Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum and Isolate: What’s the Difference? What’s the difference between full-spectrum, broad spectrum and isolate CBD? You’ve come to the right place! Full What Is Broad Spectrum CBD? What Is The Difference Between Full And Broad Spectrum CBD? The Spectrums Of CBD Extracting CBD Broad Spectrum What Does Broad Spectrum CBD Help With? Does Broad Spectrum CBD Get You High? Does Broad Spectrum CBD Oil Work? Types Of CBD Products Final Thoughts Thinking about making the switch CBD has risen in popularity over the past few years. With so many CBD and hemp oil products on the shelves touting terms like “full-spectrum CBD,” “broad-spectrum CBD,” and “CBD isolate,” it can be hard to figure out what it all means.
Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum and Isolate: What’s the Difference?
What’s the difference between full-spectrum, broad spectrum and isolate CBD? You’ve come to the right place!
Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, and Isolate refer to types of cannabis extracts, also called concentrates. The terms are intended to indicate the amount of plant-produced therapeutic chemicals present in addition to the primary cannabinoids (CBD and/or THC); they are a shorthand way of conveying the diversity of bioactive material in a given extract.
To understand the relevance of phytochemical diversity to product development, why these terms were coined, and how they may be interpreted today, we must first explain the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) and the Entourage Effect.
The Endocannabinoid System
The ECS is a network of neurotransmitters, their receptors and enzymes. It is present in all extant vertebrate species and some insects. Scientists’ discovery of the ECS has happened gradually over the latter part of the last century, beginning in 1964 with the identification and synthesis of THC by Mechoulam and Gaoni, pioneering Israeli scientists. It was named by Italian biochemist Vincenzo Di Marzo, who initially outlined its influence in “eating, sleeping, relaxing, forgetting and protecting” in the early 90s. This system plays a critical role in almost every regulatory function of our bodies.
Today’s consumers are becoming more curious about which cannabis options work best for them and why. There is a lot of information out there, easily accessible through a Google search, but most consumers do not have the time or inclination to deep-dive into cannabis science; they just want to know what they can expect. The problem is, the ECS is as unique as a fingerprint; everyone is different, and trial and error is inherent in the journey toward optimization. However, the chemicals produced in the plant alongside cannabinoids have more predictable and well-studied effects than the cannabinoids themselves. Knowing the phytochemical profile of a hemp or cannabis extract can help developers define and standardize their products at scale.
The Entourage Effect
The definition of the Entourage Effect is relatively simple; it is the theory that cannabinoids have more favorable actions when delivered with a higher proportion of native phytochemicals such as terpenes , flavonoids, and other cannabinoids. This manifests as both amplification of positive effects (efficacy) and modulation of undesirable ones (tolerability). The term was coined in 1988 by Raphael Mechoulam, the same Israeli scientist who discovered THC, and its potential mechanisms were first illuminated by Dr. Ethan Russo in his landmark 2011 paper, “Taming THC.” Put even more simply, the Entourage Effect is a way of saying that, when it comes to cannabis and hemp, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
The interactions between various cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids are complex; it will take decades of research to parse them. Fortunately, terpenes and flavonoids have at least as much scientific research behind them as ahead of them. They are already common additives in many commercial processed goods, especially cosmetics, and of course, food – plants make tens of thousands of different terpenes alone. They can also be synthesized.
The Entourage Effect is the reasoning behind extractions that seek to retain as much of the native phytochemical context as possible. However, this comes at the expense of standardization and palatability, so each use case will necessitate its own balance of values.
Creating Cannabis Extracts
Cannabinoids are produced most abundantly in trichomes, the resin glands of the hemp and cannabis plants. To be used in processed beverages or topicals, these glands must first be concentrated, then their oils separated from plant waxes and other non-useful vegetative matter. There are two main categories of processes to do this: solvent and non-solvent. Various levels of technological sophistication exist within each category, and most finished extracts employ elements of both.
Solvent: In this method, a solvent is added to dissolve the cannabinoids, then evaporated, leaving a concentrated oil. Solvents can be further divided by polarity. Non-polar solvents, such as butane, dissolve only non-polar compounds from the plant, in this case the oils and other lipids making up the trichome heads. Polar solvents, such as ethanol, will extract both non-polar and polar compounds, including water-soluble compounds such as chlorophyll. These bring with them with strong herbaceous flavors; however, many polar compounds are desirable from a therapeutic standpoint.
