Comparison of Isolate, Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, Ultra-Broad Spectrum

The names are meant to define the type of CBD used in the product. Each variation has its own unique factors to consider. To understand the differences, one needs to understand a bit about cannabinoids.

Within the Cannabis plant, there is a classification of compounds known as cannabinoids. Among these are CBD and THC, along with over a hundred others which scientists have discovered naturally occurring within different Cannabis strains.  Each of the cannabinoids can affect the body in different ways.

THC gets you high, while CBD does not. Other cannabinoids are known to deliver other effects – Cannabigerol (CBG) and Cannabinol (CBN) are such and make up part of the full collection of cannabinoids forms what is referred to as the “cannabinoid spectrum.

The cannabinoid spectrum range contained within a product is what determines whether the product is full spectrum, broad spectrum, ultra-broad spectrum or CBD isolate.

To create a CBD product, the cannabinoid content is extracted from the Cannabis plant. During this process, other compounds found within the plant are also extracted, including terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids.

Depending on the strain and classification used for extraction, the composition and cannabinoid profile will differ. Depending on the purpose of the end-product, companies will choose to extract from a strain of Cannabis that best suits their needs. Once extracted, the company can then choose to refine the extract to contain only specific cannabinoids and plant pants.

The contents of the refined extract are what determines if the CBD extract is full spectrum, broad spectrum, ultra-broad spectrum or CBD isolate.

Isolate

Isolate is the purest form of a compound, which is produced by singularly extracting that compound from its environment and isolating it from all other compounds.

CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD, which is produced by removing all other compounds found in the plant including terpenes, flavonoids, plant parts, and other cannabinoids. CBD Isolate is typically extracted from Hemp, due to its low to non-existent THC-content.

PROS

CONS

Purest form of CBD Lacks the enhanced benefits of the entire plant Lacks the enhanced benefits of the entire plant
No Psychoactive Effects Safe
Tasteless and Odorless
Will not test positive for THC

Best For:

  • Individuals who were recommended to specifically take high doses of CBD
  • Individuals with sensitivity to THC or other cannabinoids
  • Individuals who regularly undergo drug screening tests
  • Individuals who prefer light flavors or no flavor
  • First-time users that may be hesitant about other cannabinoids

Full Spectrum

Full spectrum CBD is an extract that contains all compounds found naturally occurring in the plant, including terpenes, essential oils, and other cannabinoids.

The full spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenes, and essential oils extracted from the plant work together to magnify the therapeutic benefits of each individual cannabinoid. This is commonly referred to as the “entourage effect “.

It was previously believed that CBD in its isolated from was more effective than Full Spectrum CBD, however studies have debunked this theory. Research indicates full spectrum provides a higher level of relief as compared to isolates.

PROS

CONS

Offers Entourage Effect May cause drowsiness and unwanted side effects
May show up on drug tests
May have strong natural odors and flavor

Best For:

  • Individuals who were recommended a certain THC to CBD ratio
  • Individuals with more severe conditions or conditions that CBD isolate and Broad Spectrum could not alleviate

Broad Spectrum

Broad spectrum CBD is a mix between Full Spectrum CBD and CBD Isolate. Like Full Spectrum CBD, the other compounds found within the plant are preserved in the extract; however, like CBD Isolate, THC is completely removed.

Because Broad Spectrum CBD contains multiple cannabinoids, it can deliver the enhanced benefits of the “entourage effect,” without the risk of psychoactive effects of THC.

PROS

CONS

Offers Entourage Effect No risk of Psychoactive Effects
No risk of Psychoactive Effects

Best For:

  • Individuals with conditions that CBD isolate alone could not alleviate
  • Individuals with sensitivity to THC
  • First-time users that are hesitant about THC

Ultra-Broad Spectrum

Ultra-Broad Spectrum is an enhancement of Broad Spectrum or Full Spectrum by containing high levels of other desired cannabinoids.

PROS

CONS

Offers Entourage Effect May have strong natural odors and flavor
No risk of Psychoactive Effects
Enhanced Effects from High
Secondary Cannabinoid Content

Best For:

Individuals looking for maximum potential results which isolate, broad spectrum or full spectrum could not alleviate

Research into the effectiveness of each spectrum at the individual level is still in its early stages, so it may take some time and experimenting to figure out which is best for you.