When browsing CBD products, you’ve likely noticed that different items are labeled Broad or Full Spectrum CBD. Understanding the difference between these two labels is helpful, so you know the specific ingredients present in your CBD product and can make an educated purchase, finding the products that best suit your needs.
CBD refers to Cannabidiol, one of the many compounds found in the cannabis plant. Unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), however, CBD does not have psychoactive properties, meaning that it will not give a high when inhaled or consumed. When a product contains CBD, it does not only have CBD but rather has CBD in combination with other phytocannabinoids that come from the hemp plant. The processing methods after extraction decide whether a CBD product is broad or full spectrum.
The CBD Extraction Process: 4 Common Methods
There are four main extracting methods commonly used to get CBD from the hemp plant.
- Carbon dioxide extraction: Carbon dioxide separates CBD from the hemp plant. As an effective way of producing a high concentration of CBD, this method is prevalent.
- Steam distillation: While less effective than carbon dioxide extraction, steam distillation, which uses steam to separate CBD from the plant, still is used by many manufacturers.
- Solvent extraction: A cheap and easy method, solvent extraction involves running a solvent to the hemp plant. However, the main problem with this method is that the solvent extracts chlorophyll, which can lead to unwanted side effects.
- Lipid extraction: Lipid extraction is growing in popularity as people look for alternatives to carbon dioxide and solvent-based extractions. Lipid extraction involves applying pressure and heat to absorb and draw out CBD and other plant compounds into a lipid.
When raw hemp goes through one of these extraction processes, the CBD, as well as other minor cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, are infused in a carrier oil; however, the makeup of the carrier oil will differ based on the extraction method used and the specific strain of cannabis. This is evident in tinctures such as full-spectrum CBD MCT oil, which has a minty taste due to the terpenes present. This is where the difference between Full and Broad Spectrum CBD lies. Full Spectrum CBD contains 0.3% THC, while Broad Spectrum CBD contains non-detectable levels of THC, thus earning the name “THC free CBD.”
What is Full Spectrum CBD?
Full Spectrum CBD indicates that the CBD has a cannabinoid profile that uses all of the phytochemicals found in the hemp plant, THC included. The law dictates that the THC content should be 0/3% or lower, meaning that getting high from it is impossible. One of the key aspects that differentiate Full from Broad Spectrum is that Full Spectrum produces what is known as the “entourage effect,” in which whole-plant cannabinoids and additional terpenes work together for the benefit of the mind and body.
The entourage effect happens when the cannabis components work in harmony to boost and enhance the effect of CBD. Besides CBD and THC, products such as Full Spectrum CBD lotion contain additional cannabinoids (cannabinol, cannabigerol, cannabidivarin, cannabidiol acid, and cannabichromene), which work together when the lotion is used. Because of the wide array of compounds used, many believe that using Full Spectrum CBD at higher amounts produces a more substantial entourage effect.
What is Broad Spectrum CBD?
Simply put, Broad Spectrum CBD is CBD that does not contain THC. However, it still has other compounds found in the hemp plant, retaining several cannabinoids such as CBN and CBG. The entourage effect is still possible with Broad Spectrum CBD. However, additional terpenes and flavonoids may be used to make up for the lack of THC. Broad Spectrum CBD is most prominent in states that have stricter laws regarding the presence of THC in CBD.
A common mistake: Broad Spectrum CBD is not “pure CBD” because additional cannabinoids are present. Pure CBD, or CBD isolate, is rarely used due to the cost of extraction and the absence of the entourage effect.
Full or Broad Spectrum: which is better?
There is no “best” choice between Full and Broad Spectrum CBD. It’s a personal preference. There are numerous things to consider before you go out and purchase a CBD product, including physiology, profession, lifestyle, and even health history. Whether or not you want a small amount of THC in your CBD is up to you! If you are concerned about THC, then Broad Spectrum would be the way to go. If THC content is not an issue, then Full Spectrum might give you great results.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily WeSay.