Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, & Isolate | The Differences
If you are new to the world of CBD, and have been trawling the internet trying to decide what product to try, you will have come across products labelled as full spectrum, broad spectrum, and CBD isolate. Although they are similar, they have important differences.
Deciding on which CBD product to go for can be a confusing process, so understanding the difference between these three classifications is a good first step towards getting the right product for you.
If you don’t grasp the differences you may end up using a product that isn’t quite as natural and unrefined as you may think.
What Are Cannabinoids – Why Do They Matter?
There is a classification of compounds known as cannabinoids within the makeup of the cannabis plant. Among these are CBD and THC.
(Along with over a hundred others of which we are only just starting to understand their importance. Look for the Entourage Effect to learn more about these how these naturally occurring cannabis compounds affect the human body)
These cannabinoids are super extremely important to the systems within our body.
As late as 1995, researchers discovered that by interacting with receptors (CB1,CB2) in the human Endocannabinoid System (ECS), cannabinoids like CBD could deliver unique health benefits to all animals with an ECS. It was further down the timeline that it was discovered that each cannabinoid could affect the body differently.
Amongst the family of cannabinoids, THC delivers the psychoactive effects associated with “getting high,” CBD does not. CBD in fact, can actually counteract the psychoactive effects of THC.
The “cannabinoid spectrum” is the term for the effects delivered by other cannabinoids like Cannabigerol (CBG) and Cannabinol (CBN). Keep this in mind as we explore the various classifications.
Full spectrum, broad spectrum, or CBD isolate.
Now you understand what the Cannabinoid Spectrum defines, some background in how we get to the various points is useful.
To create a CBD product, the cannabinoid content is extracted from the Cannabis plant, using various systems, such as CO2 extraction. During this process, many other compounds that are found within the plant are also extracted, including terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids.
Depending on the strain and style of extraction used, the composition and cannabinoid profile will differ. Manufacturers will choose an extraction method, and strain of Cannabis that best suits their needs, pockets – or convenience
When the first extraction process is finished, It is possible to refine this product further, to contain only specific cannabinoids and plant parts. The contents of this determines if the CBD extract is full spectrum, broad spectrum, or CBD isolate.
What is Full Spectrum CBD?
Full spectrum CBD is an extract that contains ALL OF THE COMPOUNDS found naturally occurring in the plant.
This includes essential oils, terpenes, and other cannabinoids such as THC (below a specified legal limit), CBDa, CBG, CBN. If performed correctly, these will be in ratios that were naturally-occurring and extracted from the plant and specific strain.
The full spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenes, and essential oils extracted from the plant work together to magnify the therapeutic benefits of each individual cannabinoid. If you remember, this is what is known as the “entourage effect“ and is something that broad spectrum and isolate products lack.
“We at Bordighera Valleys ONLY use this method, as it is our firm belief that staying as close as possible to the natural composition of the plant is the way to deliver our oil”
What is CBD Isolate?
Products that contain CBD Isolate have nothing but the cannabinoid CBD in them. EVERYTHING else is removed. The CBD has literally been chemically isolated from the rest of the plant matter.
If you are of the school of thought that CBD is the only compound in the cannabis plant that is of use to the human body, this is path to take. Industrial, mass produced CBD products are most often produced this way, as it makes it far simpler to deliver a CBD version of an existing brand.
What is Broad Spectrum CBD?
Broad spectrum CBD contains zero THC. It can be seen as a less effective variant of Full Spectrum CBD. Like Full Spectrum CBD, the other compounds found within the plant are preserved in the extract; however, like CBD Isolate, THC is completely removed.
These products will have been processed further to remove as much THC as possible while still maintaining the other cannabinoids and terpenes. This is often due to Laws in various countries that do not want THC present in products sold within their borders.
Broad Spectrum CBD does contain multiple cannabinoids, and can deliver some of benefits of the “entourage effect,” without the risk of psychoactive effects of THC. However, it is well known that THC is an important compound, and removing it completely hinders the effectiveness of the product.