CBD products fall into one of three categories based on how they are made; whether that be full spectrum, broad spectrum or an isolate product. In the search to discover what product may be right for each individual, it may be helpful to understand the main differences in these types of products to consider.
The full hemp extract with everything the hemp plant has to offer including over a hundred different cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and amino acids that could each have their own potential benefits. Studies suggest that products made using more of these hemp components could encourage the entourage effect, where all these components may have more synergistic effects and work better together as a team effort. An important distinction to make with full spectrum products derived from hemp is that they will contain trace amounts of THC of 0.3% or less. This is not enough to produce any psychoactive effects, but could still provide additional potential benefits. However any amount of THC may show up on a drug screen, so for anyone that does have drug screen concerns, we typically see them avoiding full spectrum. Since full spectrum oils are the least processed form of CBD, they tend to have a much darker green color to them due to chlorophyll from the hemp plant. Research indicates that full spectrum products tend to have the widest range of potentially effective doses as they show a more linear dosing pattern where an individual may continue to increase their dose and still see more potential benefits.
The full hemp extract will be filtered to remove the THC while preserving other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids through a process called chromatography. This makes broad spectrum a popular choice for people looking for a product that can encourage the entourage effect while still being THC free. Both broad spectrum and full spectrum products will typically have a natural earthy plant taste of hemp due to the terpenes, which give plants their natural flavor and smell as well as having their own potential benefits. Broad spectrum oils usually look less dark than full spectrum and have a more golden color since many other plant constituents are removed during refinement. Research suggests that broad spectrum products tend to have a moderate range of potentially effective doses that may span slightly less than full spectrum, yet have a larger range than isolate products.
CBD completely removed from the rest of the hemp plant in its purest form will typically start out as a crystalline powder and can be as high as 99% in purity. Unlike broad or full spectrum, isolate products will not have an entourage effect or taste like hemp. Isolate products tend to be much cheaper, especially for those that like to make their own products using CBD isolate powder to make tinctures, edibles, topicals, and vaping products. CBD isolate tinctures may vary in color depending on what oil base the isolate is infused into, and can range from clear to a light purple or red if there is more light exposure. Research suggests that CBD isolate products have the most narrow range of potentially effective doses and tend to work on a bell curve, where taking too high of a dose, past our optimal dose, may have diminishing results. This is why we typically see most people new to trying any CBD product start with lower doses and gradually increase as needed.