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If you’ve been shopping for CBD products, either online or in-store, then it’s highly likely that you’ve encountered some industry jargon that you’re just not familiar with yet. You’re not the first person to ask “what is full-spectrum CBD?” and we doubt you’ll be the last.

However, after reading this short article, you’ll be able to navigate the CBD market more confidently as we explain what makes full-spectrum CBD products so different from the other options available.

  • Full-spectrum CBD in a nutshell
  • Full vs. broad spectrum CBD
  • Full-spectrum vs. CBD isolate
  • Benefits of the full-spectrum

What is full-spectrum CBD?

In a nutshell, a full-spectrum CBD product contains all of the naturally occurring cannabinoids (including THC), terpenes, and flavonoids, as well other compounds and plant matter, that could all be found within the hemp plant it was extracted from.

Let’s take a closer look at each one in turn and why it might be your best option when it comes to choosing your CBD products.

Note that full-spectrum products only include naturally occurring compounds and not synthetic cannabinoids like THC-O

Terpene rich full spectrum pre-rolls

Full vs Broad vs Isolate CBD

The terms full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate, are used to describe three different types of CBD extract.

Each one has undergone a different extraction process with full-spectrum being the least processed and CBD isolate being the most processed.

Let’s take a closer look at each one in turn and why it might be your best option when it comes to choosing your CBD products

Full Spectrum CBD

A product described as full-spectrum will contain a variety of natural plant extracts, alongside the advertised CBD content. It is also sometimes referred to as “whole-plant extract CBD”.

A full-spectrum CBD oil, for example, will include all of the naturally occurring cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, as well other compounds and plant matter, that could all be found within the hemp plant it was extracted from.

CBD is one of over 100 cannabinoids that have been identified in the hemp plant. As we learn more about each one, evidence is suggesting that even minor cannabinoids like CBG, CBN and delta-8 THC may have their own unique therapeutic potential.

Plus, terpenes have also been used in alternative medicine for thousands of years and if you’ve ever dabbled with aromatherapy, then you’ll be familiar with many of them already as the essential oils of plants.

Why consume full-spectrum CBD?

Full-spectrum products like tinctures, CBD joints and premium buds tend to be favored and you should choose them to if:

  • You want a more effective CBD product
  • You want a more natural product
  • You are interested in the potential health benefits from other plant compounds too

If marijuana isn’t legal in the state you live in, then it’s very important that any full-spectrum CBD product you buy is sourced from hemp, specifically. Because when sourced from hemp, the product won’t contain more than 0.3% of the delta-9 THC cannabinoid, as is the legal requirement for hemp plants in this country (this law is subject to change in 2021 and may end up being .3% total THC).

And in such small quantities, it’s impossible to feel high from taking any of these products in their suggested doses. Read more about how it feels to smoke low-THC flower here.

Cannabinoid Chart

All cannabinoids start their lifecycles as CBGA and CBGV

Full Spectrum vs Broad Spectrum CBD

Broad-spectrum CBD is extracted in a more selective manner than full spectrum CBD, usually with the sole purpose of eliminating any trace of THC whatsoever.

You may prefer a broad-spectrum over a full-spectrum product for one of three reasons.

  • Your state legally requires all CBD products to be completely THC-free
  • You, for whatever reason, don’t want to ingest any amount of THC, no matter how small
  • You are subject to drug testing and may lose your job or freedom if failing a drug test

You may also come across broad-spectrum products that eliminate other compounds from the extract, such as naturally occurring terpenes, so that other terpenes can be hand-selected and added to make different formulas to suit the different needs of customers.

This more “tailor-made” approach suits some people, but it’s not as natural as a full-spectrum product and there’s no research (yet) as to its efficacy against full-spectrum products.

If you are curious about THC-free products, check out our CBD sleep gummies.

Sleep Gummies CBD sour

Full Spectrum vs Isolate CBD

On the other end of the “spectrum” from full-spectrum, you have CBD isolate products.

These products are exactly as they sound as the CBD is isolated from all of the other naturally occurring compounds in the plant. It is a purer form of CBD (not to be confused with better) that has gone through more processing in order to refine it.

Isolate CBD products may be a good choice for you if:

  • Your state legally requires all CBD products to be completely THC-free
  • You, for whatever reason, don’t want to ingest any amount of THC, no matter how small
  • You are curious as to what effect CBD alone will have on you

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Full Spectrum CBD Benefits

For us, the most compelling reason to choose full spectrum CBD is the evidence that suggests the therapeutic benefits of full spectrum CBD are more effective than CBD isolate due to what has been coined as the entourage effect.

A 2015 animal study concluded that in isolated form, CBD’s effects on pain and inflammation were more limited and would only occur at a specific dose. Whereas full spectrum CBD extract was found to offer greater effects as the dosage increased, lifting the cap on CBD’s efficacy thanks to a synergy that exists between all of the naturally occurring compounds in the plant..

You can read more about the entourage effect here, but in short, it’s widely accepted that the sum of the whole plant working together is far greater than its parts. Meaning only a full-spectrum CBD product (as nature intended) unlocks the true potential that CBD has to offer.

So, not only is your CBD going to work harder for you, but you can also benefit from all of the therapeutic properties possessed by the other minor cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids contained within it.

Therefore, a good full-spectrum CBD oil product will also tell you which specific strain of hemp it was extracted from, so that you can determine more about its profile, and whether it’s best suited to daytime or nighttime use, just like you can with the flower itself.

Green Unicorn Farms Full Spectrum CBD Oil

We do, of course, practice what we preach and our full-spectrum oil can be traced back to the strain it was lovingly extracted from.

We currently have a potent 3000mg full-spectrum tincture that was extracted from our popular Lifter buds. You can read all about the Lifter strain here, including the genetic heritage of the plant, dominant terpenes, and third-party lab reports supporting its rich cannabinoid content and premium quality.

It’s a really well balanced tincture without any additives or sugars. You can even use the oil to make your own CBD gummies, creams or oils.

The search stops here.

Full Spectrum CBD Tincture
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About Hayley Smith

Hayley is passionate about all things hemp and has been a strong advocate for CBD for over a decade. As a former marijuana farmer and smoker, she knows a thing or two about cannabis and is constantly on the lookout for new research from around the world regarding her favorite plants.