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Full Spectrum vs Broad Spectrum CBD: What’s the Difference?

CBD: full spectrum vs broad spectrum. Woman holds CBD oil

If you have appetite or sleep issues, your endocannabinoid system might be the culprit. Full spectrum vs broad spectrum CBD – what are the advantages and disadvantages? Which is best for you? 

The difference between full spectrum and broad spectrum CBD is the amount of non-CBD cannabinoids in the tincture.

Full-spectrum is the most complete CBD extract. It includes terpenes, essential oils, and all the other cannabinoids that the cannabis plant produces, including THC. Broad spectrum also includes some molecular variety, with the notable exception of the psychoactive THC molecule. As the name indicates, CBD isolate contains nothing but CBD.

Find out more about the spectrum that UCLA calls one of the most widespread and versatile signaling molecules known to man. 

Which Type of CBD is Better? Full Spectrum vs Broad Spectrum CBD

The short answer is, it depends how you feel about psychoactive THC. As mentioned, full spectrum may be mildly psychoactive, while broad spectrum is defined by its lack of this property. 

However, you should not judge full spectrum vs broad spectrum CBD based on complexity.  Users of both full spectrum and broad spectrum report they find these work better than pure CBD isolate. There is a simple explanation for this.

Aaron Cadena, editor-in-chief at, says this is due to something called the entourage effect, which happens when the individual ingredients in a complex mixture complement each other.

People looking for pure CBD might opt out of the spectrum altogether and go for CBD isolate.

How Does CBD Work?

A scientist compares full spectrum vs broad spectrum CBD in a lab
Photo by 4 PM production via Shutterstock

To better understand full spectrum vs broad spectrum CBD, we have to start by talking about the endocannabinoid system. The building blocks of the endocannabinoid system are signaling molecules that regulate natural rhythms within your body. These “rhythms” include our sleeping and eating patterns. 

Dr. Ruth Ross is a cannabis researcher who has been involved with this field since the original discovery of endocannabinoids in humans in the 90s. Her TED Talk about this natural system describes a process all of us experience, but few of us think about. 

Dr. Ross says the endocannabinoid system works in a similar way to the fight-or-flight system. 

When we encounter danger, the brain’s fear center, called the amygdala, lights up and quickly sends a signal to the adrenaline-producing parts of your brain. This adrenaline provokes the fight-or-flight response by spiking your heart rate, digestion, and sweat production. 

The endocannabinoid system works in a similar way. When we are stressed, our brain emits a molecule that is almost identical to the CBD produced by the cannabis plant. When we are stressed, this naturally occurring CBD balances out the stress in our bodies. Our bodies are so smart that after repeated exposure to the same stressor, we actually start to produce more “CBD.” 

Another way to think of this is as a set of locks and keys. The fight-or-flight response is a whole bunch of locks that are “opened” by adrenaline; the hunger response (along with many others) are a bunch of locks that are “opened” by CBD and other cannabidiols. 


We must develop an endocannabinoid system.

This is false. We are all born with an endocannabinoid system that keeps our mind and body balanced. The reason CBD is often sold as a “spectrum” is because cannabinoids include a diverse range of molecules and uses. Aside from CBD, this also includes Cannabigerol (CBG) and Cannabinol (CBN).

Cannabis is the reason our endocannabinoid system exists.

If we use the lock-and-key analogy, you could say that our bodies naturally produce “locks” that can be opened with the keys contained in cannabidiols. 

Why Do We Make Endocannabinoids and When?

We produce them naturally when we are:

  • stressed
  • hungry
  • exercising
  • in pain
  • singing

Yes, singing causes our bodies to emit endocannabinoids by 42%, according to Dr. Ross. 

Since they started getting more popular in the 90s, endocannabinoids have been found to have diverse health benefits. Hemp health benefits include reducing inflammation, skincare, weight loss, and control for diseases such as diabetes and epilepsy.

Find the Right CBD Products for Your Needs

What do you think is the best CBD spectrum? Whatever your preference, The Hemp Philosophy has it in stock. Find the health products you need made by lab-grade cannabis experts.   

We’ve come a long way. Celebrate your many choices over your own health with our wide range of products. From full-spectrum oils to flavorful gummy candies to topical moisturizers, there are so many ways to experience the benefits of CBD. Discover our large selection of products that are designed with your specific needs in mind.


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