they work together, or synergize to allow for a broader range of whole plant benefits.
  • More effective than isolate and broad spectrum: Full spectrum CBD works better and produces more powerful effects than isolate and broad spectrum CBD. This is because it contains a variety of compounds that not only provide additional health benefits, but they work harmoniously together without offsetting each other.



  • Includes a small amount of THC: Since not everything is isolated when full spectrum CBD is extracted, it may contain some traces of THC, which in high enough amounts, can produce psychoactive effects and make users experience a "high". However, the small amounts of THC that are present in full spectrum CBD are not likely to cause any psychoactive effects.
  • Typically more expensive than isolate or broad spectrum: Because full spectrum CBD contains so many beneficial compounds that aren't CBD specific, it tends to cost more than other options such as isolate and broad spectrum CBD.
  • Natural earthy hemp taste: Since certain compounds such as terpenes are still present in full spectrum CBD, it typically has a earthy natural flavor that may be unpleasant to some.




When deciding between full spectrum CBD, broad spectrum CBD, and CBD isolate, be sure to thoroughly research the benefits and weigh the pros and cons of each CBD product. Also, consider your budget because some options are more expensive than others. If you're looking to maximize the potential benefits of CBD, then full spectrum CBD may be the option for you. If you are looking for a product with zero THC, you should try broad spectrum CBD or CBD isolate. Whatever you choose, purchase from a reputable brand and ensure that the product is made from natural, high-quality ingredients.

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Topics: General Info, CBD, Full Spectrum

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