The Difference Between Full-Spectrum, Broad-Spectrum, and Isolate CBD

Difference Between Full-Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, and Isolate CBD

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When beginning a CBD regimen, choosing the right product can often feel like a daunting task. However, it doesn’t have to be. Understanding the difference between full-spectrum, broad-spectrum and isolate CBD is a breeze with this easy-to-understand guide. Without further ado, let’s dive right in!

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol, most famously known by the abbreviation “CBD,” is a 100% natural plant-based compound secreted by cannabis and hemp. Due to its wide variety of potential research-backed therapeutic applications, CBD has become a popular health and wellness trend in several different countries around the world. 

The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 legalized hemp-derived CBD in all 50 states, so long as all state and federal regulations are met. Additionally, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared CBD a safe compound, and it is readily available in a variety of different formats, which we will explain below. 

Types of CBD

Every CBD-based product incorporates cannabidiol in one of three different formats: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate. To understand the difference, it helps to have a basic understanding of the primary components of the cannabis plant. We have already published a detailed article that you can read here

In short, the cannabis plant (and hemp) incorporates three primary components: cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. The full extent of the therapeutic capabilities of each of these compounds remains unknown. While diligent researchers continue to uncover some pretty amazing discoveries, no health claim has yet to be substantiated.

Full-Spectrum CBD

Products advertised as “full-spectrum” include a much fuller scope of plant-based compounds. All cannabinoids (including CBD), terpenes, and flavonoids are present within the final product. As we will discuss later, consuming plants as a whole (whole-plant medicine) demonstrates superior to any single, isolated compound on its own

Broad-Spectrum CBD

Similar to full-spectrum CBD, products advertised as “broad-spectrum” incorporate a fuller profile. All plant-based compounds are present within the final product, except for the cannabinoid THC (delta-nine-tetrahydrocannabinol), which is filtered and removed from the final product. 

Some consumers may be opposed to the euphoric, sedative-like effects of THC for one reason or another. Broad-spectrum products cater to these individuals. It is crucial to keep in mind, however, that the amount of THC in full-spectrum products cannot (by law) exceed 0.3%, which is typically a non-intoxicating amount.

CBD Isolate

As the name implies, products incorporating CBD isolate strictly contain cannabidiol. All other compounds within the plant matter (terpenes, flavonoids, and all other cannabinoids) are filtered and removed from the final product.

Which Type of CBD is Best?

While CBD isolates have demonstrated beneficial, products that incorporate full or broad-spectrum CBD typically prove superior due to a phenomenon coined as the “entourage effect.”

Understanding the Entourage Effect

The entourage effect is the idea that the various compounds found in the cannabis plant, including cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, work together synergistically to produce more effective therapeutic results than any single compound taken in isolation. This concept is supported by several studies, which have shown that full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD products tend to offer better results than CBD isolates due to the presence of multiple compounds working together.

How to Choose the Right CBD Product for You

To determine the best type of CBD product for your needs, it’s important to consider your personal preferences, lifestyle, and specific health concerns. Here are a few factors to keep in mind when making your decision:

  1. Personal preferences: Some individuals may prefer to avoid THC altogether, making broad-spectrum CBD products a suitable choice. Others might be interested in experiencing the full range of cannabis compounds, in which case full-spectrum CBD products would be ideal.

  2. Desired effects: If you are seeking a more holistic approach to your health and wellness, full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD products may offer a more comprehensive range of benefits due to the entourage effect. However, if you are solely interested in the potential benefits of CBD, CBD isolate products may be the right choice for you.

  3. Legality and drug testing: In some jurisdictions or employment situations, the presence of even trace amounts of THC may be problematic. In such cases, broad-spectrum or CBD isolate products may be a more suitable choice to avoid potential legal issues or failed drug tests.

  4. Quality and safety: Regardless of the type of CBD product you choose, it’s crucial to prioritize quality and safety. Look for products that are third-party lab-tested, made from organically grown hemp, and sourced from reputable manufacturers. This will help ensure that you are getting a safe, high-quality product that meets your expectations.


Understanding the differences between full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate CBD products is essential when beginning a CBD regimen. By taking into account your personal preferences, desired effects, and any legal or employment-related considerations, you can make an informed decision about the best type of CBD product for you. Remember to prioritize quality and safety, and always consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns or questions about incorporating CBD into your wellness routine.

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I am the owner and founder of CBD Review Lab. I started CBD Review Lab after having a positive experience with CBD and wanted to share my experience in hopes it would help others. I hope that this website is helpful to you in finding a CBD product that suits your needs. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

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