Full Spectrum vs Broad Spectrum vs CBD Isolate - what's the difference?

From full-spectrum to isolates, and more recently even nano-CBD, it’s easy for CBD users - both experienced and new - to become confused about what the particular differences are between the various types of cannabidiol (CBD) extracts and products.

That is why we’ve put together this quick-look reference guide to help make things a bit clearer for you while helping you make informed decisions about which types of products might be best for you.

Different types of CBD

Full-Spectrum CBD

Full-spectrum extracts contain all the compounds found in the whole cannabis or hemp plant, including all of the cannabinoids including CBD, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other minor cannabinoids, terpenes as well as flavonoids. Because of this, full-spectrum CBD oil is considered as being more therapeutically beneficial as it’s thought that the compounds work together synergistically in what is called the entourage effect.

Broad-Spectrum CBD

Many people cannot tolerate THC or simply cannot or do not want to ingest it because, for instance, they are subjected to drug testing. For them, a broad-spectrum CBD oil is perfect since it contains everything a full-spectrum CBD oil does and thus also possess maximum therapeutic benefits, but without the THC.

CBD Isolate

As the name suggests, CBD isolate is a refined form of CBD extract that more than 99% pure CBD. Before the discovery of the entourage effect, CBD Isolate was considered the gold-standard but has fallen out of favor with many CBD users since them However, for patients who require precision dosing at high concentrations, high-quality CBD isolates manufactured in the United States and Europe are still a good choice.

Nano-Amplified CBD

The new kid on the CBD extract block, nano-amplified CBD is getting a lot of attention at the moment. It is manufactured by passing the CBD through a cavitation process that reduces the CBD into nano-sized particles. Because these particles are so small and nano-amplified CBD is water soluble, many consider it to have superior bioavailability [link to bioavailability article] as it’s easier for the body to absorb.

Hemp Seed Oil

Not technically a CBD extract, hemp seed oil is extracted from the hemp seeds but contains no cannabinoids. Hemp oil however does have some benefits as it is rich in many vitamins, minerals and essential fatty-acids. For this reason, it is often used as a carrier oil in CBD oils as well as skin care products, cosmetics, foods and other types of health and wellness products.

Final Thoughts

The differences between the various CBD oils and extracts boil down to a combination of three things; 1) how it’s produced, 2) how refined it is and 3) how many compounds it contains. It’s also good to remember that, although some people are of the opinion that certain extract types and products are superior to others, this is simply not true. Ultimately it all comes down to the quality of the CBD product, what your needs are, why you are using CBD, what you prefer and what you want to achieve with it.