Full-spectrum CBD… hmm, sounds like a good thing, right? But what does it really mean when a CBD product is referred to as “full-spectrum”, and what are the pros and cons associated with this type of CBD extract?
Full-spectrum CBD comes from hemp and includes all the naturally-occurring cannabinoids (including THC) from the hemp plant, along with some terpenes, essential vitamins and oils, proteins and more. For this reason, full-spectrum CBD is sometimes referred to as “whole plant CBD extract” because it contains all the naturally-occurring elements produced by the hemp plant.1
This is different from CBD isolate, another type of CBD extract, which only contains the CBD molecule. CBD isolate must be stripped of all other cannabinoids and beneficial elements involved in the natural process of hemp cultivation, leaving it isolated as a singular cannabinoid; CBD.
If this is still a little bit confusing, perhaps think of it like whole grain bread versus white refined bread. Whole grain bread is unrefined, meaning all the naturally-occurring nutrients are intact, which provide the body with more healthy benefits. On the other hand, white refined bread is milled, meaning the grains are stripped of their bran, germ, and most of the nutritional value that would otherwise be present. Whole grain bread is more natural and complex, meaning it will provide you with more health benefits, but is harder to digest. White refined bread has little to no nutritional value, making it simply “empty calories” that are relatively easy to digest.
The bread you choose is based on individual needs: Although whole grain bread seems like the obvious healthier choice, someone with Crohn’s Disease, for example, would do better choosing the white refined bread because it is easy to digest and unlikely to cause a flare-up.
This same idea can be applied when looking at full-spectrum CBD compared to CBD isolate. Full-spectrum CBD includes all of the cannabinoids and other beneficial elements found in the hemp plant, making it more natural and effective in providing the potential benefits of CBD use. CBD isolate manipulates the natural process of hemp cultivation by extracting the CBD cannabinoid and isolating it, thus making it less natural and less likely to maximize the benefits of CBD use. However, CBD isolate would pose as a viable option for someone who is apprehensive to using CBD or someone who is concerned about work-related drug testing.
But what about that other guy, Broad Spectrum CBD? Just like the middle child, this form of CBD extract is the middle-ground between full spectrum CBD and CBD isolate. It is very similar to full spectrum CBD except for one key difference: Broad spectrum CBD does NOT contain the cannabinoid THC. Broad spectrum CBD is extracted along with all the other compounds found within the plant, so it includes all the naturally-occurring terpenes, essential oils, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids. The only cannabinoid that is not included in broad spectrum CBD is THC. Because broad spectrum CBD still contains many cannabinoids, it still provides the enhanced benefits of the “entourage effect”, just without the risk of any THC involvement.