CBD Info

Full-spectrum vs Broad-spectrum CBD: What Makes Them Different?

Full-spectrum vs Broad-spectrum CBD: What Makes Them Different?

CBD stands for cannabidiol, and it is one of the numerous compounds found in marijuana. CBD products come in various forms, and one area of interest regarding the subjects has always been the comparison between full-spectrum CBD vs broad-spectrum CBD.

Full-spectrum CBD and broad-spectrum CBD are two of the three major types of CBD extracts available. It is the purest, unprocessed, and unfiltered hemp extract that contains the whole array of the hemp’s beneficial compounds: cannabinoids, terpenes, and essential oils. Full-spectrum CBD offers a holistic approach to CBD as it comprises the full range of cannabinoids, including delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, popularly known as THC. Full-spectrum CBD’s wide range of naturally occurring cannabinoids and terpenes enables it to have an entourage effect, a phenomenon whereby each element in the plant works together synergistically to provide maximum results.

On the other hand, broad-spectrum features a full range of hemp’s natural cannabinoids except for THC. It is initially a full-spectrum extract with all of cannabis’ terpenes and cannabinoids intact before sent through a refinement process to remove the THC. Broad-spectrum CBD is one of the most recent extracts in the world of cannabis products.

How Is Full-Spectrum And Broad-Spectrum CBD Made?

Full-Spectrum CBD: How Its Made?

• Sourcing ingredients

One of the vital processes necessary for the extraction of full-spectrum CBD is the need to source the right materials for the task. The quality of hemp that is selected plays a paramount role in determining the quality of the end product. Due diligence is a necessity when choosing the hemp to use because CBD is mostly unregulated. It is possible to encounter hemp that is contaminated with pesticides, fertilizers, and heavy metals.

• Bud preparation

Once CBD-rich and lab-tested hemp flowers are obtained, the next step will be to prepare the buds for CBD extraction. The hemp needs to be cured and dried. It is usually done by hanging and drying the hemp in barns. Once the curing and drying processes are complete, the buds that remain contain a compound known as CBDA, which is a precursor to CBD. CBDA is converted into active CBD through a process called decarboxylation.

• Extraction

There is not yet an industry standard on the safe extraction of photo cannabinoids from the raw hemp plant material. Therefore, consumers must be vigilant when conducting their research on CBD companies so that they do not fall victim to a product extracted using harmful chemicals. With such a myriad of extraction methods available to extract full-spectrum CBD from the plant, it is paramount to remember that the aim is to extract cannabinoids that are pure and suitable for human consumption.

We will dwell on two of the most popular safe methods used for extraction, namely the Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Method and the Organic Sugarcane Ethanol Extraction Method.

• Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Method

The Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Method is widely used for extraction because it results in a product that is safe for human consumption. Common grocery items such as vanilla extract and decaffeinated coffee are manufactured using the supercritical method. However, the method results in full-spectrum CBD that is harsh when taken orally as it leaves a bitter aftertaste.

The process also happens not to be gentle. It requires heavy machinery to withstand the high pressure that is involved. During the process, Carbon Dioxide is put under extreme pressure to force it into a liquid state. Once the liquid carbon dioxide is introduced to the plant matter, the plant’s properties are leached into the liquid carbon dioxide. Afterward, the pressure is released, and the carbon dioxide escapes in its gaseous state, leaving the extracted material behind.

• Organic Sugarcane Ethanol Extraction

This method utilizes ethanol as a solvent. It produces an extremely clean, and is quite gentle as compared to the supercritical carbon dioxide process. The best full-spectrum CBD oil is extracted using this method as it is milder in taste and enables the flavor of the terpenes to shine through without any bitterness in the end product. The process can be certified organic by utilizing organic sugarcane ethanol.

The equipment required to execute this process is simpler than that required for the Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Method. Ethanol is introduced to the plant and heated gradually in a water bath. It enables the ethanol to evaporate, therefore leaving behind all the beneficial properties that will have been derived from the hemp flowers.

• Distillation

This process is done to increase the purity of the full-spectrum CBD. In this process, the extract is taken through Short Path Distillation. Because every compound in hemp extract has a different boiling point, cannabinoids can be distilled to seventy-five percent.

Broad-Spectrum CBD: How Its Made?

