The cannabidiol (CBD) market was valued at $2.8 billion in 2020. The industry could grow by a CAGR of 21.2% by 2028, reaching a value of $13.4 billion.

More people are recognizing the benefits of using CBD. Unfortunately, not many people realize there are different types of CBD they can purchase. For example, you might consider choosing between full-spectrum vs broad-spectrum CBD.

What exactly is the difference between these two types of CBD? Keep reading to find out!

After reading this guide, you can choose the one type that suits your lifestyle and needs. You can start shopping feeling confident in your choice, too.

Otherwise, the type of CBD you choose might not completely suit your lifestyle or needs.

Read on to discover the difference between broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD today. 

Understanding CBD

About 62% of CBD users reported using CBD to treat a medical condition. Before we compare full-spectrum vs broad-spectrum CBD, it’s important to manage your expectations. Everyone reacts to CBD a little differently.

The benefits you experience can vary based on your weight, health condition, and age. The types of CBD you use can have an impact, too. 

CBD is one of the active compounds found in the cannabis plant. It’s the second most abundant compound after tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). They’re both phytocannabinoids, or plant-based cannabinoids.

Cannabinoids work by interacting with the body’s natural endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a cell-signaling system. Your ECS is active, even if you don’t use phytocannabinoids.

The ECS contains three main components: endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes.

Endocannabinoids are produced when your body needs them. There are two main endocannabinoids: anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). Both ensure internal functions run smoothly.

Receptors are located in the central and peripheral nervous systems. You have two main receptors: CB1 and CB2. They bind to endocannabinoids before signaling the ECS to take action.

Enzymes are responsible for breaking down endocannabinoids once their job is complete. Fatty acid amide hydrolase breaks down AEA. Monoacylglycerol acid lipase breaks down 2-AG.

Your ECS plays a part in regulating internal functions like:

  • Inflammation
  • Appetite and digestion
  • Mood
  • Learning and memory
  • Sleep
  • Cardiovascular system function
  • Metabolism
  • Motor control
  • Liver function
  • Stress
  • Skin and nerve function
  • Reproductive system function
  • Bone remodeling and growth
  • Muscle formation

If an outside force kicks your body out of homeostasis (balance), the ECS kicks in.

CBD can interact with your ECS. It’s possible CBD works by keeping enzymes from breaking down endocannabinoids. This would allow endocannabinoids to have a prolonged effect on your body.

When shopping for CBD, you’ll likely come across three options: full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, and CBD isolate. 

The Difference

What exactly is the difference between full-spectrum vs broad-spectrum CBD, then?

The biggest difference is the compounds they contain. 

Full-spectrum CBD products contain several different cannabis plant extracts. For example, they can contain other cannabinoids besides THC and CBD. They could contain terpenes, too. 

Broad-spectrum CBD can contain other cannabis plant compounds. However, these products are usually free of THC. 

Remember, there’s a third type of CBD to keep in mind: CBD isolate. CBD isolate only contains cannabidiol. It won’t contain any other cannabis plant compounds. 

What are the potential benefits of broad-spectrum CBD and full-spectrum CBD? It’s possible they might:

  • Help patients with multiple sclerosis
  • Aid patients with rheumatoid arthritis
  • Ease anxiety and depression symptoms
  • Alleviate cancer-related symptoms
  • Reduce acne and sebum production
  • Have neuroprotective properties for patients with neurological disorders
  • Help children with Dravet syndrome
  • Aid patients with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease
  • Lower high blood pressure (reducing the risk of stroke, heart attack, and metabolic syndrome)
  • Offer stress- and anxiety-reducing properties
  • Help patients with schizophrenia and other mental disorders
  • Reduce morphine dependence and heroin-seeking behaviors
  • Offer anti-tumor effects
  • Prevent diabetes

Many of these studies are still in their beginning stages, though. Scientists are still learning more about how CBD can affect the body.

Make sure to check the label to determine if it’s full-spectrum vs broad-spectrum CBD before you start shopping.

The Extraction Process

A manufacturer can extract CBD from the cannabis plant a few different ways.

For example, they might use the carbon dioxide extraction process. With this method, CO2 separates the CBD from the cannabis plant. This extraction process can successfully produce high concentrations of CBD.

A manufacturer might use steam distillation instead. The steam can separate the oil from the plant. This method isn’t as effective as the CO2 method, though.