Non-solvent (Mechanical): Using temperature or pressure changes, cannabinoid oils can be separated without the use of a solvent. Distillation uses the variability in boiling points of a plant’s constituent chemicals to yield very pure extracts. Solvent-extracted concentrates are evaporated and then condensed at precise temperatures. The resulting product typically tests at 85-97% purity.
Full Spectrum vs. Broad Spectrum vs. Isolate CBD
The graphic above illustrates the difference in color and plant materials in each of the three extracts.
The following are the terms used to categorize the three different types of extracts.
Full Spectrum CBD means the maximum amount of helpful native phytochemicals are retained during extraction, including THC. The goal is to remove extraneous lipids while retaining an identical ratio of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids from the original plant source material. This can only be verified by testing the material before and after the extraction. True Full Spectrum extracts are rarer than one might expect; most extractions lose significant terpenes and flavonoids during processing because they are much more volatile than cannabinoids. Ethanol and very low heat (the RSO method or whole plant oil), or an extremely long vacuum extraction process can yield Full Spectrum extracts. Full Spectrum extracts tend to be quite dark in color, and their flavors can be described as earthy and vegetal.
Broad Spectrum applies to extractions that aim to retain a large complement of phytochemicals without the THC, which allows for some Entourage Effect action. Hemp, defined as cannabis plants containing less than .3% THC, forms the basis for most Broad Spec extracts. Broad Spectrum can also be created by either adding terpenes, flavonoids, and minor cannabinoids to CBD isolate or by removing THC from Full Spectrum extract via distillation. Compared to Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum extracts are slightly lighter in color, and while their flavor profiles are similar, they are not as hemp-forward and bold.
Distillate takes the opposite approach of Full Spectrum, seeking to remove everything but the cannabinoid(s) of interest. After undergoing solvent extraction, the concentrated oil is run through the short-path distillation process described above, often multiple times, to purify it. Some suppliers will advertise “Full Spectrum distillate” but this is contradictory. If terpenes or other bioactives are reintroduced after distillation, the product is sometimes also called Broad Spectrum.
Isolate is the purest form of extracted cannabinoids, a crystalline powder with a purity of 99.9%. It is created through additional solvent processes after distillation. The additional processing steps are expensive, but due to the extreme purity of the final product, cheaper crude extracts can be used as starting material without concern for residues.
Choosing the Right Spectrum
Both Full and Broad Spectrum concentrates offer the benefits of the Entourage Effect. If your CBD product is relatively low-dose, having a diversity of phytochemicals is even more important. Beyond their potential therapeutic effects, all these minor players also give cannabis its depth, creating a symphony of flavor and smell, and ultimately making the bitterness of cannabinoid extracts more palatable.
However, even a pleasant symphony of flavors can have a strong personality; it will never be a neutral canvas onto which flavor scientists can project their artistry. Rather, it is a dominating flavor of its own – and one that changes with each batch of extract. In emulsions, the diversity of chemicals, each with slightly different weights, is also a challenge.
By contrast, distillates and isolates offer consistency and standardization; they are a known quantity. With them, a product producers can use a wider variety of flavorings to make the formulation really shine, and they are far more consistent in emulsions (as long as the supplier is reliable). The consumer can also expect the same effects and sensory experience every time.
Choosing the correct starting material for product development is a careful balance of values. For most commercial purposes, purer extracts are desirable because they allow producers to standardize and iterate based on known, reliable effects. However, for the more wellness-focused, the benefits of a fuller complement of phytochemicals are worth the variability.
At SōRSE, we are able to strike a balance between standardization and efficacy. Many of our products reconstruct the phytochemical profile block by block to yield a consistent but fully articulated product – similar to molecular gastronomy, but for hemp. Not only are we able to offer Broad Spectrum and Isolate emulsions in water-soluble liquid and powder form, but we are able to create custom emulsions for our customers based on what they need to make their product unique. If you are a product developer wondering which spectrum is right for your product or if you are interested in creating a custom blend of cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids, reach out for an exploratory call with our team today.
