The Difference Between CBD Isolate, Full Spectrum CBD, and Broad Spectrum CBD

Cannabidiol, aka: CBD, has entered the health industry with a bang! As a consumer, you’ll see products labeled as CBD isolate, full-spectrum CBD and broad spectrum CBD. These terms can be confusing, so let’s break it down.

What Is Your Endocannabinoid System? 

What Is CBD Isolate?

CBD isolate is 99.9% pure cannabidiol. During the extraction process, everything in the hemp plant is removed, including all other forms of cannabidiol, any traces of THC, terpenes, flavonoids, waxes, oils and more. An isolate is a great option when a person wants to adjust the amount of CBD taken day-to-day. It also works well for someone who want to consume a high quantity of CBD, particularly for therapeutic reasons. The one downfall of a CBD isolate is it’s missing the teamwork of hemp’s many active compounds, aka: the “entourage effect.”

CBD and The Entourage Effect  

The entourage effect is a phenomenon that occurs when substances are more effective in their whole and natural state, versus being extracted into separate parts (ie: CBD isolate). This sense of teamwork explains how the cannabis plant works – all the compounds within the hemp plant interact in the body to produce a stronger influence compared to consuming any one of the compounds alone – it’s a synergistic effect. The best entourage effect comes from full-spectrum CBD.

The main components involved in hemp’s entourage effect include cannabinoids, 0.03% THC, flavonoids, terpenes, chlorella, and fatty acids. Here's more about terpenes in CBD and what do they do. 

What is Full-Spectrum CBD?

A full-spectrum CBD oil contains everything the hemp plant naturally contains. While CBD appears to play the most significant role in hemp’s health benefits, it’s just one of over 100 different beneficial cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. All the different cannabidiol strains are important, including cannabinol (CBN), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC), cannabinodiol (CBL), cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) and even trace amounts of THC. The legal limit of THC in CBD oil is 0.03%, and that limit is applied to the end product. A 30 ml/30 gram bottle of tincture could have up to 90 mg THC.

What is Broad Spectrum CBD?

Broad spectrum CBD comes from the hemp plant and is a blend of CBD, other minor cannabinoids, and terpenes without any THC (0.0%). The CBD oil goes through a purification process to remove the THC from the final product. This ensures you receive all CBD’s health benefits without the legality issues surrounding THC.

Why Choose Full-Spectrum over Broad Spectrum CBD Oil?

They each have their benefits. While THC may help boost the overall entourage effect of the formula, removing it from the equation doesn’t hurt the product. A broad spectrum can also be effective at supporting wellness.

Full-spectrum CBD can come from either the hemp or marijuana plant; however, legally under the 2018 Farm Bill, it must contain

Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods

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