Full Spectrum vs Broad Spectrum CBD graphic

Full Spectrum vs Broad Spectrum CBD

As most of us know by now, CBD (Cannabidiol) is a 100% natural, non-toxic, non-psychoactive, and non-addictive plant extract used for multiple medical and recreational purposes.  Now in 2021, more consumers are asking about the difference between Full Spectrum vs. Broad Spectrum CBD.

These days, it’s not hard for anyone to find CBD infused in beauty products, drinks, food, and food supplements.  You see them in pharmacies, doctor’s offices, therapy centers, national retail stores, and of course the Internet where hemp-derived CBD oil was re-introduced to Americans just around the turn of the last century following about 70 years of Cannabis plant and product prohibition.

CBD is extracted from the Cannabis plant and is an active component of medical marijuana products as well as over-the-counter CBD products.  Despite its latest renaissance, decriminalization, and popularity, its legality is still questioned in some parts of the world.  U.S. Consumer sales of CBD explain its prevalence across the country which was nearly $0.5 Billion in 2018 and is expected to increase to almost $2 Billion by 2022.

Another exciting use of CBD is rapidly expanding in pet products. In 2019, 48% of US pet owners bought CBD treats or chews for their pets, and 27% bought CBD oil products for them.

If you have consumed CBD yourself or searched about it, you would know about the 3 Main Categories of cannabinoid ‘spectrums’:  Full-spectrum CBD, Broad-spectrum CBD, and CBD Isolate.  These spectrum types include different compounds, ingredients, and involve different manufacturing processes that work in conjunction with the CBD molecules to provide various features and benefits.

broad vs full spectrum CBD

As a sub-Category, the most popular emerging form of CBD is referred to as “nano CBD”.  This new type of CBD is now available in all spectrums and is considered by many to be more effective due to the process of reducing the molecular size of the CBD to one-millionth of its original size!

This incredibly small size improves bioavailability and bioactivity.  See below for more detail on nano CBD products and technology.

Full Spectrum CBD

Full-spectrum CBD utilizes all the phytochemicals present in the Cannabis plant.  These include essential oils, cannabidiol, terpenes, and small amounts of THC.

Active compounds found in the hemp plant are extracted and included in a full-spectrum CBD product in order to actually enhance the benefits of a hundred other individual cannabinoids in a synergistic fashion.  It is believed by many that the hemp compounds and cannabinoids work together to provide maximum results.  This is commonly referred to as “The Entourage Effect”.

The extremely low amount of THC (less than 0.3%) cannot you 'high' or have any psychoactive effects as some would expect from Cannabis plants, but it can maximize the entourage effect.

However, producing full-spectrum CBD is a very meticulous process because you have to maintain the integrity of desirable compounds while eliminating unwanted ones.

CBD Oil Processing Equipment

So, although it's not rocket science, there is much to be yet discovered about cannabidiol.  And even though there are various extraction methods to filter out the latter compounds, you must be careful, as some processes can remove delicate and valuable flavonoids and terpenes that may be considered important to certain consumers.

Methods Of CBD Extraction

Due to the fragile nature of full-spectrum yields, it is important to specify differences in the various methods used to gain ideal product or ingredient results.

Hydrocarbon Extraction

This method uses organic compounds to produce full-spectrum extract profiles.  Techniques like winterization and dewaxing are also used during the refinement process.

This process should yield a particular extract of full-spectrum CBD, which is why the instructions need to be precisely followed.  Even the slightest of changes in temperature or solvent composition can produce a different product.


The extraction of CBD is done to remove unnecessary components that can produce foul smells or undesired flavors as well as THC.  A considerable advantage of this method is that it is safe in the sense that it does not require the use of typical solvents as ethanol extraction does.

On the other hand, the heat involved in this process may diminish the effect of the left-over, desirable terpenes and phytochemicals which is by colloquial marketing terminology contrary to the purported purpose behind a true, high quality, full-spectrum product.

Supercritical CO2 Extraction

This method involves the use of temperature and pressure to produce changes involving CO2 (carbon dioxide gas).  The objective is to transform this new gas state that includes all these plant materials into a new combination of gas and liquid forms.

With the help of precise, incremental temperature and pressure adjustments, one can create an environment for CO2 where desirable components can be extracted using this "supercritical" gas/fluid cycle in a way that simply separates the THC from most of the CBD family of cannabinoids.  That’s the basics anyway.

