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What is Full Spectrum CBD & How is it Different?

When purchasing cannabis products, whether they’re THC or CBD products, you will likely come across the term full spectrum. But what exactly does it mean? In this guide, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about full-spectrum CBD, including:

  • What Does "Full Spectrum" Mean?
  • What is Full Spectrum CBD?
  • What are the Benefits of Full Spectrum CBD?
  • What Types of Full Spectrum CBD Products Are Available?
  • Are Other Cannabis Products Considered Full Spectrum?
  • Broad Spectrum vs Full Spectrum vs Isolate CBD: What's the Difference?
  • FAQs About Full Spectrum Cannabis Products

What Does "Full Spectrum" Mean?

Full spectrum means that all the cannabinoids and terpenes found in the plant have been preserved and included in the final product. Full spectrum CBD products contain a wide range of cannabinoids, including not only CBD, or cannabidiol, but also trace amounts of other cannabinoids such as THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, and CBG, or cannabigerol. They also contain various terpenes, which are aromatic compounds responsible for the unique scents and flavors found in different strains of cannabis.

What is Full Spectrum CBD?

There are two types of full spectrum CBD products—the ones you purchase from a dispensary and the ones you purchase outside the dispensary in the unregulated CBD market. Outside of the dispensary, full spectrum CBD products are derived from the hemp plant. Unlike marijuana, industrial hemp is bred to contain low levels (less than 0.3%) of THC, the psychoactive compound that produces the intoxicating sensations cannabis enthusiasts are familiar with.

If you purchase inside a dispensary, you are purchasing full spectrum CBD products that come from marijuana plants. This means that they will likely have levels of THC that exceed 0.3% and may even cause intoxication. That’s why it’s important to always check your product’s label to understand what’s in it that may affect you.

What are the Benefits of Full Spectrum CBD?

One of the key advantages of full spectrum CBD is the entourage effect. The entourage effect refers to the synergistic interaction that occurs between cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds found in marijuana and hemp plants. It is believed that these components work together to enhance your overall experience when you consume cannabis.

The science supporting any therapeutic benefits of CBD is minimal. Full spectrum CBD is being evaluated for anti-inflammatory and anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) properties. As far as proven benefits, the FDA approved a treatment of two extremely rare and severe forms of epilepsy that uses CBD as the active ingredient. Beyond that novel treatment, more research is needed to fully understand the effects of full spectrum CBD.


What Types of Full Spectrum CBD Products Are Available?

Like any cannabis product, there is a lot of variety when it comes to full spectrum CBD. If you’re interested in making a purchase, look for:

Full Spectrum CBD Oil

CBD oil is one of the most popular forms of CBD products. Full spectrum CBD oil contains not only CBD but also the other beneficial compounds found in hemp and marijuana. It is typically taken sublingually (under the tongue) for quick absorption into the bloodstream.

Full Spectrum CBD Gummies

For those who prefer a more convenient and tasty way to consume CBD, full spectrum CBD gummies are a popular choice. These gummies contain a predetermined dosage of CBD and offer a delicious and discreet option for daily CBD supplementation.

Full Spectrum CBD Tincture

Similar to CBD oil, full spectrum CBD tinctures are taken sublingually. They are made by infusing CBD extract into a carrier oil, such as hemp seed oil or MCT oil. Tinctures allow for easy and precise dosing.

Are Other Cannabis Products Considered Full Spectrum?

Yes. Full spectrum means all of the cannabinoids and terpenes are included in the final product. You can purchase full spectrum CBD, THC, and even CBG. Which one you choose to consume can depend on a variety of factors, including your personal experience with it, your interest in being intoxicated, and your curiosity about how certain full spectrum products feel to you.

Broad Spectrum vs Full Spectrum vs Isolate CBD: What's the Difference?

You know that full spectrum CBD contains all of the cannabinoids and terpenes found in the hemp or marijuana plants. But how does full spectrum differ from broad spectrum and isolate CBD? Here are their distinct differences:

  • Broad Spectrum CBD: Broad spectrum CBD products contain a similar range of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other beneficial compounds as full spectrum CBD, but with one key difference: they undergo additional processing to remove THC completely. This makes them a suitable option for those who want to avoid THC but still desire other cannabinoids and terpenes.

  • Isolate CBD: CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD available. It undergoes extensive processing to remove all other cannabinoids, terpenes, and plant matter, leaving behind only CBD in its isolated form. CBD isolate products do not provide the entourage effect but may still offer their own unique effects for your endocannabinoid system.

What’s the difference between full spectrum and distillate edibles? Check out our guide!

Answering FAQs About Full Spectrum Cannabis Products

Full spectrum products, whether they’re CBD, THC, or another cannabinoid, continue to fascinate cannabis enthusiasts who are interested in experiencing the entourage effect. Here are a few answers you may need as you’re learning more about full spectrum cannabis:

Is full spectrum CBD legal? 
In the United States, outside of a dispensary, full spectrum CBD derived from hemp that contains less than 0.3% THC is legal under federal law. However, it's essential to check your local laws and regulations, as they may vary, and you certainly don’t want to get in legal trouble in your state. In a dispensary, full spectrum CBD is derived from the marijuana plant and would only be able to be purchased if marijuana has been legalized in your state.

Will full spectrum CBD get you high?
No, full spectrum CBD derived from hemp contains minimal levels of THC, not enough to cause intoxication or a "high" feeling.

Is full spectrum CBD the same as Delta-8?
No, full spectrum CBD and Delta-8 are distinct compounds. Delta-8 THC is a cannabinoid that, although it produces less potent psychoactive effects than Delta-9 THC (the primary psychoactive compound in marijuana), it can still have intoxicating properties. Full spectrum CBD products, on the other hand, contain only trace amounts of THC.

Purchasing Full Spectrum CBD

If you’re already making a visit to the dispensary, check out the CBD products. Your budtender can help you find the products they have in stock, including full spectrum CBD. Regardless of whether it contains low, moderate, or high levels of THC, you should start slow and at a low dose until you know how your body feels with a full spectrum CBD product.

Recreational cannabis is not available in all states. Cannabis is for medical use only and may only be used by certified patients in Pennsylvania. State laws impact what dispensaries can and can’t sell to recreational customers and certified patients. Not every type of product, consumption method, dosage form, or potency mentioned on this blog will be permitted in all locations.