What Is Full Spectrum CBD?

What Is Full Spectrum CBD?


Not all CBD oil is created equal.

CBD edibles, CBD topicals, and other products usually come in equally popular varieties: isolate and full spectrum. Many consumers, unfortunately, do not know how to differentiate the two.

As discussed in an earlier post, CBD isolate oil contains only the cannabinoid CBD.


Unlike CBD isolate which solely includes the CBD compound, full spectrum CBD contains a wide range of other cannabinoids present in the hemp plant. While many compounds or phytochemicals exist naturally, the largest amounts are concentrated CBD (cannabidiol) and CBDa (cannabidiolic acid). Full spectrum CBD oil also includes other cannabinoids such as:

Cannabinol (CBN)

Cannabicyclol (CBL)

Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV)

Cannabichromevarinic Acid (CBCVA)

THC (In order for a CBD oil product to be legal in the United States, it must contain 0.3% or less THC per volume according to federal regulations.)

And more ...

Why full spectrum CBD?

People who choose full spectrum CBD often cite what’s known as ‘the entourage effect’, the idea that introducing all cannabinoids at once has a synergistic, beneficial effect on the endocannabinoid system, as a defining reason behind their preference. However, while the health benefits of CBD are backed by real science, the entourage effect does not as of yet have any legitimate studies to back up its purported advantages.

Why choose CBD isolate products?

Choosing a CBD isolate product versus a CBD full spectrum product is ultimately determined by the preference of the user, and the debate about which category reigns supreme rages on daily in the CBD space. That said, products containing CBD isolate have significant advantages over their full spectrum counterparts:

No THC Risk

As the name implies, CBD isolate has been removed from other compounds in the hemp plant, including THC. Federal regulation requires that all commercial CBD oil contain 0.3% or less THC. However, many manufacturers are not committed to transparency and often will not provide test results to consumers or even conduct them at all. Due to a lack of oversight by the FDA, full spectrum CBD oil from unethical providers has a much higher risk of THC contamination compared to CBD isolate products.

No Hemp/Cannabis Taste

Full spectrum CBD includes terpenes, compounds which give hemp its distinct aroma and taste. Topical CBD products using isolate do not have this odor, and tinctures, CBD edibles, and capsules do not have the marijuana-like taste many consumers are averse to.

Infuse with Anything

CBD isolate in powder or crystal form can be infused in a myriad of foods and beverages like smoothies, baked goods, and gummies without sacrificing taste or consistency. It’s also the preferred choice for topical products as it mixes well with essential oils.

Backed by Science

Multiple scientific studies have been conducted that point to the effectiveness of CBD in treating everything from pain and high blood pressure to liver injuries and much more. Conversely, little to no authoritative work has been completed to date in the scientific/medical community to substantiate the benefits of the entourage effect, the supposed beneficial synergy offered by full spectrum CBD.

Higher CBD Concentration

CBD isolate products retain a higher concentration of the CBD compound versus those made with full spectrum oil.

At the end of the day, the choice lies with the consumer, but when it comes to safety and scientific evidence, CBD isolate wins out.

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