Full-Spectrum vs Broad Spectrum vs CBD Isolate: What’s the Difference?

Posted by Erik Atherton on March 12, 2021

If the world of CBD is new to you, then chances are you might not quite know the difference between the three main types of CBD products: full-spectrum, broad spectrum, and CBD isolates. While the differences in these three varieties may not be that large, they are important. 

These days, CBD is easier to find than ever before. This means that customers can choose from a wider variety of high-quality hemp products that exist on the market, all with their own unique delivery method, formula, and milligram strength. There is another factor, however, that’s more overlooked than the ones we’ve just listed, which is the type of extract that’s in the product.

While you should definitely pay attention to the strength and quality of the formula, the compounds that you are consuming in your product can make a difference in terms of whether or not you experience the desired effects that you’re looking for. For newcomers, the lingo can be extremely overwhelming, as a lot of these terms sound overly scientific and confusing. Rest assured, learning what these terms mean isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Moreover, it can help you finally create a hemp routine that truly addresses your specific needs so that you can experience maximum wellness.

Extracting the Hemp Plant

To appreciate what broad and full-spectrum CBD products are, you need to take a look at what hemp extract is. 

The female hemp plant’s flowering buds are where you’ll find cannabidiol, along with hundreds of other unique compounds, each with their own properties that could be useful to the body. Hemp is known for its vast array of cannabinoids like CBD, which is short for cannabidiol, but it also offers terpenes and flavonoids, along with a surprising variety of nutrients.

Most of the CBD products that you use, such as tinctures, creams, and vapes, are made with a hemp extract rather than the whole plant material. To make this extract, the hemp flowers are put through a unique extraction process that lifts the compounds away from the plant so that the plant material can be discarded. What’s left behind is a concentrated oil that boasts high levels of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and nutrients.

From there, a manufacturer may decide to isolate specific compounds that have been extracted. When the type of extract found in a cannabidiol product is talked about, what’s being referring to is the chemical composition of the extract that was used to formulate the product.

In short, both full-spectrum and broad spectrum hemp extracts contain an abundance of cannabinoids, terpenes, and so on. In fact, a lot of people don’t realize that they’ve been taking a full-spectrum or broad spectrum CBD product all along. This has a lot to do with the fact that many products containing either of these extracts is sometimes simply only labeled as CBD.

The third type of extract, known as CBD isolate, is also commonly found on the market. This is an extract that consists of pure cannabidiol, with no other cannabinoids or compounds like terpenes or flavonoids. CBD isolate is made by isolating the cannabidiol compound from hemp extract and concentrating it to the proper level to make it effective and easy to formulate.

Why Knowing the Difference Matters

Learning the difference between full-spectrum, broad spectrum, and CBD isolate products is important. In fact, you shouldn’t blindly purchase any CBD products until you understand what the difference is between these three varieties and how each one can positively benefit and impact your health. 

Full-Spectrum Products

Full-spectrum products contain all of the beneficial phytonutrients, cannabinoids, and terpenes that the hemp plant has to offer. This variety of oils also contains CBD, or cannabidiol, and THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. These are the two main cannabinoids out of the over 100 other beneficial cannabinoids in the hemp and marijuana plants. CBD, unlike THC, will not cause any euphoric “high” feelings. However, under the 2018 Farm Bill, all CBD products sold and purchased in the United States must be hemp-derived and must contain less than 0.3% THC. Since the hemp plant naturally contains that amount of THC or less, there is no chance for you to get “high” from taking any full-spectrum CBD products. 

Full-spectrum products contain all of the beneficial cannabinoids, terpenes, and phytonutrients that the hemp plant has to offer.

Full-spectrum products can, however, cause you to fail a drug test. If you are concerned about taking CBD products with THC in them, or if you are nervous about potentially failing a drug test for work, then you might want to go with broad spectrum or CBD isolate products. If you have no concerns and are looking for potent, clean, effective full-spectrum CBD oils, then look no further than FAB CBD. 

FAB CBD’s full-spectrum oils are crafted from clean Colorado hemp that was cultivated without harmful pesticides, herbicides, and other dangerous chemicals. The oils come in strengths of 300mg, 600mg, 1200mg, and 2400mg, and in delicious citrus, mint, berry, vanilla, and natural flavors. FAB CBD maintains all of the naturally occurring terpenes, cannabinoids, and phytonutrients in its oils that also are also under the legal limit of 0.3% THC.

All of FAB CBD's full-spectrum oils contain all of the beneficial cannabinoids, terpenes, fats, and other phytonutrients of the hemp plant.

