Full Spectrum CBD vs Broad Spectrum CBD vs CBD Isolate

Full Spectrum CBD vs Broad Spectrum CBD vs CBD Isolate

The CBD coming-out-party is in full swing with balms, tinctures, salves, and extractions being sold everywhere from RiteAid to roadside stands. If you’ve been in the market for CBD you’ve most likely seen products labeled "CBD Isolate", “Full Spectrum CBD”, or “Broad Spectrum CBD”. In an emerging market like CBD there can be gaps in how fast retailers are able to make products compared to how educated the consumer can become by the time they hit shelves.

So what do these three CBD classifications *actually* mean?

Basically they outline what kind of CBD is used in your product. All three types attempt to do the same thing, just through different processes. We’re going to cover the difference between full spectrum CBD and broad spectrum CBD as well as what CBD isolate is. But first, we need to define CBD.

What Exactly IS CBD?

Within dry herb there are two main compounds: CBD and its psychoactive cousin that sometimes makes you hungry. These aren’t the only compounds inside the dry herb plant, there are literally hundreds of others, but they’re the most important in terms of our bodies processing and possibly feeling effects from.

Thanks to some enterprising researchers, it was discovered that CBD did not have psychoactive effects, and can actually counteract its counterpart's effects. The aforementioned “hundreds of other” compounds inside dry herb make up the full spectrum of properties, which is where we get the “broad” and “full” spectrum CBD distinctions.

Dry Herb’s Compound Spectrum

CBD Spectrum

A beautiful spectrum, with endless possibilities

To create a CBD product, the property is extracted from the dry herb plant, usually, this is the hemp plant. During these processes, things like terpenes, flavonoids, and other compounds are extracted. Depending on the strain of dry herb used for extraction, the composition and internal compound makeup of the CBD will differ.

The hemp plant contains little to no psychoactive properties, but an exclusive dry herb strain like GSC could have CBD, but will also be packed with psychoactive compounds as well. Once the CBD is extracted, the company doing the manufacturing can choose to refine the extract to contain only the specific compounds they want you to ingest.

Determining if your CBD is broad spectrum, full spectrum, or isolate depends on what is inside the refined extract.

What Is CBD Isolate?

CBD Isolate crystals

Yes, that is CBD. 

CBD Isolate is the purest form of CBD, plain and simple.

All compounds that aren’t CBD are removed, leaving only CBD. This form of CBD is usually extracted from Hemp, since there none-to-low amounts of psychoactive properties.

While CBD Isolate is the most “pure” form of CBD, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is the “strongest” form of CBD.

What Is Full Spectrum CBD?

Full Spectrum CBD

Full of CBD..and everything else. 

Full Spectrum CBD will contain *all* the compounds found naturally occurring in the plant it is derived from, meaning there will be terpenes, essential oils, and trace amounts of psychoactive compounds if any are present. The “full spectrum” (see what they did there) of these items work together to magnify potentially benefits of each individual compound, this is known as the “entourage effect”.

Since Full Spectrum CBD has this combined effect of all the other properties within the plant, it is considered “more powerful” than CBD Isolate, which is relying on CBD and nothing else.

We carry Mary's Nutritionals CBD, which mostly utilizes Full Spectrum CBD. 

What Is Broad Spectrum CBD?

jar of CBD oil

A little of both, without the psychoactive properties. 

Broad Spectrum CBD is the middle ground of Full Spectrum and CBD Isolate.

In the same vein as Full Spectrum CBD, Broad Spectrum CBD has the internal compounds of the plant preserved, but like CBD Isolate, all of the psychoactive properties are removed.

The “entourage effect” is still in play with Broad Spectrum CBD, but without the risk of psychoactive effects.


Now that you’ve gotten a crash course in the different types of CBD, it’s important to note that none of these three versions is “better” than another one.

Each person will react to CBD differently. Factors like weight, chemical makeup, and history with dry herb will play a part in how your body absorbs the CBD. Heavy dry herb users might prefer Full Spectrum CBD, while someone new to the CBD game will want to try “just* CBD, opting for the isolate. 

**Content from the vapor.com website and blog is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. The information provided on this website is intended for general consumer understanding and entertainment only. The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice.**