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As you delve into the world of cannabis wellness, 3 cannabinoid spectrum options are generally available—full spectrum, broad spectrum and CBD isolate.

As a consumer, one may wonder what each spectrum tells us about a given product. It’s not as difficult as one may presume. Let’s explore the differences and discuss the pros and cons of each CBD format.

Hemp extracts: what makes them different?

All CBD products are extracted from the cannabis plant, using solvents like CO2. What transpires with the cannabinoids after the initial extraction determines if the extract is full spectrum, broad spectrum, or CBD isolate. Each term refers to the degree the product was processed.

Let’s discuss the meaning of each cannabis spectrum.

Full spectrum

Full spectrum CBD is often called a full or whole plant extract. In a full spectrum extract, the oil goes through the cannabinoid extraction process and filtration, however, none of the cannabinoids or other compounds are removed. While full spectrum CBD does have THC, it does not contain enough THC to get you high.

The Ounce’s CBD Oil, Gel Capsules, Body Butter and Muscle and Pain Balm are made with full spectrum/whole plant extract. Additionally, all of our CBD rich hemp flower is full spectrum.

Broad spectrum

Broad-spectrum CBD contains cannabidiol and all the other compounds within the plant, except for THC, which is completely removed after the initial extraction.

The Ounce’s CBD Nano Drops contain a broad spectrum cannabinoid profile.

CBD isolate

Isolate refers to a type of CBD that is isolated from the rest of the compounds in the cannabis plant. After CBD concentrate is extracted and separated from the rest of the compounds in the plant. Isolate then undergoes an additional process to extract remaining waxes, terpenes, or cannabinoids. This creates a CBD product that tests as high as 99% pure CBD.

The Ounce’s Bath Bombs, Lip Balm, and Isolate Capsules are made with CBD isolate.

Which spectrum should I choose?

Firstly, it’s important to know that no spectrum profile is inherently better than the others. In fact, there are many factors that should play into one’s choice of cannabis spectrum. Your unique body chemistry, weight, lifestyle, as well as history with other substances can influence the way you react to different profiles.

Additionally, The Entourage Effect, which holds that cannabinoids such as THC, CBD, CBG and CBN, along with the hundreds of other compounds, terpenes included, are meant to work together. It is generally accepted that the entire cannabis plant works best for our health, not just a single compound.

To assist your decision-making process, we’ve highlighted some of the pros and cons of each spectrum profile, along with examples each spectrum would work well for.

Full spectrum CBD: pros & cons

Pros Cons
  • Allows the user to benefit from the entourage effect
  • The least processed form of CBD
  • Contains terpenes and flavonoids for additional health benefits
  • May show up on a drug screening
  • THC content may cause problems with the local law
  • Carries the natural flavor and aroma of hemp, which is pretty strong

Full-spectrum is best for:

  • CBD users who want to benefit from the trace amounts of THC in their extracts
  • Individuals with more severe symptoms that CBD isolate and broad-spectrum products fail to help with
  • Individuals living in states with a legal cannabis market

Broad spectrum CBD: pros & cons

Pros Cons
  • Offers the full benefits of the entourage effect
  • Less processed than isolate
  • No risk of psychoactive effects
  • Less researched
  • Less available than full-spectrum or isolates
  • May carry a strong, natural hemp flavor

Broad spectrum may be best for:

  • CBD users with conditions that the isolate alone can’t help with
  • Individuals sensitive to THC
  • Individuals living in places with harsh THC regulations
  • First-time CBD users afraid of THC

CBD isolate: pros & cons

Pros Cons
  • The most concentrated form of CBD
  • No risk of getting high
  • Highly versatile
  • Safe for all types of CBD users
  • Odorless and flavorless
  • You will 100% pass a drug test, as CBD isolate contains no THC
  • Doesn’t offer all the benefits of the entourage effect

CBD isolate may be best for:

  • CBD users who were recommended to take very high doses of CBD
  • Individuals sensitive to THC or other cannabinoids
  • Individuals afraid of failing a drug test
  • CBD users who prefer flavorless products
  • People living in states with harsh THC laws
  • New CBD users afraid of other cannabinoids

We hope that this article has helped to provide some clarity around your cannabinoid spectrum options. We encourage you to contact us should you have questions about The Ounce’s product line.


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  2. Vigil, Jacob M et al. “The Therapeutic Effectiveness of Full Spectrum Hemp Oil Using a Chronic Neuropathic Pain Model.” Life (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 10,5 69. 18 May. 2020, doi:10.3390/life10050069
  3. Maayah, Zaid H et al. “The anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of formulated full-spectrum cannabis extract in the treatment of neuropathic pain associated with multiple sclerosis.” Inflammation research : official journal of the European Histamine Research Society … [et al.] vol. 69,6 (2020): 549-558. doi:10.1007/s00011-020-01341-1
  4. Russo, E.B. (2011). Taming THC: Potential Cannabis Synergy and Phytocannabinoid-terpenoid Entourage Effects. British Journal of Pharmacology, 163(7), 1344–1364.
  5. Gallily, R., Yekhtin, Z., Hanus, J.O. (2015) Overcoming the Bell-Shaped Dose-Response of Cannabidiol by Using Cannabis Extract Enriched in Cannabidiol. Pharmacology & Pharmacy, 6, 75–85.

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