What is Full-Spectrum CBD?

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What is the Difference Between Full-Spectrum CBD and CBD Isolate?

Cannabidiol (CBD), the main non-psychoactive chemical compound found in cannabis, is associated with a laundry list of excellent health benefits from managing physical pain and illness, to coping with mental issues like anxiety and depression.

CBD can be referred to as full-spectrum CBD, meaning whole plant medicine, or CBD isolate, meaning pure CBD all by itself.

So, is one more effective than the other?

While there is no debate that CBD offers the most benefits compared to any single cannabinoid, many people are wondering (in particular medical patients) is CBD alone is more effective for treating ailments in comparison to all of the cannabinoids combined.

Here, we define full-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate, and explain how the two work individually as well as together, both with the end goal of providing CBD users with maximum therapeutic effects.

We’ll start with full-spectrum CBD.

What is Full-Spectrum CBD?

Full-spectrum CBD iis referred to as “whole plant medicine” because it contains all components within the cannabis plant, hence the term, “full-spectrum.” These components include CBN (cannabinol), CBG (cannabigerol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).

As you may recall, THC is the cannabinoid responsible for the mind-altering effects one feels after consuming cannabis (typically the marijuana strain), contributing to a “high.” In full-spectrum CBD, THC is present, but the concentration is at the legal limit of less than 0.3%, resulting in very minimal, if any, psychoactive effects.

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Full spectrum CBD works with the endocannabinoid system as whole, producing effects throughout your entire body slowly. In contrast with a CBD isolate, users will get more CBD in their system in a shorter amount of time. While CBD isolate does act as a quick-fix, it’s not always the most comprehensive option.

If you’re wondering about the costs of the two forms of CBD, one isn’t necessarily more expensive than the other. Products with a lower CBD concentration tend to cost less than those with higher concentrations (makes sense).

The price also has a lot to do with the sourcing, purity and other quality considerations. So, it isn’t a matter of whether the product is full-spectrum CBD or CBD isolate, but the quality and source type.
What is CBD Isolate?

CBD isolate is simply pure CBD that has been extracted from the cannabis plant and isolated from all other cannabinoids.

Up until 2015, it was believed that CBD isolate was more potent and more concentrated (aka more effective) than full-spectrum CBD. When a study from the Lautenberg Center for General Tumor Immunology in Jerusalem concluded the opposite (that full-spectrum CBD proved to be more effective than CBD isolate), the previous theory didn’t hold up.

In other words, full spectrum CBD is now thought to provide greater therapeutic effects than CBD isolate.


While full spectrum CBD has proven to be more effective than CBD isolate, and can be used to effectively treat a wide variety of ailments, it does not discredit the effectiveness of CBD isolate. There are many situations when CBD isolate would be preferred over full spectrum CBD. For instance, a user may not need the full capabilities of full spectrum CBD, or they may not be legally allowed to use THC.

Cannabis contains a wide variety of cannabinoids, terpenes, and essential nutrients—all working together to create stronger benefits than they would on their own. As researchers begin to learn more about cannabis’ potential, it has become clear that both full-spectrum and isolate CBD products can bring value to consumers’ health.


  • Full spectrum CBD refers to whole plant CBD, meaning it contains all other cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant
  • CBD isolate is pure CBD containing no other cannabinoids
  • Both forms of CBD are powerful on their own as well as individually
  • Full spectrum CBD has been ultimately proven to be more effective than CBD isolate as cannabinoids working together create stronger, more effective benefits
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