Broad spectrum CBD: What Is It & Is It Better Than CBD Full Spectrum
Thinking about making the switch from full spectrum CBD to broad spectrum CBD products? Or never tried CBD before, and you’re unsure about the types of CBD and which form is best?
If so, then you’re like many others who have questions about hemp-derived CBD products. But we have those answers for you, and more! This way you can make the best decision when it comes to using CBD for health and wellness. Whether it’s for you or your pet.
A cannabis plant has multiple compounds in it that can have several positive effects on health. And the spectrum of your product indicates which of these compounds it contains and what the main difference between them with be.
What Is Broad Spectrum CBD?
Broad Spectrum CBD oils are a more recent form of CBD oil that traditionally completely removes THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is the compound in the cannabis plant that causes the high we associate with marijuana. Both a type of cannabis plant, marijuana is defined by its large amounts of THC, where hemp is defined by its low amounts of THC.
The difference in amount is pretty important too! Because the less THC you have in a cannabis product, the less of a high you’ll feel until it doesn’t cause a high anymore. This is why you’ll find most hemp CBD products still contain THC, albeit in very trace amounts.
Is CBD legal? – As long as a CBD oil contains no more than 0.3% THC and is derived from a cannabis plant containing no more than that — termed industrial hemp — it’s legal across the United States and in many places in the world. Please always check your state laws for good measure.
Broad spectrum is not like most cannabis products, however, and is completely THC-free. And there is a big reason for this.
Why CBD Broad Spectrum Products Removes THC
In most cases, the trace amounts of THC that appear in most CBD oils cause no issues whatsoever. In fact, it can actually help provide additional therapeutic benefits even though it no longer causes a high in these amounts. However, some people find that they are sensitive to THC, and even trace amounts leave them feeling slightly off, tired, etc. A broad spectrum tincture can solve that.
Then some find CBD works best at exceptionally large dosages. One reason is CBD can help with insomnia, but it won’t induce tiredness until a certain limit is hit — typically 100 mg and up in humans. When taken daily, remnants of broken down THC can stick around in the body for a bit before leaving, similar to many substances such as vitamins. If daily CBD dosages surpass 1000mg, there is a chance for enough of these THC metabolites to test positive for marijuana on a drug test. A broad spectrum tincture can solve this problem too.
So without THC, you might think all that’s left in a broad spectrum hemp product is CBD or cannabidiol with no additional compounds. But not so fast, because while CBD is one of the compounds in a broad spectrum CBD product, it’s not alone and has some buddies. Cannabis contains several hundred potentially beneficial compounds, and it’s not just the other cannabinoids included in this either.
What Is The Difference Between Full And Broad Spectrum CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a super misleading term because it means several different things. So let’s quickly go over what cannabis is.
Above, we mentioned that both hemp and marijuana are types of cannabis plants defined by how much THC they contain. This is because THC causes the high we associate with marijuana, but only when enough is consumed. There are a lot of products that can come from the cannabis plant, from fibers taken from the stalks to create clothes to protein supplements created from the seeds. But to create our therapeutic ones, such as a CBD oil or a marijuana brownie, we need to go after the resin that covers the flowers and leaves.
Within the resin, we have at least 100 different types of naturally occurring cannabinoids with THC and CBD being the most famous but other cannabinoids like CBG, CBC, and THCV are quickly gaining a lot of attention.
Then we have another family of potentially beneficial compounds called the terpenes. While CBD and the other cannabinoids are fairly unique to cannabis, terpenes help give plants everywhere their natural flavor and aroma. While cannabinoids have the most potent therapeutic effects, the natural terpenes do as well. In fact, these plant compounds are the main agent behind essential oils.
“But if our terpenes aren’t as strong as our cannabinoids, why keep them around? Can’t we just throw them out and double up on our cannabinoids? In fact, why not remove some of the lesser cannabinoids while we are at it. Peer reviewed studies show CBD itself is significantly more potent than many of the cannabinoids, how about we just create a product that features only it?!”
These are all great questions, and, in fact, we do have CBD products that attempt to do these things and more. There is a problem, however.
