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What is the Difference Between Broad Spectrum, Full Spectrum and CBD Isolates?

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Broad spectrum, Full spectrum and Isolates. When it comes to CBD, you have a few different cannabinoid spectrum options you can choose from.

Regarding CBD, you have an option to purchase broad spectrum, full spectrum and isolates. They may sound or seem similar, but they are in fact totally different from each other. So, how are they different and what does each spectrum mean regarding CBD oil? There are important differences and of course pros and cons for each format of CBD.

Broad Spectrum CBD

Broad spectrum CBD simply means that it contains cannabidiol and every other compound found in the plant except that of THC. All traces of THC are removed after the initial extraction. It is actually like a mixture of CBD isolate and CBD full spectrum. So in other words, its contents are the entire spectrum of cannabinoids, minus the THC part.

Full Spectrum CBD

Full spectrum CBD contains all phytochemicals that are naturally found in the plant. This includes terpenes, essential oils, trace cannabinoids and CBD. The CBD extracts from full spectrum come with a minimal amount of THC which is less than 3%.
There is an entourage effect that comes along with the full spectrum which means all the active compounds that are extracted from CBD work with each other to magnify health benefits.

If you consume higher amount of CBD daily, it can cause a false positive result in a drug test, even though full spectrum is non-psychoactive.
That’s why broad-spectrum CBD oil seems to be the better choice.

CBD Isolate

CBD isolate is formed by removing it from its native environment and then it is removed from all the other ingredients.
There is an advantage to using CBD isolate as opposed to the other forms. Isolates tend to have the most concentration of CBD for each serving. They typically are close to 100% pure which means one gram of powder contains approximately 990mg of CBD.
Its demands are lower than broad or full spectrum CBD as it has no entourage effect and will only be beneficial from the effects of cannabidiol. This also makes it less expensive than the other formats.

Choosing the Right One for You – Broad Spectrum, Full Spectrum or Isolate?

The deliberation continues on which format of CBD is better. A study in 2015 seemed to be in favor of full spectrum products. A lot of people think that having cannabinoids, notably THC is necessary to get all the benefits the plant has to offer. People that prefer a holistic path to medical cannabis treatment tend to like full spectrum CBD. However, each user of CBD is different and must resolve for them which one best fits their individual needs.
Importantly, do not think that either spectrum is intrinsically better than the other forms.
Everyone’s needs are different and can react differently to CBD. So base your decision on which spectrum of CBD works best for your individual needs.

In order to help you further in your decision process, below are some of the pros and cons for each spectrum and examples each type would be best for.

Pros and Cons: Broad Spectrum


  • Provides entourage effect
  • Not as processed as isolate
  • No effects of psychoactive


  • Researched less
  • Not as available as full spectrum or isolates
  • Can contain a strong, natural flavor of CBD

What Broad Spectrum Works Best For:

  • Those sensitive to THC
  • Those residing in places with strict THC regulations
  • CBD first time users leery of THC
  • Those that have conditions that isolates only can help

Pros and Cons: Full Spectrum


  • Has the entourage effect
  • Processed the least
  • Additional health benefits as it contains flavonoids and terpenes


  • Could appear on drug test
  • Strong smell and flavor of
  • THC content could be an issue with local law

What Full Spectrum Works Best For

  • Those that want the benefits from small amounts of THC
  • Those that live in states where cannabis is legal
  • Those that suffer from symptoms harsher that broad spectrum or isolates fail to help with

Pros and Cons: CBD Isolate


  • Highly concentrated
  • Versatile
  • Safest for all users of CBD
  • Flavorless and odorless
  • Will pass drug testing
  • Risk free from getting high


  • Does not have an entourage effect

What CBD Isolate Works Best For

  • Those that take higher doses of CBD
  • Those that are sensitive to THC
  • Fearful of failing a drug test
  •  Newer users of CBD leery of other cannabinoids
  • Those residing in states with strict THC regulations
  • Those that prefer flavorless products

CBD Oil Spectrums: Final Thoughts

There are a variety of aspects that can lead you in a certain direction to choose one CBD spectrum over another.

Your lifestyle, weight and body chemistry along with your substance history are all factors that are influential in how you react to the different formats of CBD.

Broad spectrum CBD may be the best choice for many CBD users as it does provide some entourage effects minus any psychoactive effects of THC. A high dose of CBD could be enough to get rid of symptoms while others may need more THC in order to feel the difference.

In order to properly meter the effectiveness of each spectrum, much more research is required. Trial and error to determine which one would be best for you is the best approach right now.

What Exactly Does CBD Isolate Do?

First let’s talk about, what is CBD isolate? Then we can discuss what exactly does CBD isolate do? Great question and a lot of people ask it that are considering trying the several different types of CBD that’s available online. Not all CBD products are created equal. As a matter of fact, most have very little CBD or even none at all. Many others have very high levels of CBD, however, during the manufacturing process much of it is removed. So, is CBD pure or does it have contaminants? Let’s find out…

What Is CBD Isolate?

Pure CBD is purified water and hemp oil. There are other formulas of CBD found in combination products such as hemp oil capsules and hemp tea.

There several different methods used for extracting CBD from the cannabis plant. The most natural form is CBD Isolate, often referred to as CBD extract because only medicinal-grade CBD is extracted in the process. Experts feel that free range otherwise known as organic hemp plants have the highest levels of CBD.

CBD Isolate along with several other products contain some type of CBD as an ingredient. It isn’t likely that any product containing CBD will cause any adverse effects when taken in the right dosage. When combining CBD and other medications, it is always best to consult with your health care provider.

CBD Isolate has many different types to choose from. Several brands use high tech methods of manufacturing to be certain the plant matter is isolated and does not affect the health of the user. Some common ingredients are, flowery oils such as lavender and rose hip, hemp oil, lemons and citrus.

Reading labels is very important, so regardless of what type of CBD isolate product you decide on, make sure to read the labels. Taking CBD Isolate is safe; however, consumers need to know how much they are ingesting. It’s always a good idea before adding any supplement to your daily routine, including CBD Isolate, talk to your health care provider. Upon starting a supplement of CBD Isolate you should take it regularly for at least four weeks then see your health care provider for any updates. Monitoring the intake of CBD Isolate can assure consumers that they are safe and the product is effective.


Russo, E.B. (2011). Taming THC: Potential Cannabis Synergy and Phytocannabinoid-terpenoid Entourage Effects. British Journal of Pharmacology, 163(7), 1344–1364.

Gallily, R., Yekhtin, Z., Hanus, J.O. (2015) Overcoming the Bell-Shaped Dose-Response of    Cannabidiol by Using Cannabis Extract Enriched in Cannabidiol. Pharmacology & Pharmacy, 6, 75–85.


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