In the world of CBD, there are so many subtle distinctions between products, trying to figure out what they all mean can truly feel like going back to school.
One of the biggest points of confusion when it comes to CBD products is the difference between the full spectrum, broad spectrum, and isolate versions available.
While each has their own potential drawbacks and benefits, today we’ll focus on broad spectrum CBD.
Broad Spectrum Vs. Full Spectrum Vs. CBD Isolate
But before we hit the details, a little context might be helpful.
Products infused with cannabidiol – the scientific name for CBD – are broadly categorized into one of three categories: Broad spectrum, full spectrum and isolate.
Briefly, these labels refer to how much of the cannabis plant is included in the final product. That’s because CBD is far from the only compound of its kind inside the cannabis plant.
There are more than 100 types of cannabinoids in any given cannabis plant, each of which impact the human body differently. There are also a number of flavonoids and terpenes, which add things like flavor and scent to the plant.
So when it comes to labeling CBD products, full spectrum, as it may sound, includes everything – all the flavonoids, terpenes and cannabinoids – including THC, the chemical responsible for making us feel high when we smoke marijuana. (Legally, a full spectrum product can’t include more than 0.03% THC, an amount found to be non-psychoactive.)
Isolates hit the other side of the spectrum: These products include only cannabidiol, which has been extracted from the plant and infused into the product.
But broad spectrum is a bit harder to define: It sits somewhere in the middle, including much more than just cannabidiol, but not quite including every part of the cannabis plant.
How Is Broad Spectrum CBD Made?
Almost always, a broad spectrum product will essentially boil down to a full spectrum CBD product with the THC removed.
Still, sometimes companies create proprietary mixes of cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids, picking and choosing which compounds they want to include in their product or not.
Either way, the broad spectrum CBD product is made using a method called extraction.
Essentially, a full-spectrum version of the CBD is created first. Then, using a process called chromatography, companies are able to remove the THC (or any other cannabinoids) from the mix.
Benefits of Broad Spectrum CBD
Broad spectrum CBD still offers many if not most of the same benefits as full-spectrum CBD.
That’s because broad spectrum still maintains the vast network of cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids that many experts believe work together to create something called the entourage effect [link].
When all the natural parts of the plants are allowed to stay intact and work together, it’s believed, they create an effect that’s greater than the sum of its parts. Some scientists believe these plant parts impact each other in a number of ways we don’t yet understand, making the overall effect of the CBD product that much more potent.
Some benefits that have been linked to broad spectrum CBD include:
· Help with anxiety and depression
· Pain relief
· Improved sleep
· Neuroprotective qualities, such as help with epilepsy or the development of Alzheimer’s
· Potential for slowing the growth of cancer cells and tumors
· Healthier, more moisturized skin
Of course, broad spectrum CBD does not include tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as THC.
Some scientists believe even this one omission can have an overall impact on the entourage effect, as many of the other cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids in the cannabis plant react specifically to the THC.
For many people, however, the absence of THC isn’t a problem and actually a benefit, due to the substance’s psychoactive properties, which are still possible to feel, mildly, even at low doses.
Where To Find Broad Spectrum CBD
Broad spectrum CBD is a widely popular choice for people seeking CBD products – especially those who would rather not ingest THC.
As such, it’s fairly easy to find broad spectrum CBD products on the market. Just look on the label (or website) to ensure the product is marked as “broad spectrum.”
All the benefits of broad spectrum CBD are packed into any number of products today, from oils, lotions and creams to gummies and capsules – and even in your favorite type of mints.