When we start plucking away some of the compounds with less therapeutic benefits, we disturb the relationship they have with the other compounds. Often when this happens, CBD oils lose some of their overall benefits – even though we make up the difference by adding more CBD in its place. We call this phenomenon the entourage effect and it describes the synergistic relationship between the cannabinoids and terpenes.
“But wait, doesn’t the broad spectrum CBD oil remove THC, and isn’t that a cannabinoid?”
Good question, because this is one of the concerns with broad spectrum CBD oil vs. full spectrum CBD that still contains traces of THC. So let’s look at full spectrum CBD oil and what happens when you only have CBD also known as a CBD isolate.
The Spectrums Of CBD
Besides Broad Spectrum CBD, we have Full Spectrum CBD and CBD Isolate to round out our main three types of CBD. These CBDs are defined by which cannabinoids and terpenes appear in them.
Full Spectrum CBD
To turn hemp into CBD, you run it through different extraction processes that do different things like remove plant matter like chlorophyll that we don’t want. During the extraction process, you can remove any of the individual cannabinoids and terpenes as they have different boiling points. But if you don’t remove them, you get a full spectrum CBD hemp extract at the end. This is the most basic form of CBD, and still the most popular form around.
This is because the entourage effect is fully intact when all the cannabinoids and terpenes are left together.
In particular, THC stays in, and while unable to cause a high in small amounts, it can still offer additional therapeutic benefits that are very significant to have. This happens because THC works with the body slightly differently than CBD does which works slightly differently than CBG does. And this goes on and on through the several hundred different cannabinoids and terpenes. When left together, this creates one incredibly well-rounded CBD oil with incredible potency.
Because of the above, full spectrum CBDs are greatly preferred for humans, dogs, cats, and other furry pets. As well, many full spectrum CBDs for pets have less than 0.3% THC.
Before broad spectrum CBD products, there was CBD isolate. Think of broad spectrum CBD oil as the middle child between the main types of CBD. A CBD isolate is just that, the cannabinoid, cannabidiol, isolated away from every single other compound. Goodbye to all those other helpful plant compounds. Seems wasteful, doesn’t it? Well, turns out, it kind of is.
We isolated CBD away from the other plant compounds because in studies it appeared to be the star player. This is why CBD isolates are around 90-99% pure CBD and considered the purest form of CBD. However, the problem is while CBD is a stronger cannabinoid than many of the others; it popped out so much because, after THC, CBD is the most abundant cannabinoid in cannabis.
Most of the cannabinoids and terpenes in cannabis appear in microscopic amounts. We are still discovering new cannabinoids and terpenes to this day. However, as you saw with THC in full spectrum, even when a cannabinoid or terpene appears in low amounts, it doesn’t mean it can’t improve the overall benefits of our CBD oil.
While the only form of CBD approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), CBD isolates simply don’t compare to either full spectrum or broad spectrum CBD. The reason only a CBD isolate has been approved is because it’s significantly easier to get one compound approved than it is hundreds. Especially when it is from something as notorious as cannabis.
While the purest form of CBD, pure CBD isolates’ benefits are often uneven where some people find it may help their pain, but others find it doesn’t. One reason this happens is that the body struggles to absorb CBD when it’s by itself, and the person will often need a precise dosage.
This is why it is rare to find CBD isolate products for dogs or cats. Since our pets can’t talk, finding the best dosage for them for when administering CBD isolate is so difficult.
The other reason CBD isolate effects are case to case dependent is that the other compounds in cannabis simply work with the body in different ways. As well, some appear to team up and work better together than by themselves.
Another Type of Broad Spectrum
All of the cannabinoids and terpenes appear to have ways they can heal the body. And while some go off on different routes to help, some hog up the same routes. A much rarer form of CBD broad spectrum seeks to eliminate the latter. Its goal is to remove some of the less therapeutic plant compounds that don’t offer help to the other compounds, thus creating the most potent CBD oil.
This concept can also create a CBD product that caters to specific illnesses, creating variations like CBD for Anxiety, Hemp for Pain Relief, or A Peaceful Night’s Rest with Cannabis. For these products, we would remove cannabinoids or terpenes that don’t contribute to our desired illness. By freeing up space, we have room to add more of the cannabinoids and terpenes that do help.
