There are 3 major types of CBD oil products that can be purchased online and in local stores: (1) full spectrum, (2) isolates and (3) broad spectrum.
Full spectrum is the most popular. By definition, full spectrum products contain all the naturally-occurring cannabinoids and terpenes from the hemp plant they were derived from. This includes trace amounts (up to 0.3%) of THC. The majority of users prefer full spectrum because of something called the "entourage effect." Proponents of the "entourage effect" believe that the unaltered whole-plant extract is best to work synergistically in your body.
Isolates are products that are made from pure CBD isolate or have been processed to remove all cannabinoids except CBD. Generally, these products contain 99+% pure CBD and do not have detectable levels of THC based on lab testing. Unlike full spectrum products, isolates do not produce benefits from the "entourage effect."
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What are Broad Spectrum CBD Oil Products?
Broad spectrum can be thought of as a variation of full spectrum but without the THC. They have had their full spectrum extract go through additional processing to remove a much of the THC as possible.
Broad spectrum products are often described as "hybrid full spectrum." While they contain an array of the naturally-occurring cannabinoids and terpenes, they do not have detectable levels of THC based on the manufacturer's lab testing.
Be aware that some CBD brands claim that their products are full spectrum but contain zero THC. This is a contradiction of terms and can be understandably confusing for users. By definition, "true" full spectrum CBD oil products include trace amounts of THC. If a product contains multiple cannabinoids but undetectable levels of THC, it should be considered broad spectrum.
Third party lab reports will tell you whether a product is full spectrum, broad spectrum or an isolate. The first page of the lab report will show you the cannabinoid profile of the product. If it contains just CBD, it's an isolate. If it contains multiple cannabinoids but no THC, it's broad spectrum. And if it contains multiple cannabinoids including THC, it's full spectrum.
What are the Pros and Cons of Broad Spectrum?
Many users who prefer broad spectrum products consider them to be the "best of both worlds." They can produce "entourage effect" benefits but have significantly lower risk of testing positive on a drug test. Broad spectrum products can also be a good choice for those with a sensitivity to THC or who have concerns about possessing a product with detectable THC.
Critics of broad spectrum say that it is inferior to full spectrum because of the additional processing to remove the THC. This refinement process can result in other useful cannabinoids and terpenes also being lost or diminished.
But for those unable to take full spectrum products, broad spectrum products can be the "next best option."
What are Other Types of Broad Spectrum Products?
Another type of broad spectrum product you may come across is something called a “terpsolate.” These products are usually the “pure” isolated CBD that has been mixed with terpenes. The addition of terpenes helps boost the effects of the product, depending on the terpenes used. If you’re looking for something to give you a boost of energy, terpenes such as Limonene may be beneficial in your broad spectrum product. If you’re needing to relax or sleep, then Myrcene or Linalool are good options. Our article on terpenes has a useful chart demonstrating the benefits.
Other hybrid products exist that use a blend of “full spectrum without THC” extracts and “pure” CBD isolate. These products boost the CBD content while still keeping the other minor cannabinoids and terpenes at the same amounts. This is achieved by adding in isolated CBD to the "broad spectrum" extract.
Where Can I Buy Broad Spectrum CBD Oil?
Each of these brands are reputable and offer a variety of broad spectrum CBD products, including drops, vape liquids, capsules, gummies and topicals.
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