Full-spectrum cannabidiol (CBD) and broad-spectrum CBD are two of the three main types of CBD extract. The main difference between the two relates to the presence of other naturally occurring plant compounds within the extract.
CBD is one of many compounds in the cannabis plant. Other than tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it is the plant’s most abundant compound.
The main difference. Trusted Source between full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD is the compounds they contain.
If a CBD product contains several naturally occurring cannabis plant extracts, such as terpenes and other cannabinoids — including up to 0.3% THC — it is full-spectrum CBD.
Broad-spectrum CBD also contains several cannabis plant compounds, but it is typically entirely free of THC. That said, there may sometimes be trace amounts of THC in broad-spectrum CBD products.
CBD isolate is the third common form of CBD. This is the pure form of CBD and contains no other cannabis plant compounds.
However, while these terms do carry some meaning, “CBD” and related terms do not undergo much regulation, so some manufacturers may use the words interchangeably or misuse them.
There are three main ways to extract CBD from the cannabis plant. These are:
- Carbon dioxide extraction: Uses CO2 to separate CBD oil from the cannabis plant. It is a popular extraction method for CBD products and is capable of successfully producing high concentration CBD.
- Steam distillation: Manufacturers use steam to help separate the oil from the plant material. It is a popular method for extracting essential plant oils, but it is not as effective as the CO2 method.
- Solvent extraction: Although this method is effective, it can leave behind solvent residue, which can pose a potential health risk. Solvent extraction can also affect the flavor of the extract.
- Lipid extraction: This process is gaining popularity, as some companies are now trying to avoid using CO2 and solvents.
After extraction, manufacturers refer to the resulting CBD oil as full spectrum. Hemp-sourced CBD will have a THC concentration of 0.3% or less.
Additionally, the extract must undergo a cooling and purification process to convert it into a CBD isolate product. Further processing leaves behind a crystalline isolate, or CBD crystals.
Pros and cons of full-spectrum CBD
Full-spectrum CBD has numerous other cannabinoid compounds from the cannabis plant, along with low levels of THC. Usually, the THC quantities are less than 0.3%Trusted Source on a dry weight basis since this is the federal law requirement for CBD products.
This low quantity of THC is not usually potent enough to cause the “high” that people typically associate with cannabis use.
However, THC levels can increase when manufacturers create concentrate products. For example, some tinctures can contain up to 2 milligrams (mg) per milliliter (ml) of THC, and in some cases, this can cause a euphoric effect.
Full-spectrum CBD also contains terpenes from the cannabis plant. Terpenes tend to give plants their scent.
Research points to the existence of the “entourage effect. Trusted Source,” which theorizes that when multiple cannabis plant compounds are present along with CBD extract, it increases the health benefits of the CBD product.
Because full-spectrum products contain compounds, such as THC, in addition to CBD, they may maximize the entourage effect.