The great benefit with full-spectrum oils is that they positively interact with the body’s own endocannabinoid system, which works to help keep the body in a state of balance or homeostasis. Some of the bodily systems and functions the endocannabinoid system helps to balance are: 

  • Reproductive System
  • Immune System Functioning
  • Sleep
  • Mood
  • Appetite
  • Memory
  • Fertility
  • Chronic Pain
  • Muscle Formation
  • Bone Remodeling and Growth
  • Learning
  • Metabolism
  • Digestion
  • Skin and Nerve Function

While the body produces its own endocannabinoids, when full-spectrum CBD products are taken, cannabinoids like CBD and THC work with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain to help boost the workings of the endocannabinoid system, or ECS. While THC binds to both CB1 and CB2 receptors to do things like help reduce pain and stimulate appetite, CBD works to help prevent endocannabinoids from being broken down. 

Broad Spectrum Products

Broad spectrum products are similar to full-spectrum products in that they also contain cannabinoids, terpenes, and phytonutrients. They don’t, however, contain any THC, as that cannabinoid is filtered out of the final product. So, if you have concerns about THC, then broad spectrum products might be the way for you to go. Before taking any broad spectrum products, you should thoroughly read the independent third-party lab tests that were done on them to ensure that there aren’t any trace amounts of THC. 

While broad spectrum products have many benefits, you won’t receive any of the benefits that THC has to offer. CBD has been shown to be more effective when all of the cannabinoids, including THC, are present in it. The reason for this is that full-spectrum products produce an entourage effect within the body. Put simply, during the entourage effect, the compounds dampen each other’s negative side effects while amplifying their positive effects. For example, CBD can help lower THC’s ability to cause anxiety while boosting its ability to stimulate appetite. Since broad spectrum products don’t contain any THC, you’ll miss out on experiencing the full entourage effect. 

Even though broad spectrum products don't contain any THC, they still work with the body's endocannabinoid system in a beneficial way.

Having said that, broad spectrum products still interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system. Therefore, you’ll still receive the benefits that cannabinoids, terpenes, and phytonutrients have to offer. Broad spectrum products still come with a great cannabinoid profile. 

If you’re in the market for an exceptional broad spectrum product, then FAB CBD’s “Nighttime” PM CBD Chews will help you achieve a restful and restorative night’s sleep. The acai-flavored chews contain 12.5mg of premium broad spectrum CBD extract obtained from cleanly cultivated Colorado hemp. The chews are also formulated with ancient herbs like ashwagandha, which has been shown to improve sleep quality, and with GABA and L-Theanine to help calm the body, 5-HTP to allow for a better quality of rest and relaxation, and melatonin to help encourage sleep. 

FAB CBD PM "Nighttime" CBD Chews is an excellent broad spectrum product that can help you achieve restorative and restful sleep.

Taking a specialized nighttime CBD gummy could help you have a more restful and restorative sleep. In fact, cannabinoids like CBN in broad spectrum products, and terpenes like linalool and limonene may help to improve overall sleep quality. 

Full-Spectrum vs. Broad Spectrum CBD: Which is Better?

That would be the million-dollar hemp question, wouldn’t it? Let’s say you’re choosing between a full-spectrum CBD oil and a broad spectrum CBD oil. Ask yourself what your goals and priorities are. If it’s to avoid THC as much as possible, then broad spectrum is the way to go. If you’re not concerned about the naturally occurring THC in hemp and desire the entourage effect described earlier, then full-spectrum is the way to go.

FAB CBD full-spectrum CBD oil is always a favorite among customers.

The good news is that it’s quite simple to find both types of extracts in any hemp product you use. Tinctures, topicals, edibles, and every other delivery method available come in both full-spectrum and broad spectrum varieties on today’s market.

Of course, there are always other important factors to pay attention to aside from whether or not a cannabidiol product is full-spectrum or broad spectrum. 

  • There are broad and full-spectrum CBD goods that won’t give you the results that you’re looking for because they weren’t made using high-quality methods, or their potency levels are simply too low to give you noticeable and desirable results.
  • Select a product that was produced using the Co2 extraction method, as this retains the stability of the compounds so that the product doesn’t lose its potency shortly after purchasing it. Otherwise, degraded full-spectrum or broad spectrum hemp product may be weak because many of the compounds you specifically sought out have broken down due to destabilization.
  • Make sure that the product has been tested by an independent third-party lab. Any reputable company will make lab reports available that come from this testing process. These reports show the quality and purity levels, and also provide a chemical breakdown of the product. This allows you to see which compounds are in the formula.
  • It’s important to choose a good milligram strength for daily use. A broad spectrum or full-spectrum product can only give you the effects of its compounds if you’re taking in enough of them per dose. 

