Shopping for CBD can come along with a lot of complex terminologies. From the variety of products you can buy to the concentrations and flavors, it can sometimes feel overwhelming. Part of the purpose of this PureKana blog is to make CBD-related information more accessible so that learning about it no longer needs to be a source of confusion.
This article discusses the difference between full spectrum vs broad spectrum CBD, with the intention of helping you decide which product type is right for you.
In honesty, there is no one size fits all with CBD, and whether you opt for full spectrum or broad spectrum will be up to personal preference. Each of the two have their benefits, so it’s up to you to learn about both and decide which one best suits your personal needs.
Understanding the Different CBD ‘Spectrums’
CBD oil is often described as having a ‘spectrum,’ which refers to the specific compounds and cannabinoids that are found in the oil. The three main spectrums of CBD oil are: broad spectrum, full spectrum, and isolate. In this article, we focus specifically on the broad spectrum vs full spectrum discussion as this tends to create the most confusion.
What is Full Spectrum CBD?
Full spectrum CBD oil is CBD oil that contains 100% of the natural compounds and cannabinoids found in hemp extract. CBD oil is made from hemp, and in addition to cannabidiol (CBD), hemp contains dozens of other compounds. This includes terpenes, omega acids, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids such as THC, CBN, CBG, and so on. Full spectrum CBD products contain all of these compounds.
The primary distinguishing factor for full-spectrum CBD oil is that it contains THC. By definition, hemp only contains THC levels of 0.3% or less. This is the legal limit in most states throughout the USA. Therefore, full spectrum CBD products may contain small quantities of THC. With such low levels, however (0.3% THC or less), full spectrum CBD oils will not get you “high.” The trace levels of THC add to the oil’s complex cannabinoid profile, and potentially influence a phenomenon known as the entourage effect, which we will discuss in greater depth later.
How Does Full Spectrum CBD Work?
Full spectrum CBD works by activating CB1 and CB2 receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system, or ECS. Every mammal on earth (including humans, dogs, cats, etc) has an endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for regulating essential functions such as sleep, appetite, mood regulation, and more.
The key function of the ECS is to help the body maintain homeostasis. The body naturally produces cannabinoids, known as endocannabinoids; when there is a disruption in homeostasis, there will likely also be a disruption in the physiological systems that the endocannabinoid system regulates.
That is where cannabinoids like those found in full spectrum CBD oil, usually referred to as “phyto-cannabinoids” since they are of plant origin and not naturally present in the body, might be able to come into play. Each cannabinoid has its benefits, functions, and purpose. Because full spectrum CBD contains a large variety of them, including CBD, CBN, CBG, CBC, and small amounts of THC (0.3% or less), these cannabinoids all work in unison in a phenomenon called the “entourage effect,” which some professionals believe makes the cannabinoids more effective or beneficial.
Now that you have a deeper understanding of why full spectrum hemp oil is unique, let’s examine how broad spectrum hemp oil compares and what the difference is.
What Is Broad Spectrum CBD?
Broad spectrum CBD oil is CBD oil that it contains every natural component of hemp extract, except for THC. It is essentially full-spectrum CBD without the THC. Some individuals prefer broad spectrum CBD because it eliminates having to worry about THC showing up on a drug test.
Furthermore, broad spectrum CBD products can still promote the entourage effect since it contains all other hemp cannabinoids and phytocompounds. It also is generally legal in areas where there is a complete ban on THC. In countries like Australia, for example, full spectrum hemp oil is not allowed due to the trace amounts of THC, but broad spectrum hemp oil is allowed since it lacks that cannabinoid. This makes hemp products potentially more accessible than ever on a global scale.
With full spectrum CBD products, there is always a slight concern that the product will be detectable on a drug test, which could have detrimental implications for some individuals. Some drug tests can be pretty sensitive and pick up on even trace amounts of 0.3% THC or less. Wild, right?
Luckily, many drug testing facilities are well aware of the widespread consumption of full spectrum CBD, so they tend to accommodate for that small percentage of THC, as cannabidiol consumption is so common. But unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.
Still, broad spectrum CBD products may be a more suitable option for those who might be concerned or have an upcoming drug test and do not want trace amounts of THC to appear. Because broad spectrum CBD does not contain that 0.3% or less amount of THC, it is an alternative to full spectrum CBD.
How Does Broad Spectrum CBD Work?
Much like with full-spectrum hemp, where the various cannabinoids within the hemp plant work together to help the body maintain homeostasis due to a biological system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), broad spectrum hemp does the same. The only difference is the absence of the trace amounts of THC, which some say may have an impact on the entourage effects, while others say it doesn’t.
Full Spectrum vs. Broad Spectrum CBD: Which Is Best for You?
You may be left with the question, “is broad spectrum or full spectrum CBD better?” The honest answer is this entirely depends on your personal needs and preferences. If you live in an area where even trace amounts of THC are illegal, broad-spectrum is likely going to be the route to take if it is available in your area. On the other hand, if you find that the entourage effect is more vital for you when your CBD oil contains trace amounts of THC, then you may want to opt for a full spectrum product.
Why Should I Use Full Spectrum CBD?
With the added element of trace quantities of THC (0.3% or less in most states), full-spectrum CBD possesses a more complex cannabinoid makeup, which some people believe is a well-rounded approach to consuming CBD products. But choosing full-spectrum CBD might not be for everyone.
- Contains a more complex cannabinoid property, which may potentially benefit due to the entourage effect
- More widely available throughout the USA
- Tends to be available in a greater range of potencies
- May not be available to legally purchase in all regions, especially outside of the USA
- Has the potential for the trace amounts of THC to show up on a drug test
- Not always available when it comes to some CBD edibles
At PureKana, we currently stock several full spectrum formulations. Our list is remarkable, from various potencies of CBD oils (including higher quantities) to CBD capsules. Our customers love our products because we only ever use USA-grown, organic industrial hemp, cultivated on generational farms. Our hemp is also extracted using the most cutting-edge technology, a complex form of CO2 extraction that our lab specialists have mastered. If you’re looking for top-quality CBD products, we’ve got you covered.
Why Should I Use Broad Spectrum CBD?
When it comes to choosing full-spectrum CBD or broad spectrum CBD, there is no right or wrong answer. It’s simply what works best for each individual. Broad spectrum CBD has its own unique qualities that may encourage someone to select it over a full spectrum option.
- Is legal in more jurisdictions, in particular outside of the United States
- Generally won’t show up on a THC drug test
- May have fewer benefits due to the absence of trace amounts of THC (because of the entourage effect)
- Can sometimes be more challenging to find products made with broad-spectrum hemp
At PureKana, we offer a smaller selection of broad-spectrum CBD products, as most of our customers prefer full spectrum options. However, the two broad-spectrum products we supply are very popular. The first is our 1500mg CBD immune gummies, which in addition to possessing broad spectrum CBD also contain zinc and elderberry for added immune support. The other broad spectrum product we offer is our 2000mg CBD pain relief topical. On top of the broad spectrum CBD content, it also contains menthol, capsaicin, CBG, and MSM, for added pain relief.
Final Thoughts on Full Spectrum vs Broad Spectrum CBD
Understanding the difference between broad spectrum and full spectrum CBD can help you decide which product might be right for you. Although the two options are pretty similar, they share a primary difference – the presence or absence of trace amounts of THC (usually 0.3% or lower).
For example, full spectrum CBD possesses that 0.3% or lower trace amount of THC, while broad spectrum does not. The fact that both options exist in the world is extremely positive because more people can access potent CBD formulations and tailor these options depending upon their needs and legalities.