Full Spectrum vs. Broad Spectrum: Know Your CBD

Full Spectrum vs. Broad Spectrum: Know Your CBD

People often talk about how much they love CBD. If you’re looking to try CBD for the first time, you’re probably beginning to realize that no one is very specific. With so many different forms of CBD, and each form comes in an isolate or a spectrum – where do you even begin?

First things first: all types of CBD (cannabidiol) can contain CBD. In that respect, there is no wrong form. Full-spectrum CBD oil and broad-spectrum CBD oil refer to what the CBD oil doesn’t contain, and in some cases, that’s just as important.

What Are CBD Spectrums?

CBD oil can either be full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or CBD isolate. The spectrums refer to what cannabinoids the CBD product does or doesn’t contain. 

In many cases, CBD products contain far more than just CBD. Unless you’re buying a CBD isolate (pure CBD, free of flavonoids, terpenes, and cannabinoids), you’re getting a wealth of other cannabinoids in conjunction with your CBD. 

How Many Cannabinoids Are There?

There are over 100 recognized cannabinoids. Some of them exist in amounts so small that it’s unlikely that they have any impact or benefits. In fact, only a handful of cannabinoids have been extensively studied for their safety and potential benefits. 

CBD and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are two of the most abundant and well-known cannabinoids, but minor cannabinoids like CBG, CBC, and CBN can also be useful.

Cannabinoids work with your endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is a massive network of receptors throughout your brain and body. Each cannabinoid uniquely interacts with the ECS to produce different benefits.


CBD, or cannabidiol, works with your body’s endocannabinoid system by stimulating the receptors. When CBD interacts with the receptors, it works to promote their normal functions. The end result is a sense of overall wellness.

CBD can help support your endocannabinoid system while it works to promote better sleep quality, a sense of calm, mental focus, regular digestive health, and tension response. It performs all of these functions without the THC effect of making you feel “high.” 


THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is the cannabinoid that gets you high. It binds to your cannabinoid receptors and changes the way they send messages. These changes in communication can alter the way you process information and perceive your surroundings. 

Medical cannabis patients find that THC helps with concerns like tension and discomfort. Meanwhile, recreational cannabis users may just like how it makes them feel. 


CBG, or cannabigerol, bonds to your cannabinoid receptors and changes how information is transmitted. CBG is non-psychoactive, which means it will not alter your state of mind like THC will.


CBC, or cannabichromene, is a different cannabinoid than CBD. However, in a lot of ways, CBC is similar to CBD. It doesn’t bind to your receptors, but it does positively influence them. CBC is believed to provide mood support and promote normal cellular health. 


CBN, or cannabinol, is more closely related to THC since it's essentially degraded THC. CBN is THC that’s lost its edge. Over time, THC degrades to a far less psychoactive cannabinoid called CBN. CBN is used to promote better sleep. 

Most studies show that CBN promotes better sleep when it’s used in conjunction with THC. However, how much of the effect comes from THC and how much comes from CBN is unknown. CBD may still be considered the best cannabinoid for sleep.

What Is Full-Spectrum CBD?

Full-spectrum CBD is CBD that contains the full spectrum of cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. Full-spectrum CBD includes all major and minor cannabinoids, although it only contains minimal amounts of cannabinoids that aren’t CBD.

While the benefits of minor cannabinoids in full-spectrum CBD may not be prevalent, the hemp plants grown to produce full-spectrum CBD are cultivated and prized for their high CBD content. 

In fact, growers are less interested in selectively breeding or cultivating whole plants to produce other cannabinoids since CBD is the one people are most interested in. 

The Entourage Effect

The Entourage Effect is the theory that every cannabinoid works together to produce benefits. Since full-spectrum CBD contains every cannabinoid from the hemp plant, it’s believed to produce the synergistic entourage effect. This is why people choose full-spectrum CBD products over other CBD products. 

