top of page

CBD full extract, CBD broad extract, and CBD isolate - Know the Difference

Humans have been using whole-plant medicines since the beginning of time – and CBD oil is part of this custom.

When we identify prehistoric settlements and the remains of ancient explorers, we often find the remains of medicinal herbs, and many wild animals instinctively consume plant medicine — suggesting that herbal remedies have been our companions throughout our evolutionary history.

People from all walks of life, ranging from those who are well-versed in health and wellness circles and those who have never given it much thought in the past, are being captivated by it and its health benefits.

The hemp industry is one of the most exciting and fastest-growing in the natural health sector. With laws around the world relaxing on the plant and its commercial uses, we’ve seen some incredible new hemp products come to market.

The most popular of them all now is cannabidiol oil, or more commonly known as CBD oil. With so many new and different CBD oil products available, the choice of which one to go with can be difficult and confusing. With terms like whole plant extract, full-spectrum, broad-spectrum and isolate. This will break down the difference between these terms to help make your decisions easier.

What is CBD?

CBD short for cannabidiol, it’s a naturally occurring substance that's used in products like oils and edibles to impart a feeling of relaxation and calm. Unlike its cousin, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the major active ingredient in marijuana, CBD is not psychoactive.

The increased popularity of CBD has led many users to raise questions about the methods of extracting and administering CBD. The main question is which form provides the most effective range of medical benefits for the user. When it comes to CBD products, it’s common to find three basic types: full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, and CBD isolate. Full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, and CBD isolate all come from the cannabis plant, but while they may sound similar, there are some significant differences between the three.

What Is Full-Extract CBD?

Let’s start with full-spectrum CBD. Full-extract CBD is sometimes called pure-spectrum. A full-spectrum CBD product undergoes less processing than isolates. Manufacturers use dried hemp plant matter to extract cannabinoids. Usually, a method called supercritical CO2 extraction is used to draw out these plant compounds. The result is full-spectrum CBD oil that contains all the cannabinoids that hemp has to offer.

Some users are concerned about full-spectrum products containing THC. THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid, is only found in quantities of less than 0.3% in industrial hemp. As a result, reputable manufacturers will ensure that all full-spectrum CBD products contain less than 0.3% THC.

Mathematically, you can express it as:

Full Spectrum CBD = CBD + All other cannabinoids + Chlorophyll + Fatty Acids + Minerals + Vitamins + Terpenes + Proteins + Various oils + Fiber

Previously, it was believed that CBD isolate was better than full spectrum CBD; however, a study conducted at the Lautenberg Center for General Tumor Immunology in Jerusalem, contradicted this belief. During the study, researchers found that subjects who were given full spectrum CBD reported higher levels of relief as compared to those who took CBD isolate. Furthermore, it was seen that the effects of full spectrum CBD increased manifold with higher dosages, while CBD isolates didn’t change much.

CBD alone could provide specific benefits.It interacts with a biological system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), helping it to run smoothly by encouraging the body to produce compounds called endocannabinoids. The ECS has the role of maintaining homeostasis, making it vital for a variety of purposes.

What is Broad Extract CBD?

Now, let’s move on to broad-spectrum CBD. Many companies list their products as full-spectrum, but after a closer look, these products involve broad-spectrum extracts.

Broad-spectrum extracts include many of the phytochemicals present in cannabis but have been modified from their original ratio. This involves removing THC, but sometimes this requires a complete restructuring of the cannabinoid and terpene profile of the extract.


Broad Spectrum CBD = Full Spectrum CBD – THC

Broad-spectrum products represent a middle ground between full-spectrum and CBD isolate. A true broad-spectrum product is high in CBD, contains absolutely 0% THC, but retains some of the other cannabinoids, terpenes, and similar potentially beneficial compounds that an isolate does not. This should not result in intoxicating effects, but there is still more research to be done.

One of the benefits of creating a broad-spectrum extract is the ability to control specific cannabinoid ratios — something a full-spectrum can’t offer — for more consistency in their products.

Broad-spectrum extracts are ideal for individuals who want to avoid THC altogether. Although the amounts of THC present in full-spectrum products are small (0.3% or less), they can still be problematic in two cases.

The firstcase includes individuals who are drug-tested for THC.

The secondcase consists of individuals who are extremely sensitive to the effects of THC. Even in trace amounts found in full-spectrum extracts, especially if they require larger doses.

What is CBD Isolate?

Last but not least, let’s talk a little bit about CBD isolate.CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD, which is produced by removing all other compounds found in the plant including terpenes, flavonoids, plant parts, and other cannabinoids.

CBD isolate products are generally labeled as being 99 percent or more pure CBD depending on the form, they come in. As the name suggests, these products have been isolated down to just the CBD molecule. They have no other active ingredient and just aim to deliver therapeutic doses of CBD, isolated from the other cannabinoids and terpenes.

CBD Isolate is typically extracted from Hemp, due to its low to non-existent THC-content. That leaves CBD Isolate all by itself - it's basically the chemical compound remaining after CBD has been extracted from a cannabis plant.

There are several benefits to using this pure powder over other conventional forms of CBD. Have Zero THCtrue CBD isolates should consist of nothing but pure CBD, so there's no need to worry about THC possibly entering your system and showing up on a potential drug test and CBD Isolate is significantly less expensive than other for forms of commercial cannabinoids.

Side effects

New users often wonder about the side effects of CBD. No matter whether you use a full-spectrum product or a CBD isolate, there are always risks for negative effects.

The CBD industry is growing like a weed and some of the community seems to be a little confused by the terms being used. Watch the video below to know more about the difference between these three and the terms used.

Test your CBD extract

You must first focus on getting the best isolates in the market (cheap is not always good), as well as the full-spectrum CBD oil. A combination of the two is likely to offer better results at low doses when compared to purely CBD oil. You must, however, make sure that you scrutinize the sources of these products because not everything that is sold on shelves or online meets the required standards. Most companies will inform you if their product is full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate. However, there is a more effective way to confirm that you’re buying a broad-spectrum extract — third-party lab tests.

If you want to purchase a broad-spectrum CBD extract, you should look for two things.

First, check to see that the extract contains more than CBD. It should contain trace amounts of minor cannabinoids such as CBC, CBN, CBG, and CBDA.

Second, look at the THC row and make sure that it reads ND (not detected) or 0. Note that some labs will separate THC into its smaller parts — THCA, exo-THC, Δ8-THC, Δ9-THC, and THCV — All of these should read ND or 0.


In closing, we want to reiterate that there is no ‘best’ type when it comes to choosing a particular extract. The choice between full-spectrum, broad-spectrum CBD or an isolate is a personal decision. Each CBD type has its own target audience.Many factors determine how a cannabinoid will impact the body, such as the chemical makeup of the individual, the weight of the individual, and the individual’s history with other substances.

You might want to try all and see which one works best for you. For some, Broad Spectrum CBD may be the best choice as it delivers the full benefits of the Cannabis plant without the psychoactive effects of THC. For others, a high-dosage of pure CBD isolate may do the trick and others may need the benefits that the only THC can provide.

Research into the effectiveness of each spectrum at the individual level is still in its early stages, so it may take some time and experimenting to figure out which is best for you. With continued research, a brighter, healthier, more natural future could be right around the corner!

We at Himalayan Hemp strive to inform people and provide them with the support they need to get the most out of this plant and are committed to spreading awareness and preventing misunderstandings. If you have a question you'd like us to address or comments about this blog, please mail your suggestions to Join our Hemp revolution. Have a look around our website to find out more about how you can get involved.

Know more at:


bottom of page