What is the difference between full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD & CBD isolate?

There are three main types of CBD: Isolate, Full Spectrum and Broad Spectrum CBD. The main difference is the number of compounds present in the final product. With heavy debate, it's tough to pick which type of CBD is the best for you. We've carefully curated an overview on the three main types of CBD to provide you with a better understanding on the topic.

08 November 2022

  • CBD Guides
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Introduction to different types of CBD distillates

In the world of CBD, the terms “full-spectrum” and “broad-spectrum” will most likely be unfamiliar to you unless you really know your stuff about the types of CBD oil. It’s not as confusing as it sounds, and it’s a good idea to learn more about these terms so you can make sure you get the right type to suit your needs.

The CBD oil spectrum depends on where it is in the filtration process. Some CBD oil is refined more than other types of CBD oil, with THC being filtered out, or other cannabinoids being removed, leaving just pure CBD.


Full spectrum CBD

Full spectrum CBD oil is the result of the first process of distillation. This version of CBD oil contains all the natural cannabinoids from the original hemp plant, of which there are estimated to be over 150, along with terpenes and phytonutrients, including fatty acids and omegas.

It takes a waxy crystallised form, but a thick viscous oily liquid when heated, and it is the CBD that possesses the most “hempy” taste.

With it being high in the original natural compounds, full-spectrum CBD oil is also likely to have a higher THC level, but it varies from plant to plant. Variables include the conditions of which the plant is grown, and the quality of the extraction process itself.

In the UK the legal limit of THC levels in a CBD product is 1mg per container. This allows full-spectrum CBD to still be used in various CBD products, with the size of the container being on the smaller side, due to these restrictions surrounding THC.

Broad-spectrum CBD

Broad-spectrum CBD could be considered as the middleman between the three common CBD oil types.

Broad-spectrum is similar to full-spectrum CBD oil as it contains a range of cannabinoids, terpenes, and phytonutrients, but it has undergone an extra extraction process to remove the THC.

Broad-spectrum CBD oil is a good choice for those wishing to get the most out of the natural compounds from the hemp plant without the wish to consume THC – the best of both worlds.

CBD Isolate

CBD isolate is the final result of the extraction process.

It is the purest form of the CBD compound itself, generally being around 99% pure. It contains no other cannabinoids, terpenes, or phytonutrients – just pure isolated CBD. Usually in powder form and with no “hempy” aftertaste, it is good for those who have a very specific idea of how they want to use CBD.

With this form of CBD, you may not get the support qualities of CBD working synergistically together with all the other natural compounds. Most people refer to this it as the entourage effect.

In Summary

There are a wide range of CBD products available on the market to buy. Any reliable brand will always make it clear on the product description if it’s full-spectrum, broad-spectrum or CBD isolate that they’re using in their products. This will help you make a decision on what the best option for you is.

As a brand, we at Green Stem always recommend trying a few different CBD products to gage what’s right for you, especially if you’re a beginner. To find out more about how to start your CBD journey, read our Beginners Guide to CBD on our website.

We hope this has given you a basic breakdown of all the CBD spectrums and more of an insight into what makes them differ from each other.

If you’d like to find out more about CBD, we have a range of CBD guides available on the Learn section of our website.