CBD – What is the Difference Between Full-Spec and Regular CBD?


Not all cannabidiol (CBD) is made alike. Understand the difference between full spec, or full-spectrum, and regular, isolate CBD, and you will be able to choose the product that best suits your needs. Both of these types of CBD exist in numerous mediums, so you should not feel like you’re stuck with a CBD product you do not enjoy!

What is Cannabidiol (CBD)?

The basics of CBD are important to understand, too. CBD is one type of cannabinoid found in cannabis, second most abundant of the compounds found in hemp. The first most abundant compound is delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which we will get into next.

CBD is a compound that does not produce a psychoactive high. Rather, it interacts with the body in a more indirect way, and can increase the body’s natural endocannabinoids by preventing them from being broken down enzymatically.

CBD is used in many situations, often for patients with anxiety, neurological or psychological issues, epilepsy, tumors, pain, and inflammation. There are many studies and clinical trials exploring the effects of CBD, and it is certainly becoming a topic of interest on an international scale as more organizations, practitioners, and individuals see how it can impact the way we treat various illnesses and ailments.


cbd oil for ibs

CBD versus THC

CBD is not psychoactive, as mentioned previously. THC, however, can alter your mental state or behavior. It still may have some beneficial properties. It may work as a pain reliever, for example, or be used for

relaxation, sleep, stimulating appetite, anti-nausea/vomiting, or as a muscle relaxant.Some studies show that CBD and THC work best synergistically, enhancing one another’s potentially beneficial properties. However,

THC is often stigmatized as a recreational, controlled substance while CBD is seen as a therapeutic substance, so for many, the focus is on CBD as it is possibly beneficial, without the high.

THC is typically outlawed outright, whereas CBD has a more flexible legal status in many ways.


Full-Spectrum versus Isolate CBD

When you are purchasing CBD products, you have two options: full-spectrum CBD, or isolate (‘regular’) CBD.

Full-spectrum CBD as hemp oil contains every cannabinoid present in the cannabis plant — cannabinol, cannabicyclol, tetrahyrdocannabivarin, and cannbichromevinaric acid, to name a few. Different cannabinoids

introduce various potential benefits addressing a wide variety of ailments, both on their own, and in conjunction with one another, and with CBD.

These full-spectrum products may also contain small amounts of THC, though it should be said that industrial hemp is regulated at 0.3 per cent THC concentration, which will generally not cause psychoactive effects.

Full-spectrum CBD is created by extracting the whole source plant to oil, which brings all of the other properties and molecules along with it.

cbd isolate

Isolate CBD is what it sounds like: CBD, separated from any and all other cannabis compounds. It is isolated by cooling extracted oil until it forms crystals. The crystals are processed into a highly pure powder, of just

CBD as a molecular compound. Isolating the perceived valuable aspects of any substance is a common approach in the pharmaceutical model, working to maximize an ‘active ingredient’ to its utmost efficacy and

safety. However, this ignores the possible holistic benefits of full-spectrum products.


What difference does it make? 

The Entourage Effect

The Lautenberg Center for General Tumor Immunology in Jerusalem, in a 2015 study, noted full-spectrum CBD is capable of offering greater levels of anti-inflammatory relief, as higher doses were administered to

mice. A group of mice given isolate CBD did not experience the same level of relief at higher doses. The study means that CBD isolate is, of course, effective, but at a certain dose, the full-spectrum product is perhaps

a better option. Full-spectrum CBD retains its efficacy at any dose. As the study said, “Healing was only observed when CBD was given within a very limited dose range, whereas no beneficial effect was achieved at

either lower or higher doses.”

Full-spectrum hemp oil may be more effective than CBD isolate, as it contains cannabinoids and terpenes instead of just extracted CBD. The entourage effect says CBD creates better results when combined with the

other properties from the source plant, instead of existing on its own. Various studies indicate that CBD, when in the presence of other plant constituents, is more potent/efficacious, concluding that:

“the higher efficiency of plant extract can be explained by additive or synergistic interactions between CBD, terpenes, and the minor phytocannabinoids or non-cannabinoids presented in the extracts… because other

phytocannabinoids, including Tetrahydrocannabivarin, Cannabigerol and Cannabichromene, as well as mono- and sesqui-terpenes, exert additional effects of therapeutic interest and the therapeutic synergy observed

with plant extracts results in the requirement for a lower amount of active components, with consequent reduced adverse effects.”In other words, a full-spectrum product often works better because you need less of it

than CBD isolate, reducing side effects. In the Lautenberg study, the researchers found that even with a larger than optimal dose of the full-spectrum product, the effectiveness plateaued so the therapeutic ceiling was

reached without introducing issues.



Potential Drawbacks of Full-Spectrum CBD

While it is clear that full-spectrum CBD may be more effective than isolate CBD, even at lower dosages, it may have some drawbacks.

On CBDorigin.com, authors note:

“You may not necessarily need the full capabilities of Full-Spectrum CBD, or if you aren’t legally allowed to use THC. It is also important to note that other cannabinoids may cause negative reactions when isolated CBD

wouldn’t.” As an example, for people who may be subject to drug testing, completely avoiding THC is obviously important. A full-spectrum product would potentially contain a small amount of THC, and so, should not be

used.  Similarly, if a person needs to know exactly how much CBD they are ingesting, isolate may be the best choice. With CBD isolate, users can specify exactly how much CBD they are using, as it is over 99 per cent

pure, so it certainly offers a high degree of control.

CBD isolate is usually tasteless, so it is often preferable for flavored products and other oral ingestion.

CBD isolate is certainly still effective on its own, so if there are reasons you should avoid full-spectrum CBD, it does not mean you need to avoid CBD usage completely.



Choosing the Right Product — Full Spec or Regular

The possible benefits of CBD exist in both types of products, so generally, when choosing your CBD type, it comes down to your own preferences.

Many of the advantages and disadvantages are listed above, which can help you decide where you should start. For a more holistic approach to using CBD, a full-spectrum product may be the best bet. For a more

controlled, pure method, try an isolate. You can pick and choose as you see fit. Whether you choose full spec or regular CBD, it is important to ensure you are getting a high-quality product either way. From oil capsules

to tinctures, edible products, and other CBD products, whatever you put in your body should be carefully selected and sourced from a trustworthy provider.

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