Once the extract is activated after decarboxylation has taken place, it then goes through a type of distillation. The specific method used may vary, but CBD distillation is not much different from the process used for alcohol.
Simply put, broad-spectrum CBD is full-spectrum CBD minus the THC. At least that’s what it’s supposed to be; many manufacturers tend to use the term for any CBD product that contains even one cannabinoid more than CBD.
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What remains after distillation is a white powder that’s typically made out of at least 99% CBD—with the remaining 1% being traces of plant matter that could not be removed.
True broad-spectrum CBD comes from removing THC from a full-spectrum extract, and chromatography is the most commonly used method for that purpose.
In fact, the legal requirement for the hemp plant is to contain up to 0.3% THC, and most full-spectrum CBD products contain less than that. But note that while the THC content of hemp-derived CBD is not enough to get you high, it could potentially cause you to fail a drug test.
While it’s pretty clear by now that that full or broad-spectrum should almost always be picked over an isolate, there are cases to look past them.
Full spectrum, sometimes also called “whole plant,” means the full plant extract is included. Full spectrum provides more of the plant’s molecules in ratios and amounts that nature intended.
Now that you understand the differences between the various spectrums, the final piece of the puzzle is to determine which spectrum to choose. Follow the steps through these primary considerations to determine which spectrum is right for you:
3. Consider your use case
This article breaks down two common terms used to describe CBD products: full spectrum and CBD isolate. We also briefly touch on a third category, broad-spectrum CBD products.
That said, regardless of if a company promotes the spectrum of their products or not, you should always, always, always verify the cannabinoid and terpene content via third-party lab reports.
Research shows that whole-plant extracts like broad or full spectrum work well at lower doses and have a broader therapeutic window than CBD isolate. Isolate generally requires higher and more precise doses to be effective.
Full-spectrum CBD oil products have the advantage of containing many different cannabinoids and terpenes and the potential for a wider health reach. A recent study indicated the synergistic effects of a full spectrum CBD oil were superior to an isolate in the effective treatment of inflammatory conditions. Terpenes alone have shown incredible potential for human health and should not be disregarded.
While it’s unlikely you’d fail a traditional drug test from using our products, the possibility cannot be ruled out. There are just too many types of drug tests out there, and with hemp products still relatively new on the market, it’s hard to assume that all tests will distinguish between THC and other types of cannabinoids.
CBD isolate is made by pulling CBD from the plant and removing all other ingredients. By removing cannabinoids such as THC, passing a drug test may be easier, but there is more to consider when using CBD isolate than you might think. While isolated CBD is essentially 99% pure CBD, it doesn’t contain any of the beneficial terpenes or flavonoids that encourage the entourage effect. As the illustration demonstrates below, pure CBD isolate is missing THC, CBC, CBN, and more. This is why CBD isolates tend to cost less than full spectrum CBD products or broad-spectrum CBD products.
So what does each extraction method offer, and how are they different from one another? What are the pros and cons of each product? Let’s take a closer look at CBD isolate vs. full spectrum CBD to understand the differences between these two products.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is known for its calming and sedative effects. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, has psychoactive effects linked to the well-documented high. Other cannabinoids such as CBN (cannabinol), CBC (cannabichromene), and CBG (cannabigerol) exist that interact differently with your body’s endocannabinoid system.
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CBD edibles are one popular choice, though research suggests eating CBD requires the liver and digestive track to break down the CBD before it can be fully absorbed — and your body may not absorb all of it. CBD topicals are any product that contains CBD and is applied to the skin: lotions, creams, balms, salves, and the like. Keep in mind that your skin isn’t as good at absorbing CBD, so you may want to choose a product that’s high in CBD content. Sublingual CBD products, sometimes referred to as “sublinguals,” are absorbed under your tongue. These products include tinctures, sprays, oils, or lozenges that require you to keep the CBD product in your mouth rather than swallowing it. This method will avoid CBD breakdown by the liver and digestive tract, and your body will absorb more CBD as a result.
When cannabinoids are consumed together, a phenomenon known as the entourage effect will take place. The entourage effect proposes that combining cannabinoids such as CBG, CBN, THC, and CBD creates a stronger impact than any single cannabinoid can have on its own. The entourage effect can take place as a result of consuming any number of cannabinoids — not just CBD and THC.