Broad Spectrum CBD: Benefits, Effectiveness, & More

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This post is part of a series on hemp extract spectrums. For more information and a listing of all the spectrums available, see the CBD Extract Guide.

In 2013, the CBD industry exploded as CBD-rich cannabis extracts were shown to be effective in treating seizures in young children suffering from treatment-resistant epilepsy. Until recently, consumers only had two choices when it came to choosing a CBD rich product. A person's ability to consume even the trace amounts of THC (most often because a person is drug tested or not) put them in one camp or another.

Those who could consume THC could choose a full-spectrum product. These products offer effective relief thanks to the fact that they are a whole-plant extract containing a wide range of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, fatty acids, and other plant materials. This full-ranging chemical profile not only provides a wider range of therapeutic benefits, but the compounds work together to offer synergistic benefits through the entourage effect.

Those who couldn't consume THC were stuck with CBD isolate. An isolate, while diverse in its uses and effective as an additive, lacks the diverse whole-plant chemical makeup found in a full-spectrum product. An isolate alone only offers the benefits of CBD alone. These products don't offer the significant added and synergistic benefits that the range of other compounds found in a full spectrum product offer.

Thanks to the hard work of a few hemp extraction companies, a third choice has entered the market: broad spectrum. This new product offering offers a THC-free option that preserves the majority of the therapeutic potential offered by a full spectrum product.

What is Broad Spectrum CBD Oil & How is it Made?

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Just like any other full-spectrum product, these products begin with a high-quality cannabinoid and terpene rich hemp source. From there the plant undergoes extraction into a full-spectrum form. What separates broad from full is the next step: a special chromatography media is used to process only the THC out of the extract, leaving the rest of the rest of the extract intact.

Broad spectrum CBD products could best be described as "THC-free full-spectrum CBD".

As you shop around, you may find that some companies produce products labeled broad spectrum that is not created by the same process. Often brands begin with a CBD isolate and then add back additional compounds like terpenes (often called a terpsolate). While these products offer superior benefits to an isolate, they are not true broad spectrum. They lack the effectiveness of a broad spectrum product that is created by removing THC from full spectrum extract. This is because there is simply no way effectively to add back in all the removed cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and original plant materials.

Benefits & Effectiveness of Broad Spectrum CBD

When a broad spectrum extract is produced resulting cannabinoid, terpene, and flavonoid-rich profile is simply the best option available for someone who can't consume THC. While you do lose the benefits that THC offers, the maximum remaining benefits are retained. For someone subject to drug testing or even just someone who isn't comfortable ingesting THC, this is a highly practical solution.

When compared to an isolate, the effectiveness of broad-spectrum CBD is leaps and bounds ahead. CBD isolate is, as the name suggests, an isolated form of the single cannabidiol molecule. This means that the added and synergistic benefits of the other compounds just simply isn't there with an isolate. Broad spectrum retains the maximum amount of therapeutic potential because it retains the maximum chemical profile - nearly retaining the whole plant spectrum.

Shopping for Broad Spectrum CBD

Just like full spectrum and isolates, broad-spectrum CBD extract can be made into a wide range of different products. You'll find everything from standard products like tinctures and capsules to unique products like energy drink mixes and vape cartridges. For the best broad spectrum products on the market, see our list of recommended brands which highlights companies selling these THC-free products.

Originally Published: October 29, 2018 | Last Updated: November 19, 2018

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