Full Spectrum vs. Broad Spectrum vs. Isolate

full spectrum broad spectrum isolate cbd formulation

The CBD industry is booming with more and more products coming to market almost daily. Each of the products will be classified in one of 3 ways.  Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum and Isolate. We are going to help you decipher the differences between the 3 types of formulations.  From here you will determine which formulation will work best for you.

The Entourage Effect

With decades of research done on marijuana and hemp, we have enough data and information to show how cannabinoids and thc work. CBD is extracted using methods, such as CO₂ extraction, that preserve the entire range of cannabinoids, including CBD, THC, CBN, and CBG, and other, largely not understood, parts of the plant. Research indicates that these cannabinoids work together to improve overall efficacy and bioavailability, which is known as the Entourage Effect. Together, they are anecdotally believed to have more potential more symptom relief than any one compound does on its own.  The one key takeaway from all the research shows that the combination of CBD and THC work better together than separated.

Full Spectrum Formulation

Also referred to as “full plant” or “whole plant”, full spectrum is a specific type of extract where the entire plant is used for extraction. That means that everything, including the leaf, stalk, and seeds, are processed to make the full spectrum oil. The final product includes all naturally present cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and fatty acids. Varying extraction methods determine the outcome of the final product, both visually and through its molecular content. Full spectrum hemp extracts are celebrated for the entourage effect they can deliver. Full-spectrum CBD typically comes from hemp plants. That’s because federal law considers hemp (defined as cannabis with less than 0.3 percent THC) legal, but criminalizes the cannabis plant with more than 0.3 percent THC. If you’re in a state with legal adult-use cannabis, you should be able to find cannabis-derived full-spectrum CBD products with more than 0.3 percent THC in a dispensary. But if you’re buying CBD products online or outside of a licensed cannabis dispensary, that’s almost certainly going to be hemp-derived full-spectrum CBD. In full-spectrum CBD from hemp, a legal, trace amount of THC is present (less than .3 percent).


Offers the full benefits of the Cannabis plant (Entourage Effect) Undergoes fewer processes


May have psychoactive, sedative, and other possibly unwanted side-effects May show up on drug tests THC-content may cause legal complications May have strong natural flavor and odor

Best For

Individuals who were recommended a certain THC:CBD ratio Individuals with more severe conditions or conditions that CBD isolate and Broad Spectrum could not alleviate Individuals living in states where Cannabis is legal

Broad Spectrum Formulation

Simply put, Broad Spectrum CBD is Full Spectrum CBD without any traces of CBD.  This is the middle ground formulation for many people who are sensitive to THC but want the full benefits of the hemp plant.


Offers the full benefits of the Cannabis plant (Entourage Effect) No Risk of Psychoactive Effects


Less Research and Availability.  May have strong, natural flavor and odor

Best For

Individuals with conditions that CBD isolate alone could not alleviate Individuals with sensitivity to THC Individuals living in states that have strict THC-laws First-time users that are hesitant about THC

Isolate Formulation

The purest form of CBD, in which all other plant compounds and cannabinoids have been completely removed.  No CBG, CBA, CBN, THC, etc.  Just pure 100% CBD


Purest Form of CBD No Risk of Psychoactive Effects Generally Considered to Be Safe Tasteless and Odorless Will not test positive for THC.


Does not deliver the enhanced benefits of the entire Cannabis plant

Best For

Individuals who were recommended to specifically take high doses of CBD Individuals with sensitivity to THC or other cannabinoids Individuals who regularly undergo drug screening tests Individuals who prefer light flavors or no flavor Individuals living in states that have strict THC-laws First-time users that may be hesitant about other cannabinoids

Final Thoughts

That was simple wasn’t it?  The breakdown will hopefully give you some idea of which formulations will work best for you.  Based on your experience with CBD and your career (drug testing), we’re hoping this breakdown will help you choose the right formulation. As more and more research is performed on Cannabis and Hemp, there will be more facts to lay out on the effectiveness on all formulations. NOTE:  ALL MILITARY branches of the USA have deemed all CBD products as a banned substance.

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