Full Spectrum Vs Broad Spectrum CBD Oil

full spectrum vs broad spectrum

CBD Oil - The Differences Explained

If you have shopped CBD oil products online or in any store, then you’ve probably noticed one thing; CBD products are not all created equal. 

CBD is generally available in three different forms, full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, and CBD isolates

Although they are all extracted from cannabis plants, they differ significantly in terms of the extraction process, cannabinoid content, potency, and the benefits delivered. 

Consumers need to understand the key differences between these types of CBD to determine their ideal choice of CBD oil, based on the effects they’re looking for. 

Here, we’ll mainly focus on full-spectrum CBD Vs broad-spectrum CBD. 

We’ll also briefly touch on CBD isolate, but we won’t get into too much detail, seeing as CBD isolate is a very broad topic on its own.

A Closer Look At CBD Oil

Cannabis sativa plants naturally produce over 400 different chemicals. At least 80-100 of these are phytocannabinoids or simply cannabinoids. 

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the most prevalent and popular cannabinoids today. 

Animal research also points towards the potential health benefits of other cannabinoids like cannabinol (CBN), cannabigerol (CBG), and cannabichromene (CBC). 

CBD oil does not necessarily contain CBD and a carrier oil only. Different CBD forms contain various compounds that work in synergy with the CBD molecules to offer the maximum benefits of hemp.

When hemp plants are harvested, they are taken to an extraction facility where flavonoids, fatty acids, terpenes, and cannabinoids are extracted. 

What the manufacturer does with these constituents determines the spectrum of the final product. 

For instance, terpenes and other cannabinoids can be re-introduced into the pure CBD molecules making it a broad-spectrum or full-spectrum CBD. 

Alternatively, CBD oil may go through a rigorous refinement process of purity to create CBD isolate (a white powder that’s 99% pure CBD).

Note that the cannabinoid profile of your CBD oil will also differ significantly based on the strain of cannabis used during the extraction process. 

For instance, CBD sourced from industrial hemp possesses 0.3% or less THC and high levels of CBD, making it non-psychoactive. 

Comparably, CBD extracted from a cannabis strain like Argyle will contain a 1:1 THC to CBD ratio. 

CBD companies often choose the strain from which to extract CBD depending on the intended purpose of the final product, based on their consumers’ needs.

What Is Full-Spectrum CBD?

The extraction of full-spectrum CBD oil preserves most of the cannabis Sativa chemical compounds, including high concentrations of CBD, terpenes, essential oils, flavonoids, fatty acids, and other cannabinoids. This includes less than 0.3% THC, which is the legal limit required by law. 

Full-spectrum CBD products typically feature all the complementary and therapeutically applicable compounds in the entire hemp plant, including minor cannabinoids like CBN and CBVA. 

Research has found that fatty acids, flavonoids, and terpenes impact the effects of cannabinoids, supporting the entire endocannabinoid system (ECS).

That said, the trace amounts of THC in full-spectrum products cannot get you intoxicated or cause a high. 

However, consumers are warned that this THC content can make you fail a drug test, especially when consumed regularly in higher doses

Besides, the THC can build up in your body over time of consumption. This may cause problems if your employer does not tolerate the use of THC.

Full spectrum CBD oil results in an entourage effect, a mechanism believed to enhance the overall effects of cannabis plants. 

Numerous cannabis compounds, including cannabinoids and terpenes, must work in synergy to produce the entourage effect. 

Consumers who don’t mind a small dose of THC in their products may consider full-spectrum extract for their needs.

Hemp and its derivatives were legalized at a federal level under the 2018 farm bill. This made cannabis products with 0.3% or less THC readily available throughout the United States

However, keep in mind that different states regulate hemp-based products, including CBD, differently. 

It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the  CBD regulations in your state and check the employment restrictions. 

If you can’t tolerate THC, but still want the benefits of the entourage effect, then your best bet is broad-spectrum CBD products.

What Is Broad-Spectrum CBD Oil?

Broad-spectrum CBD oil is pretty similar to full-spectrum CBD oil, but it has one key difference – the active ingredient THC has been eliminated.

This means that broad-spectrum CBD formulations contain most of the beneficial compounds in whole hemp plants, including flavonoids, terpenes, fatty acids, and select cannabinoids like CBN and CBG. 

However, THC is removed after the extraction process

State-of-the-art chromatography processes eliminate all THC from the formula. The formula must also undergo a critical refining process that removes all unwanted compounds. 

Be aware, however, that some broad-spectrum CBD products from specific companies may possess trace amounts of THC. 

Most people assume that because THC has been eliminated from broad-spectrum CBD oil, it doesn’t generate an entourage effect.

Broad-spectrum CBD oil is pretty similar to full-spectrum CBD oil, but it has one key difference – the active ingredient THC has been eliminated

Understand that broad spectrum products contain additional plant compounds, such as cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, which contribute to the entourage effect. 

So, if you need the benefits of the entourage effect without the influence of THC, or you live in a state in the US with stringent cannabis laws, then broad spectrum products are an excellent choice. 

With a broad-spectrum CBD product, you typically receive all the benefits of full-spectrum CBD products without needing to worry about THC accumulation in your system from consistent use.

What Is The Entourage Effect?

The entourage effect is a term used to refer to the mechanism by which multiple cannabis compounds work in synergy to enhance the benefits of the plant. 

For instance, the active compounds in full spectrum oil work synergistically to intensify the effects offered by individual compounds. 

That synergetic effect is referred to as the entourage effect. 

Full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD oils possess different compounds that boost the overall effects of hemp. Some of the additional cannabinoids include:

Cannabigerol (CBG)

A relatively new and non-psychoactive cannabinoid that occurs in abundant amounts in low-THC strains. 

