The cannabis industry is full of terminology that can be confusing for anyone new to CBD. In order to demystify and clear up any misinformation, let's begin with the basics, starting with the different types of CBD and how each variety can affect you.

Broad Spectrum vs. Full Spectrum
The two most common forms of CBD products fall under the categories of “broad spectrum” and “full spectrum.” When we talk about broad and full spectrum CBD oils, both forms contain several naturally-occurring compounds found in the cannabis plant to enhance its healing and anti-inflammatory properties. 

The main difference between broad spectrum formulas and their full spectrum counterparts is that broad spectrum products are completely void of THC, the part of the plant most associated with creating psychoactive effects. Though most CBD products have less than .03% THC, which is not enough to potentially show up on a drug test (reputable CBD companies do not offer dosages of THC more than .03%), broad spectrum provides the user more peace of mind by eliminating it altogether. Because of this, you can safely pick up any broad spectrum product like (HALSA’s So Sensitive CBD Face Oil Roller and Kiskanu’s CBD Hemp Capsules) without worrying that it will show up on a drug test, make you feel light headed or affect your cognitive functioning.

On the flip side, full-spectrum CBD is an extract containing other compounds - all components - of the cannabis plant, such as terpenes and other cannabinoids. Phytocannabinoids and flavonoids are known to reduce pain and inflammation in patients, which is why full-spectrum might be your best bet if you are seeking out pain relief. Since a full-spectrum product may have trace amounts of THC, you might experience minor side effects like increased heart rate, minor rashes, and dry mouth.

High Falls Hemp NY and Sheabrand boast some of our favorite full-spectrum tinctures, while Moon Mother Hemp Co. has the best softgel option. Seabedee's Aloe & Rose Hydrating Mist is the most luxurious option for a little spritz at any point in your day.

CBD isolate is the pure form of CBD, and contains no other compounds. Because of this, isolate products are not formulated in a way that could produce a “high” feeling. 

The Entourage Effect
Full-spectrum CBD products bring another added bonus. While CBD and THC can certainly operate independently of each other, there is the so-called “The Entourage Effect." Scientific research supports this idea that while different cannabis compounds do enact significant therapeutic benefits in their singular forms - combining cannabis compounds can increase your benefits, and even create new ones. This is integral to the health landscape, since CBD is most commonly used for anxiety, pain, inflammation, and sleep issues. Terpenes (essential oils with specific scents and flavors that enhance the cannabis experience), flavonoids, and phytocannabinoids (CBD and THC) work together to create unique experiences in each full-spectrum dose. Their psychoactive effects, flavors, and health benefits can change drastically from formula to formula, an each individual can have a different reaction depending on the type of CBD used.

Anyone looking to experience a form of The Entourage Effect should stick to full-spectrum and broad spectrum products, as isolates - the purest form of CBD - will not produce compounded results.

You can find the "broad spectrum," “full spectrum,” and “isolate” descriptions in fine print toward the bottom of your product label, if not in the name of the CBD product. They are often found within the ingredients description as well. Reputable suppliers and brands that practice transparency will list all ingredients on their label so that you can make the best informed decision. 

So whether you choose broad or full spectrum CBD, the beneficial cannabinoids, terpenes, and homeostasis-supporting flavonoids are still functioning to provide the most support for your unique needs and lifestyle.  

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June 16, 2021 — Meredith Schneider