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Isolate, Broad spectrum or Full spectrum, What is the difference?

CBD oil has become as mainstream as common vitamins. From pharmacies to gas stations, it’s sold almost everywhere. But just seeing “CBD” on a bottle doesn’t mean much. 

The first thing to know is that CBD products fit into three main categories: CBD isolate, broad spectrum, and full spectrum. Knowing the differences are as important as getting your CBD dosage right.    

What is CBD isolate?

What remains after distillation is a white powder that’s typically made out of at least 99% CBD—with the remaining 1% being traces of plant matter that could not be removed.

The final product of these processes can be bought in crystal form, or used by manufacturers to create tinctures, vape juice, and a wide variety of CBD isolate-based products.

What is broad-spectrum CBD?

Simply put, broad-spectrum CBD is full-spectrum CBD minus the THC. At least that’s what it’s supposed to be; many manufacturers tend to use the term for any CBD product that contains even one cannabinoid more than CBD.

True broad-spectrum CBD comes from removing THC from a full-spectrum extract, and chromatography is the most commonly used method for that purpose. 

By removing THC from the extract, what remains is a CBD-rich broad-spectrum formulation that contains a wide array of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other organic compounds.

What is full-spectrum CBD?

Full spectrum refers to a CBD-rich product that contains the full profile of organic compounds (cannabinoids, terpenes, etc.) that can be found in the hemp plant. But to better explain what full-spectrum CBD is, let’s first go through the whole process. 

CBD along with an array of cannabinoids are extracted from the plant, using one of many types of extraction methods—most commonly supercritical CO2 extraction. The extract then can go through winterization, a process that removes a wide array of unwanted substances, essentially further purifying it.

Then, through a process called decarboxylation (removing a carboxyl group from the molecule), components of the extract that come in acid form (CBDa, THCa, etc.) are transformed into their active forms (CBD, THC, etc.).

An important thing to note at this point is that while full-spectrum CBD does contain THC molecules, widely available CBD products are derived from hemp, which is naturally low in THC content.

In fact, the legal requirement for the hemp plant is to contain up to 0.3% THC, and most full-spectrum CBD products contain less than that. But note that while the THC content of hemp-derived CBD is not enough to get you high, it could potentially cause you to fail a drug trust. Due to current uncertainty of Full spectrum products CBDsq does NOT offer Full spectrum products.


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