You might have already come across this terminology if you’ve been shopping for CBD — words like isolate, broad spectrum and full spectrum. What does any of it mean? If you’re new to the wild world of CBD, this kind of terminology might seem completely foreign. Not to worry, we’ve put together a guide to help you sort it all out.
The biggest thing to know is each of these things are not the same. Buying full spectrum is not the same as buying isolate, and so forth — because all three terms provide a way to describe what kind of CBD is in the product you’re buying.
Yes, CBD, or cannabidiol comes from the hemp plant — Cannabis sativa. CBD that has been extracted from the hemp plant won’t get you high, because it doesn’t contain any more than 0.3 percent THC.
Any kind of CBD product you’re interested in should come from the hemp plant and not the seeds. When CBD is extracted from the plant, not only are you getting cannabinoids, but terpenes and flavonoids as well. The cannabis plant is host to a wide variety of healing compounds that each work together to create an entourage effect.
There are some strains of marijuana that contain both CBD and THC. However, only CBD made from the hemp plant is legal in the United States. Marijuana containing THC with CBD is only legal in select states in the U.S.
CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD that you can buy. And it is only CBD. No other compounds are present in isolate, and it tends to be quite a bit more potent than other kinds of CBD products out there. An isolate will typically be 99 percent pure. What does that mean? You’d be looking at upwards of about 900-1000 milligrams of CBD in the item you’re buying.
The downside here is that you don’t get that entourage effect created by the other compounds present in the hemp plant. So, no terpenes, no flavonoids, and no other cannabinoids that might be present in the plant.
Full spectrum CBD is CBD made from the whole hemp plant. That means all of its compounds — the flavonoids, terpenes, other cannabinoids and essential oils are all included in the product you’re buying. That means you get to take full advantage of that entourage effect — when all the compounds work together to maximize the therapeutic potential.
Typically, full spectrum CBD will contain a tiny bit of THC, which is inherent in the hemp plant. It won’t be enough to get you high, as it will be equal to or less than 0.3 percent. However, one important thing to note is that if you are ingesting a high dose of full spectrum CBD on a daily basis, you might test positive on a drug test. As of yet, test administrators haven’t figured out how to prevent false positives.
Just like full spectrum, broad spectrum CBD is made using the whole hemp plant. So again, the entourage effect applies here, since broad spectrum contains terpenes, flavonoids, other cannabinoids and essential oil.
But where it differs from full spectrum is that broad spectrum does not contain any THC. That’s right, any trace amount of THC has actually been removed. You can think about broad spectrum as a kind of cross between full spectrum and isolate.
So, now that you know what the different kinds of CBD are, which is best for you? CBD isolate is the most concentrated form, and you may be more likely to pass a drug test. However, you won’t get all of the benefits that come with the entourage effect. It also doesn’t have an odor or taste. CBD isolate is typically more processed than other types of CBD.
Full spectrum will give you that coveted entourage effect, but it might show on a drug test. It also contains the scent and taste of the hemp plant, which might be kind of strong. And, depending on where you live, that 0.3 percent of THC could make it difficult to purchase legally.
Broad spectrum still offers the entourage effect without having to work around legal issues due to THC content. There isn’t any, so in that sense it’s easier to buy, no matter where you live. However, consumers are finding that it might actually be less available than other CBD products. It also has a strong flavor and taste, but it’s a lot less processed than isolate.
No matter which type of CBD you decide is best for you, just be sure to check the label of whatever it is you’re buying. And now, when you see the words isolate, full spectrum or broad spectrum, you’ll know exactly what they mean.