Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, and Isolate: What is the difference?

Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, and Isolate: What is the difference?

Millions of people around the world have adopted CBD in their daily wellness routine. Whether shopping in person at a dispensary or browsing online, consumers face numerous options of brands, forms, and flavors. In addition, consumers often need to navigate an ocean of terms that can further confuse them in the process of choosing a product. In this blog, we talk about three commonly-used terms in the CBD industry: Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, and Isolate. How do they influence our purchases? Are they simply buzz words? Keep reading to find out. 

What is CBD? 

CBD is a non-toxic compound derived from the Hemp plant. When consumed, CBD connects with specific receptors of our Endocannabinoid System (ECS), a network found throughout the body that helps it regulate physiological and cognitive performances, including sleep, mood, pain sensation. Emerging studies suggest that the use of CBD can help the body maintain physiological balance called Homeostasis.

Just like CBD, there are other compounds that can be extracted from the Hemp plant that also interact with ECS through different receptors, thus regulating different physiological and cognitive functions. These compounds are called Cannabinoids and come in the form of CBC, CBG, CBN, and THC.

When formulated into a consumable product, such as tinctures or gummies, CBD and each of the other compounds found in Hemp plants can be further classified into 3 types based on the extracts they are infused with. These types of products are called Isolate, Full Spectrum, and Broad Spectrum.  

Full Spectrum

Products labeled as Full Spectrum contain numerous other cannabinoid compounds from the plant, along with low levels of THC ( < 0.3%). High-quality full spectrum products are also combined with flavonoids and aromatic molecules found in the Hemp plant called Terpenes, which themselves have nonpsychoactive effects when consumed. This combination allows consumers to experience “The Entourage Effect”, an occurrence when the active cannabinoids work together to boost or intensify the benefits of Hemp. Full-spectrum products will include CBD and the cannabinoid compounds that we mentioned:

  • Cannabinol (CBN) – a cannabinoid made from oxidized THC
  • Cannabigerol (CBG) – a non-intoxicating cannabinoid produced from cannabigerol acid 
  • Cannabidivarin (CBDV) – a cannabinoid with a molecular structure similar to CBD.
  • Cannabidiol acid (CBDA) – the 2-carboxylic acid form of CBD
  • Cannabichromene (CBC) – a cannabinoid that is particularly sourced from a tropical-region cannabis

Broad Spectrum

Just like full-spectrum CBD products, broad-spectrum CBD products contain numerous compounds and Terpenes. The difference is that broad-spectrum products typically do not contain THC. Broad-spectrum CBD products are frequented by those who want a “heightened effect” from their products while ensuring no chances of an unwanted high by THC. 


Products labeled as Isolate, Pure Isolate or 100% Isolate only contain a single compound and do not include any additional compounds from the Hemp plant. After extraction, the resulting oils often contain low levels of THC from the concentration of cannabinoids.Isolates are commonly obtained through solvent recrystallization of full-spectrum distillate as input. During this process, the target of our recrystallization is forced to precipitate out of the solvent mixture due to decreased solubility of the target compound brought on by a decrease in temperature. For this reason, Isolate products are frequented by consumers who wish to avoid THC and other compounds or who wish to determine whether or not the isolate is effectively processed by their bodies without the other cannabinoid compounds present. 

Choosing what is right for you 

In choosing the right CBD product, what works for others may not work for you and vise versa so deciding on a product by its infusion is a great start. For those who are sensitive to THC or are regularly drug-tested, isolate or broad-spectrum infused products are your best choice. But if you are looking for the most beneficial product you can buy, you can't beat the Entourage Effect garnered from full-spectrum products with their diverse cannabinoid and terpene profile.