Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, Isolate. What’s the difference?

As more research continues into the health benefits of CBD, more people are considering it as a substitute for their traditional medications. However, since CBD products come in a variety of different forms and uses, choosing the right option can be overwhelming.

This article will explain the differences between the extracts and blends that make up these products, as well as their specific uses.

How does CBD work?

Our bodies have two types of receptors that absorb CBD: CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are mainly found in the nervous system, and deliver the cognitive and mood benefits of CBD. Ingestible products (tinctures, gummies) are generally the best way to access these receptors.

CB2 receptors are primarily found in the immune system. They are the reason CBD is so effective at treating autoimmune and inflammatory issues, like arthritis or sore muscles. Since these issues effect specific areas of your body, topical and transdermal creams are ideal for directly targeting CB2 receptors.

Where does CBD come from?

CBD is found in both hemp and marijuana plants, along with THC, the psychoactive compound that produces that “high” feeling when smoked or ingested. The main difference between these two plants is their concentrations of CBD and THC. Hemp is mostly CBD with trace amounts of THC, while marijuana plants have more THC with a small amount of CBD.

So why one extract over another?

This is where things get more complicated. CBD products aren’t always just pure CBD. Some are, and these are called “isolates.” But others contain a blend of additional natural compounds. These “blends” can produce different effects, depending on which plant they are extracted from. 

Blend vs. Isolate Extracts

Full Spectrum Blends

Full spectrum blends contain CBD, but also hundreds of other compounds found in the plant itself. These other compounds work together with CBD to maximize its benefits, called “The entourage effect”.

Full Spectrum CBD from hemp contain small traces of THC (while full spectrum extract from marijuana have a significantly higher amount.)

If you’re interested in using ingestible CBD products to treat anxiety and mood issues, full spectrum blends are ideal. This is because the best way to access those CB1 receptors in our nervous system is by ingestion.

Broad Spectrum Blends

Broad spectrum blends are basically Full Spectrum blends but with the THC removed. These are convenient for people who want to avoid any of the potential psychoactive effects of THC. However, by removing a primary component of the plant, it can limit some of the power of the entourage effect.


Unlike blends, CBD isolates only contain pure CBD and no other cannabis compounds. They may lack the benefits of the entourage effect, but isolates can more more effective when it comes to targeting specific areas of your body. Isolates have a higher CBD concentration because they are void of other cannabinoids. Therefore, isolate CBD may be absorbed through the skin more efficiently.

Another difference is that CBD in isolate form blends more easily with certain substances. This is why Nuvamed’s Relief Roller uses CBD isolate; to allow for a more gel-like substance, as opposed to a thicker full-spectrum substance.  

Once you understand the differences between CBD extracts their blends, shopping for products can become much more straightforward. However, this information won’t do you much good if the product information isn’t accurate. Always take the time to ensure that you’re dealing with a trusted manufacturer who has clear and verified ingredient labeling. 

Thank you for reading! Knowledge is power, and learning is key to living a better life.

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