These are really great concepts, and while we are learning about the different benefits many of the cannabinoids and terpenes offer, there is so much we don’t understand. Especially with how they play off each other or what the ones that occur in non-existent amounts do.
Extracting CBD Broad Spectrum
There are several extraction methods for creating CBD, whether it’s a full spectrum or broad spectrum product. Commercially, the most popular method is CO2 solvent extraction, which combines our cannabis plant material with carbon dioxide in air-tight chambers. Then different temperatures and pressures are used to cleanly and safely break off the trichomes of the plant.
While a solvent, CO2 results in a solventless extract as all traces of it are removed before it comes to you.
What Does Broad Spectrum CBD Help With?
The goal of broad spectrum CBD is for it to provide all of the traditional benefits expected with a full spectrum CBD oil, but with the added benefit of no THC.
This means a broad spectrum CBD can potentially help with anxiety, pain, inflammation, arthritis, nausea, digestive issues, seizures, and overall health and general wellness. However, because THC is removed, the entourage effect is not as complete as it is with a full spectrum CBD oil. This means there is a chance it may not help out with one or more conditions to the same degree a full spectrum CBD product can.
This is one of the reasons, like with CBD isolates, we’ve taken a step back from broad spectrum CBD oil for pets and use full spectrum for the great majority of our CBD aids.
Does Broad Spectrum CBD Get You High?
Broad spectrum CBDs typically have all of the THC removed, meaning there is no chance they can cause a high. However, THC doesn’t cause a high in small amounts, meaning full spectrum CBDs that are limited to no more than 0.3% THC won’t cause a high either. So just because a cannabis product isn’t THC-free, doesn’t mean it can’t be used safely.
While there are a few other cannabinoids in cannabis that can cause a high if there was a lot of them, they naturally occur in very microscopic amounts.
Does Broad Spectrum CBD Oil Work?
Unlike CBD isolate, broad spectrum CBD oils work great for the majority of people. However, unless you have a reason to be concerned about the nearly non-existent amounts of THC that appear in full spectrum CBD, you should stick with full spectrum. Full spectrum currently provides the strongest entourage effect that naturally occurs in cannabis, giving this form the ability to successfully help with the greatest range of illnesses and disorders.
Whether buying broad spectrum CBD or another form like CBD full spectrum, always make sure it’s derived from organic and non-GMO hemp.
Types Of CBD Products
There are several different types of nonprescription CBD products, from your traditional CBD oil and dog treat to a CBD tincture that’s created through alcohol extraction.
If you’ve never tried CBD before we always recommend the oil form first. However, you can’t wrong with it in food form, for taking it on the go or surprising your pet with a delicious and healthy treat.
Along with the above products, it now becoming more common to find CBD placed with vitamins and minerals for specialized support. All of these items can be used together, just make sure to always calculate up the dosages if that’s a concern. For most, it’s not.
Meet hemp oil. While it has anti-inflammatory and a few other properties similar to CBD oil, it doesn’t contain any of the cannabinoids that have an incredibly unique and potent way to offer a long list of health benefits. However, don’t write off hemp oil and its potential benefits just yet.
More appropriately called hemp seed oil, this hemp extract is created by cold pressing the seeds. Unlike a cannabis extract that relies on the cannabinoids and terpenes, hemp seed oil’s health benefits come from them being a great source of protein, fiber, essential omega fatty acids, antioxidants, and several vitamins and minerals. Like most broad spectrum CBDs, hemp seed oil is THC-free.
Hemp seeds are great for nutrition and ensuring a lot of the building blocks of health have the essential nutrients or building blocks they need. While you’ll find hemp seeds in everything from protein supplements to skincare items, you can also find it in both CBD broad spectrum and full spectrum products where it fills the role of the carrier oil.
A carrier oil is simply fat that greatly assists the body in absorbing the cannabinoids because they are fat soluble.
One way to tell the quality of your CBD product is to check the carrier oil used. Often you’ll find a low-quality MCT oil mixed with the CBD extract. Even when it’s a higher quality MCT oil like coconut oil, daily consumption of saturated fats can lead to health issues from weight gain to digestive issues like diarrhea. And some of the pets we give CBD products to may more easily see the side effects of over-consuming an MCT oil like coconut oil. However, while hemp seeds have a lot of health benefits and it makes a fantastic carrier oil, most people overwhelmingly prefer CBDs.
