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Which CBD extract spectrum is the best for me? (Isolate, Broad, Full)

June 29th, 2019

How to decide which spectrum is right for you.

Cannabidiol (CBD) products can be made from CBD isolates, full-spectrum extracts, or broad-spectrum extracts. Knowing the differences between them will help you to choose the right product for you and to understand which benefits to expect from each.

Full-spectrum CBD extract is obtained from cannabis in such a way that all cannabinoids remain in the final extract as they were initially present in the plant. All of the full-spectrum extracts contain multiple cannabinoids, such as CBD, CBDa, CBG, CBN, THC, THCa, and others. In the lab reports for full-spectrum CBD products, you should expect to see non-negative values for at least four cannabinoids. Other than that, full-spectrum products typically contain terpenes and flavonoids, which are non-cannabinoid plant materials that have additional health benefits. The main thing to be aware of when using full-spectrum extracts is that they contain trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Although the concentration of THC must be below the legal limit of 0.3 percent to be sold in all 50 states, full-spectrum extracts are not THC-free products. People who undergo drug examinations routinely, or who are specifically sensitive to THC, should stay away from full-spectrum extracts. The benefit of using full-spectrum extracts is their significant potency compared with any other spectrum. Consuming many cannabinoids in contrast to CBD alone results in the so-called “entourage effect”; this occurs when multiple cannabinoids work synergistically and boost the potency of the final products.

To summarize, full-spectrum products:

  • Contain multiple cannabinoids
  • Have a strong potency
  • Contain THC

Broad-spectrum extracts are quite like the full-spectrum ones. They also combine multiple cannabinoids; however, they have been through an additional process to remove THC completely. This means that they do not have even trace amounts of THC and are commonly labeled as “zero-THC”. Because these products retain most of the cannabinoids, they too have strong potency due to the entourage effect. In contrast to full-spectrum products, they are not a risk to those undergoing drug testing or who are sensitive to THC. However, because of the additional process to remove THC, these products are sometimes more expensive than full-spectrum or isolate-based ones.

Broad-spectrum products:

  • Contain multiple cannabinoids
  • Have a strong potency
  • Contain no THC
  • Maybe more expensive

Isolate-based products are very safe to consume because the only cannabinoid they contain is the CBD molecule. This means that CBD powder has been isolated and used to prepare the products, which causes them to lose the entourage effect and strong potency. the study that shows that the potency of CBD isolate is lower than that of full-spectrum products. However, don’t rush to drop CBD tinctures off your shopping list. CBD isolates are easier to combine with other active ingredients, which makes them an outstanding addition for conditions-specific supplements. For example, if you want to address sleeping issues, the combination of CBD isolate with melatonin is a great solution.  Similarly, you may benefit from pain-relief creams that combine CBD isolates with lidocaine or capsaicin.

To summarize, CBD isolates products:

  • Contain the CBD molecule only
  • Contain no THC
  • Are excellent when combined with other active ingredients

As you can see, when we talk about cannabinoid spectrums, we consider whether multiple cannabinoids are present, and how that will affect the potency of the final product. It is always better to be educated about which spectrum is better for you before integrating CBD into your health routine.

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