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What is Full Spectrum CBD? What is Broad Spectrum?

What's Full Spectrum?

CBD is one of the most ubiquitous words in health and wellness circles lately, and with it comes a lot of questions and confusion. There are several cannabis-related terms associated with CBD, so let’s unpack some of them here and try to bring some more clarity to the picture for you. 

CBD or Cannabidiol, is one of over 140 compounds in the cannabis or hemp plant that has been linked to numerous health benefits. Unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol,) the psychoactive compound in cannabis that causes the “high,” CBD is not a psychotropic, so it won’t make you feel “loopy” or “stoned.” CBD and other similar compounds found in hemp and cannabis are known as Cannabinoids, and CBD is the most abundant cannabinoid in the hemp plant, whereas THC is the abundant cannabinoid in the marijuana plant. 

One of the big misconceptions in the hemp-derived product world is that “CBD is CBD, it’s all the same, so it doesn’t matter where you get it from as long as it is from a reputable hemp company.” This concept is not accurate, so let’s start deciphering from here. CBD is not all the same, for starters there is organic and conventional hemp, so right there is a big difference, and some CBD products are 3rd party lab tested while other CBD products are not, another big difference. But one of the most significant differences lies in the thought process of formulating a hemp-derived CBD product. 

When it comes to achieving the most therapeutic experience for a person trying CBD, those “in the know” would most likely concur that a full spectrum CBD product is better than a broad-spectrum CBD product or a CBD isolate, but what is truly the difference between these formulations? 

Full spectrum CBD is derived from the flowering buds and leaves of the hemp plant. The buds and leaves contain hundreds of medicinal plant compounds known as cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes that are captured during the extraction process. I mentioned before that CBD is just one of over 140 cannabinoids in hemp, and there is also trace amounts of THC in a full spectrum product. The legal permissible limit of THC in a CBD product is ≤0.3% (less than or equal to three tenths of 1%,) so it is extremely nominal, and it will not cause any euphoria or psychoactivity in people who use full spectrum CBD products. Flavonoids are responsible for the wide array of colors you see in fruits and vegetables and terpenes create the essence and aromas that come from plants and fruits and vegetables, and many of these compounds have been studied for their potential health benefits. People who are really struggling with managing symptoms of pain, anxiety and lack of sleep gravitate to purchasing and using full spectrum CBD formulas. 

What's Broad Spectrum?

Broad-spectrum CBD is similar to full spectrum CBD; however, the cannabinoid, flavonoid and terpene profile is typically more limited than with a full spectrum product, and broad-spectrum products do not contain any THC at all. During the extraction process, the THC is separated and completely removed, so not even trace amounts are present. Although there are only trace amounts of THC in full spectrum CBD products, the THC is said to potentiate the other compounds in the plant, creating a synergy often referred to as the “Entourage Effect.” While broad-spectrum products provide a more therapeutic response compared to a CBD isolate product, the lack of THC diminishes the synergistic effects but that doesn’t mean that a broad-spectrum product is not a good product. They are great in the right scenarios, and this has been discussed in a previous blog, so please check that one out too. 

Finally, we have CBD products that use only CBD as the main ingredient. Therefore, they are referred to as “isolates” because the cannabinoid stands by itself. During the extraction process all plant compounds except CBD are removed and what you are left with is a single cannabinoid-based extract that typically comes in the form of a white powder. There are no other flavonoids or terpenes or THC present in the product. While it may seem that CBD isolate is the least effective type of hemp formulation, the truth is that they can also provide relief from various symptoms, but it typically requires a larger dose before the health benefits kick in. And like I mentioned before, depending on the scenario, CBD isolate can be a great product. 

Let me ask you a question. If you were going off to fight a battle, and that battle was a symptom of any type of condition, would you want to march off to that battle with one soldier, dozens and dozens of soldiers or hundreds and hundreds of soldiers? I think we would all agree that we would elect to go into that battle with hundreds and hundreds of soldiers. So, you can use this example to say that one soldier represents a CBD isolate formulated product. Dozens and dozens of soldiers represent a broad-spectrum CBD formulated product, and hundreds and hundreds of soldiers represent a full spectrum CBD formulated product.

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