Full-Spectrum vs. Broad-Spectrum CBD - FOCL

Full Spectrum vs. Broad Spectrum CBD

These days, more and more people are looking for alternative ways to cure what ails them, and one of the most popular methods is through CBD (also known as cannabidiol). This is due in large part to the fact that recent research has supported its use for medicinal benefits.1 A common question that comes up regarding CBD, however, is full spectrum vs broad spectrum CBD, particularly what the difference between these two things may be.

The simple explanation is that Full Spectrum CBD is derived using the entire cannabis plant, including every naturally occurring element from the plant. 

Meanwhile, Broad Spectrum CBD is also made from the entire cannabis plant, but the output is processed to remove certain compounds, such as THC. Both are potentially beneficial, though what benefits are on offer may make one better than the other for certain people.

We will discuss how these two CBD differ, as well as the benefits and side effects of each. We will also address frequently asked questions about CBD, and in doing so, hopefully set you on the right path to find the perfect CBD product for you.


What is Full Spectrum CBD?

Full spectrum CBD, also referred to as whole plant CBD, is a CBD oil that contains all compounds that can naturally be found in a hemp plant. 

These include terpenes, flavonoids, essential fatty acids, and more. It is derived using a method called CO2 extraction, preserving valuable compounds found in the oil. 

One term associated with full spectrum CBD is the 'entourage effect', which refers to the synergy between all of the oil's compounds, believed to increase therapeutic benefits.


Full Spectrum CBD Types And Uses

Full spectrum CBD can be used in a variety of ways, including through topicals, tinctures, edibles, capsules, and more. 

For pain relief, the benefit of CBD can come mainly in the form of anti-inflammatory and analgesic benefits. As a sleep aid, it has been shown to not only reduce how often you wake up during the night, but make it easier to fall asleep.

If you're worried about your skin, there may be reason to believe that there are skin benefits to be found with CBD as well. CBD has properties that allow it to be antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-acne. It also has the ability to reduce redness in the skin.

Speaking of research, CBD's potential use to treat serious ailments is one area where researchers are definitely doing overtime to figure out more. However, research on cannabis in general is in a relative infancy, especially when compared to larger affairs researchers tackle. 


Possible Side Effects Of Full Spectrum CBD

CBD has the potential to have side effects, though not necessarily for everyone who takes it. Common side effects of full spectrum CBD are, thankfully, minor. One of these side effects is drowsiness, which comes due in part to the relaxed feeling it provides. Additionally, you may develop a dry mouth due to full spectrum CBD reducing saliva production. You may also develop nausea and/or vomiting from using full spectrum CBD.

A more concerning side effect is a drop in blood pressure, which can cause lightheadedness and even fainting. If this side effect occurs, it's recommended that you contact your physician right away.

Also, it’s important to note that CBD may interact poorly with a variety of medications. Be sure to let your provider know what medicines you take so you know whether it's safe to use CBD. One type of medication that may interact poorly with your CBD is blood thinners, which can be quite serious depending on the severity of the reaction. Blood thinners help deal with blood clots, and a poor interaction between your medicine and CBD could be potentially fatal.


What Is Broad Spectrum CBD?

Now, to contrast full spectrum CBD, broad spectrum CBD is a CBD oil that takes from hemp, and includes all the compounds found in full spectrum CBD except for detectable levels of THC. The THC is removed in a laboratory through a process called broad spectrum distillation.This makes it a good alternative if you cannot consume or do not want to consume THC. 

However, it should be noted that broad spectrum CBD is not 100% THC free, at least not all the time anyway. It is actually possible for broad spectrum CBD to have trace amounts of THC in it. Thus, you should not assume that it will save you from a drug test. To find out whether your CBD has THC in it, you may want to consult with your doctor first.


Broad Spectrum CBD Types And Uses

There are multiple ways that broad spectrum CBD can be consumed, including tinctures, capsules, topicals, and edibles. 

As far as benefits go, broad spectrum CBD has many of the same applications as full spectrum CBD. Pain and inflammation reduction, sleep improvement, and relief from anxiety and depression, as well as others mentioned in the above section.


