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Full-Spectrum CBD vs. Broad-Spectrum CBD
CBD Education


Full-Spectrum CBD vs. Broad-Spectrum CBD


In the ever-expanding world of CBD, understanding the differences between Full-Spectrum and Broad-Spectrum CBD is crucial to selecting the right product for your needs.

Not sure where to start? We’re here to break down the differences between these two common variations of CBD, providing you with a comprehensive understanding of their properties, extraction processes, and benefits. Dive in to discover which type of CBD is best suited to your lifestyle and wellness goals.

What Is CBD?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the active compounds known as cannabinoids that are found in the hemp and cannabis plants. CBD is believed to help promote relaxation, ease tension, and support our overall well-being by interacting with a complex network within our bodies called the endocannabinoid system.

How Do Cannabinoids Work?

Cannabinoids, including cannabidiol (CBD), are chemical compounds that naturally occur in cannabis plants. These plant-extracted phytocannabinoids have the ability to interact with our bodies through the endocannabinoid system - a widespread network of receptors found in our brains, organs, and tissues. This system plays a crucial role in maintaining a state of balance in our bodies, contributing to functions like mood, sleep, and immune response.

What’s the Difference Between the Hemp Plant vs. Cannabis Plant?

The hemp plant and the cannabis plant both belong to the Cannabis sativa family, but they are classified differently based on their THC content. Most notably, the hemp plant is rich in CBD and has minimal levels of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), while the cannabis plant contains higher levels of THC. Legally – as per the 2018 Farm Bill – hemp plants cannot contain more than 0.3% THC content.

THC: What You Need To Know

THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is another cannabinoid, but unlike CBD, it has psychoactive effects, meaning it can produce a "high" when consumed. It's the THC content in the cannabis plant that makes it federally regulated in many regions, including parts of the United States. In contrast, hemp-derived CBD, due to its minimal THC content, is widely used in CBD products and is legally accepted.

What Are the Main Types of CBD?

When we talk about CBD products, you'll often hear the terms full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, and CBD isolate. Understanding the difference between the three can empower you to make the most informed decisions as you consider what is best suited to your individual preferences and needs.

Full-Spectrum CBD

There's a vast world within the hemp plant, and full-spectrum CBD aims to encapsulate its entire richness. Full-spectrum CBD extract is a type of CBD product that includes all the plant compounds found in the hemp plant.

In a full-spectrum CBD product, you'll find a wide range of cannabinoids, along with terpenes, flavonoids, and certain acids. It also contains trace amounts of THC, but in levels below 0.3%, the federal limit in the United States.

What does this mean for you? Full-spectrum CBD, sometimes referred to as whole-plant CBD, is believed to provide what is known as the "entourage effect." This is a synergy where the various plant compounds, including cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, work together to enhance the overall effects of CBD.

Common full-spectrum products range from CBD oil to edibles and tinctures. When choosing a full-spectrum product, it's important to consider the trace amounts of THC present. Although the levels are low, they could potentially influence a drug test.

Broad Spectrum CBD

Much like full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum contains an array of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids found in the cannabis plant, contributing to the holistic benefits of CBD. However, there's one major difference: broad-spectrum CBD products are crafted to be completely THC-free.

In the extraction process, all THC content is meticulously removed, making broad-spectrum CBD an excellent choice for those seeking the benefits of the "entourage effect" without any THC. This means you can experience the synergistic interaction between the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids without worrying about THC's psychoactive effects.

Broad-spectrum CBD is an ideal in-between option if you are sensitive to THC, want to lower the risk of any trace amounts of THC showing up on a drug test, or if you simply prefer a product that is THC-free – but still want to enjoy the benefits of the entourage effect.

There's a wide range of broad-spectrum CBD products available, such as topical creams, broad-spectrum CBD gummies, and tinctures. Each product type serves unique needs, and the choice comes down to your personal preferences and wellness goals.

CBD Isolate

Lastly, we have CBD Isolate, the purest form of CBD. As the name suggests, CBD Isolate products contain only CBD, with all other plant compounds removed during the extraction process. This process results in pure CBD, usually in a crystalline form or a fine white powder that contains 99% cannabidiol.

CBD Isolate is an excellent choice for those who want to focus on the benefits of CBD exclusively, without any other cannabinoids or plant compounds. While you won't experience the entourage effect, as there are no other compounds to interact with each other, CBD Isolate can still offer a variety of potential health benefits.

Popular products made with CBD Isolate include tinctures, edibles, and topicals. These products offer a more targeted approach to using CBD, allowing you to take advantage of CBD's benefits in a very straightforward manner.

What Other Plant Parts Are Included in Broad-Spectrum and Full-Spectrum CBD?

As we’ve learned, both broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD oils contain more than just CBD. They both include various plant parts from the hemp plant, each with its unique characteristics and benefits.


CBG, or cannabigerol, is one of the cannabinoids present in both Broad-Spectrum and full-spectrum CBD oils. While not as well-known as CBD, CBG is earning attention for its potential benefits. Preliminary research suggests that CBG may support a sense of calm and relaxation, although more studies are needed to fully understand its effects.


