Full Spectrum vs. Broad Spectrum Products: What You Need to Know

by in CBD 101 July 27, 2021

Figuring out which CBD product or ingredients are best for your needs can often be confusing. We don’t always have time to research products and labels, especially when we’re leading a full and sometimes hectic life that probably involves balancing multiple responsibilities. This guide was created to help you understand the differences between full spectrum vs. broad spectrum products. 

Full Spectrum vs. Broad Spectrum CBD

The key difference between full spectrum and broad spectrum basically comes down to how many of the plant’s original cannabinoid and terpene compounds remain in the extract or product. If a CBD product contains many of the naturally occurring cannabis plant extracts, such as terpenes and other cannabinoids (including up to 0.3% THC), it is full spectrum. Whereas, broad spectrum will generally contain less of the original plant’s compounds, and non-detectable levels or no THC. 

Compounds in Full Spectrum CBD Extract

The cannabis plant has over 100 cannabinoids. These compounds may act synergistically to provide what some researchers have described as the “entourage effect,” which refers to the interaction of terpenes with cannabinoids. It is in essence a cascade of effects that can enhance potential therapeutic benefits, such as pain relief, improved sleep, improved mood and more. While CBD is generally the primary compound found in both broad and full spectrum, there are many additional compounds such as other cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. Each of these can have different effects on the body and brain. And with a wider variety of potentially impactful compounds, research has found that full spectrum extracts tend to be more effective than broad spectrum or individual isolates. 

CBD research indicates many potential therapeutic benefits with regards to these additional compounds: 

Full Spectrum CBD Benefits

In addition to promoting overall well-being and helping you feel like your best self, CBD products containing a more full range of cannabinoids and terpenes support a wide range of possible benefits, such as:

  • Reducing inflammation
  • Managing pain relief
  • Boosting energy
  • Improving focus
  • Providing better sleep
  • Acting as an antioxidant
  • Promoting cognitive wellness, including better memory retention
  • Decreasing stress
  • Improving mood
  • Reducing nausea
  • Aiding skin allergies and skin disorders

It’s important to know that these benefits are supported by only very early stage research. That said, it’s a promising time to be focusing on the possible benefits of these compounds as the research continues to develop, and more rapidly so. 

What CBD is Best for You?

Broad spectrum can be useful for people who want to ensure they don’t have exposure to THC. It contains many of the therapeutic compounds found in the full spectrum, just less, and with an absence of THC. The shorter spectrum and absence of THC can potentially mean that such products are going to be less effective from a therapeutic perspective. Anecdotal evidence attests to the idea that THC contributes to the positive effects of CBD, and conversely the benefits may be reduced when THC is not present. We should also keep in mind that when following the strict DEA guidelines for CBD products, the 0.3 percent THC in full spectrum CBD isn’t generally enough for people to experience psychoactive effects. The issue here of course is that many companies in the CBD marketplace are going to be less credible in this regard, which is why it’s so important to understand the company behind the products. 

Superiority of Gaard Labs Full Spectrum CBD

Gaard Labs has developed an advanced and proprietary methodology utilizing the latest scientific understandings around cannabinoids and terpenes in creating a range of CBD products supporting physical recovery and wellness. The team of doctors and scientists are focused on the power of purified botanical terpenes to drive CBD benefits to levels previously not seen in the industry. Their secret weapon is a focus and understanding of individual terpene isolates and how those isolates work together to support a broad range of cannabinoids. 

The advanced approach coupled with their commitment to New York State regulatory standards – probably the most strict in the United States – make for a product I’m comfortable recommending. I’m also happy to see that their latest products contain organic ingredients.

In summary, the quality attributes one should look for when comparing CBD products on the market are clearly part of the Gaard Labs offering. Shop now!

Sources:

U.S. Food & Drug Administration – FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products, Including Cannabidiol (CBD)

Baylor University Medical Center Proceedings –Cannabidiol primer for healthcare professionals

The New York Times – What Are the Benefits of CBD?

Current Neuropharmacology –The ‘Entourage Effect’: Terpenes Coupled with Cannabinoids for the Treatment of Mood Disorders and Anxiety Disorders

Journal of Cannabis Research –Reasons for cannabidiol use: a cross-sectional study of CBD users, focusing on self-perceived stress, anxiety, and sleep problems

ACS Omega –Chemical Profiling of Medical Cannabis Extracts

British Journal of Pharmacology –Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects

Medicinal Plants –Therapeutic and Medicinal Uses of Terpenes

ACS Omega –Flavonoids in Cannabis sativa: Biosynthesis, Bioactivities, and Biotechnology

Molecules –Quality Traits of ‘Cannabidiol Oils’: Cannabinoids Content, Terpene Fingerprint and Oxidation Stability of European Commercially Available Preparations

National Institutes of Health – Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Tampa Bay Newswire – Different Types of Extraction Methods Used for CBD Oil

Healthline – Can You Get High from CBD or CBD Oil?

IntechOpen: Recent Advances in Cannabinoid Research – The United Chemicals of Cannabis: Beneficial Effects of Cannabis Phytochemicals on the Brain and Cognition

National Institute on Drug Abuse – The Biology and Potential Therapeutic Effects of Cannabidiol

About Stacy Mosel
Stacy Mosel, LMSW, is a licensed social worker and psychotherapist. She writes in the fields of mental health and holistic wellness, drawing on her prior experiences as an employee assistance program counselor, individual and family therapist, and assistant director of a child and family services agency.

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