Possible Side Effects Of Broad Spectrum CBD

Much like full spectrum CBD, broad spectrum CBD has possible side effects. Similar side effects to full spectrum CBD include dry mouth and drowsiness for the same reasons as full spectrum CBD. These two are not particularly strong symptoms, though the latter may be stronger at higher doses. 

Nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting are also potential side effects. Consult your doctor to learn how to address these symptoms. Finally, make sure that you be cautious of using medicine that interacts poorly with broad spectrum CBD.


Full Spectrum VS Broad Spectrum CBD On Entourage Effect

As discussed above, the CBD entourage effect refers to the synergy between cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds found in cannabis. This results in greater therapeutic benefits. However, which of the two is best for this effect? While both are able to produce that effect, the effect is stronger in full spectrum CBD.


What Form Of CBD Is Best For You?

As discussed above, CBD does not come in just one form. Even disregarding the split between full spectrum and broad spectrum, you also have to account for the ways people tend to use their CBD. For example, where someone may consume CBD gummies, another may use a topical solution instead. But is any one of these methods better than the others on an objective level?

One interesting fact about these different methods is just how potent a method of eating edibles is. When consumed, either through a beverage of food, THC tends to have a more potent effect on your body. Thus, even if you have two people consuming the same amount of THC, eating it tends to be the more successful method of benefiting from the consumption.

The prime reason why you are able to get higher faster with edibles is because of where the natural stuff tends to go. For example, if you inhale, that mostly goes to your lungs. Meanwhile, when you consume a CBD edible, depending on whether THC is present, that THC will travel into your stomach before eventually reaching your liver. At this point, it will become processed into a stronger state than before.

Examining another method, using a tincture allows you to get a lot of CBD in a little bit of it.

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Choosing Which CBD Is The One For You 

Both full spectrum and broad spectrum CBD have their own pros and cons, and as such, you should discuss and research with a physician which is the best fit for you.

On the one hand, full spectrum CBD enables you to take full advantage of the entourage effect. On the other hand, however, if you aren't a fan of THC, you are more likely to appreciate Premium Broad Spectrum CBD instead. This comes at the sacrifice of potency, which means you won't be able to get as much oomph as you otherwise would have from using it. 

Yes, if something more mild was something you were hoping for, then maybe the oomph does not really matter.

Whichever you ultimately decide to go with, we hope that you find what you're looking for.



What form of CBD tends to be most effective?

Determining the most effective CBD will come down to the patient and their needs. However, full spectrum CBD tends to be more effective due to including all naturally occurring substances of the plant. That is not to say that broad spectrum CBD is worthless; rather, its use case may just be more narrow, such as people who can't take THC. It is very much a "your mileage may vary" type of situation.


Will full spectrum CBD result in a positive drug test?

Positive results on a drug test may occur even if you never took drugs, so it should come as no surprise that full spectrum CBD can trigger a positive result as well due to even trace amounts of THC. In this case, your options are:

  • Get a medical exemption;
  • Get approval from your employer;
  • Consider broad spectrum CBD, which typically lacks THC


Will CBD make me high?

While CBD is related to marijuana, it is not in and of itself able to make you high. In order to actually actually get high, you need to have the presence of THC, of which full spectrum CBD has approximately 0.3 percent. Meanwhile, broad spectrum CBD is typically THC free, meaning that the only high you may get will usually just be all in your head. 

If you would rather not get high, broad spectrum CBD is likely the better for you to choose. It still may contain THC, however, so don't just assume that you're THC-free.


Is either full spectrum of broad spectrum CBD legal?

Figuring this out is a little tricky, as it varies from state to state. However, both types are often acceptable, due to falling below 0.3 percent THC levels. It is also possible that different methods of using CBD - edibles, topicals, etc. - are restricted in different ways, even in the same state. 

That said, even if you are in a state where the CBD you're attempting to procure is legal, it is currently illegal on the federal level, and not likely to be significantly changed anytime soon. Thus, there is always a theoretical risk involved. Furthermore, it’s goog to remember that CBD is legal in all 50 states federally. 



  1. Rapin L, Gamaoun R, El Hage C, Arboleda MF, Prosk E. Cannabidiol use and effectiveness: real-world evidence from a Canadian medical cannabis clinic. J Cannabis Res. 2021 Jun 23;3(1):19. doi: 10.1186/s42238-021-00078-w. PMID: 34162446; PMCID: PMC8223341.