In the broadest terms, Full-Spectrum CBD Oil is a relatively new iteration of CBD products.

But what really separates it from other types of CBD oil? Is there any difference at all? And how does someone even go about taking full-spectrum CBD oil in the first place? Let’s take a closer look.

1. What is Full-Spectrum CBD Oil?

Full spectrum CBD gummies or ‘whole plant’ CBD oil is typically extracted from the flowers of hemp plants – like the ones used to make our top pick here at Healthline. (UPDATE: Since this article was first published in 2017, we now prefer using the term ‘broad spectrum’ instead of ‘full-spectrum’ as it is more accurate and inclusive of terpenes and other cannabinoids such as CBG, CBC, CBDV. These oils also contain trace levels of THC (usually less than 0.3%). It’s important to note however, that these trace amounts of THC can sometimes cause mild psychoactive effects.

This is because CBD extracted from industrial hemp typically contains trace levels of THC, which has the high-inducing effect of marijuana. Unlike industrial hemp however, full-spectrum CBD oil is made from the flowers and buds of hemp plants that are specifically bred to contain higher amounts of CBD, lower amounts of THC (typically less than 0.3%), and negligible amounts of other cannabinoids such as CBG, CBC, CBDV.

2. What’s the Difference Between Full-Spectrum CBD Oil and CBD Isolate?

While CBD isolate is just that – CBD in its isolated, purest form – full-spectrum CBD oil contains all cannabinoids present in the original plant. It’s distilled down to an essential oil or resin by using the whole plant (flowers, buds, leaves, etc.) to create a concentrated oil. It’s then mixed with carrier oils (coconut, olive, hemp seed, etc.) to make it easy for the consumer to use in recipes or simply swallow.

Which one is better? Really it comes down to what you want out of your CBD product. We believe that the most effective CBD oil is one that contains both CBD and a host of other cannabinoids, terpenes, and nutrients from the original hemp plant.

3. What makes Full-Spectrum CBD Oil different from Isolate? In order to better understand why full-spectrum CBD oil may be more therapeutic than CBD isolate, here’s a summary of how each one is made:

3.1. Extraction Full-spectrum CBD oil is typically extracted from the flowers and buds of hemp plants that are bred specifically to contain higher amounts of CBD and lower amounts of THC (typically less than 0.3%) while containing negligible amounts of other cannabinoids such as CBG, CBC, CBDV. The flowers and buds are then mixed with carrier oils (coconut, olive, hemp seed etc.).

3.2. Extraction Full-spectrum CBD oil is typically extracted from the flowers of hemp plants that are bred specifically to contain higher amounts of CBD and lower amounts of THC (typically less than 0.3%) while containing negligible amounts of other cannabinoids such as CBG, CBC, CBDV. The flowers and buds are then mixed with carrier oils (coconut, olive, hemp seed etc.).

CBD isolate is typically extracted from the hemp plant using a variety of techniques, more often than not utilizing a process involving CO2. This leaves behind a pure CBD powder that can be used in recipes or simply swallowed. In the case of isolated CBD oil however, it is typically just CBD with no other cannabinoids or terpenes included – unlike full-spectrum oils which contain all cannabinoids present in the original plant.

4. Why CBD Isolate is not as Effective for Healing or Treating Symptoms As Full-Spectrum CBD Oil

The vast majority of studies on cannabinoids, including CBD isolate, have focused primarily on their effects when administered alone because unadulterated CBD has proven to be the most effective in providing therapeutic relief. Nowadays, CBD isolate is growing in popularity as more consumers are getting turned off by the idea of putting extracts inside their bodies.

However, it’s important to know that when something alone isn’t providing you with benefits, it doesn’t mean that adding additional cannabinoids – especially those found within cannabis – will work synergistically to create the desired effect. Furthermore, CBD isolate contains very little if any terpenes – the compounds responsible for the strong flavor and aroma of cannabis flowers. Likewise, using only isolated CBD can potentially result in some products lacking additional benefits provided by whole-plant formulations. For example, not all cannabinoids are orally bioavailable (able to be digested).

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