If you have ever gone shopping for cannabidiol, or CBD, products, whether at a store or online, you surely noticed some labeled broad spectrum, full spectrum, even isolate. Although the broad and full spectrum is similar in sound, they are in no way the same. They define the type of CBD used in a specific product, and for consumers, the type of effects to expect and a range of therapeutic uses.
Cannabis plants contain an abundance of cannabinoids. These compounds include CBD and its more famous counterpart tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, as well as more than 100 others. These occur naturally within different cannabis strains. All of them are incredibly important, each having their own unique properties and effects on the body.
Scientific study now proves that cannabinoids deliver unique health benefits to those who consume them. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, cannabinoids interact with the body’s own endocannabinoid system, acting much the same way as endocannabinoids do, and “instructing” endocannabinoid receptors to perform the specific bodily functions tasked of them.
This discovery, that each cannabinoid has its own effect on the body, is revolutionary for healthcare. THC, for example, has a psychoactive effect, called “getting high,” whereas CBD does not and, in fact, actually counteracts the psychoactive properties of THC. Then, we add cannabigerol, or CBG, cannabinol, or CBN, and countless others; we get what scientists call the “cannabinoid spectrum.”
The cannabinoid spectrum refers to the different cannabinoids an organic CBD oil contains. The range of cannabinoids present determines whether a product is full spectrum or broad spectrum. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, it also determines what illnesses it would best treat. To make CBD oil, producers must first extract it from plants, using techniques such as supercritical CO2 extraction.
This process also extracts the plants’ other compounds, including other cannabinoids, terpenes, and even flavonoids, all of which have their own therapeutic properties. The plant’s strain and method of extraction will determine the composition and cannabinoid profile of a specific CBD product. Hemp, for example, contains insignificant traces of THC and high CBD compared to THC-rich, CBD-low marijuana.
Depending on the needs of consumers, companies will extract from strains that best suit their requirements. Once extracted, they then refine it further to contain only specific cannabinoids. The result of this refined extract is what makes a CBD product full spectrum or broad spectrum, or even isolate, since these terms refer the cannabinoids present in the final product.
When you see an organic CBD oil with full spectrum on it, then it contains all of the compounds that occur naturally in the plant, including a wide range of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. These compounds, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, work together synergistically to amplify the effects of every individual cannabinoid, a process called the “entourage effect.”
Until recently, the consensus was that broad spectrum CBD and CBD isolate was more effective than full spectrum. However, a study by the Lautenberg Center for General Tumor Immunology in Jerusalem debunked this theory back in 2005. Researchers found full spectrum CBD much more effective than broad spectrum CBD in relieving study participants of their various symptoms.
Additionally, many studies show that full spectrum CBD promises increased effects when administered in higher dosages, whereas the effects of CBD isolate remain consistent even as you increase consumption. It is clear that cannabinoids and other cannabis compounds do a much better job when there are more of them working together than fewer of them.
Broad-spectrum CBD sits somewhere between full spectrum and isolate on the cannabinoid spectrum. As with full spectrum CBD, broad spectrum contains the different cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, in a plant, but unlike full spectrum, THC is removed entirely. In this way, consumers benefit from the “entourage effect,” just without any of the psychoactive effects of THC.
Armed with some understanding of full spectrum and broad spectrum CBD oil, you likely want to know why anyone would choose one over the other or if you should have any preference too. Neither is better than the other is. They just suit different needs. Your reason for using CBD in the first place should determine which is best for your unique conditions and circumstances.
It is also important to understand what CBD isolate is. Unlike both full and broad spectrum CBD, an isolate extract contains only CBD, with all other compounds removed. No THC, no CBN, no CBG, nothing else, just CBD in its purest form. Remembering the “entourage effect,” isolate has the least therapeutic benefit, but it is ideal for those using CBD exclusively to treat a particular medical condition.
You can find a variety of both full spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD products in most dispensaries, and even online. There are even isolates galore. Before looking for CBD capsules online, for example, then make sure they include the results of laboratory testing. You want a product free of residual solvents, heavy metals, pesticides, toxins, and other compounds, and you want to know its cannabinoid profile.