CBD Full Spectrum Vs. CBD Broad Spectrum: Which Should You Choose?

“Broad-spectrum” and “full-spectrum” are quite common on CBD product labels. Knowing what each word denotes is crucial to purchase the right CBD product for you.  

This post looks at the main differences between broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD. We shall also highlight the benefits and drawbacks of each product category in a bid to help you hunker down on the best CBD product.  

But first, let’s start from the beginning by familiarizing ourselves with what CBD is. 

More About CBD 

Cannabidiol, popularly known as CBD, is a compound in cannabis that contains plenty of healing benefits.  

Isolated in the 1940s, CBD has become one of the go-to alternative supplements for treating pain and anxiety. The compound is also prescribed for various inflammatory conditions, including arthritis and cancer and sleep disorders like insomnia, sleep apnea, and restless leg syndrome.  

CBD is commonly recommended for other medical issues, including seizures, nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue, and erectile dysfunction.    

How Is CBD Consumed? 

Like all cannabis-derived products, CBD goods come in all shapes and sizes.  

Initially, cannabidiol was mainly consumed by smoking cannabis or administering oral tinctures sublingually. But in response to the ever-growing demand for CBD products, the cannabis industry now teems with several other quirky ways to consume CBD. Examples include ingesting CBD edibles, applying CBD-enriched products sublingually, and vaping CBD e-juice.  

Vaping deserves a special mention here, and understandably so. The concept has been widely hyped as a safer alternative to potentially hazardous CBD delivery methods, mainly smoking marijuana.  

The alleged safety of vaping over smoking is that a CBD vape pen or other CBD vaporizers do not produce smoke. Besides, most CBD vape juices are manufactured in highly-controlled environments.  

What Is Broad-spectrum CBD? 

Broad-spectrum CBD refers to products formulated with cannabidiol and a slew of other non-psychoactive cannabinoids.  

Cannabinoids are the specific chemicals in cannabis from where the plant gets its therapeutic properties. CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the most famous cannabinoids. But they’re not the only ones. The cannabis plant boasts at least 120 other cannabinoids.  

Other common cannabinoids besides CBD Tincture and THC include; 

  • Cannabigerol (CBG) 
  • Cannabichromene (CBC) 
  • Cannabinol (CBN) 
  • Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) 
  • Cannabidivarin (CBDV) 
  • Tetrahydrocannabidiolic acid (THCA) 
  • Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) 
  • Cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) 

One way to differentiate between psychoactive and non-psychoactive cannabinoids is by checking their names. Most cannabinoids preceded by the letter C are non-psychoactive, whereas those preceded by the letter T are psychoactive.  

Besides packing cannabidiol and a host of non-psychoactive cannabinoids, broad-spectrum CBD products also contain other beneficial compounds in cannabis, including terpenes and flavonoids.  

Terpenes are aromatic compounds responsible for the taste and smell of various cannabis extracts. Just like cannabinoids, marijuana terpenes number in their hundreds. Common ones include; 

  • Myrcene 
  • Limonene 
  • Pinene, including alpha-pinene and beta-pinene 
  • Linalool 
  • Caryophyllene 
  • Humulene 
  • Eucalyptol 
  • Camphene 
  • Borneol 
  • Alpha-bisabolol 
  • Trans-nerolido 

What Is Full-spectrum CBD? 

Full-spectrum CBD products contain cannabidiol and significant amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol, plus numerous other cannabinoids.  

CBD manufacturers often experiment with different cannabis compounds when producing full-spectrum products, including as many psychoactive cannabinoids as possible. The focus is usually to incorporate many beneficial cannabis compounds in a CBD formulation.  

So, the number of compounds in full-spectrum CBD is usually higher than their broad-spectrum counterparts. 

Are Broad-spectrum and Full-spectrum The Only CBD-based Products? 

No. While shopping for CBD goods based on the types of compounds in these products, you’ll also come across the term ‘isolates.’  

CBD isolates are formulated using pure cannabidiol. These products contain no other cannabis compounds except CBD. The CBD potency in isolates can be up to 95%, making them highly potent.  

However, isolates are free from other cannabinoids, which means they don’t offer compounded benefits.  

Benefits and Drawbacks of Broad-spectrum CBD 

The most significant benefit of broad-spectrum cannabis goods is that they won’t get you high. That’s for the simple reason that these products are formulated to exclude all psychoactive compounds, such as THC, THCA, THCV etc. You can use broad-spectrum CBD products for numerous ailments without the nagging concerns of getting stoned in the process.  

Another benefit of broad-spectrum CBD products is that they still boast the healing benefits of CBD plus several other non-psychoactive compounds in the cannabis plant.  

On the cons side, broad-spectrum CBD produces less intense effects than its full-spectrum counterparts. CBD is generally more effective if used alongside THC. 

Tetrahydrocannabinol may be famed for its psychoactive abilities. But THC also boasts incredible health benefits. Just like CBD, THC may offer relief from pain, anxiety, inflammation, and insomnia. The compound might also help with nausea, poor appetite, mental slump, fatigue, and sexual performance.  

So, the fact that full-spectrum CBD products contain significant THC levels means you can synergize the therapeutic properties of these popular cannabinoids. Studies have shown that CBD and THC may deliver better therapeutic effects if used together, through a phenomenon called the entourage effect. What’s more, full-spectrum CBD products also let you synergize the potential benefits of other psychoactive chemicals besides THC, such as THCA and THCV.  

Benefits and Drawbacks of Full-spectrum CBD 

Another notable benefit of full-spectrum CBD goods is that they can get you high. Again, marijuana high is usually viewed in a bad light by those who’ve never had this experience. However, tetrahydrocannabinol’s psychedelic effects may be more beneficial than harmful in certain circumstances. That’s especially if the compound is consumed in moderation.  

For instance, euphoria is one unusual symptom of a marijuana high. Euphoric feelings are associated with mental relaxation and happiness and heightened concentration and creativity. Besides, people high in cannabis tend to enjoy activities that humans generally find stimulating more enthusiastically. Examples include working out, eating, and having sex.  

However, note that cannabis high can quickly change from a pleasurable experience to an annoying one. Psychoactive marijuana compounds like THC tend to induce more worrying side effects than non-psychoactive ones, particularly if overdosed. Common THC side effects include hallucinations, reduced response time, bloodshot eyes, and blood flow issues. And that’s the biggest concern with full-spectrum CBD products.  

Also, regulators tend to be more stringent on full-spectrum than broad-spectrum CBD. In most countries where cannabis is legal for medical use, the law requires that medical marijuana products contain no more than 0.3% of THC.  


Both broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD boast the remarkable healing properties of cannabidiol.  

However, full-spectrum products offer more therapeutic benefits since they contain additional cannabis compounds other than non-psychoactive ones. Thanks to their psychoactive nature, these products are also perfect for medical and recreational cannabis users alike. 

Just remember to check the THC levels in a full-spectrum CBD product to ensure it’s within the legally acceptable amounts.