THC in Full Spectrum CBD

Full-spectrum CBD is made from hemp plants, a special designation of cannabis plants. Hemp plants are legally allowed to contain up to 0.3% THC by their dry weight

The CBD made from these plants can also contain small amounts of THC. Thus, the small amount of THC is highly unlikely to cause you to feel high when you use a dose of full-spectrum CBD. But even though you won’t experience the psychoactive effects of THC, you’re still putting it in your system. 

When THC enters your body, your body stores its metabolites in its fat reserves. As your body expels the metabolites, it passes them through your urine. There’s a possibility that it may cause you to fail a drug test for cannabis use. 

If drug testing or athletic doping guidelines aren’t a part of your life, you may not be too concerned about full-spectrum CBD. If the possibility of trace amounts of THC being found in your system can potentially cause consequences for you, full-spectrum CBD isn’t the right choice. 

What Is Broad-Spectrum CBD?

Broad-spectrum CBD is almost the same thing as full-spectrum CBD. The only difference is the additional step manufacturers take to process the extract before turning it into CBD oil, capsules, or edibles. 

Broad-spectrum CBD undergoes a finishing step where manufacturers isolate CBD and remove as much of the THC as possible. There’s no guarantee that the end product can be ultimately THC free. The goal is to get THC levels so low that they aren’t detectable with standard cannabis testing lab equipment. 

Although it’s far less likely that broad-spectrum CBD can leave detectable THC levels in your body, it’s still technically possible. You have to choose your preferred level of comfort with THC before you decide to use broad-spectrum CBD. 

Reputable CBD manufacturers use testing by an independent third-party lab to show the cannabinoid content of their products. You should review the lab reports for every batch to ensure that the lab technician didn’t find substantial traces of THC if you’re choosing to avoid this cannabinoid. 

Full-Spectrum vs. Broad-Spectrum: Which Is Better?

As long as the CBD is manufactured by a reputable company that uses lab testing to assure the quality and purity of its products, both forms of CBD are equally safe. Choosing the best form of CBD for you depends more on what you don’t want. 

If you’re not comfortable using products containing small amounts of THC, then full-spectrum CBD may not be the right choice.

You might be more comfortable using broad-spectrum if you don’t want to ingest THC. However, even though broad-spectrum CBD is far less likely to place detectable amounts of THC into your system, it’s still possible. Many people with THC aversions or restrictions may find that broad-spectrum CBD is a better option.

What About CBD Without THC?

If THC is an absolute no-go, you still have options. CBD isolate products aren’t on any spectrum and do not contain THC.

CBD Isolate Derived from Hemp 

Traditional CBD isolate products are derived from hemp, just like full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD products. During the extraction process, the hemp plant is processed to remove every cannabinoid and naturally occurring compound, aside from CBD. 

All fats, oils, and phytonutrients are removed from the extract. The end result is a crystalline substance as no liquid or moisture remains. Crystalline CBD isolate looks similar to table sugar or salt. 

The crystals are difficult to use straight from the container, especially because they’re so concentrated. It’s not pleasant to take a tiny spoon of straight CBD crystals. Some companies will blend the CBD isolate with a carrier oil to make it similar to other CBD oils. 

Other companies blend the crystals into edibles like CBD gummies. You can also buy the crystals plain and mix them into whatever you want. People use CBD isolate to make things like CBD lattes or boost the potential recovery power of their post-workout smoothie. 

CBD Made from Orange Peels

Peels is bioidentical CBD, which means that your body can’t tell the difference between Peels and CBD derived from hemp. As Peels is made from orange peels, they contain aromatic terpenes, like limonene, with a citrusy flavor and aroma. 

At Peels, we use a special cyclic terpene assembly process to convert these terpenes into CBD. There’s absolutely no THC in Peels, and there never will be. Oranges don’t contain THC, and we don’t convert terpenes into THC. 

So what are you waiting for? Add Peels CBD to your wellness routine!



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The Case for the Entourage Effect and Conventional Breeding of Clinical Cannabis: No “Strain,” No Gain | Frontiers in Plant Science

Defining Hemp: A Fact Sheet | Congressional Research Service

Cannabinol and Sleep: Separating Fact from Fiction | NIH