Broad-spectrum CBD undergoes a similar extraction process to full-spectrum CBD. In other words, broad-spectrum CBD begins as raw hemp before being carbon dioxide extracted to create a whole plant, full-spectrum CBD extract. This extract then undergoes a proprietary cannabinoid separation to eliminate delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, popularly known as THC. The final product then undergoes quality control checks to ensure that it has zero THC content.

Full-Spectrum vs Broad-spectrum CBD: THC Content

Full-spectrum CBD contains several naturally occurring cannabis plant extracts such as terpenes, other cannabinoids, and up to 0.3% delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). On the other hand, broad-spectrum CBD also contains several cannabis plant components, but it is entirely free of THC.

Full vs Broad Spectrum CBD: Product Difference

Full-spectrum CBD: This contains small amounts of all components of the cannabis plant. Federally legal full-spectrum CBD always contains less than 0.3% delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol.In other jurisdictions where CBD legality is entire, it is possible to find full-spectrum products with a higher composition of THC.

Broad-spectrum CBD: This variant does not contain THC. It does contain other compounds of the cannabis plant.

The Pros, Cons of Full-Spectrum CBD and Broad-Spectrum CBD.

Full-spectrum CBD


  • It provides the entourage effect. When multiple components of cannabis work together, you obtain more benefits than when these components taken individually.
  • When phytocannabinoids and terpenes taken together helps reduce pain, anxiety, and inflammation.


  • If you take a dose that is significantly potent enough, you may feel ‘high’ due to the presence of psychoactive THC.
  • Full-spectrum products contain delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), therefore, individuals run the risk of testing positive during a drug test.

Broad-Spectrum CBD


  • The absence of THC implies that you maintain the state of sobriety as there is no ‘high’ feeling.


  • It is not very effective due to the absence of the entourage effect.

The Positive, Negative Effects of Full-Spectrum and Broad-Spectrum CBD.

Full-spectrum CBD

There is a myriad of positive effects that can be obtained from the use of full-spectrum CBD. It has been known to have healing properties. For instance, the terpenes in the cannabis plant have anti-inflammatory properties. Furthermore, the presence of other cannabinoids in the whole plant extract enhances the overall effect of taking CBD. On the other hand, it is critical to highlight that issues are surrounding CBD legality. Firstly, in most jurisdictions, it is illegal to manufacture CBD products with a THC content that exceeds 0.3%. Furthermore, if athletes use full-spectrum CBD products they might find themselves failing drug tests.

Broad-Spectrum CBD

Broad-spectrum CBD is particularly useful to individuals with specific health conditions. Some people have health conditions or take medications that do not react well to cannabidiol. Fortunately, one can select broad-spectrum CBD products that do not carry harmful cannabinoids. There are several broad-spectrum products, each carrying different kinds of cannabinoids. Therefore it is possible to choose the one that is best suited to you. However, the negative effect of broad-spectrum CBD is the fact that it loses its effectiveness due to the absence of the entourage effect.

CBD Isolate: What is it & How it Differs?

You might come accross another form of CBD named “CBD isolate” which refers to a crystalline solid or powder that comprises pure CBD. To produce CBD isolate, manufacturers use various processes to extract all the compounds and substances from cannabis, including the much talked about THC. The process leaves behind only the purest form of CBD that will be in crystalline form. It is common practice amongst manufacturers to grind the crystals into powder form so that they become easier to consume. What makes it more distinctive than broad spectrum is that CBD isolate does not contain other cannabinoids such as THC, CBG or CBN. It is also worth highlighting that CBD isolate does not have a distinctive smell or taste.

CBD isolate can be found in products such as CBD edible gummies and is known to interact with the human body by action on the cannabinoids receptors. It causes an effect on several bodily functions such as appetite, memory, pain perception, mood, inflammation levels, and so on.


As highlighted in the passages above, many benefits are associated with taking CBD. However, because it is such a wide topic and one that also has health consequences, individuals must be well versed with critical CBD issues such as full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, and CBD isolate. They should have details regarding the constituent compounds, manufacturing process, benefits, disadvantages, and legal issues. There are numerous sources where one can find authentic information regarding the use of CBD. These include trusted online publications, blogs, medical professionals and health products regulatory bodies.

Aldo M. Porter
the authorAldo M. Porter
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