In this week’s blog, we will be looking closely at both full-spectrum and broad spectrum hemp extracts so that you can easily decide for yourself which type is right for you.
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 we should definitely pay attention to the strength and quality of the formula, the compounds that we are consuming in our product can make a difference in terms of whether or not we experience the desired effects that we’re looking for. We know that for newcomers, the lingo can be extremely overwhelming, as a lot of these terms sound overly scientific and confusing. We’re here to assure you that 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.
The two most popular types of hemp extract that are used to formulate CBD products are broad spectrum and full-spectrum extracts. While they share a lot in common, the subtle differences are, without a doubt, worth considering when shopping for a new cannabidiol product.
Extracting the Hemp Plant
To appreciate what broad and full-spectrum CBD products are, we need to take a look at what hemp extract is.
The female hemp plant’s flowering buds are where we 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 we 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 we talk about the type of extract found in a cannabidiol product, we’re referring to 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.
It’s worth pointing out that there is a third type of extract, known as CBD isolate, that is also commonly found on the market. This is an extract that consists of pure cannabidiol, so no other compounds like cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, are present. 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.
Also, raw hemp flower is naturally a full-spectrum product. Therefore, if you’ve ever used flower, you’ve experienced full-spectrum hemp already.
Essentially, full-spectrum hemp extract is the result of extracted hemp that’s been left intact, meaning that no other compounds have been isolated or discarded.
Full-spectrum CBD, therefore, offers the complete array of compounds that are present in hemp’s flowers. Each dose provides a rich variety of cannabinoids, terpenes, and more, with cannabidiol being the most abundant because it occurs in higher levels in the hemp plant than any other compound.
Also, full-spectrum hemp extract contains the trace amount of THC that occurs in hemp. The law states that hemp products must contain no more than 0.3% THC to be sold legally. This is just about the natural amount that exists in hemp. Companies test the chemical composition of their products to ensure that they’re maintaining the legal THC limit. Therefore, while full-spectrum CBD does contain THC, it won’t get you high, or get you into trouble with the law.
Also, there’s a unique benefit of using full-spectrum CBD. We know that plant compounds have synergistic relationships with one another, which means that they boost each other’s effectiveness and produce a more well-rounded and widespread experience. Full-spectrum CBD gives you the full composition of hemp as nature intended, which allows you to experience what’s known as the entourage effect. What this means is that by taking the whole plant in at once, there is a synergistic effect that allows each compound to boost the bioavailability of the others.
#1: The Entourage Effect
As we’ve previously stated, full-spectrum hemp promotes the entourage effect. In other words, this is the only type of hemp extract which can offer this effect of plant synergy. Some experts argue that products that aren’t full-spectrum simply may not be as strong or effective. Therefore, if the entourage effect is your goal, full-spectrum hemp is the way to go.
#2: More Hemp Compounds
Plus, the addition of THC allows you to experience its own unique properties, which are worth considering. Again, the THC in a full-spectrum product won’t be intoxicating, so that’s not something that you need to worry about. Because THC is psychoactive in larger doses, many people forget that being a cannabinoid, it does have many uses that do not relate to getting you high.
#1: Contains THC
Of course, full-spectrum extract does still have THC. Again, legally, full-spectrum products can only contain less than 0.3% of the compound, which is a very low amount. Still, many people can have valid reasons for choosing to avoid THC altogether.
#2: May Be Slightly More Likely to Cause a Failed Drug Test
Because there is always a chance, however low, that a full-spectrum cannabidiol product can contain more than the legal limit of THC, there is a slight possibility that using this type of hemp product can cause you to fail a drug test. This is more likely to occur if you take a very large amount of hemp on a daily basis, with those unintentionally higher-than-usual THC levels building up in the body to the point that they trigger THC-COOH metabolites to show up in drug test results.
This is a THC-free alternative to full-spectrum hemp extracts. Once the hemp extract has been made, the THC is isolated and discarded from the final product.
Even though less than 0.3% THC in hemp is legal and won’t get you high, some people still prefer to avoid it altogether. That’s why broad spectrum CBD exists. Like full-spectrum CBD, broad spectrum still offers a variety of cannabinoids, as well as every terpene, flavonoid, and nutrient present in hemp. Having said that, due to the lack of THC, broad spectrum products will not produce the same entourage effect. Yet, there are still some synergistic benefits of taking so many naturally occurring compounds together at one time.
#1: Still Rich in Many Desirable Compounds
Choosing full-spectrum over broad spectrum doesn’t mean that you’ll have a drastically different kind of hemp experience. Broad spectrum products still boast a wide variety of desirable compounds, as they offer everything except for THC. This means that each dose still gives you terpenes, flavonoids, and an abundance of cannabinoids that work together synergistically, while providing you with specific properties for which each compound is known.
#2: Free of THC
If you’re trying to completely avoid THC, broad spectrum is the way to go. When a company produces a broad spectrum cannabidiol product, they carefully isolate the THC compound and remove it from the extract. Then, they have the extract tested to ensure that it is shown to have 0% THC. This means that a broad spectrum hemp product will likely not put you at risk for a failed drug test.
#1: Incapable of Producing the Entourage Effect
One fact that cannot be avoided is that without that trace amount of THC, you will not be able to experience the entourage effect. Still, enough evidence shows that, when taken together, all of the other compounds can still have synergistic benefits.
#2: You May Miss Out on Unique THC Properties
Choosing a broad spectrum product means that you won’t be able to experience the unique properties that THC may be able to provide. In fact, an increasing number of studies are showing that THC and CBD are highly synergistically compatible, which means that the presence of one without the other is not going to give you the full experience of that which each is capable of.
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, 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.
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.
It Really Comes Down to Your Needs, Preferences, and Goals
While cannabidiol is clearly the most popular compound in hemp, there are many other compounds that are also worth considering for their unique properties. That’s why both broad spectrum and full-spectrum CBD should be explored. As you can see, both types of CBD products offer a variety of desirable compounds, so choose which one is right for you and incorporate it into your routine for the best hemp experience.