Broad Spectrum vs Full Spectrum hemp Oil

Health Benefits

Full-spectrum CBD has numerous health benefits, but one should consume it in relative moderation and as recommended or prescribed.


CBD is recommended by many as effective in reducing anxiety, resulting in better sleep quality. It can also help with insomnia and increase sleep duration. Many people have a hard time staying asleep once they finally do get to sleep.

Due to the CBD’s effect on and with the Endocannabinoid System.  Both full and broad-spectrum products relieve sleeplessness caused for any number of reasons.  Some people swear by one type or the other, but it is often noted in product testimonials that it is the full-spectrum CBD oil products that are losing market share to broad-spectrum and nanoforms.

Pain Relief

One of the most well-known effects of CBD is that has been proven in clinical studies to be the most effective, all-natural anti-inflammation molecule known to be derived from a plant that is also completely non-toxic, non-psychoactive, and non-addictive.  It is best taken internally and in combination with a well-known CBD topical product.

A 2018 research study shows that full-spectrum CBD products that included its sister-cannabinoids (like CBG, CBN, CBDNA, and a hundred more) also helped relieve pain and was subject to positive reviews for their ability to treat joint pain, arthritis, muscle tension, and discomfort in other areas.


Anxiety is a very prevalent issue across all age groups globally. It needs to be treated effectively, or it can become a gateway for numerous other mental and physical problems.

Fortunately, CBD consumption has proven to create a robust immune response and reduce daily stress symptoms.  CBN is a sister cannabinoid that is getting much attention lately and data is correlating its connection with anxiety relief and anti-insomnia potential.

Pros And Cons

One of the most prominent pros of full-spectrum is its entourage effect.  This is when the yield consists of an effective mix of terpenes, flavonoids, and phyto-cannabinoids including CBD and legal amounts of THC.

A review by the British Journal of Pharmacology also found that you can relieve your anxiety, inflammation, and pain if you consume terpenes and phytocannabinoids together with CBD.

Furthermore, many professional athletes cannot consume full-spectrum CBD because they may not pass a required drug test. Hence, it is essential to run it through your supervisors, coaches, and related authorities in order to avoid any issues.

CBD Full Spectrum vs Broad

Potential Side Effects Of Full Spectrum CBD

As beneficial as these concentrates are, they can have side effects.  Although rare, some of them for full-spectrum CBD products are as follows:


Dry Mouth



Altered Appetite


You will experience these effects if you’ve consumed more than your body needs.  For example, studies show that over 500 mg of CBD in 24 hours can cause drowsiness.

While none of these are hazardous, you can take some steps to minimize them.  For example, a daily dose of 25 to 225 mg is the recommended range depending on your level of CBD sensitivity and the seriousness of your condition, and severity of symptoms.

One symptom that is a welcomed effect for many users is actually drowsiness, which is felt after a single, heavy CBD oil dosage of 150 mg or more.  However, this will disappear after a couple of hours.  Your body's nervous system will definitely benefit from it, and you are likely to feel better for it.

The most important thing is to stay hydrated!  A dry mouth is one of the early symptoms you will feel, and drinking enough water and eating will help you in many more ways than just quenching your thirst.

Broad Spectrum CBD

Broad-spectrum CBD is a more recent CBD extract that is available with a variety of cannabinoids added similar to the full-spectrum.  Simply put, it is like a bridge between the full-spectrum and CBD Isolate types.

The CBD is extracted and intended to include all of the hemp's terpenes and cannabinoids; however, this process eliminates all THC compounds from the final yield.  In general, marketers-speak infers that broad-spectrum CBD is the same as full-spectrum CBD without the THC as a basic premise.

Due to its similarity to full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum is created using an additional process called liquid chromatography.  In this process, the THC is bonded and then removed at low temperatures, while terpenes, amino acids, and other synergistic cannabinoids stay intact.

Health Benefits from Broad Spectrum CBD

Broad-spectrum – like the ‘full’ kind – also provides the same health benefits and won’t get you high… nor will it make you fail a drug test.

Mental And Physical Health

With the increase in mental health issues worldwide, many more people opt for CBD products that reduce stress, anxiety, and even some symptoms of depression.

Recent National Institutes of Health studies explain that CBD can treat anxiety as well as serious illnesses caused by neuropathic pain.

