A Complete Guide to Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum and Isolate CBD Tinctures

A Complete Guide to Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum and CBD Isolate Tinctures

Diving into the world of CBD tinctures? Need help? Well, you are in the right place. 

We all know about the immense CBD wave that is taking over the US and the world gradually. But, if you are a beginner, you must have reached a standstill when it comes to choosing between the different kinds of CBD. There are full-spectrum, broad-spectrum and isolates. All are varieties of CBD but not necessarily the same. When we look at it from the perspective of effects, composition or potency, all three CBD types have much common ground as well as differences. So, which one to choose?

Here’s an extensive comparison of full-spectrum, broad-spectrum and CBD isolates to help you decide on which tincture will be the best for you. 

CBD tinctures

Extracted From

CBD or cannabidiol is a cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. However, manufacturers do not necessarily choose cannabis plants to extract any form of CBD. That’s because those who need or use CBD are not necessarily interested in the psychoactive effects of Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC which is abundantly found in cannabis. And there’s also the federal Farm Bill that restricts companies to use cannabis from producing legal CBD products. 

As a result, all three types of CBD, full-spectrum, broad-spectrum and isolates, are extracted from a different species of cannabis called ‘hemp’. It contains traces of THC (less than 0.3%) and allows manufacturers to legally produce CBD.

In the state of California, cannabis-derived CBD can also be sold legally though not federally approved. So, you must check the labels carefully before buying CBD tinctures. 

Extraction Process

Generally, all type of CBD is extracted using the same 4 processes which are as follows:

  • Carbon dioxide extraction
  • Steam distillation
  • Solvent extraction
  • Lipid extraction 

As per the preferences of the manufacturer, one of the four processes can be used to extract full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD. 

As for CBD isolates, additional or more extensive processes may be required to fully isolate CBD from the other components of the plant. Chromatography is one of the processes that isolate CBD from the terpenes, flavonoids, plant matter and other cannabinoids. The end result of the isolation is a colorless and odorless CBD crystal. 


One of the primary differences between full-spectrum, broad-spectrum and CBD isolates is their composition. 

Full Spectrum CBD

As the name suggested, full-spectrum CBD captures the full-spectrum of the hemp or cannabis plant. Every chemical that you can find in the plant is found in full-spectrum CBD. This is why it is often known to be a more natural form of cannabidiol.

Broad Spectrum CBD

Just like full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum also contains most of the chemicals found in hemp. It may also contain some additional components as compared to a full-spectrum. However, it contains little to no THC. 

CBD Isolate

You don’t have to guess much to understand what isolates are. They are a pure form of CBD that is 99+ percent CBD and has no other component in it. It is more refined, unlike full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD. A tincture with CBD isolates may have additional components such as terpenes but it remains pure CBD regardless of what is added to it later. 

THC Percentage

Full-spectrum CBD

As per the Farm Bill, any CBD product that is meant for sale should not have more than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis. So full-spectrum CBD contains THC but it is not more than 0.3%. However, it is important to note that the percentage may increase while turning CBD into a concentrate or a tincture. The presence of THC is the reason why it may show up on a drug test. 

Broad-spectrum CBD

Broad-spectrum is like a happy mean between isolates and full spectrum. It contains all other plant components such as CBN and terpenes except THC. Broad-spectrum CBD is generally 0% THC. However, if it contains any THC it is less than 0.3% which isn’t potent enough to cause psychoactive effects. If you are using a broad-spectrum CBD tincture, it’s highly unlikely to show up in a drug test. 

CBD Isolate 

We are talking about an isolate that is separated from every other component found in the hemp or cannabis plant. So, it is quite clear that CBD isolate has no traces of THC. It is pure CBD with nothing else which is why it doesn’t show up on the drug tests. 

Entourage Effect

In the CBD world, an entourage effect is a term used to describe the synergy between all the components of the plant which eventually results in enhancing the therapeutic effects of CBD. Some people believe in this synergy and wish to experience it while others do not prefer the strong effects. Now, let’s understand which of the CBD types can help you in either case. 

Full-spectrum CBD

As discussed, it contains all the different chemicals such as terpenes, THC, flavonoids, fatty acids etc. When consumed, all of them work together to enhance the medicinal properties of CBD. 

Broad-Spectrum CBD

Broad-spectrum CBD is equally effective in producing an entourage effect because of the presence of different compounds and chemicals. 

CBD Isolate

Since isolates only have CBD, you will only experience the benefits of CBD and no entourage effect. 


The states are not obliged to follow every rule passed by the federal government. This is the reason why the CBD laws at the state and federal level often clash with each other. The same is the case with CBD. 

Irrespective of whether it is full-spectrum, broad-spectrum or isolate, CBD is federally legal as long as it is hemp-derived and as per the laws of the Farm Bill. However, it may not be legal in some US states such as Nebraska and Idaho. 

Cannabis-derived CBD faces a similar predicament but in the opposite order. While the federal government prohibits cannabis-derived CBD, most of the US state governments don’t have a problem with it. 

The best option is to check the legalities of your state before using hemp or cannabis-derived full-spectrum, broad-spectrum or CBD isolate.  


Full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD is considered to be more potent than isolates because of the entourage effect. As per research, full-spectrum CBD causes an entourage effect which presents a better and more effective pharmacological effect than isolates. 

A similar case is observed with broad-spectrum CBD because of the presence of different cannabinoids and other chemicals.

In the case of CBD isolates, it takes more time and quantity to achieve the desired effects. It might not be as potent as its counterparts but offer medicinal benefits without the interference of other chemicals. 


With full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD, even a small dosage can show noticeable effects on the body. However, this can also be counted as a drawback as it presents a risk of overdose for beginners. 

With CBD isolates, high dosage may be needed to achieve the desired effects. And since it has no THC content, overdosing is not a risk for beginners. 

Ideal Consumer

If you are a beginner, it is best to start with CBD isolate. You experience the full extent of the effects of CBD without other chemicals interfering in the final result. It has no risk of overdosing and is also ideal for consumers who like to indulge in higher doses. 

Full-spectrum is best for people who understand what the entourage effect is and wish to experience it. Since it needs to be used according to the recommended dose, it’s best to start using it after gaining some experience. 

If you are strictly against feeling the psychoactive effects of THC but wish to benefit from the entourage effects, broad-spectrum is the way to go. 

Now, the decision is yours to make. Which one will you choose?

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