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What Is Full Spectrum CBD?


With the various classes of CBD swiftly gaining popularity worldwide, there are thousands of users and buyers who are confused about which to choose.

But everyone needs to be abreast of what full-spectrum CBD is, isolate CBD, broad CBD, THC, and CBD in general.

For instance, every CBD differs in their ingredient ratios and the therapeutic benefits they offer. Similarly, every CBD product responds differently and has positive or adverse effects.

Think about it – If you don’t understand what kind of product you’re purchasing (or worse, using), you will likely be very surprised or disappointed if you receive what you don’t need. Another thing is, you won’t be able to inform medical practitioners or your employer of what they need to know as it relates to CBD matters.

This article is to help you know everything about full-spectrum CBD and other things connected to it – with that, you will be better grounded on CBD topic, and you will be able to pick a reliable CBD product that gives you the best experience.

CBD and CBD Extraction – What You Should Know

This article will explore what full-spectrum CBD is. But before we do that, it’s helpful to understand what CBD is to begin with. CBD, a short word for cannabidiol, is known as a cannabinoid, one of more than 100 chemical compounds found in the Cannabis sativa plant. Most CBD products are derived from the hemp species of that plant, with the two most well-known cannabinoids being CBD and THC.


  • CBD Extraction

Not all CBD is extracted, processed, manufactured, or created equally. Hence, before deciding to purchase any CBD product, it’s essential to understand what kind of CBD you’re looking at because not every CBD formula or product is created in the same way. This may sound trivial, but understanding the production process is crucial to know what ingredients there are in the CBD product you’re about to ingest or apply to your skin.

Usually, all CBD production in the US begins with industrial hemp, a non-intoxicating form of the Cannabis Sativa plant, which contains less than 0.3 percent THC.


  • THC

THC is the short word for Tetrahydrocannabinol, containing the psychoactive compound found in hemp and is responsible for the “high” you get from marijuana. There are different types of THC, like Delta 9 and Delta 8. Delta 9 THC is the most common type of THC(followed by 11-hydroxy-THC (typically associated with edibles, which is a metabolite of Delta-9 THC), which is currently federally illegal in the United States, and thus cannot be sold online. Delta 8 is quickly rising in popularity thanks to its ambiguous legal standing. 

Once consumed or applied topically, CBD oil interacts with your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). When other cannabinoids are present, they can work alongside each other in what’s called the entourage effect.


  • The Endocannabinoid System and the Entourage Effect – What They Are

The endocannabinoid system (ECS), less commonly referred to as the endogenous cannabinoid system, is a complex network of cell receptors that runs throughout your body and is responsible for helping maintain homeostasis and overall health and wellness.

Through a system of neuron transmissions, the ECS plays a role in several systems within our bodies, including our immune system, nervous system, and many of our organs, and is present in our skin, muscle tissue, GI tract, and multiple other parts of our bodies. 

Your body’s endocannabinoid system can influence your mood, sleep, metabolism, stress levels, and appetite. The ECS is more important than many people give it credit for. 

Furthermore, despite its name, your ECS functions regardless of whether or not you use CBD products or other cannabinoids and consists of three main parts: cannabinoid receptors (CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors), endocannabinoids, and metabolic enzymes.

CB1 receptors are predominantly found within your central nervous system, the brain, and spinal cord. In contrast, CB2 receptors are typically associated with your peripheral nervous system, containing all other nervous system tissue.

When it comes to the ECS, two types of cannabinoids (Phytocannabinoids and Endocannabinoids) can interact with the cannabinoid receptors in your body. Phytocannabinoids are those synthesized from plants (such as the Cannabis sativa plant) and include CBD, THC, cannabinol (CBN), cannabigerol (CBG), and various other cannabinoids. On the other hand, endocannabinoids are naturally produced within our bodies to maintain homeostasis. 