Since broad-spectrum oil has similar compounds to full-spectrum extract, it can also calm the mind and positively impact neurologic issues.

Less Processed CBD

Unlike CBD isolate that undergoes refinement processes to strip the plant’s CBD from the flavonoids, THC, and terpenes.  Broad-spectrum CBD does not have to go through this process, however CBD crystalline isolate is often used to make Broad Spectrum Nano CBD products where other cannabinoids and/or terpenes can be added back in desired amounts.

Bottom line is that with broad-spectrum CBD oil users will benefit from a more complete extract with no THC content.

Pros And Cons

One of the biggest pros of broad-spectrum CBD is that it doesn't get you high due to the absence of THC.  Therefore you can consume it without undue concern.

You can also be sure that products containing this CBD will be safe if purchased from a duly-licensed and conscientious retailer who stands behind the product(s) they sell.

Only purchase CBD products that contain a QR Code on the label which allows you to take a photo of the symbol and instant get the actual 3rd Party Lab Test results for the batch you have purchased.

This will tell you the CBD content, any THC detectable and in what amount, any heavy metals, pesticides, or other unwanted ingredients.

Image of QR Code for CBD Living Tincture Oil

Side Effects Of Broad-Spectrum CBD

While it is safe to use, some people experience side effects of broad-spectrum CBD as well. These include the same as full-spectrum CBD:

  • Altered appetite

  • Fatigue

  • Altered weight

  • Diarrhea

CBD Benefits At Work

Work-from-home rules have imposed great burdens and created numerous problems for millions across the world. People face many non-clinical issues, such as a lack of focus due to distraction at home, which leads to reduced efficiency at work or in their business.

Many people resort to using CBD oil to focus better because of its impact on the body’s endocannabinoid system.  This impact regulates immune response, hormone system, memory, metabolism, gut health, and appetite.  CBD will enhance your endocannabinoid system because it triggers natural CBD production from your endocannabinoid system and activity in the body.

Broad Spectrum CBD At Workk

As a result, the body's physical and mental systems often improve with the addition of CBD to their diet leading to better overall performance and endurance.

Additionally, CBD impacts the brain's non-cannabinoid receptors to reduce stress and elevate your mood (hormone system), ultimately increasing productivity as well as perceived quality of life.

Impact Of CBD In Work Or Study

Stay Alert

Most of us prefer coffee or tea to stay alert and awake during all-nighters or when working towards a strict deadline. However, too much caffeine can cause restlessness and inevitably hamper focus in the long run.

Therefore, CBD intake with coffee will reduce caffeine’s side effects and calm your nerves to stay attentive.  You will also find that there isn’t the normal ‘crash’ once the caffeine wears off.

Positive Mindset

It is always easier to get things done when you have a positive mindset because you feel more confident to make decisions.  Perceived quality of life is not only relative, it’s unique to each individual.  Therefore, the effects of CBD therapy is relative to the level of improvement in one’s sense of well-being - or not.

Since CBD has helped so many people improve their health, reduce the unwanted side effects of prescription meds, and improve the patient’s sense of well-being, another huge benefit is the realization of a positive level of recovery.

Stress Reduction

Work-related stress negatively impacts health, decision making, and productivity. With a clear and focused mind, you can make decisions faster and complete tasks.

How To Use CBD While Working

One of the most common forms in which CBD exists is CBD oil.  Whether these are full spectrum or broad-spectrum, their usage is prevalent among consumers in oral or topical form.  Arguably, the most convenient is in the form of a gel cap which avoids any concern for leaking, spillage, or accidentally dripping onto clothing.

CBD is also available in the most convenient and discrete form of disposable vape pens that are available in different, natural hybrid terpene scents.

CBD vapor inhaled in this convenient form or a e-vape oil, CBD shatter (aka "dabz") using your favorite vaporizer(s) to capitalize on the immediate effect it delivers, and is a well-documented and recommended method of weaning off of tobacco addiction.

Following are some of the newest ways to consider using at home:

CBD Disposable Vape Pen

Coffee And CBD Mixture

As mentioned earlier, adding CBD to your coffee can maximize alertness without the caffeine’s side effects.

CBD is also available in a faster acting water-soluble form that will not form a layer of oil on your coffee like the regular one.

Topical Rub For Muscles Or Joints

One of the best things about CBD oil is that it can be physically applied to minimize chronic and neuropathic pain in various areas.  The most famous and popular is available in a roll-on bottle, or salves, or body lotions, and transdermal patches.

