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Full Spectrum vs Broad Spectrum CBD Oil (What to Know)

Written by: AtoZ Botanicals Staff



Time to read 5 min


Ever found yourself standing in the middle of a wellness store, perplexed by the words 'Full Spectrum' and 'Broad Spectrum' printed on the CBD oil bottles? You are not alone. The emerging world of CBD can be confusing with new terms, slang, and secret code words thrown around. 

You care about your health and wellness and want to be knowledgeable on the key differences so that you make the most informed choice. Fear not, for we are here to decode this mystery and guide you through your journey of understanding the main difference between these popular CBD oils.

Understanding CBD Spectrum and Types

Different folks are looking for different experiences and results, so knowing your options is key. CBD comes in a few flavors, so to speak, differentiated by its extraction and refinement process

Full Spectrum


This is like the "whole foods" version of CBD. It keeps all the original compounds from the hemp plant, including other cannabinoids, terpenes, and varying amounts of THC. 

Broad Spectrum

All the benefits, none of the psychoactive effects. It has all of the goodies that Full-spectrum does, but the THC is completely removed. 

Isolate CBD 

This is your pure, unadulterated CBD. All other compounds are stripped away, leaving only CBD. CBD isolate is a crystalline solid or powder comprising pure CBD.

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Full Spectrum vs Broad Spectrum Comparison

These siblings in the CBD family have a lot in common

How they're the same:

From the Same Plant

Same plant: Both types come from the hemp plant and retain various beneficial compounds.

Terpenes Tag Along

Terpenes are the aromatic compounds found in many plants, including cannabis and hemp, that give them their unique scents and flavors. Some terpenes can enhance the effect of cannabinoids and invoke the feeling of relaxation, stress relief, energy, and maintained focus along with their underlying pharmaceutical functions. They're like sidekicks to CBD and they play a role in both Full Spectrum and Broad Spectrum CBD.

Full Spectrum CBD is like a botanical orchestra where you get the full range of terpenes, along with CBD and other cannabis compounds. These terpenes contribute to the plant's aroma and may work together with CBD in what's known as the entourage effect, potentially enhancing its benefits. 

Now, in Broad Spectrum CBD, the THC is filtered out, but the terpenes stick around. So, you still get that aromatic experience and potential synergies with CBD, just without the THC effects.

In essence, terpenes are part of what gives each type its unique character. Whether you prefer the full ensemble or a more selective bouquet depends on your personal preferences, desired effect and any considerations you might have about THC.

Entourage Effect

They both share the entourage effect. This describes the benefits offered from CBD when entire range of compounds from the cannabis plant are used.

How they Differ

THC and the Extraction Process

The similarities split when the CBD is extracted. Full Spectrum CBD extraction is like making tea with the whole herb – you soak it all in, extracting not only the CBD but also a variety of other compounds from the cannabis plant. It is a comprehensive brew that includes trace amounts of THC, up to 0.3% (the legal limit in most jurisdictions). This presence of THC, though minimal and not always enough to create a 'high,' can still show up on drug tests.

On the other hand, Broad Spectrum CBD extraction is a bit more selective. It's like making tea but choosing only specific herbs to soak in. The THC’s filtered out during extraction, leaving you with a brew that has all the good stuff, minus that little bit of THC. 

THC Presence:  The main difference is in the THC content. Full Spectrum keeps a tiny amount of THC (less than 0.3%), while Broad Spectrum removes it entirely.

Hemp and CBD

Full Spectrum- Pros and Cons

Let's weigh the pros and cons of full-spectrum CBD. This way, you'll get a clearer picture of what it brings to the table and any considerations you might want to keep in mind.


  • Entourage Effect

    • With all the cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds working together, the theraputic benefits of each individual compound are amplified. 

  • Health Benefits

    • Has the appealing wellness benefits that come with CBD use- including pain relief, improved sleep, reduced inflammation and more.


  • Technically within Legal Limit

    • The Feds are okay with it as long as it doesn't contain more than 0.3% THC. 


  • Drug Testing 

    • Even trace amounts of THC in your system put you at risk for a cannabis-positive drug test.

  •  Mildly Intoxicating

    • While the THC level may not be all that potent, there is still potential to feel the "high" associated with THC with a large enough dose. 

  • Taste and Smell

    • Some people find the strong, grassy flavor bitter and unpleasant. The distinctive scent of cannabis can also be a challenge for users. 

Person taking CBD Oil

Full Spectrum CBD offers a holistic approach to cannabis compounds, potentially providing enhanced benefits through the entourage effect.

Broad Spectrum Pros and Cons



  • Entourage Effect, minus THC

    • Just like Full spectrum, Broad-spectrum CBD products offer the Entourage Effect of the plant compounds working together. 

  • Clear mind 

    • The non-psychoactive option is great for those who are concerned about the potential effects of THC or have a sensitivity. 

  • No Drug Test Worries

  • Health Benefits  


  • Regulatory variability

  • Potential sensitivity

Broad Spectrum CBD offers the benefits of the entourage effect without THC, making it suitable for those who want a comprehensive CBD experience while avoiding any traces of THC. 

Isolate Pros and Cons

As the name implies, this stuff is solely CBD, and nothing else- no terpenes, cannabinoids, or flavonoids. Here are some pros and cons:



  • THC-free

    • Since this is pure CBD, there's no chance of ingesting THC. 

  • Highly Concentrated

  • The high concentration of CBD per serving makes it incredibly potent.

  • Tasteless, odorless, and so quite versatile for different uses.


  • Lacks Entourage Effect without added terpenes

    • No other compounds in the mix, so you lose the effect from those working together to enhance each other's benefits. 

  • Limited Wellness Benefits

    *Note: AtoZ Botanicals creates its own Entourage Effect by formulating each product with various Isolate Cannabinoids and Plant Terpenes.

CBD Isolate is a THC-free and precise option for individuals who prioritize avoiding THC or desire a consistent CBD dosage. However, it may not provide the full spectrum of benefits associated with the entourage effect that is present in Full Spectrum and Broad Spectrum CBD.

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Which is Best or Right For you?


Ultimately, the choice between Full Spectrum and Broad Spectrum depends on personal preferences, tolerance to THC, and desired effects.

How to choose

A to Z takes CBD science to a whole new level. Each product is formulated with the ideal balance of CBD, CBN, CBG and Nano to achieve the optimal effect for wellness and specific desired outcomes.


In comparing Full Spectrum and Broad Spectrum CBD oil, the key takeaway is that both offer unique benefits. Full Spectrum provides a holistic experience with potential synergies from various cannabis compounds, including a minimal amount of THC. 

On the other hand, Broad Spectrum is THC-free, catering to those who want to avoid THC entirely while still enjoying the potential entourage effect. The choice between the two depends on individual preferences, sensitivity to THC, and desired therapeutic effects. It's crucial to be aware of regulatory considerations and quality assurance when selecting CBD products for a personalized and safe experience.

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