Spectrums of CBD: Broad, Isolate, Full

Written by Review Weed Cannabis & Health Enthusiast
Published: 2023-09-22
Spectrums of cannabidiol

Table of Contents

In the world of cannabidiol (CBD), understanding the spectrum is key to unlocking the full potential of this versatile compound.

CBD comes in various forms, and the three primary spectrums you will encounter are broad-spectrum, isolate, and full-spectrum.

Each spectrum offers a unique composition of compounds, leading to distinct effects and benefits. We will explore these in detail, looking at their differences, advantages and how to choose the right one for your needs.

Broad vs. full-spectrum vs. isolate

Mentioned below is a quick overview of the three spectrums:

  • Full-spectrum CBD will have all available cannabinoids and terpenes, making them the least processed products. This includes THC, which should be below 0.2-0.3% as it is derived from hemp.
  • A CBD isolate only contains CBD and none of the other cannabinoids, terpenes, or similar beneficial compounds. Compared to other types, isolates are highly processed and considered pure CBD.
  • Broad-spectrum CBD falls somewhere in the middle and has all of the cannabinoids except THC. It is thought still to produce the entourage effect without the THC.

Full and broad-spectrum products also include the full terpene profile of the plant. Terpenes are molecules that provide cannabis with its flavour and aromatic profiles. Currently, there are over 200 terpenes that interact with our endocannabinoid system.

An infographic explaining the three spectrums of CBD - broad, full, and isolate.
Broad, full, or isolate? Here’s a quick overview of the three CBD types.

The entourage effect

There are over 100 currently identified cannabinoids found inside marijuana. Each of them affects the body individually, but there is a combined effect as well. 

The entourage effect is a theory that the entire spectrum of phytocannabinoids and terpenes found in weed increases the overall effects when compared to taking them individually. Broad and full-spectrum CBD oils have this effect, while an isolate does not since it is purely CBD.

The theory suggests taking CBD flower or whole-plant extracts will be more beneficial compared to taking each cannabinoid individually. It is believed that the overall synergy of cannabinoids and terpenes is better for you.

Broad spectrum

A broad-spectrum oil falls in between full-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate products. These products contain the whole spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes except for THC.

Medical benefits

Without the THC present, this type of CBD extract gives you the best chance of not experiencing a high feeling. However, there is speculation that the effectiveness decreases without the THC in it.

This would be the best kind of product for those who want to enjoy the benefits of marijuana without the buzz that usually comes with it.

Using a broad-spectrum oil can help you with:

  • Pain relief 
  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Preventing nausea
  • Neuroprotection

The research on broad-spectrum CBD is limited, so the entire scope of how beneficial it is for humans is still being discovered. A lot of the effects of a broad-spectrum oil are unique to the individual’s health and endocannabinoid system.

Drug testing 

Even though broad-spectrum CBD oil and products have no THC in them, there is still a chance it might show up on a drug test. This is because the other cannabinoids may be processed into similar metabolites as those of THC, which can be detected by testing.

Why you should use it

There are added benefits of cannabinoids aside from what CBD can provide for your body. Those who are sensitive to THC or are not keen on using it can still use broad-spectrum products for their symptoms.

Additionally, those living in countries with strict regulations for THC will likely have access to these products.


A full-spectrum CBD oil has all the included phytochemicals preserved from the plant:

  • THC, 
  • CBD, 
  • Other cannabinoids, 
  • And terpenes. 

The THC content should be below 0.2% THC as per the legal requirements. Technically, a regular cannabis oil which contains large amounts of CBD and THC, along with other cannabinoids, is also considered full-spectrum.

As a side note, full spectrum and whole plant are not the same products, even though the terms are used for either.

Using a whole plant means that the entire hemp plant was used in the processing. Full spectrum refers to the CBD flowers that provide the highest quality cannabinoids. High-quality full-spectrum oil will generally come from the CBD flowers, not the entire plant.

Medical benefits

To maximise the benefits of CBD, you’ll want to go with a full-spectrum product. All of the components of the cannabis plant are present to work together with your endocannabinoid system to produce the entourage effect.