CBD typically binds to your CB2 receptors. THC, however, generally attaches to your CB1 receptors, which creates the psychoactive effects or “high.” As a result, THC-free* products primarily interact with CB2 receptors, but the small amounts of other cannabinoids in the product may interact with CB1 receptors, CB2 receptors, or both. Furthermore, while some products’ federally legal amounts of THC cannot cause intoxication, they can provide further ECS support through CB1 receptors. 


  • The Entourage Effect

One of the first things that set the various forms of CBD apart is the entourage effect. The Entourage effect describes how different cannabinoids may provide more significant benefits when they interact with each other inside your body. The only way to achieve the entourage effect is to consume or apply additional cannabinoids along with CBD, such as CBG and CBN.

In addition, while Broad-spectrum CBD allows for some of the benefits of the entourage effect (but not all, due to the omission of THC), Full-spectrum CBD, on the other hand, enables the entourage effect to enhance the benefits of the various cannabinoids fully. All these will be explained in detail shortly.

What Are The 3 Main Types Of CBD?

The three main types of CBD are full-spectrum CBD, CBD isolate, and broad-spectrum CBD. Depending on how CBD is extracted from the hemp plant, the compound produced may contain pure CBD or a combination of any number of cannabinoids. As already hinted, CBD is just one of over 100 cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. THC is the other cannabinoid that often time quickly comes to mind.


CBD Isolate

CBD isolate is known as 99 percent “pure” CBD because it contains no other cannabinoids or terpenes. CBD isolate is most often produced through CO2 or ethanol extraction. The CBD is then separated from the other cannabinoids and terpenes. Without terpenes or other cannabinoids, CBD isolate will not have the entourage effect.

On its own, CBD isolate is a white powder that is then easily infused into a carrier oil and turned into CBD oil. From here, the CBD oil is then combined with other ingredients to form several CBD products such as tinctures, gummies, and topical creams.

CBD isolate products are extremely popular with professional athletes, executives, and other professionals who don’t want to risk failing a drug test.

Broad-Spectrum CBD

Unlike CBD isolate, broad-spectrum CBD contains many additional cannabinoids and terpenes derived from industrial hemp. But what it doesn’t have is THC.

Thanks to the other cannabinoids, broad-spectrum CBD often generates the entourage effect within your body. By remaining THC-free,* broad-spectrum CBD serves as a great alternative to full-spectrum CBD for those who want all the same benefits but live in more cannabis-strict areas or have personal concerns about THC content. 

Broad-spectrum CBD is often considered to be the best CBD product because it offers similar benefits as full-spectrum CBD, including the entourage effect, without the presence of THC.

Meanwhile, at cbdMD, our Superior Broad Spectrum formula offers consistent levels of CBD, terpenes, and additional cannabinoids CBG and CBN.

This brings us to an important question – if CBD isolate is pure CBD and broad-spectrum CBD is a combination of cannabinoids and terpenes, what then is full-spectrum CBD?


What Exactly Is Full Spectrum CBD?

Full-spectrum CBD is derived from the same industrial hemp as CBD isolate and broad-spectrum CBD, with one significant difference: full-spectrum CBD oil contains THC. When produced and sold in the US, full-spectrum CBD should not have more than 0.3 percent THC. 


How Does Full Spectrum CBD Work?

The major cannabinoids found in full-spectrum CBD are CBD and THC, which work on different brain areas. Researchers are still studying their full effects on the body. Still, they have found that cannabinoids help regulate the body’s endocannabinoid system (the system responsible for nervous and immune system function, along with mood, sleep cycle, and inflammation response regulation, and more). The endocannabinoid system is also connected to how we experience pain, prompting expert researchers to think that CBD helps the general body’s systems achieve better balance.


Full Spectrum CBD vs. Broad Spectrum CBD: The Nitty Gritty

Determining the real difference between full-spectrum CBD and broad-spectrum CBD comes down to a preference for THC-free* products or products that contain the federally legal amount of THC (less than 0.3 percent).

