Full Spectrum CBD vs. Broad Spectrum CBD

Full Spectrum CBD vs. Broad Spectrum CBD

January 2, 2019

Do you know the difference between full spectrum CBD vs. broad spectrum CBD? Discover the difference between each category of cannabis extracts that are in your favorite CBD products before you try shopping for CBD oil online.

Full Spectrum CBD vs. Broad Spectrum CBD

When looking at the numerous CBD brands and product lines offered to consumers of different ages, genders, and with varying lifestyles, there are a few main categories of CBD to know about.  

Full spectrum CBD oil

The term full spectrum CBD oil is a term applied to products that only contain CBD but other naturally occurring chemicals from the cannabis plant as well. Full spectrum CBD oil products contain not only CBD, but terpenes and other cannabinoids as well. Those other cannabinoids usually include tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive chemical compound found in marijuana. Although cannabinoids can be added to fit any desired ratio, full spectrum CBD oil is typically made up of the ratio naturally occurring in the plant from which the oil is extracted. For those concerned about drug tests at work, full spectrum CBD oil is not recommended. That said, hemp-derived full spectrum CBD oil should still contain less than 0.3 percent THC, an amount unlikely to trigger a test. Marijuana-derived full spectrum CBD oil, on the other hand, can have much higher levels of THC.

Broad spectrum CBD oil

The simplest way to think about broad spectrum CBD oil is that it’s the same as full spectrum CBD oil minus the THC. Broad spectrum CBD oil is refined in an additional process to remove other phytochemicals and cannabinoids, often THC. For this reason, broad spectrum CBD oil is a better choice for anyone who can’t have any traces of THC in their system. Broad spectrum oil can either be made by isolating CBD then adding other cannabinoids and terpenes, except for THC, or by carefully removing any THC from a full spectrum product.

Which is better, full spectrum CBD oil or broad spectrum CBD oil?

It depends on the individual case. Because it includes THC, full spectrum CBD oil allows all of the natural terpenes and cannabinoids to interact. This is referred to as the Entourage Effect. Broad spectrum CBD oil lacks the THC, but still has its own version of the Entourage Effect, and can be used with minimal risk of compromising a job that prohibits the consumption of THC.

How is CBD Extracted?

Scientists can use several methods to extract CBD and other cannabinoids are extracted from cannabis. Two of the most common methods of extraction used in the hemp and cannabis industries include alcohol extraction via ethanol or supercritical CO2 extraction.

CBD oil and alcohol extraction

Cannabis tinctures created via alcohol extraction have been made for centuries by humans. Cannabinoids are extremely soluble in alcohols such as ethanol and isopropanol, and ethanol tinctures were once readily available for the treatment of various ailments.

While there are different alcohols that can be used for the efficient extraction of cannabinoids from cannabis, ethanol is the preferred industry standard, given its relative non-toxicity. While techniques vary, cannabis put into a filtration mechanism, after which room temperature or slightly colder ethanol is passed through. The ethanol must fully saturate the flower or trim to dissolve the cannabinoids and terpenes effectively. It should also be noted that the presence of water in the mixture reduces the solubility of the cannabinoids, thus lowering the amount extracted. For example, using 80 proof alcohol, which is only 40% alcohol, results in little cannabis oil getting extracted, due to the lower solubility of cannabinoids in a water-heavy solvent.

CBD and CO2 extraction

Depending on your resources and expertise, alcohol extraction can be completed relatively cheaply. Alcohol extraction is generally thought to produce a lower quality CBD product at a lower price point. Residue is also an issue with method of extraction. Alternately, CO2 extraction methods are preferred but more costly. CO2 extraction methods also vary: supercritical extraction uses a lower temperature while subcritical extraction which uses a higher temperature.

  • Subcritical CO2 is considered ideal for extracting and preserving light oils extracted the plant material. Subcritical CO2 Extraction times are often longer while yields are lower due as this form of extraction leaves more residual waxes and resins in the plant material.
  • Alternately, Supercritical CO2 is a much more efficient solvent than subcritical CO2.  In addition to extracting lighter oils, supercritical CO2 also extracts the waxes, paraffins, lipids, resins and other higher molecular weight materials from the plant. This results in a higher yield as well as a more complete extraction as more components of the plant have been retained.

What Kind of CBD Oil Product Should I Choose?

From reviewing lab results to finding out more about the entourage effect, there are numerous ways you can empower yourself as a consumer. Find out how to use CBD and which products you can trust by starting your myCBD.org journey.

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