Particularly in a nano form, CBD moves through deeper layers of your skin and enters your bloodstream easier and faster reducing pain and inflammation.

Maximizing The Effects Of CBD

Consistent Use

To see the best results of any drug or supplement, you must be consistent in its use. This may sound obvious, but we all can get distracted. Proper CBD therapy also requires a degree of commitment and attention.

No need to go overboard in the beginning with excessive doses, especially if you consume it every 8 hours or 3X per day which is often necessary for best results.


CBD can help you sleep longer and is non-addictive, which makes It safer to use than prescription meds.  It relieves stress and enhances self-care habits without drugging you and causing unnecessary drowsiness in the morning.

Proper sleep is essential to a healthy balance, nutrition, and efficient body functions.  If you are one of those that suffer, no need to explain.


When you exercise, your heart pumps and increases the blood flow, distributing CBD into your body.  This distribution leads to better circulation inside your system which really comes into play post-exercise and post-athletic event(s) for muscle and energy recovery.

You can expect to experience much faster recovery from extreme exertion and sports.  With higher energy levels, you will have greater strength to work even after exercising.

CBD is also great at treating inflammation caused by injuries that come with the territory and your athletic objectives and goals.  Sore muscles, tendons, and joints are quickly gratified by hydrating before and/or after exertion with your choice of either a high-alkaline 9.0+ pH CBD water or a delicious, naturally-flavored, carbonated CBD beverage.  With either one, you can forget about those sore muscles and joint-pain after working out or an event.

What CBD Is Best For Me?

When you think about which type of CBD product to use, there are numerous considerations as you can now see.  Your choice will depend on your preferences in delivery and should be based on your lifestyle, physiology, health history, and/or medical conditions.

Some consumers find broad-spectrum CBD products to be the best choice if they want none of the THC included.  Others may consider a full-spectrum product if almost undetectable amounts of THC in their CBD product doesn’t adversely affect their lifestyle and environment.

The main difference between the two types of CBD is the presence of THC in trace amounts (under 0.3%) in full-spectrum oils and the complete absence of THC in broad-spectrum oils.

Hence, it comes down to your personal preference when selecting the CBD you want to consume as well as your environment.

Broad-spectrum CBD is best suited for the following individuals:

THC or No THC Decision

Those who are sensitive to THC   -   People who must undergo drug testing per their work requirements   -   CBD beginners worried about THC consumption   -    Residents in those states that have laws against THC consumption.

On the other hand, Full-Spectrum CBD may prove better suited for the following individuals:

  • People who want to experience the full potential of an entourage effect without too much of a legally acceptable, psychoactive element.

  • Those who do not mind a more pungent, hemp plant flavor.

So Finally... What About “Nano CBD” Forms?

Increasing numbers of consumers are moving to nano CBD products because they find them more effective as well as working faster.  The term “Nano” refers to nano-sizing the CBD molecule by reducing it to one-millionth of its original size.

A molecule this size can actually penetrate a cell's outer wall and enter the mitochondria of an individual cell. This is also what is referred to as the ability to “break the blood-brain barrier” and thereby increase a nutrient or medicine’s effectiveness.

Nano CBD is believed by many biochemists and researchers to be more bioavailable due to its reduced molecular size, including its ability to be re-formed into colloidal liposomes that imitate whole foods that are also water-soluble for use in beverages.

This increase in bioavailability contributes to more bioactivity compared to traditional forms of CBD and hemp oils.

Check out this informative and free e-Book on the subject for more information if you are interested in a quick course on CBD and Nanotechnology.  Determine for yourself if this form of CBD is worth your investment.

Nano CBD eBook Cover


As CBD consumption is gaining traction around the world, be it for medical or recreational use, you have hopefully learned the difference between Full Spectrum vs Broad Spectrum CBD and it’s various product types that are available to you.  You will find that there is a world of information about CBD and recommended products at Cannabis Animus.

Your consumption choice depends on your personal, social, and health-related reasons. Having listed each main form including nano form, described its benefits, side effects, and uses, it is up to you to decide which products are your favorites.  I think you will ultimately find that both topical and ingestible CBD products used together work best.

Please don't go without leaving your thoughts... our visitors and member at Cannabis Animus what to read your comments in the section at the bottom. 

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