What Is Full-Spectrum CBD?

For a person who never used cannabidiol (CBD), the fact that there is more than one kind of this substance might be surprising. Currently, there are three main types of CBD oil on the market, and full-spectrum CBD is one of them. Thanks to its unique chemical composition, it is often mentioned as the most beneficial one out of the available options.

Full-spectrum CBD oil provides the user with a wide range of compounds present in the cannabis plant — not just CBD. It creates the so-called ‘entourage effect,’ where all elements work in synergy to produce the most beneficial results. Consequently, many people who want to add CBD to their lives purchase a full-spectrum CBD product without exploring other alternatives. Nevertheless, there is much more to CBD than that.

Getting a firm grasp of various CBD types might be challenging, especially for beginners. Still, knowing the difference between the three main groups of CBD products is necessary to select the one that will provide the best experience. As such, it is well worth it to spend some time learning about CBD and its various forms.

What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the cannabinoids present in the cannabis plant. While many people confuse it with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it is the latter that produces the feeling of high. Regardless of CBD’s non-psychoactive nature, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation of cannabis and cannabis-derived products still applies to it.

What Are the Benefits of CBD?

CBD oil is often praised for its numerous benefits. While some people use it to cope with depression and anxiety, others take advantage of its anti-inflammatory properties to deal with chronic pain.

Some other purported advantages of using CBD products include:

  • better seizure control
  • reduction of PTSD symptoms,
  • better sleep,
  • management of opioid addiction,
  • alleviation of cancer-related symptoms,
  • neuroprotective properties.

Although CBD products cannot replace prescription medications, millions of people use them to address their health conditions. In the last few years, CBD has only grown in popularity, grabbing the attention of more and more individuals.

How Does CBD Work?

CBD’s popularity notwithstanding, researchers are yet to learn everything there is to know about this non-psychoactive substance. Right now, they believe CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system by affecting cannabinoid receptors. This system plays a crucial role in the human body, regulating multiple aspects of neural functions, as well as physiological and cognitive processes.

With that being said, the research on CBD is still limited. Besides anecdotal evidence, there is little data regarding this substance and its possible effects on humans.

What Is Full-Spectrum CBD?

The main difference between full-spectrum CBD oils and other CBD products is their chemical composition. Full-spectrum products offer all naturally occurring cannabis plant compounds, while the rest do not include terpenes or specific cannabinoids, like THC.

Full-spectrum CBD oil is sometimes called raw CBD oil. It indicates that the product was created via a CO2 extraction process. It is a process where all of the plant’s cannabinoids and other substances are extracted without using solvents or heat during the extraction process. It allows the plant to stay intact, making the final product rich with terpenes and flavonoids.

Here is what one may find in a typical full-spectrum CBD product:


Cannabinoids are the backbone of CBD products. Without them, they would lack the ingredients responsible for the therapeutic effect they produce.

Researchers discovered over 100 different cannabinoids present in cannabis plants, the most notable of which are CBD and THC. Naturally, full-spectrum CBD oils contain both of them, but the amount of THC in the substance (by law) must be 0.3% or less.


Terpenes are what gives the hemp plant its unique fragrance. Besides being responsible for the characteristic scent of many plants, they also offer some health benefits to the human body.


Flavonoids are organic compounds produced by bacteria, fungi, and plants. Those present in the cannabis plant have neuroprotective, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory properties.

How Full-Spectrum CBD Compares to CBD Isolate and Broad-Spectrum CBD?

To not get confused by what the CBD industry has to offer, it is wise to examine all the available options. By outlining the differences between them, CBD users can make an educated choice instead of picking up the first CBD oil they see on the shelf.

Here is a short comparison between full-spectrum CBD and two other CBD types present on the market:

Full-Spectrum CBD vs. Broad-Spectrum CBD

In large measure, broad-spectrum CBD products are similar to their full-spectrum counterparts. The primary difference is that broad-spectrum CBD contains all plant compounds other than THC. It is a significant advantage for people who have to attend a drug test but do not want to give up on taking their daily dose of CBD.

However, caution is advised, as it is possible to find trace amounts of THC in some broad-spectrum products. For this reason, it is essential to buy broad-spectrum CBD oil only from reliable manufacturers. Alternatively, a person might opt for CBD isolate — the safest option out of the three.

Full-Spectrum CBD vs. CBD Isolate

CBD isolate is widely regarded as the direct opposite of full-spectrum CBD oil. Unlike other CBD extracts, it features only CBD and nothing else. Because of this, it is often overlooked by CBD enthusiasts who want to get the most out of their every CBD dose.

Despite that, taking isolated CBD can be beneficial. Even though it does not contain any other cannabinoids or essential fatty acids present in a broad-spectrum oil, pure CBD isolate can still deliver satisfactory results.

Besides, it is generally cheaper than full- and broad-spectrum CBD products. The fact that it does not contain terpenes might also be seen as an advantage because many people are allergic to them.

Is Full-Spectrum CBD Legal?

To determine whether the CBD oil a customer wants to purchase is legal, they need to learn about its source of origin and how much THC it has.

As of now, the situation looks as follows:

  • Hemp-derived CBD products that contain 0.3% THC or less are legal federally.
  • Marijuana-derived CBD products that contain 0.3% THC or less are not legal federally.
  • All CBD products with more than 0.3% THC are not legal federally.

Before purchasing any CBD product, it is worth checking local legislation, as some state laws prohibit the use of all CBD products while others allow it.

What Is the Difference Between Marijuana-Derived and Hemp-Derived CBD?

In order to understand why some CBD products are legal federally while others are not, it is necessary to grasp the difference between hemp and marijuana.