Solvent extraction is ideal if solvents are left behind. This option, however, can affect the extract’s flavor.

There’s also lipid extraction. This option is ideal for manufacturers that are avoiding CO2 and solvents.

Once the CBD is extracted, the resulting oil is considered full-spectrum CBD. The manufacturer can complete the cooling and purification process to obtain CBD isolate.

Is CBD Legal?

Yes; whether you decide between full-spectrum vs broad-spectrum CBD, it is legal to buy. It’s important to make sure the products contain less than 0.3% THC, though. THC is a phytocannabinoid that can cause psychoactive effects.

For example, it can get you high or cause feelings of euphoria.

When shopping for full- or broad-spectrum hemp extract CBD, make sure the products contain less than 0.3% THC.

Full-Spectrum Benefits

Why do people choose between full-spectrum vs broad-spectrum CBD?

One of the main benefits of full-spectrum CBD is it contains multiple cannabinoid compounds and terpenes. The combination of these compounds could cause the entourage effect. The entourage effects could increase the potential benefits of using CBD.

For example, full-spectrum CBD might provide anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects. It’s possibly also:

  • Anti-anxiety
  • Antiseizure
  • Antioxidant

Remember, everyone reacts to CBD a little differently. It’s important to maintain realistic expectations before trying CBD for the first time. 

Full-spectrum CBD products are ideal for people who don’t mind trace amounts of THC in their products. It’s also ideal if you don’t have to complete random drug tests. If you live in a state with a legal cannabis market, you can purchase full-spectrum CBD for yourself. 

If you take a large enough dose of a potent product, however, you might feel a slight high due to the THC. Not all full-spectrum CBD products will make you feel intoxicated, though. Small doses of lower potency products likely won’t cause a euphoric effect.

Make sure to do your due diligence before purchasing CBD for the first time. Choose a product with a certificate of analysis (COA). Make sure the product has completed third-party testing, too.

You can review the ingredients included in the product before you purchase CBD for the first time.

Broad-Spectrum Benefits

Broad-spectrum CBD contains additional compounds from cannabis plants. For example, they might contain terpenes, cannabichromene, and cannabinol (CBN).

CBN might have the following potential effects:

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antiseizure
  • Antibiotic

Remember, broad-spectrum CBD products don’t contain THC.

You might want to consider purchasing broad-spectrum hemp extract if your job requires random drug tests. Otherwise, it’s possible the trace amounts of THC in a full-spectrum CBD product will appear in the results.

However, choosing broad-spectrum CBD products means you won’t experience the entourage effect.

Buying CBD

Remember, it’s important to do your due diligence before purchasing CBD products for the first time. 

First, make sure the product was tested by an ISO 17025-compliant third-party lab. Determine if the product has a certificate of analysis (COA), too. The product should pass tests for molds, heavy metals, and pesticides.

If the COA determines the product contains any of these compounds, look elsewhere.

Try to find a product that was made with US-grown hemp, too.

Otherwise, make sure it contains less than 0.3% THC. Remember, only products with less than 0.3% are legal to purchase.

Make sure the product doesn’t make any unsupported health claims as well. 

Are you stuck between purchasing full-spectrum vs broad-spectrum CBD?

First, consider which one suits your needs. Remember, your lifestyle, physiology, and health history can impact how your body reacts to CBD.

You might want to start with broad-spectrum CBD first. However, if your lifestyle is more lenient toward THC, you might consider full-spectrum products instead. Full-spectrum is also ideal if you don’t have to undergo random drug screenings.

Broad-spectrum CBD is ideal for anyone who is more cautious about having THC in their system. If you live in a state with strict laws regarding cannabis use, choose broad-spectrum.

Potential Side Effects

Before trying CBD for the first time, take the time to consult your doctor.

CBD could interact with any medications you’re taking. Consulting a doctor first can help you avoid any potentially harmful interactions. Make sure to talk to a doctor if you take supplements or medications that come with a “grapefruit warning.”

Otherwise, potential side effects include fatigue, changes in appetite and weight, and diarrhea. Let your doctor know if you experience any of these symptoms.  

Rest and Relax: Understanding Full-Spectrum vs Broad-Spectrum CBD

To recap, what’s the difference between full-spectrum vs broad-spectrum CBD?

Full-spectrum CBD contains multiple phytocannabinoids, including trace amounts of THC. While broad-spectrum contains other plant compounds, it doesn’t contain THC. Keep that in mind before you start shopping!

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