What is Full Spectrum CBD? What are the Benefits?

What is Full Spectrum CBD? What are the Benefits?

CBD isn’t scarce. CBD-infused products are fast filling up grocery store shelves. From gummies to CBD-tea, balms, lotions, and even e-juice, there are widespread options to choose from.

However, one common challenge [particularly for starters] is selecting one from the confusing alternatives. If you can relate, this article is a good read.

Reading on, you’ll understand the differences between CBD forms and further explore the most popular form – full-spectrum CBD.

Note – CBD extraction aims to achieve either of three end products, namely:

  • CBD Isolate
  • Broad-spectrum CBD
  • Full-spectrum CBD

These different tags define the cannabinoid profiles of the various CBD products. Discussing their uniqueness, let’s begin with our focus, the full spectrum.

What is Full Spectrum CBD?

Full-spectrum CBD refers to whole-plant cannabis extract. That is, full-spectrum CBD contains all the compounds in the cannabis plant, including cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes.

  • Cannabinoids

Cannabis (both hemp and marijuana) contains over a hundred cannabinoids, predominantly CBD and THC. Research shows that these cannabinoids account for most of cannabis’ wellness and ‘high’ effects.

  • Flavonoids

Flavonoids are not exclusively found in cannabis. Grains, vegetables, fruits, and several plants contain flavonoids. Researchers have found about 20 different flavonoids.

Research reveals some anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective properties in these flavonoids.

  • Terpenes

You should hold terpenes responsible for how sweet or awful your cannabis smells. They are the flavor-causing property in cannabis.

Simply put, terpenes give your cannabis product its unique aroma. Research authors also report terpenes may add to the therapeutic tendencies of full-spectrum CBD.

Interestingly, full-spectrum CBD combines all these properties in appropriate amounts – plus THC.

CBD Isolate

CBD isolate is referred to as CBD in its purest form. That is, CBD-only without any other compound. This cannabis [usually hemp] product undergoes demanding processing to extract out all other cannabinoids in the plant.

Due to hemp’s richer CBD profile, extractors find the hemp variant more favorable for CBD isolate production than marijuana, which is famed for its high THC content and most celebrated among recreational users.

CBD isolate is crystal-like in appearance. The hard crystals are crushed and sold as a fine powder.

CBD isolate is preferred among people who wish to explore ONLY CBD benefits.

Broad Spectrum CBD

These products promise full spectrum’s more-potent entourage effect but without a high. For clarity, broad-spectrum CBD contains various concentrations of all the compounds in cannabis but without the chief psychoactive THC.

Before You Consider Full-Spectrum CBD – The Pros and Cons

Initially, CBD isolate products were standard recommendations for their straightforward CBD-only profile. Research and CBD knowledge were shallow, hence, health players feared a likelihood of some ‘deadly’ components in the controversial cannabis plant. They preferred CBD because that was practically how much they knew about the cannabis plant.

As research soared, the reports showed that a bit of ‘this’ and ‘that’ in the cannabis may deliver a more potent therapeutic effect than any single compound could – a theory known as the Entourage Effect.

This new knowledge changed the narratives.

Currently, full-spectrum products are outselling their isolate counterparts.

Why so?

Let’s discuss two key reasons why people prefer full-spectrum over CBD isolate.

  • The synergetic effects – otherwise, the Entourage effect

Yes, CBD has unique potential health effects.

However, some research reveals that flavonoids terpene and other less –occurring compounds can give a far more potent combined effect.

Although broad-spectrum contains these other chemicals, the lack of THC reduces its potency, particularly for pain relief and anti-inflammation.

  • Availability

Full-spectrum CBD oil is the most available among the three types.

For one, full-spectrum requires the least demanding extraction process since everything goes in.

As researchers promote full spectrum’s entourage effect, these whole-plant products sell out faster than their isolate and broad-spectrum counterparts.

That said, there are some downsides of full-spectrum you should also know.


  • CBD contains the controversial psychoactive THC.

Most prospective CBD users cannot stand THC and its effects. That THC in the full-spectrum can show up on your substance use test is another scare entirely.

  • Misleading labels

Disturbingly, being an unregulated market, many product labels are inaccurate. Many contain more THC than it claims; some others have less.

  • Legal discrimination

Note that CBD can be sourced from both hemp and marijuana.

However, across many jurisdictions, [the US, for instance] hemp has gained more legal sympathy than marijuana.

Legally, the simple difference between marijuana and hemp is the THC concentration. While THC occurs in minute percentage in hemp (less than .3 percent), in marijuana, it may reach up to 30 percent.

So while the Farm bill makes low-THC hemp CBD legal, full-spectrum products sourced from marijuana usually contain far more THC concertation, hence widely illegal – both federally and across most US states and other countries globally.

However, marijuana-based full-spectrum can be found in dispensaries across medical marijuana-friendly states.

So, Should I give full spectrum a try?

This should be your personal decision. And the details above should help you make a well-informed decision.

However, here’s a quick recap to help you decide:

Consider full-spectrum CBD product:

  • If you seek the highest potent CBD product
  • If you do not anticipate a drug test soon
  • If you don’t mind a slight THC concentration

But you may look away from full spectrum if:

  • You desire nothing more than CBD’s potential effects
  • You’ll rather forfeit full-spectrum benefits for its bitter taste
  • You work in THC-hostile organizations
  • You anticipate a drug test. Whether for academic, property rentals, or employment purposes.

Now, you can decide whether or not full-spectrum fits your lifestyle and medical need.

Where can I Buy Full spectrum CBD?

While it’s one thing to prefer full-spectrum CBD, knowing how and where to buy good quality CBD products is another thing entirely.

Since the Farm Bill, there’s been an increasing lot of new products with many attractive offers and claims. Many of these products are fake, cashing out on newbies’ ignorance and the unregulated industry.

Navigating this porous market can be a daunting experience, not just for the newbies.

However, here are quick tips to help you navigate the market successfully and market a worthwhile purchase.

  • Request a COA from an ISO 17025-compliant
  • Go for only CBD extracted from US-regulated hemp farms.
  • Prefer products with less than the .3 percent THC concentration benchmark (confirm on the COA).
  • Check the COA and ensure the product passes tests for mold, heavy metals, and pesticides.
  • Avoid products listed among those brands issued FDA’s warning letter.
  • See users experience from customer’s reviews