Full-Spectrum Vs. Isolate Vs. Broad-Spectrum – CBD Extracts Explained

Customers navigating the CBD market for the first time can be easily overwhelmed by the amount of new information they have to digest when examining products. This post will inform you of the general differences between one of the most important differences in CBD products: Full-Spectrum, Isolate, and Broad Spectrum. These are all different forms of CBD Extracts.

Some CBD products are significantly cheaper but less effective than others. This is why it is important to understand the differences between them. An uninformed customer can be exploited by overpaying for an inferior product. More importantly, some customers may not experience the true benefits of a quality product and be discouraged to try CBD again.

Below we will examine the three categories of CBD products: Full-Spectrum, Broad-Spectrum, and Isolate.

Full-Spectrum CBD Extract

Full-Spectrum products are the truest representation of the hemp plant. They contain all of the cannabinoids (e.g. CBD, THC, CBC, CBG, CBDV, etc.) found in the original plant as well as other beneficial compounds such as terpenes, flavonoids, amino acids, omega fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and other botanical compounds. Typically, Full-Spectrum products have a distinctly “planty” taste. However, this can be masked using other natural oils or by mixing them into drinks or smoothies.

Full-Spectrum products are closely related to a phenomenon called the Entourage Effect. This is the notion that all cannabinoids (and other hemp compounds) working together are far superior than any one in isolation. This synergistic effect has been studied extensively by Dr. Ethan Russo in relation to how it can assist those using CBD.

Full-Spectrum products are our top-selling products due to their effectiveness. They are between Broad-Spectrum and Isolate products cost-wise.

Main Points:

  • The most effective form of CBD (Entourage Effect)
  • “Planty” taste due to its natural form
  • Cost is moderate due to the holistic extraction process
  • Contains THC
  • Looks like oil

Cost: $$

Effectiveness: MAX

cbd oil being poured

CBD Crude Oil being poured. Unquestionably the best source of full-spectrum CBD.

Broad-Spectrum CBD Extract

Broad-Spectrum products are closely related to Full-Spectrum products except they do not contain THC. This is appealing to CBD users who are concerned about passing drug tests, but it has its drawbacks. Therapeutically speaking, these products are inferior to Full-Spectrum products but still better than isolate products. THC has its own benefits and further contributes to the Entourage Effect.

Broad-Spectrum products are the most expensive of the three types of products due to the process required to remove the THC. It is laborious and energy demanding. They also typically taste milder (less “planty”) than Full-Spectrum products.

Main Points:

  • Does not contain THC
  • Inferior to Full-spectrum products (Entourage Effect)
  • Still can have “planty” taste
  • Cost is much higher due to the extraction process
  • Looks like oil

Cost: $$$

Effectiveness: MID

CBD Isolate

Isolate products probably sound the most appealing to someone looking to try CBD for the first time, however, they are the least effective type of product. Isolate products are made with CBD Isolate which is 99%+ pure CBD. While this sounds advantageous, it is quite the opposite. As mentioned above, the Entourage Effect requires other cannabinoids and botanical compounds to be present with CBD to induce the greatest therapeutic benefit. When these compounds are absent, this effect is nonexistent. Needless to say, Isolate products still have their place in the market. They contain no THC, which is appealing to some individuals concerned about drug testing. Isolate also allows for more elaborate formulations like CBD-infused drinks.

Since CBD Isolate is removing essentially everything but the CBD from the hemp, lower quality hemp is needed. This explains why Isolate products are the cheapest of the three, albeit the least effective.

Main Points:

  • Does not contain any other therapeutic cannabinoids
  • Inferior to Full-spectrum and Broad Spectrum products (Entourage Effect)
  • Purified “clean” taste and mixes well with liquids
  • Least expensive form
  • Looks like white powder

Cost: $

Effectiveness: MIN

CBD Isolate is upwards of 98% CBD by mass.


Full-Spectrum, Broad-Spectrum, and Isolate are three categories of products that are essential to understand if a customer wants to start using CBD appropriately. Full-Spectrum products are the most effective due to the Entourage Effect and are moderately priced. Broad-Spectrum products are moderately effective and the most expensive, but contain no THC. Isolate products are the least effective and expensive, but also do not contain any THC.

At Wisconsin Hemp Scientific, we offer Full-spectrum products with the exception of our muscle gel (THC free) and are happy to answer any questions!

October 09, 2021 — Griffin Lynch

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