Even though both of these plants are often mixed up, they are different varieties of cannabis plants. Therefore, they have slightly different compositions — mainly the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) level.

Hemp plants offer much more CBD with minimal levels of THC, averaging below 0.3%. On the other hand, marijuana plants have much higher THC levels — sometimes reaching even 30%. This is the reason why CBD products derived from hemp plants are looked upon with much less prejudice.

Yet, it is worth mentioning that CBD retains its beneficial properties no matter from which source manufacturers derive it. Its chemical composition stays the same, both in the case of hemp oil and marijuana-derived CBD.

Pros and Cons of Full-Spectrum CBD

A full-spectrum CBD oil, much like any other substance, comes with its list of pros and cons. Learning more about these advantages and disadvantages may help CBD enthusiasts decide whether full-spectrum CBD products are suitable for them.

Pros of Full-Spectrum CBD

Full-spectrum CBD offers some remarkable advantages, frequently outperforming broad-spectrum CBD and isolate CBD.

Health Benefits

First of all, due to its anti-inflammatory properties, full-spectrum CBD may aid in cases of joint pain and muscle soreness. It can be helpful for those who frequently participate in sports events or visit the gym.

Moreover, taking full-spectrum products can help deal with anxiety, post-traumatic stress, panic, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. As a result, it is often used by people with mental disorders.

Overall, adding full-spectrum CBD oil to one’s diet might result in more than a couple of health benefits. The fact that it contains other cannabinoids besides CBD also works as its advantage.

The Entourage Effect

As it features all cannabis compounds, full-spectrum CBD oil can deliver potent and long-lasting effects, making its therapeutic potential much higher than what one can expect from the other types of CBD products.

Research suggests that CBD’s beneficial effects grow stronger when combined with other compounds found in the cannabis plant. Even when someone opts for cannabis extract enriched with CBD, they can expect to get excellent results. In this case, all of the plant’s naturally-occurring essential vitamins, terpenes, healthy fatty acids, and other elements are allowed to work together, producing satisfying results.

Some might argue that it is also the case for a broad-spectrum CBD oil, where the only thing missing is THC. While having other cannabinoids present in the substance definitely helps, some studies reveal that there might be a benefit in using a product that contains a small amount of THC.

Wide Availability

Last but not least, due to its unfading popularity, full-spectrum CBD is widely available. People can find it in many different products, such as CBD gummies, vapes, topicals, or capsules.

Cons of Full-spectrum CBD

No substance is perfect, meaning that full-spectrum CBD also has some flaws that need to be addressed.

THC Content

As previously mentioned, THC content in full-spectrum CBD products can be beneficial. Nevertheless, it can also be problematic, making it a double-edged sword.

Some people might want to avoid THC entering their bloodstream, as it may later show up on a drug test. Furthermore, with a high enough dose, drug-prone individuals may experience some psychoactive or sedative effects of THC after taking full-spectrum CBD oil — especially if they buy it from shady manufacturers that put incorrect CBD product labels.

Legal Issues

Another issue worth discussing is the legal aspect of selling and purchasing full-spectrum CBD. Broad-spectrum CBD oil contains every compound present in the hemp plant besides THC. Because of this, broad-spectrum products can still produce the entourage effect while still being legal in most countries. Full-spectrum CBD does not have this privilege.

Even full-spectrum products made with hemp oil face strict restrictions in multiple areas. All in all, it makes full-spectrum CBD unavailable for some people.

Potential Side Effects

Like every other substance, full-spectrum CBD oil might produce unwanted side effects. They include:

  • mood changes,
  • nausea,
  • dizziness,
  • diarrhea,
  • appetite changes,
  • dry mouth,
  • drowsiness.

Due to this fact, it is always advised to consult with a healthcare professional before using nonprescription CBD products. Besides, it is good to read the label, especially the part mentioning the amount of CBD and THC in the product. It is the most straightforward way to ensure that every CBD experience is positive.

Full-Spectrum CBD Products

CBD enthusiasts have a choice not only between different types of CBD but also various CBD products. Whether someone looks for a product made from marijuana or hemp plant — they have multiple enticing alternatives to choose from.

Here are some of the most popular CBD products:


Full-spectrum CBD gummies are an excellent way to start an adventure with CBD. They are tasty and allow to precisely calculate the dosage. Other popular CBD edibles include CBD chocolate, lollipops, and cookies.

Sublingual Drops and Sprays

While edibles are one of the slowest methods of absorbing CBD, sublingual administration is on the opposite end of the spectrum. Sublingual CBD products, such as CBD oils and tinctures, tend to produce effects much faster than other consumption methods. All it takes is placing a few drops of CBD extract under the tongue and waiting for some time before swallowing.


CBD topicals are balms, creams, lotions, etc. They are mainly used to treat pain in one part of the body. For example, if a person suffers from knee pain, they can apply CBD balm to the sore spot and allow it to work its magic. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, CBD will make the pain go away or, at the very least, reduce it.

Is Full-Spectrum CBD Worth Buying?

Many studies suggest that full-spectrum CBD may help solve numerous health issues. While academic research institutions still need to conduct more experiments, it seems like CBD — in its every form — can produce beneficial effects.

With this being said, contacting a doctor before buying CBD oil might be a wise step, since CBD can affect the way your body processes medications. At the same time, by doing so you will also learn how much CBD one should get and what form of CBD will be the most beneficial for their well-being.

It is worth keeping in mind that full-spectrum CBD contains trace amounts of THC — up to 0.3%. As such, it is advisable to opt for some other CBD type (e.g., CBD isolate) in case of a possible drug test in the near future.

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