Full-spectrum also addresses the same symptoms that broad-spectrum CBD does, with some additional benefits from the trace amounts of THC:

  • Pain relief
  • Sleep aid
  • Anxiety relief
  • Appetite stimulant
  • Nausea relief
  • Mood improvement

Drug testing

A full-spectrum extract still has THC in it, so there is a high chance of a positive result on a marijuana drug test. If you are subjected to regular drug testing at work or sports, then opt for isolates.

Why you should use it

Full spectrum extracts are for those who want complete therapeutic benefits. The added THC can boost the overall effect of the product to help enhance the results.


CBD isolate is the purest form of cannabidiol. It contains no THC, cannabinoids, or terpenes.

The process leaves the cannabinoid as a white powder or crystals that are 99% CBD. It can then be purchased as a powder or from companies that have transformed it into oils and tinctures.

Medical benefits

The main downside of using a CBD isolate is that you’ll lose out on the entourage effect. Isolate products will provide benefits within a dosage range. Anything underneath it and the benefits won’t exist. Exceeding the dosage won’t produce additional effects – but can cause side effects.

CBD isolate is commonly used for medicinal patients to help reduce symptoms such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Pain
  • Seizures
  • Nausea

Drug testing

Since CBD isolate is nothing but cannabidiol, it is the best option to avoid a positive result on a drug test. However, even these products can still show up on a drug test if it is screening specifically for cannabidiol metabolites.

Why you should use it

CBD isolate products will be for those who need a high dose of CBD for their symptoms. People sensitive to other cannabinoids should use isolates to avoid a reaction. It’s also great for people new to medical cannabis and who want products which are free of THC and cannabinoids.

Is CBD legal?

CBD oil tinctures, gummies, and other products are legal to buy and use in Thailand. As per the law, food and beverage products, along with extracts, can have no more than 0.2% THC.

Side effects of CBD

Even though CBD is widely considered to be safe for consumption, you should be informed of the side effects. Side effects can occur from a product in any of the CBD spectrums.

Before taking CBD, you should talk with your doctor about any adverse reactions that may occur. They can also help you recommend the best dosage.

The following side effects from consuming CBD include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Weight fluctuations
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability

Many side effects are linked to excessive dosing and unforeseen effects with existing medications. Different CBD products can potentially interact with medications you may be using, primarily those that are processed by the liver. This is because CBD can block the effects of specific enzymes in our liver, which play a significant role in drug metabolism.

Tips for choosing safe CBD products

Selecting safe and effective CBD products – irrespective of the spectrum – requires a little bit of research, but a good company will have the information you need readily available.

These are some tips to help you make an informed decision when choosing a suitable CBD product for your needs. For more information, you can visit our detailed guide on how to choose quality CBD.

  • Third-Party lab tests: Always opt for CBD products that have undergone third-party lab testing. These independent tests can verify the product’s purity, potency, and quality, ensuring that it contains the stated amount of CBD.
  • High-quality ingredients: Look for products that use natural, non-GMO ingredients, and avoid those that contain artificial additives, harmful contaminants or preservatives.
  • Organic: CBD products derived from organically grown hemp are likely to be free from pesticides and other harmful chemicals. Organic farming practices also promote sustainability and are better for the environment.
  • Reputable brands: Choose CBD products from reputable brands that are known for their quality and transparency.
  • Transparency: Brands that are transparent about their manufacturing process, ingredients, and dosing recommendations are generally more reliable. Look for detailed product information on the brand’s website or product packaging.
  • Customer Reviews: Reading customer reviews can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of a CBD product. Look for products with a high number of positive reviews.
  • Price: While higher-priced CBD products are often of better quality, this is not always the case. Compare products from different brands to find a balance between quality and cost.

With these guidelines, you can make informed decisions that ensure you’re buying the most effective and highest-quality CBD products for your health.


Understanding the world of CBD requires an awareness of the different spectrums and how they work within our bodies. Full spectrum, broad spectrum, and CBD isolate each have unique benefits and considerations.

CBD isolate might be the preferred choice for those who are required to take drug tests frequently or are particularly sensitive to THC. Others might look for broad or full-spectrum CBD products as they contain a range of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other beneficial compounds that work synergistically.

Finding the right product for you is a matter of the right combination of CBD spectrum and delivery method based on your needs. For more information, we invite you to explore our database of CBD articles.