It is produced from cannabigerolic acid after decarboxylation. 

CBG is well known for its anti-inflammatory and pain-alleviating benefits.

Cannabinol (CBN)

A non-psychoactive compound that’s mainly found in aged cannabis plants. 

When THC is oxidized or ages, it breaks down into CBN. 

CBN typically possesses sedative properties that can help with insomnia.

Cannabichromene (CBC)

A potent non-psychoactive cannabinoid that won’t cause a high feeling. 

It has been shown to possess potential therapeutic benefits and can help with inflammation and mood.

Cannabidivarin (CBDV)

A non-psychoactive minor cannabinoid that possesses a closely similar molecular structure to CBD. 

CBDV has mainly been shown to reduce the frequency and severity of seizures significantly.

Full-Spectrum Vs Broad-Spectrum CBD Products - Which Is Best For You?

Perhaps you’re confused between full-spectrum CBD vs broad-spectrum CBD for your needs? 

The most important thing to note is that human bodies process CBD differently. 

We have different genes, genders, lifestyles, and overall health that determine how our bodies respond to active ingredients, including THC and CBD.

Therefore, when deciding between full-spectrum CBD vs broad-spectrum CBD, the most important thing to consider is the effects you’re looking for. 

People consume various CBD products to meet different needs; these needs primarily reflect which type of CBD is best suited for you.

For instance, broad-spectrum CBD is the best choice for those who want the ‘whole plant‘ benefits without having to worry about the influence of THC. 

People who don’t mind the presence of THC in their system should consider full-spectrum oil. 

Although considered much less potent, some consumers prefer CBD isolates. 

However, most users go for full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD products because isolate products are relatively more expensive. 

Remember that how long it takes for CBD oil effects to kick in and the bioavailability of your CBD depends on the consumption method (edibles, vaping, topicals, tinctures, etc) rather than the spectrum of CBD oil being consumed.

What Is CBD Isolate?

CBD isolate is by far the purest form of CBD oil. The CBD molecules are isolated from other hemp compounds through a further refinement process that removes all other compounds including, cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. This leaves behind more than 99% pure CBD. 

Isolate CBD oil has the highest concentrations of CBD. But it is not necessarily better or more beneficial than other types of CBD

In fact, CBD alone may not offer as promising or extensive benefits as full-spectrum or broad spectrum CBD oil

That’s because these products do not utilize other hemp compounds to create an entourage effect.

Because isolates undergo more rigorous refinement and require more plant material to extract high levels of pure CBD, they are often more expensive than full-spectrum CBD vs broad-spectrum CBD

This makes them a less popular CBD option for daily use to improve general wellness. 

Generally, people who use this cannabis extract are sensitive to other cannabinoids. When buying CBD isolate products, you want to ensure it is more than 99% pure CBD. 

Some oils may contain negligible amounts of other cannabinoids, which beats the whole purpose of paying for pure CBD oil!

So, Which Type Of CBD Should You Use?

Now that you understand the primary difference between full-spectrum CBD vs broad-spectrum CBD, you’re probably thinking, should I choose one CBD spectrum over the other? 

Short answer? Yes.

However, your choice is greatly determined by your unique needs and personal preference rather than which oil is inherently better than the other. 

The point is, there is no better type of CBD than the other. Every consumer has different needs, and the best option is the oil that best meets their unique conditions. 

To help you make an informed decision let’s quickly recap the pros and cons of each CBD type and go over the situations each oil is best suited for.

Why Use Full-Spectrum CBD?

Full-spectrum extracts contain all hemp chemical compounds and cannabinoids, including less than 0.3 percent THC

It is believed to offer the best entourage effect. 

And although trace amounts of THC cannot cause a high, it might show up on a drug test.

Full-spectrum CBD oil is ideal for:

  • Consumers who require a specific THC to CBD ratio.
  • Consumers living in areas where cannabis is legal and marijuana laws are lenient.
  • Patients looking to manage a serious medical condition that broad-spectrum and isolate CBD cannot help with.


  • Provides the benefits of the entourage effect.
  • Goes through a less rigorous CBD extraction  process.
  • Possesses a small amount of THC that some consumers may prefer. 


  • May have mildly psychoactive and unwanted side effects.
  • The little THC can falsely make you fail a drug test.
  • It is more regulated in some states.

Why Use Broad-Spectrum CBD Oil?

Broad-spectrum CBD oil undergoes further refinement to remove THC. 

The vast array of compounds, terpenes, and cannabinoids in this hemp extract still create an entourage effect. 

Because it lacks THC, broad-spectrum CBD does not provide psychoactive results and is ideal for those sensitive to the effects of THC.

Broad-spectrum CBD is ideal for:

  • Those sensitive to THC or simply can’t have THC in their system for various reasons. 
  • People living in countries or states with strict cannabis regulations.
  • First time CBD users that are uncertain about THC.


  • Provides the full benefits of the entourage effect.
  • It has no risks of failing a drug test or providing the psychoactive effects of THC. 
  • May be more potent than CBD isolates.


  • Can have a strong natural taste that may be unpleasant for some consumers.
  • Some broad-spectrum CBD products may contain negligible trace amounts of THC. 

The Bottom Line

Knowing the main differences between broad-spectrum CBD vs full-spectrum CBD is the first and most crucial step to experiencing the maximum benefits of CBD. 

These products differ significantly. And there are many reasons why you’d prefer one spectrum over the other, depending on your needs. 

While the two types of CBD oil create an entourage effect, broad-spectrum CBD oil is best suited for those sensitive to THC. 

On the flip side, full spectrum CBD products are ideal for those who don’t mind small THC amounts in their system. 

Whether you are looking to start your CBD journey or try a different type of CBD, this guide equips you with the knowledge required to make an informed decision.