Differences Between Full-Spectrum, Broad-Spectrum, and Isolate CBD

Summary: We use ethanol to extract the full-spectrum CBD in our supplements to harness the synergistic and therapeutic properties of all the compounds in the hemp plant. There are three types of cannabidiol (CBD); full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate. Full-spectrum CBD comprises all the compounds in the hemp plant, including CBD, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), terpenes, cannabinoids, and flavonoids. In full-spectrum CBD, these compounds interact synergistically to create the “entourage effect” which describes the therapeutic health benefits borne from ingesting all of these compounds together (1). Broad-spectrum CBD is made by distilling THC from a full-spectrum extract. What remains is a diverse range of terpenes, cannabinoids such as CBN (cannabinol) and CBG (cannabigerol), and other organic compounds. Broad-spectrum also preserves terpenes and flavonoids to produce the entourage effect without the THC. Broad-spectrum falls between full-spectrum and isolate, in that it contains the entire spectrum of cannabinoids except for THC. Isolate is CBD in its purest form -- approximately 99% CBD. It’s made by extracting only cannabidiol from the cannabis plant, isolating it from all other compounds. CBD isolate is so refined that it typically has no color or odor.

Extraction Methods

There are two common methods for extracting CBD: ethanol and CO² extraction. We use ethanol to extract the CBD in our supplements because CO² extraction leaves behind terpenes and flavonoids that are not soluble. We want all terpenes and flavonoids included in our CBD because they appear to have distinctive therapeutic properties and co-activating agents that improve phytocannabinoid activity. Extractions should contain mixtures of C. sativa-derived combined components for the greatest synergistic influence. (1) Ethanol extraction can be achieved through warm or cold temperatures. We use cold extraction as it is highly efficient and prevents undesirable material from dissolving in the ethanol. Following the first extraction procedure using food-grade ethanol, the solution is filtered before the ethanol is purged from the extract. CO² cannabis extraction removes CBD (and other phytochemicals) from the plant using pressurized carbon dioxide. This process releases CO² gas, which is harmful to the environment and another reason why we solely use the ethanol extraction process.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7324885/
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