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Full Spectrum vs Broad Spectrum vs Isolate CBD

Full-spectrum, broad-spectrum and isolate CBD are the three main types of cannabidiol (CBD) extract. The main difference between full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD is in the compounds. Both contain all occurring compounds found in the hemp plant, but broad-spectrum CBD does not contain Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), whereas full-spectrum can include up to 0.3% THC.*

The combination of these compounds is believed to produce a synergistic effect — otherwise known as the “entourage effect” — which is the notion that all the compounds work together to produce a better effect than when taken alone.

* THC is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis and, if enough is present, it will lead to a positive drug test. 

Broad Spectrum and Full Spectrum vs Isolate CBD

Isolate CBD is different from both full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD as it is purified to remove all other occurring compounds, including other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. This means that isolate CBD is not associated with the “entourage effect” as there are no additional compounds — it is pure cannabidiol (99% pure). As a result, “Pure CBD” is often synonymous with CBD isolate.

While CBD isolate does offer certain health benefits, it is thought that these have less effect than those gained from using a full-spectrum or broad-spectrum products.

ComponentsIsolateBroad SpectrumFull Spectrum
CBDYesYesYes
THCNoNoYes
FlavonoidsNoYesYes
Terpenes NoYesYes
Other CannabinoidsNoYesYes

Pros & Cons of Broad Spectrum CBD

Broad-spectrum CBD contains all occurring compounds found in the hemp plant, but does not contain THC — you can think of it is a middle ground between isolate and full-spectrum CBD.

Pros

  • Produces the desired entourage effect. A 2011 review in the British Journal of Pharmacology found that taking a combination of terpenes and cannabinoids may help with anxiety, pain, inflammation, seizures, fungal infections and cancer.
  • Doesn’t contain Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), so won’t show up on a drug test. 
  • Suitable for those that are sensitive to THC. 

Cons

  • Less readily available than full-spectrum or isolate products.
  • Stronger smell and taste than isolate products.

Pros & Cons of Full Spectrum CBD

As the name suggests, full-spectrum CBD contains all occurring compounds found in the hemp plant, including THC, other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.

Pros

Cons

  • Even though the amount of THC is low, there is still a risk of failing a drug test.
  • Not suitable for individuals sensitive to THC, or those who need to avoid it for other reasons.
  • Stronger smell and taste than isolate products.

Pros & Cons of Isolate CBD

CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD, but it shouldn’t be mistaken for best. After going through the extraction process, isolate products remove all compounds, including other cannabinoids, which means you won’t be able to achieve the desired entourage effect. Full and broad-spectrum CBD produce more pronounced effects than isolate, but there are a few reasons why you might use it.

Pros

  • Suitable for those who don’t want to consume Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
  • Suitable for those who want a flavourless and odourless product.
  • Suitable for people with skin or digestive allergies, who have reacted to other cannabinoids or cannabis compounds.

Cons

  • No entourage effect as it doesn’t contain other flavonoids, terpenes or compounds, so it is much less effective than its alternative. Studies have also shown that isolate doesn’t last as long as full or broad-spectrum CBD.
  • A 2015 study suggested that people need much higher doses of CBD isolate for pain relief than other forms of CBD, so it is less cost-effective and might increase the chances of adverse side effects.
  • Another study found that CBD isolate is only effective against pain and swelling at a specific dose.
  • Although safe to use, it is a highly processed product. This means you should purchase from reliable manufacturers, and check their lab results. These specialized labs utilize advanced analytical techniques to assess the potency, purity, and presence of contaminants in CBD products. By checking if products have been tested by a reputable 3rd party CBD testing lab, consumers can have confidence in the product’s composition, ensuring that it meets their desired standards. This verification process helps safeguard against misleading or false claims by manufacturers and promotes transparency and accountability within the CBD industry.

To learn more about each type, read our full guide on The Different Types of CBD.

Image via Hempton Farms of the various benefits that different terpenes offer. Terpenes are present in full and broad-spectrum CBD, but not in isolate CBD.

Should I Use Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum or Isolate CBD?

Your CBD results depend on how well you match your needs with the right product. There are several factors that can point you in the direction of one type of CBD instead of the other, but your choice should come down to what CBD spectrum will work best in your case.

In general, we would consider broad-spectrum the best choice as it delivers the entourage effect without THC and the legal risks of failing a drug test. For this reason, it is often considered the most balanced option.

However, this might not be the case for everyone. Your unique body chemistry can influence the way you react to different cannabinoid profiles, so a bit of trial and error is recommended to find the perfect CBD product and dose for you.

Looking for broad-spectrum CBD you can trust? We are Purity Hemp, the UK’s #1 Online CBD Shop. Backed by science, and built on the principles of traceability, transparently & trust, we are dedicated to improving the health & wellness of all our customers. Shop our premium broad-spectrum oils, edibles, drinks and topicals on our website.

We are proud to be one of the only companies to guarantee full traceability from seed to shelf. Our highly experienced farmers grow and harvest the very best organic hemp in nutrient-rich soil, clean water sources and predictable climates. We test in our labs, and extract using the safest, cleanest, and purest method (CO2) with patented tech. Our products are then tested by third-party, independent quality control analysts via a vigorous process, and certified drug-free.

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Directions for Use:

  • Shake well before use
  • Add dose directly to your pet’s food, stirring it in if necessary
  • Use up to twice daily – (See dosage table for guidelines)
  • Store in a cool dry place out of direct sunlight

Weight of Pet Regular Dosage Strong Dosage
Up to 20lbs/9kg 1 to 4 drops 4 to 8 drops
20 to 40lbs/9-18kg 2 to 8 drops 8 to 16 drops
Over 40lbs/18kg 4 to 20 drops 16 to 40 drops

Contains Zero THC, chlorophyll free

*This product is sold for use by pets only, as it contains CBD Isolate.

We recommend discussing the use of CBD with a qualified vet, especially if your pet is pregnant or nursing a litter.

Keep out of sight or reach of children.