(TL:DR – Full spectrum contains all the beneficial plant compounds found in hemp, while isolate and broad spectrum do not. This results in full spectrum CBD products being more effective and more beneficial than broad spectrum or isolate products.)
We make navigating the ebb and flow of the CBD industry our full time job. We put in the time researching so you don’t have to. Here are the facts.
So you’re shopping and you notice three CBD products on a shelf. They are all tinctures, the same size and the same potency, but one is “isolate”, one is “broad spectrum”, and the other is “full spectrum”. What’s the difference? Which one should you choose? Let’s start with a few definitions:
- Isolate is only the cannabinoid CBD. To make isolate, cannabidiol (CBD) is stripped out of the hemp plant and all other cannabinoids are discarded. There are no residual hemp plant compounds in isolate products—zero percent THC and zero percent of any other plant compound. Isolate is usually water-soluble and can be made into a powder form, which makes this type of CBD appealing for infused beverage makers.
- Broad spectrum CBD contains a handful of plant compounds, but never THC. Every broad spectrum product contains a different collection of plant compounds so be sure to ask for testing results to see what you’re actually getting.
- Full spectrum CBD contains all the therapeutic compounds found in hemp, including essential, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and saturated fatty acids; all naturally occurring hemp cannabinoids; terpenes; plant sterols; natural vitamin E; and chlorophyll. Full spectrum CBD contains less than 0.3% THC content, which is the federally legal limit in the US and is not nearly enough to get you high.
Simply put, isolate won’t get the job done as well as broad spectrum or full spectrum. One cannabinoid doesn’t perform as well as a conjunction of cannabinoids and plant compounds. This conjunction is called the entourage effect, a confluence of hemp goodness that increases a product’s therapeutic power and benefits.
Broad spectrum and full spectrum both benefit from the entourage effect, but full spectrum’s entourage rolls much deeper. Imagine a party; the music is popping and everyone is having a great time mingling. Now imagine a few of the more interesting attendees take off along with the DJ…
Not quite the same party. (Yes, THC is the DJ.)
So why exactly is full spectrum CBD better?
To answer this question, we need to take a deeper look at a few of the lesser known plant compounds found in industrial hemp.
Both THC and CBD stem from the same precursor, CBG. Think of CBG as the parent cannabinoid. During the six to eight weeks of the cannabis flowering cycle, an enzymatic reaction occurs that converts CBG to THC, CBD, or even minor cannabinoids like CBC. In the research that has been done up to this point, CBG appears to have many of the same potential applications as CBD; primarily, as an anti-inflammatory compound.
CBC is a minor cannabinoid created through an enzymatic conversion from CBG. Not much is known about CBC in isolation, but preliminary research shows that it may act as a potent anti-inflammatory agent, assist with digestive and gastrointestinal symptoms, possess antibacterial and antifungal efficacy, and potentially contribute to the regeneration of brain cells.
If you stumble across an old stash of cannabis, no doubt that those nugs are packed with ripe CBN; which is created when THC ages. Although current research on CBN is limited, studies have demonstrated that it may have powerful antibacterial, neuroprotectant, appetite-stimulating, and anti-inflammatory properties.
In the research that has been done, many people have reported a sedated feeling after CBN consumption, leading many to believe CBN to be “the sleepy cannabinoid”.
One of the lesser-known cannabinoids, CBL is a degradative product of CBN, similar to how CBN is a degradative product of THC. Most of the studies done on CBL have focused on its chemical structure, so little is known about its effects and potential benefits. Hopefully more research focusing on the effects of CBL will be available soon.
This molecule is responsible for giving cannabis its famous green pigmentation. Plants need chlorophyll to convert carbon dioxide and water into oxygen and glucose using sunlight. Hemp’s chlorophyll packs a potent earthy aroma and flavor, and research shows that this little molecule displays anti-inflammatory proper-
ties and can repair DNA cell damage.
These naturally occurring fats, long considered an alternative health supplement, are thought to reduce cholesterol in humans.
This common nutrient is important to vision, reproduction, and the health of your blood, brain, and skin. Vitamin E also has antioxidants that protect your cells against the effects of free radicals—molecules produced when your body breaks down food or is exposed to tobacco smoke and radiation. Foods rich in vitamin E
include canola oil, olive oil, margarine, almonds, peanuts, and leafy greens.
So, back to the question at hand: why is full spectrum better? All of the compounds listed above are present in full spectrum oil. All of the benefits from each component combine to create the most potent and most effective type of oil on the market. The entourage effect is powerful and there’s no greater entourage in the world of hemp than full spectrum CBD.
So why use isolate or broad spectrum products at all?
Everyone has their favorite product and their favorite way of dosing CBD. As long as you’re using a high quality and pure CBD product that is effective for your use case, the type doesn’t really matter.
But… isolate should be avoided. Unless you can’t get enough of that one beverage that uses water-soluble isolate, there’s really no redeeming quality to isolate CBD. Broad spectrum is a good choice for anyone looking to avoid THC (due to drug testing or medical reasons).
That said, at the end of the day there’s one type to rule them all–she’s a queen–and her name is full spectrum.
Dazey products use full spectrum CBD oil. We infuse the same full spectrum CBD oil that’s in our tinctures into our beauty and wellness products.