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Full Spectrum vs Broad Spectrum: What’s the Difference?


For new users of CBD oils and other products, some of the terminology can be a bit confusing. From terpenes to cannabinoids to flavonoids, from isolate to to broad-spectrum to full-spectrum and the “entourage effect”, the slew of information can make it difficult to determine just which products will best address your individual needs.

Well, fear not! We’re here to help you sort through the info so you can make a confident, informed decision about how to best treat your needs.

When comparing CBD products, one of the most important considerations is the difference between CBD isolate, full-spectrum CBD, and broad-spectrum CBD. Put simply, these categories describe which other plant materials are present in the product.

All CBD oils, topicals, and other products are derived from the cannabis plant — either hemp or marijuana. And while CBD (full name “Cannabidiol”) is one of the most beneficial and desirable chemical compounds (or “cannabinoids”) of that plant, many other compounds occur naturally in both cannabis varieties.

CBD Isolate

Contains virtually nothing but CBD. Through the isolation process, all other plant material is removed, leaving a 99+% pure CBD product. 

However, not all isolate products are created equal: in fact, some such products leave trace amounts of the psychoactive cannabinoid known as THC, which is responsible for the “high” users of traditional marijuana experience.

Some isolate users have reported noticeable psychoactive effects from even trace amounts of this compound. Moreover, because THC is still regulated at the Federal level, it is important to carefully verify the purity of your CBD isolates before purchase.

Full-spectrum CBD

Products, by contrast, contain all of the compounds present in the naturally-growing plant. This means that such products contain not only CBD, but also a number of other chemicals, each with their own therapeutic effect. These include flavonoids (responsible for non-green colors in the plant), terpenes (responsible for the plant’s aromatic smell), and a number of other cannabinoids including CBG, CBN, and THC.

These compounds each have their own effect on the human body; taken together, they synergize and create what is called the “entourage effect”, which delivers the same benefits as CBD usage but with an added bodily sensation that many users find pleasant. However, because full-spectrum products contain more than trace amounts of THC, some are not legally available in all states.

The Federal government has imposed a legal limit of 0.3% THC content for CBD products. It is important to note that some full-spectrum products surpass this legal limit, while many others do not. CBD Choice carefully curates all of its products, and each CBD Choice full-spectrum offering conforms to Federal limits, thus allowing you to enjoy the full entourage effect legally and without a high.

Broad-spectrum CBD

Products, like full-spectrum, contain a variety of the compounds present in the cannabis plant, but without the THC. These products undergo a series of chemical processes to isolate and remove as much of the THC compound as possible. Because of this, broad-spectrum CBD products are ideal for users who enjoy the entourage effect but who, for personal or legal reasons, wish to avoid the psychoactive effects of THC.

Deciding What CBD is Best For You

When deciding which CBD product is right for you, only experience can tell you for sure. While some users prefer the pure benefits of CBD isolate, many others enjoy the entourage effect from full-spectrum and broad-spectrum products. Before making a decision, however, it is essential to verify the legality of THC in your state; depending on where you live, this might limit your choice to isolate or broad-spectrum products (though be sure, again, to verify the purity of isolates before purchase).

Regardless of which product you decide upon, knowing the difference between these varieties allows you to make a more informed decision and to better address your unique health and wellness needs.

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