Full-spectrum Vs. Broad-spectrum Vs. CBD Isolate

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Despite being associated with controversies due to its psychoactive potential, cannabis is known to possess medicinal benefits and has been used to treat and manage many disorders such as epilepsy, insomnia, depression, anxiety, chronic and acute pains, among others. But there is little evidence to fully substantiate these medicinal activities.

Cannabis has numerous chemical compounds, with over a hundred such substances classified as cannabinoids. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the dominant cannabinoids. THC is the psychoactive compound which appeals greatly to recreational cannabis consumers, while CBD has no such intoxicating power.

CBD’s standing as an extremely sought-after chemical compound is not in doubt.  The industry is already a multi-billion dollar market, estimated to be worth more than ten billion dollars by 2024. CBD is the most searched single supplement in our world today. Google records millions of CBD searches monthly as more and more people turn to CBD for wellness purposes. People consume or use CBD for many reasons, but the chief among them is its feel-good effects and its capacity as a lifestyle support substance.

For new cannabis enthusiasts, navigating a CBD store or shelf may be confusing. You will come across terms that may be unfamiliar, so this article is devoted to clarifying any confusion. On every CBD product container, you will see either ‘full-spectrum’, ‘broad-spectrum’, or ‘CBD isolate’ on the label. Although all made with CBD, these forms have substantial differences.  The major variance among the three CBD product forms has to do with their active constituents and especially with the presence or absence of THC. Now let’s take you through the three forms.

CBD Isolates

CBD isolate is a pure CBD form. It contains no other compound except CBD. It is the CBD form that some may refer to as CBD crystals because it exists in powdered forms.  CBD isolate is better when extracted from hemp plants. Although it can also be isolated from marijuana, hemp is preferable due to its higher CBD and lower THC content compared to marijuana.


CBD isolate is pure CBD with no other content. Since it has no THC and therefore offers no entourage effect, it is the ideal form for new or amateur CBD users.

CBD isolates present a perfect means of CBD consumption for athletes. The broad-spectrum and full-spectrum products contain a little THC that may be detected when athletes undergo drug tests, but isolates have no THC. Although CBD has been delisted as a banned substance in sports by the regulatory body, World Anti-Doping Agency, THC is still prohibited by the agency.

Additionally, CBD isolate is the best available CBD form for people who may have ethical issues against THC or are allergic to THC.


CBD isolates do not offer users entourage effect because it contains no other substance other than pure CBD.

The product may not be readily bioavailable due to a lack of flavonoids and terpenes that enhance the bioavailability of cannabinoids.

Full-spectrum CBD

The full-spectrum CBD is a rich CBD form. It possesses all the constituent agents of the cannabis plants – terpenes, flavonoids, essential oils, vitamins, proteins (amino acids), and essential cannabinoids. It is the potent CBD form for pro users as it offers profound effects, producing what is known as the entourage effect.


With the full-spectrum form, the active ingredients of the cannabis plant work together to exert a profound entourage effect on users.

It has no psychoactive effect on users even though it contains THC, a psychoactive compound. This is because all full-spectrum CBD products contain less than 0.3% THC, which is not enough to elicit the euphoric feeling traditionally associated with THC consumption.

Full-spectrum CBD products have well-enhanced bioavailability due to their flavonoid content.


If taking a sizeable quantity or an overdose of a high potency full-spectrum CBD product, there is a possibility of experiencing psychoactive effects due to the THC content.

Athletes may test positive in drug tests when they take full-spectrum CBD products because of their THC content, despite it being under 0.3%.

Broad-spectrum CBD

The broad-spectrum CBD contains all components of the cannabis plant except for THC. So it is similar to full-spectrum because it contains other ingredients, but different from CBD isolate, which is CBD in its uncontaminated form. 

Benefits of Broad-spectrum CBD

When you consume broad-spectrum CBD products, you do not have to worry about getting “high” as they have no THC.

Broad-spectrum CBD forms have improved bioavailability due to their flavonoid content, so consumers feel their impact is felt quickly.

They offer athletes the possibility of enjoying the entourage effect associated with cannabis ingestion without the fear of failing a drug test.


The entourage effect offered by broad-spectrum products may not be as intense as those of full-spectrum since they lack THC. 


Full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolate products are all made from the cannabis plant. The difference only lies in the inclusion or exclusion of some substances.

They are all extracted using similar methods: carbon dioxide extraction, steam distillation, solvent extraction, or lipid extraction.

Which CBD form is the Best?

Whether it is full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate, no CBD form can be said to be better than the other. You might ask why some people prefer one form over another. The answer is simple – choice and individual needs.

For reasons we have explained above, some people avoid THC, so they go for either the broad-spectrum or isolate. Some crave the entourage effect or want to enjoy cannabis in its entirety, so they opt for full-spectrum products.


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