When you’re looking for the right CBD oils to benefit your life, you may have noticed there are different types of cannabinoid spectrum options to choose from, including full-spectrum CBD and broad-spectrum CBD. While these names sound similar, they are completely different. In this article, we’re going to explain the difference between both types of CBD oils and discuss the pros and cons of each CBD form, but first, here is an overview of cannabinoids and why they are so important for our health.

Cannabinoids and How They Impact Our Well-Being

You might have heard of THC and CBD on their own, and these are what is known as cannabinoids. These are the natural phytochemicals found in the cannabis plant, and while CBD and THC are the most researched, there are, in fact, over 113 identified cannabinoids.

Why are cannabinoids so beneficial for our well-being?

Cannabinoids interact with the brain and body in a unique way. Located in the human body, we have the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a complex network of cannabinoid receptors and neurotransmitters which are found in the brain, the central nervous system, the peripheral nervous system, and immune system. The ECS controls a wide range of biological functions like memory, pain perception, cognitive performance, managing stress, regulating mood, as well as the immune system response.

In 1995, researchers discovered cannabinoids such as CBD and THC could benefit the body and brain in a number of ways and soon after, they discovered each cannabinoid has a unique relationship with the endocannabinoid system. This is where, for example, the THC component’s effects result in a “high.” But CBD, it was discovered, doesn’t make you high, but can alter the effects of THC. CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system to deliver a wide variety of health benefits, from stress and anxiety relief or altered perception of pain, and, depending on the dosage, can yield numerous benefits. For example, at small doses, CBD can be mildly stimulating, but higher amounts can bring about sedative effects.

Hemp Extracts and Why They Are Different

CBD products are extracted from the cannabis plant. During the process of extraction, the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids are stripped from the plant and dissolved in oil. This makes the CBD easier to administer and store. This can cause the cannabinoid profile of your CBD oil to differ, as it depends on the cannabis strain used. 

As hemp extracts contain little to no levels of THC (usually below 0.3%), they are not classed as psychoactive but still contain high levels of CBD. Conversely, some marijuana strains can have an equal ratio of 1:1 CBD to THC. This depends on the purpose of the final product, as some companies use a different cannabinoid spectrum from different strains. As a result, this can mean that, depending on the product you buy, it may not be fully legal. But this is why it is best to go exclusively with hemp extracts.

After the initial extraction, what happens with the cannabinoids determines the spectrum of the product, full-spectrum or broad-spectrum. Each term refers to the degree the product was processed so let’s discuss each cannabis spectrum.

What is Full-Spectrum CBD?

If an extract is “full-spectrum” it contains all phytochemicals naturally found in the plant. As well as CBD, full-spectrum extracts contain trace cannabinoids, terpenes, and essential oils. Full-spectrum extracts also come with a very low level of THC content- typically below 0.3%.

The wide range of active compounds extracted from the hemp plant work together to augment the health benefits of each individual cannabinoid, which is known as the “entourage effect.”

While non-psychoactive, the downside of full-spectrum CBD is that you can get a false positive during a drug test, especially if you consume high doses of CBD oil on a daily basis, but this is where broad-spectrum CBD comes in…

What is Broad Spectrum CBD?

Broad-spectrum CBD contains cannabidiol and all the other compounds within the plant, but does not contain THC. This is removed after the initial extraction. 

As broad-spectrum extracts contain a wide variety of cannabinoids, they produce the “entourage effect,” as its full-spectrum counterpart but without the THC.

Full-Spectrum Vs Broad-Spectrum: Which Should You Choose?

Now that you have the information at your fingertips, you may be hesitating on the final choice, or which is better. The fact is that no spectrum is better than the other. Everyone has different needs and different reactions to CBD. The question is not “which is the best,” but “which spectrum will work for my needs?” 

To help you out, here are some of the pros and cons of each type, and examples of what ailments each spectrum may work best for.

Full Spectrum CBD: Pros & Cons


  • Allows the user to benefit from the “entourage effect.”
  • Is the least processed form of CBD.
  • Can have additional health benefits due to the presence of terpenes and flavonoids 


  • Due to the THC content, they can show up on a drug screening if taken every day and cause problems with the local law.
  • Carries the strong flavour and aroma of hemp.

Who Would Benefit From Full-Spectrum?

  • Users of who want to benefit from the trace amounts of THC in their extracts.
  • Individuals with severe ailments that broad-spectrum products cannot help with.

Broad Spectrum CBD: Pros & Cons


  • Boasts the full benefits of the much-lauded “entourage effect.”
  • There are no risks of psychoactive effects.


  • Not as well-researched.
  • Less available than full-spectrum CBD. 
  • Can carry a strong flavour of hemp.

Who Would Benefit From Broad Spectrum?

  • Individuals who have a sensitivity to THC.
  • First-time CBD users concerned with THC levels, either due to personal or legal reasons.

Final Thoughts On CBD Oil Spectrums

There are so many different reasons to go down the avenue of one cannabis spectrum over the other. Likewise, there are many factors that can influence your reaction to each spectrum, such as your body chemistry, weight, and lifestyle. While there is a lot more research to gauge the effectiveness of each spectrum, starting on a low dose through products like CBD gummies or taking a small amount and building up is the best way to test your individual reaction. 

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