CBD Isolate Products

CBD isolate products are just what the name suggests: products that contain only pure CBD. When you purchase CBD isolate products, what you are getting is a product that contains 99% pure CBD in it without any other cannabinoids, terpenes, or phytonutrients, as these have all been filtered out. CBD isolate products are a wonderful option for people who want to try CBD, but don’t necessarily want to use a product with any THC in it, even in very tiny amounts. 

When brands create CBD isolate products, they use different processes to extract out everything but CBD from the hemp plant. Initially, a traditional extraction process is used to remove all active compounds from the hemp plant. Next, a refining process called “winterization” takes away phytocannabinoids like THC, and other plant matter along with fats and chlorophyll. What’s left over is pure CBD in a crystal form that is then turned into CBD isolate products. Even though CBD isolate products don’t contain any THC, it’s still wise to thoroughly read through any third-party lab reports on the product to confirm that there aren’t any traces of THC. 

After extraction, CBD is then further distilled down into crystals that contain 99% pure CBD.

While CBD isolates do have their own advantages, one large disadvantage is that you are only  getting CBD into your body, and not the other beneficial parts of the hemp plant. Likewise, you’re also missing out on the perks of the entourage effect that broad spectrum and full-spectrum products support. But, if you’re looking for a way to ease yourself into the world of CBD, or if you have to be really careful for testing reasons, then CBD isolate products are a great way to do just that. 

CBD isolate is made into oils, topical creams, capsules, chews, edibles, lotions, and other products. If you’ve been searching for a top-rated CBD isolate product, then you should try FAB CBD’s “Anytime” CBD Chews. The chews come in a delicious fruit flavor and have 25mg of CBD isolate per gummy. They are gluten free, non-GMO, vegan, and are a fantastic way to take your CBD on the go, have it as a snack at work, or take after a satisfying, sweaty workout as a recovery supplement. FAB CBD “Anytime” CBD Chews may help provide: 

  • Support for regular, everyday stresses*
  • Healthy recovery from exercise*
  • Support for better calm and focus*

The chews, like all the rest of FAB CBD’s products, are not made with any additives, dyes, or other harmful ingredients. FAB CBD prides itself on bringing its customers the very best, clean, most potent, and most effective products. 

CBD isolate products, like FAB CBD "Anytime" CBD Chews contain pure CBD and are great to take anytime and anywhere.

CBD isolate products are also a great option for athletes and those who have to take regular drug tests at work like construction workers, bus drivers, and others. Since there is no THC in CBD isolate products, there will not be any potential risk of failing a drug test. 

Our Final Thoughts: Which Variety is Best?

While all three — full-spectrum, broad spectrum, and CBD isolate products — have amazing benefits, the fact of the matter is that the type of CBD products you choose will be dictated by your personal preferences, overall health and wellness goals, and whether or not you wish to, or can, use a product with THC in it. As with any health supplement or prescription medication, if you have any questions or concerns regarding CBD or the three CBD varieties, then you shouldn’t hesitate to speak with your primary care physician or specialist. 

FAB CBD is a highly respected and reputable brand with top-rated full-spectrum, broad spectrum, and CBD isolate products made from the very best potent, clean Colorado hemp. The brand’s full-spectrum CBD oils are top-shelf and hugely popular among FAB CBD’s loyal customers. Likewise, through its other products — “Anytime” CBD Chews, “Nighttime” PM CBD Chews, Topical CBD Cream, CBD Body Salve, CBD-free Green Superfoods, and Calm & Cool Crunchy CBD Dog Treats — FAB CBD gives those who depend on the beneficial cannabinoid,, the very best hemp-derived CBD products and superfoods available. 

Your health goals and needs will help determine which CBD variety is best for you.

Remember, while full-spectrum CBD derived from hemp contains less than 0.3% THC, broad spectrum and CBD isolate products are free from the compound. Those who choose to take full-spectrum products seek to gain all of the benefits from the cannabinoids and terpenes that are packed into the hemp plant and interact with one another and your endocannabinoid system. Others, however, may look to broad spectrum products as a way to enjoy all of those same benefits without the THC. Still, there are those who feel that taking pure CBD isolate is effective enough, or they are especially careful due to testing reasons for their job. No matter which variety you opt for, at the end of the day, if you’re making choices to support your health and wellness, that’s a great start!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.