CBN, or cannabinol, is another cannabinoid found in these products. CBN is considered a minor cannabinoid, as it is present in smaller quantities. However, it's gaining interest for its potential benefits, which may include promoting better sleep and overall comfort.


These types of CBD also contain an array of terpenes, which are the aromatic compounds that give the hemp plant its unique scent. But they do more than just smell good—terpenes may also contribute to the overall wellness benefits of the CBD.


Flavonoids, meanwhile, are compounds that give plants their color, filter out UV rays, attract pollinators, and prevent plant diseases. In the human body, they can act as powerful antioxidants, helping to fight off free radical damage.

How Are Different Types of CBD Extracted?

CBD extraction is a carefully calibrated process that ensures the beneficial elements of the hemp plant are preserved while unwanted components, like THC in the case of broad-spectrum CBD, are completely removed.

Both full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD start with the same extraction process. The hemp plant goes through a process known as supercritical CO2 extraction, a method favored for its efficiency and environmental friendliness. This process uses pressurized carbon dioxide (CO2) to pull the desired cannabinoids and other compounds from the hemp plant.

After the initial extraction, the result is a crude whole-plant extract containing a full range of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other plant compounds. At this stage, the hemp extract is considered full-spectrum, as it contains all components of the hemp plant, including trace amounts of THC.

To create broad-spectrum CBD, the full-spectrum extract undergoes additional processing to remove all traces of THC. This process is known as THC remediation. It's a complex process that requires careful handling to ensure that other beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes are preserved in the final product while THC is completely removed.

The result is a broad-spectrum CBD oil that maintains a wide range of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other beneficial plant compounds, but without any THC. This is an ideal choice for people who want to avoid THC altogether, yet still benefit from the entourage effect provided by the remaining elements of the hemp plant.

Will Broad-Spectrum CBD Show Up on a Drug Test?

Whether CBD will show up on a drug test is a common concern, especially for full-spectrum CBD users due to the presence of THC. While the trace amounts of THC in full-spectrum CBD are not enough to create psychoactive effects, they may potentially influence drug test results, though it's uncommon.

Because the extraction method for broad-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate includes carefully filtering out the hemp plant’s THC content, it is even rarer for these forms of CBD to appear on a drug test, making them both appealing choices for those concerned about drug testing.

However, it's crucial to buy from reputable sources that provide a certificate of analysis to ensure the THC-free claim is accurate. At Muscle MX, we're committed to transparency, and our carefully-crafted range of Broad-Spectrum products are rigorously third-party tested for added peace of mind.

Are There Any Risks to Using CBD?

When considering CBD for your wellness regimen, it's essential to understand any potential risks or side effects associated with its use. Overall, CBD is considered safe and well-tolerated. However, like any substance, it can cause minor and rare side effects in some people.

Some users report experiencing side effects such as dry mouth, drowsiness, reduced appetite, or diarrhea. Most of these side effects can be avoided or minimized by starting with a low dose of CBD and gradually increasing it as needed, allowing your body to adjust to the new supplement.

Remember, it's always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen, including CBD.

Choosing Reputable CBD Products

Another critical safety consideration is product quality. Since the CBD industry is still relatively new and not fully regulated, there can be significant variations in product quality across the market. This makes it vital to choose CBD products that are chemical-free, paraben-free, and third-party tested.

As consumers, it's essential to remember that the FDA does not currently regulate the CBD market. This makes it even more critical to purchase CBD products from trusted sources that conduct third-party testing, like Muscle MX, to ensure the absence of harmful substances such as pesticides and solvents.

This underscores the importance of reading product labels and understanding what they mean. Words like "broad-spectrum," "full-spectrum," and "CBD isolate" are not just marketing jargon—they represent important distinctions about what's inside the product you're considering. And as always, at Muscle MX, we're here to help you navigate this journey toward wellness.

Which Is Best: Full-Spectrum, Broad-Spectrum, or Isolate CBD?

As you delve into the world of CBD, deciding between full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolate can feel overwhelming. But don't worry, we're here to help you navigate this journey.

Ultimately, the best CBD depends entirely on your individual needs and wellness goals. Do you want to experience the entourage effect with all cannabinoids, including trace amounts of THC? Full-spectrum CBD might be your perfect match. Prefer to avoid THC completely, but still want to reap the benefits of a range of cannabinoids and terpenes? Broad-spectrum CBD could be an excellent fit.

When it comes to choosing a product form—from CBD tinctures and oils to gummies or topicalbalms and lotions—consider your lifestyle and personal preferences. Topicals are great for targeted application, tinctures offer rapid absorption, and edibles provide a tasty and discreet way to consume CBD.

Whichever form of CBD you choose, remember that the CBD journey is personal. It's all about finding the best way to support and maintain your wellness. Whether you're a seasoned CBD user or just starting your journey, we're here to provide the information and high-quality products you need to find your best fit.


Farm Bill | USDA

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) | NCBI

The Case for the Entourage Effect and Conventional Breeding of Clinical Cannabis: No “Strain,” No Gain | Frontiers

Cannabigerol | ScienceDirect Topics

The Cannabis Terpenes | PMC

Flavonoids: an overview | PMC

Carbon Dioxide Supercritical Extraction | ScienceDirect Topics

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