What is Full-Spectrum CBD?

Kaitlin Domangue

Explaining Full-Spectrum CBD

Full-spectrum CBD might sound confusing, but it’s not hard to grasp once you learn a little more about it. To put it simply, full-spectrum CBD has the full profile of the hemp plant and its compounds; it doesn’t just include CBD. This abundant and complete plant profile is thought to create a more powerful effect in the body, and we’ll explain why. 

CBD + The Farm Bill

In 2018, the federal government removed industrial hemp from the Schedule I Substances list, under what’s known as the 2018 Farm Bill. Industrial hemp contains less than 0.3% THC per the federal government, and all hemp plants must test lower than that before it’s sold. Prior to this historic move, industrial hemp was considered as dangerous as heroin and ecstasy, with no possible therapeutic benefit. Crazy, right? The same full-spectrum CBD you’re buying today for a better night’s rest was not available just a few years ago, because it was considered worthless. Even worse, it was deemed incredibly dangerous.  

What’s even crazier, cannabis with greater than 0.3% THC is still on this list today; meaning the federal government actively recognizes marijuana as having no medicinal value, despite over half the country employing a medical cannabis program. 

What is full-spectrum CBD?

Full-spectrum CBD contains the entire hemp plant profile, including compounds like terpenes and flavonoids. You’ll receive all of the major and minor cannabinoids, like CBD, CBN, CBC, and CBG, plus trace amounts of THC. All cannabinoids are thought to have some therapeutic value. CBG, for example, has been highlighted for aiding digestion. CBN has been shown to support a great night’s sleep. 

This is where people start to get a little confused. It’s a common misconception that hemp-derived CBD products contain no THC. While that’s partially true, as some extracts don’t contain THC, full-spectrum CBD does. However, like the federal government requires, full-spectrum CBD still doesn’t have enough THC to create a psychoactive effect; it will always contain less than 0.3% THC until the law says otherwise. 

Why full-spectrum CBD? 

There’s a draw to full-spectrum CBD products, and the entourage effect is mostly to blame. The entourage effect is the idea that cannabinoids work better together, and consuming them all at once will give you the most out of your CBD. Full-spectrum CBD gives you the cannabinoids and additional plant compounds you need to achieve a balanced state of being. 

By additional compounds, we are mainly referring to terpenes and flavonoids. Scientists are learning more and more about plant compounds aside from cannabinoids, and terpenes are especially increasing in notoriety. Research is beginning to emerge about the powerful benefits of terpenes. Here’s a few notable terpenes and some of the reasons they’re being studied for therapeutic use (note: we said studied. We don’t claim these terpenes treat medical conditions, but scientists are exploring): 

  • Linalool (Sedative, antipsychotic, anticonvulsant, and more)
  • B-Caryophyllene (Antifungal, anticarcinogenic, gastroprotective, antidepressant)
  • Pinene (Anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, bronchodilator, antidepressant)
  • Limonene (Antibacterial, antimicrobial, antifungal, immunostimulant) 

There are more terpenes than the ones we mentioned, but B-Caryophyllene is actually one of the most abundant terpenes in most strains! Opting for a full-spectrum CBD product ensures you take advantage of these powerful terpenes.  

Broad-spectrum CBD

Broad-spectrum CBD is another extract, and unlike full-spectrum CBD, it doesn’t have THC. It does, however, contain additional cannabinoids and plant compounds, so you’ll still receive some of that entourage effect you need. If you’re concerned about consuming THC, we recommend a broad-spectrum CBD product.

CBD isolate

You can also choose to purchase CBD isolate. CBD isolates contain no additional cannabinoids or plant compounds, just CBD. Based on emerging research, experts are wanting to begin moving away from isolates. Don’t get us wrong, some CBD is better than none. But, research is showing us more and more how important the full plant is to our CBD experience, so the more plant compounds - the better. 

We always recommend speaking with a cannabis-educated physician that knows your medical history before introducing CBD into your routine. 

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