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Cannabidiol or CBD for short, is a phytocannabinoid found in the hemp plant. (As opposed to endocannabinoids which are naturally occurring in the body). There are over 90 naturally occurring cannabinoids in hemp, however CBD is the most dominant, followed by THC. Full Spectrum CBD is the combination of CBD with its associated cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. Other minor cannabinoids found in the hemp plant include CBG, CBC, and CBN. Don’t let this discourage you! Right now we are focusing on CBD. You may have heard terms like full spectrum, broad spectrum, isolate, or hemp extract. It can be hard to keep up with so many different terms and new lingo popping up seemingly every day.  So what is the deal, and what do these words really mean? Which one is better? Let’s start with Full Spectrum and work our way from there.

Full Spectrum CBD

Full Spectrum Cannabidiol (CBD) is an extract of the hemp plant that contains all of the associated compounds with it. These include other minor cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. Examples of other cannabinoids found in the hemp plant can be seen below. Full Spectrum CBD will have low levels of THC in it (<0.3% by law). It is important to note that the <0.3% THC concentration is an arbitrary distinction. It is possible for hemp to contain much higher levels of THC than this. The CBD along with the terpenes and minor cannabinoids works synergistically to produce what is commonly referred to as the entourage effect. A popularly cited study suggests that the full spectrum hemp extract is more effective than the CBD isolate. 

Illustration of the proportions of CBD vs. the minor cannabinoids. Note this is purely for illustrative purposes and is not intended to be an exact representation of the percentages of cannabinoids found in full spectrum CBD or otherwise.

Broad Spectrum CBD

Broad spectrum is essentially full spectrum CBD with the exception of THC. The THC is removed from the extract while maintaining the other cannabinoids and terpenes. This requires additional processing and thus can be more expensive than full spectrum products.

CBD Isolate

Now that we’ve covered Full and Broad Spectrum, let’s talk about CBD isolate. CBD isolate is the purified crystalline form. This form of CBD is absent from the other cannabinoids and terpenes. While some may look at CBD isolate as lesser than the full spectrum extract, it still has its own benefits. First and foremost, CBD isolate contains absolutely no THC. For someone who needs to ensure they have no THC in their system, this is a good choice. Additionally, some users do not react well to the full spectrum extracts, and require the isolate. We combine our CBD isolate tinctures with two of the most commonly occurring terpenes, Myrcene and B-Caryophyllene. This formula can give you the best of both worlds, as the terpenes enhance the isolate without the use of THC.

Hemp Extract

You may have seen certain ads or products labeled as “Hemp Extract”. This is where it can get confusing. CBD by definition, is hemp extract, however not all hemp extract is CBD. Read that again slowly. The reason some companies advertise “hemp extract” is because there are a lot of advertising restrictions for CBD. Most social media platforms outright ban it. However there are also products on the market that contain hemp oil or hemp seed oil. These products are not CBD rich and will not give you the desired effect of using a CBD rich product. If you are buying CBD products from amazon, it will most likely be hemp seed oil. Amazon does not allow CBD products to be sold on their site. A few may fall through the cracks, but it is not a reputable source for high quality CBD products (yet!). Some people will purchase this unaware of the difference. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. 

Key Takeaways

  • Full Spectrum CBD is the combination of CBD with other minor cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.
  • Broad Spectrum is the same as Full Spectrum without the THC.
  • THC content in Full Spectrum CBD should be very low (<0.3% by law), but can be higher than that.
  • Full Spectrum (or Broad Spectrum) CBD is not inherently better than CBD isolate.
  • CBD isolate is beneficial for people who are sensitive to full or broad spectrum CBD, or who cannot risk having any THC in their systems.
  • Hemp seed oil is not a CBD rich extract and does not contain the necessary elements to provide the benefits of CBD.