The CBD market is booming. With that growth comes a lot of new CBD users—people who want to find the best CBD experience for them but may find the bounty of terminology and products out there overwhelming.
In this post, we’re going to look at three major categories of CBD products to choose from: full spectrum, isolates, and broad spectrum. Though there are differences between these products that might affect your preferences. Isolates and broad spectrum, for example, are less likely to trigger THC-detecting drug tests. At the same time, it’s important to remember that all three products contain 85% or more CBD. No matter which product you choose, this is the cannabinoid that shapes your experience with the product.
Full Spectrum CBD
Full spectrum CBD is distilled from Cannabis sativa using a method that preserves many other components of the plant in the final product. Full spectrum products can include terpenes (the organic compounds in CBD and many other plants that create its scent profile), tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the cannabinoid responsible for marijuana’s “stoned” feeling), and some of the other 113 cannabinoids present in Cannabis. Full spectrum CBD oils can contain THC, but no more than .3%--which means it’s unlikely to make anyone high.
Isolate is CBD distilled to produce extremely pure cannabidiol. It contains no detectable non-CBD ingredients, such as THC, terpenes, or any of the other cannabinoids present in Cannabis plants. The result is a pure crystal powder that can be mixed with a variety of carrier oils or other products for a custom CBD experience.
Broad Spectrum CBD
Broad spectrum is between full spectrum and isolates. It contains many cannabis-derived ingredients other than CBD, but notably lacks detectable levels of THC. Broad spectrum products can be created through a distillation process that eliminates only THC, or by creating CBD isolate and then mixing in a custom mix of terpenes and other cannabis components. Some people are uncomfortable using even small amounts of THC, but still want the “whole plant” experience—broad spectrum gives them that middle ground.
Which One is Right For Me?
While CBD products differ, their primary purpose—to deliver CBD—remains the same. Properly marketed CBD products, whether they’re isolates or full spectrum, will provide far more CBD than any other cannabinoid or Cannabis sativa component.
Some people prefer the “whole plant” experience of full spectrum products, while some enjoy ordering or creating their own custom broad spectrum blend. Though even full spectrum CBD products, such as CBD Oil and CBD Gummies, only delivery meager amounts of THC, some people still avoid them because they’re uncomfortable taking THC at all. Though no CBD product can 100% guarantee it won’t indicate THC in a drug test (because CBD with no detectable THC using manufacturer testing can still contain minuscule traces picked up by sensitive drug tests), broad spectrum and isolate CBD products are significantly less likely to trigger a positive result than full spectrum products. Users looking for a CBD product with minimal smells or tastes might get the most sensory purity from isolate products, which are often available as crystallized powder, sheets, or suspended in a neutral carrier oil.
Full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate are characteristics to consider when picking out a CBD product—but they’re not the only factors that shape each CBD user’s experience. Concentrate delivered sublingually, for example, might create a different sensation than edibles, which will create a different sensation than topical creams. Delivery methods can affect how quickly your body absorbs each product’s cannabinoid and non-cannabinoid components, how much it absorbs, and which parts of your nervous system are most affected. Furthermore, different people can respond to CBD products differently even if they take the same amount and type the same way due to differences in metabolism, body composition, and body chemistry.
The takeaway isn’t that one form of CBD is inherently better than the other. While the range of products out there may seem overwhelming, that selection is part of what makes the CBD market so appealing: it has something to offer everyone. Seek out the CBD product that best suits your unique needs and body chemistry.