Meanwhile, at cbdMD, our CBD oil never contains just CBD. Instead, we make sure to include additional cannabinoids and terpenes to offer you the most benefits possible. When it comes to CBD oil, most people only consider the product in terms of CBD and THC.

In actuality, both full-spectrum CBD and broad-spectrum CBD are extracted from the hemp plant in the same way. It’s what happens during the refinement stage that determines whether the end product is considered full spectrum CBD or broad-spectrum CBD.

Both full-spectrum CBD and broad-spectrum CBD contain additional cannabinoids and terpenes and provide the same general benefits, with one difference between them.




  • How do the Effects and Benefits Differ

Full-spectrum CBD becomes broad-spectrum CBD during the production phase by removing THC. This means that full-spectrum CBD, as we mentioned above, offers you the full benefits of the entourage effect. But using it may cause a positive drug screening.

On the other hand, Broad-spectrum CBD will afford you most of the benefits of the entourage effect without THC content. Plus, broad-spectrum CBD tends not to have as strong a natural hemp smell or taste, unlike full-spectrum CBD. Broad-spectrum CBD is also considered an excellent choice for those new to CBD oil and wants the added effects of additional cannabinoids without the worry of THC.

How long CBD oil stays in your system depends on several factors, including what kind of CBD oil you use, the ingestion or application method, your body composition, how frequently you use it, and how much CBD oil you use.


Is Full Spectrum CBD the Best of the Three Classes Of CBD?

Well, that depends on what you are looking for. Are you only interested in the specific benefits of CBD, or do you want all the benefits that various cannabinoids and terpenes can offer? Does the inclusion of the federally legal amount of THC matter to you? It might be if you have strict guidelines at work or other issues preventing you from ingesting it.

If this isn’t the case, full-spectrum CBD might be the best choice for you, especially if you want to reap the most benefits possible from the entourage effect. Also, as mentioned, the inclusion of the federally legal amount of THC (less than 0.3 percent) enables the other cannabinoids and terpenes to go above and beyond in their benefits.


Benefits of Full Spectrum CBD

We already mentioned that full-spectrum CBD is thought to be so beneficial because of the entourage effect. But let’s talk a little more now about what that means.

The general idea is that because the cannabis plant evolved to contain all of the compounds we now find in it, the compounds interact, and each one influences the others. As a result, the entourage effect suggests that when we consume cannabis products, the anti-inflammatory, antipsychotic, neuroprotective, and other benefits will be more significant if the product contains all of these compounds.

There hasn’t been a lot of research done on every type of compound in cannabis, but the research that has been done suggests that the entourage effect is natural. So far, THC and CBD appear to be more effective at treating pain caused by a variety of health conditions when used together rather than separately.


Important Questions Commonly Asked On Full Spectrum CBD

1) Can Full Spectrum CBD Show Up on a Drug Test?

Again, that depends.

While you won’t ever feel the psychoactive effects of THC in full-spectrum CBD, when taken often or in large quantities, it can trigger a false positive on a drug test. So if drug tests are a concern for you, broad-spectrum CBD products may be a better option.

Also, it is essential to check your local and state laws before ordering, consuming, or applying full-spectrum CBD.


2) Is There a Huge Difference in Cost?

You may find that elsewhere. But certainly not at cbdMD!

Hence, despite the additional cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other plant compounds, we ensured that our products were accessible and affordable. Our full-spectrum CBD tinctures and softgels are the same price as our Superior Broad Spectrum CBD formula. That way, you can choose whatever product is right for you, regardless of cost.


3) Are There Different Suggested Serving Sizes?

Well, you may find different serving sizes of the product. However, because we want to keep it simple, at cbdMD, we’ve kept the suggested serving size the same, although our new full-spectrum CBD tinctures will be offered in a different range of concentrations, including 750 mg, 1500 mg, and 3000 mg CBD per 30 mL bottle. Our new full spectrum CBD so soft, on the other hand, will each contain 33 mg of our new complete range CBD formula, available in both 30 coucounts000 mg) and 60 coucounts000 mg) bottles.