Hemp seed oil is significantly less costly to produce, and laws are less strict about it. All of this has resulted in hemp seed oil products inaccurately labeled as CBD products. Avoid this by making sure your CBD, whether broad spectrum or another form, always comes with a Certificate of Analysis (COA).
Because of the range of CBD products alone, making the right choice can feel downright impossible. But at Innovet Pet, our job is making the impossible possible! So here are our quick tips for choosing the best CBD.
Step 1. Never Used CBD Before? – Whether you’re looking to use CBD for yourself or give it to your pet, starting with a full spectrum CBD oil vs. another spectrum or delivery form is best.
Step 2. Confirming Safety and Quality – Regardless if they are CBD broad spectrum or full spectrum products, make sure it follows strict sourcing guidelines. It should be derived from organically grown hemp free of pesticides and heavy metals. As well, make sure the company provides a COA for it — gifted through third-party testing. Last, take a look at the reviews and make sure people are happy with it!
CBD: Full-Spectrum vs. Broad-Spectrum vs. Isolate – What’s the Difference?
Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, has risen in popularity over the past few years. And now, with so many CBD products on the shelves touting terms like “full-spectrum CBD,” “broad-spectrum CBD,” and “CBD isolate,” it can be hard to figure out what it all means.
Let’s break it down.
Most CBD products are derived from hemp plants. Although hemp is a type of cannabis plant, it contains primarily CBD and very little tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound responsible for making you feel “high.” In fact, federal law requires that hemp plants contain no more than 0.3% THC.
Full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate are the three main types of CBD. Here’s how they’re different:
Full-spectrum Hemp Oil
In addition to CBD and low levels of THC, hemp contains several other compounds, including other cannabinoids and terpenes. Some researchers believe that multiple components of cannabis may work together and offer more benefits than taking each individually. This is known as the “entourage effect,” but it’s still just a theory.
Full-spectrum CBD products contain all components of the hemp plant – nothing is removed. This means that full-spectrum CBD contains some THC, but usually a very small amount.
You may find some full-spectrum CBD products derived from marijuana in certain states. Beware – these products will typically contain higher amounts of THC than hemp-derived CBD.
Broad-spectrum Hemp Oil
Broad-spectrum CBD is similar to full-spectrum CBD, but there’s one important difference. Broad-spectrum CBD usually does not contain any THC. It still provides all the other cannabinoids and terpenes found in the hemp plant, so it may still offer benefits associated with the “entourage effect.” Most broad-spectrum CBD products claim non-detectable THC content, which means that taking the product shouldn’t result in a positive drug test. But it’s always best to play it safe – make sure the broad-spectrum CBD product you choose has been tested and certified to ensure it doesn’t contain a detectable level of THC.
CBD isolate is also known as “pure CBD.” Unlike full- and broad-spectrum hemp, this form does not contain any other compounds found in the cannabis plant. It contains only CBD – no THC, terpenes, or other cannabinoids.
How do you choose the right CBD for you?
If you’re thinking about trying a CBD product, be sure to let your healthcare provider know. While taking a CBD hemp oil product is generally safe, don’t use it to replace any of your current medications without your healthcare provider’s approval.
Your choice of product mainly comes down to THC content. If you want all the compounds found in cannabis (including THC), full-spectrum hemp oil may be a good choice – just make sure this is legal where you live. If you want to stay away from THC, broad-spectrum hemp oil is likely your best option for the benefits of CBD plus other compounds naturally found in cannabis. Although high-dose CBD isolates have certain medical benefits, they do not provide the “entourage effect” that may occur with the less processed broad-spectrum products.
Last but certainly not least, be sure to choose a product that has been independently certified for content accuracy and purity, especially if you’re looking for a product without THC. One study found that many CBD products are mislabeled, and THC was detected in about 21% of CBD products tested.
More and more CBD products are hitting the shelves every day – it can be difficult to keep up. Seek information from trusted resources, such as your healthcare provider, to ensure you make well-informed, safe decisions when it comes to CBD.
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