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What Does Full-Spectrum, Broad-Spectrum & Isolate CBD Mean?

What Does Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum & Isolate CBD Mean?

From topicals and tinctures to concentrates and candies, CBD fans have never had so many choices. But no matter what CBD category you’re interested in, you’ve probably run across the following classifications: full spectrum, broad spectrum, and isolate. Every CBD product should have one of the following terms on its packaging—hence, they’re crucial for consumers to know about. 

 

 

Distinguishing between these terms may seem complicated, but there are easy ways to simplify these CBD spectrums. Knowing these differences should help you pick the perfect CBD product for your goals.

Why Bother Sorting Out These CBD Spectrums?

First off, you may be wondering whether these cannabis spectrums make much of a difference. Since all of these CBD oils went through intensive purification, they’re all basically the same—right?

True, these products share many features; but there are noteworthy distinctions customers should keep in mind. Manufacturers designed these labels to help you understand how well-refined each product is. This could help you distinguish a “raw” hemp extract from a 99 percent CBD powder. 

Most significantly, each of these labels lets you know whether you’ll be exposed to delta 9 THC. Per federal law, certain CBD extracts could have ≤ 0.3 percent THC. So, if you’re extra-sensitive to THC, you will have to know which tinctures filter out this cannabinoid. 

Lastly, each CBD spectrum has a different taste and aroma. In fact, only one of these three spectrums has no flavor (unless manufacturers add artificial flavors, of course). This is important to consider if you’re interested in making delectable CBD edibles.

Although you could use any of these products in your CBD infusions, it’s always better to go with the flavorless. 

What Does Full-Spectrum, Broad-Spectrum & Isolate CBD Mean? girl in the middle of field with tall green grass wearing a dress holding colorful balloons in left hand up to the sky

Full Spectrum vs. Broad Spectrum vs. Isolate CBD — What Are The Key Differences?

What Is CBD Full Spectrum?

We’ll start our list at the “least refined” end of the spectrum—that is, “full spectrum CBD.” Compared with broad spectrum and isolate, full spectrum CBD goes through the fewest rounds of purification. Manufacturers only remove excess plant material and just enough delta 9 THC when making full spectrum goods. This leaves you with a CBD oil that’s rich in secondary cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes. 

Most significantly, full spectrum CBD products can have ≤ 0.3 percent delta 9 THC. In fact, if you’re in a state with relaxed marijuana laws, you may see full spectrum CBD oils with over 0.3 percent THC. This inclusion of delta 9 THC is the key feature that separates full spectrum vs. broad spectrum CBD. 

FYI: You could find out more about US marijuana laws on this Bloom & Oil post

Full-Spectrum CBD Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Safe for people who are THC sensitive.
  • Delivers the “entourage effect.”

Cons 

  • Typically not as intense as full spectrum CBD.
  • Flavor could be bitter. 

What Is CBD Isolate?

CBD isolate is the exact opposite of full spectrum CBD. When you see CBD isolate on a product’s label, you should expect close to 100 percent CBD content. 

Of course, this means you won’t experience the “entourage effect” with a CBD isolate powder. However, since the CBD concentration is so pure, CBD isolate is incredibly easy to dose. Also, because CBD isolate has no hemp terpenes, it has no odor, making it an excellent choice for edibles, infusions, or even CBD cocktails.

CBD isolate is often sold in a white powdery form, but a few vendors sell this product as crystals. In fact, as dabbing culture continues to grow, it’s getting easier to find CBD isolate dabs online and in dispensaries. 

CBD Isolate Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Easy to accurately dose CBD consumption. 
  • Flavorless and odorless. 
  • Versatile; can be used in edibles, infusions, and topicals. 

Cons

  • No “entourage effect.”
  • Not as potent as full spectrum or broad spectrum. 
  • Some people don’t like the powdery consistency.

Are There Precautions When Choosing Different CBD Spectrums?

Like with any CBD item, customers must verify their chosen company can back up its quality claims. Since the FDA doesn’t regulate the CBD industry, it’s up to businesses to send their CBD products for third-party lab verification. These tests should give you the info necessary to make an informed purchase.

Also, please know that many advertisers are still confused about this spectrum system. For instance, it’s not uncommon for “broad spectrum” products to have minuscule traces of THC. Please always double-check third-party lab screenings rather than relying on the packaging. 

“"CBD is an integral part of my training and post-fight regimen expediting my body's natural healing process."“

- Anthony Pettis

What’s The Best CBD Spectrum For You?

There’s no “wrong” choice when purchasing full spectrum, broad spectrum, or isolate CBD. In fact, it’s common for CBD consumers to order each of these items for different purposes. For instance, you could have a container of CBD isolate for DIY edibles and a vial of full spectrum CBD that you take sublingually. Choosing the “perfect” product depends on your tolerance to THC and how you intend to use these items. 

Before buying a CBD item, ask yourself why you want to use this product. If you’re interested in max potency and the “entourage effect,” then full spectrum CBD is the best choice. Those who want the “entourage effect” without THC should look into broad spectrum CBD. Lastly, anyone who wants pure CBD in a flavorless and odorless form must focus on CBD isolate.

With these considerations in mind, you shouldn’t feel too confused the next time you’re in a CBD shop. 

The information provided is for informational purposes only. We do not claim to treat or cure any health ailment or condition. Please consult your doctor or healthcare provider before trying any new product. We are not responsible for any adverse reaction(s) you may have to any of the products featured on this site. See our T & C for more information.

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