4) Is It Legal To Use Full Spectrum CBD?

You might be confused about the legality of full-spectrum CBD. As previously stated, hemp-derived CBD products containing less than 0.3 percent THC are legal federally but may not be permitted under the laws of some states. Before purchasing CBD products (full-spectrum or not) or traveling with CBD products to other states, you should check local legislation.


The decision to try full-spectrum CBD may be influenced by whether you are comfortable consuming THC in any amount, especially if marijuana or CBD is not legal in your state or if you expect to be drug tested.


How to Pick the Best Full-Spectrum CBD

One of the biggest things you want to be sure of when choosing a full-spectrum product is the quality.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only just begun to monitor CBD production. As it currently remains unregulated, it may be challenging to know what’s really in your full-spectrum CBD products, despite what the label says. Of 41 products tested by the FDA in 2019, 29 percent contained THC despite not being included on the label.

However, when bought from a reputable company, full-spectrum CBD contains no more than the federally legal amount of THC – but another question pops up: how do you know if it can be trusted? Simple. In two words: third-party testing.


Every reputable CBD company provides readily available Certificates of Analysis for every product they produce. At cbdMD, our finished product batches are shipped to a third-party, ISO-certified lab for testing, with each batch report made publicly available.


How to Use Full-Spectrum CBD

The way a full-spectrum product is used depends on what type of product it is. Usually, topical full-spectrum CBD is applied to the skin as a cream, lotion, or similar product. Vape juice is used with a compatible vaporizer and then inhaled. For edible products, they are, of course, eaten (i.e., gummies), drunk (i.e., coffee), or sucked on (i.e., lozenges or lollipops). If it’s capsules, it is taken like any other medication or supplement, and oil or tinctures are placed under the tongue.

The most appropriate dose for any of these products will depend on the health condition you are using it to treat and your body’s response to full-spectrum CBD. You should discuss the use and treatment of full-spectrum CBD with your physician to determine the exact use specifications.



Use of Full Spectrum CBD – Dealing With the Risks and Side Effects

  • Risks

Here is the huge question: Does full-spectrum CBD get you “high,” since technically, it contains traceable amounts of THC? Generally speaking, experts say no, it should not produce a “high.” But the answer is not crystal clear and may vary by the person and the product. 

The amounts of THC found in full-spectrum CBD are at low quantities of less than 0.3%, which is considered pretty inconsequential. Many experts agree that such a small amount is not likely strong enough to have significant psychoactive effects and likely will not register on a drug test. However, you cannot rule out the possibilities.

Some people may experience some of the milder psychoactive or sedative effects associated with THC, plus as already hinted, there is a chance it could show up on a drug test. 


  • Side Effects

Since research on full-spectrum CBD is still somewhat preliminary, experts don’t have all of the answers to many of the pros and cons consumers ask about using it for various health issues. That being said, a report in 2018 by the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that CBD, in general, is typically well-tolerated, with reported adverse effects usually occurring as a result of medication interactions.

Nevertheless, the following side effects can occur:

*Mood changes

*Appetite changes


*Dry mouth




*Dizziness, Etc.



Full-spectrum CBD may be even more effective at reducing pain and treating medical conditions than other forms of CBD, thanks to the entourage effect. This is a huge possibility, but it is also possible that you may experience some adverse side effects or the psychoactive euphoric effects of THC.

If you are thinking about full-spectrum CBD treatment, consult your doctor to find the plan that will be best for you.

For more information on full-spectrum CBD and how it differs from broad-spectrum CBD or other types of CBD, stop by our frequently updated blog at cbdMD—looking to stay up to date on the latest news and special offers? Make sure to connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter – we want to hear from you! Have additional questions about all things CBD? Contact us or chat live with a CBD specialist today!

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