Full Spectrum CBD vs Isolates….and Broad Spectrum CBD

The use of CBD has been growing in popularity. You can find it easily online, on sites like this one, and in an ever increasing number of brick and mortar shops. For more info. on the benefits of CBD click here. Sooner or later, people stumble upon, isolate, pure spectrum or full spectrum CBD.

What the hell is the difference? Well read on, while I impart some knowledge onto you, and in return you visit my shop…Shameless plug, I know, but it’s still good info.

Where does CBD come from?

The cannabis plant (cannibis sativa), contains over 100 cannabinoids (class of chemical compounds). The two popular ones, are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC gives the high and whether or not it is addictive is still debatable. Hemp is also a source of CBD and unlike marijuana, does not contain any THC [1].

Isolate CBD

Isolate CBD is simply an extract devoid of any trace elements of other cannabinoids, whether it be THC, or any of the other strains. According to one research paper, the dose/response with isolate CBD, follows a bell shaped curve, where the effectiveness falls off after a certain maximum concentration. So, using more isn’t going to help with say, inflammation, for example. Now, this was a rat study, so there’s no indication what the same dosage/concentration effects would be seen in humans [2].

Does that mean, it’s pointless or ineffective. Not by any measure. It simply suggests, beyond a certain amount, the benefits with respect to pain and inflammation decreases. So, you can still buy isolate CBD and experiment with the recommended doses for that particular brand and figure out what works for you.

There is also the benefit of not having any trace THC (0.3%), that might possibly show up in a drug test. Even though it won’t make you high.

Full Spectrum CBD

Full spectrum CBD comes with flavonoids, terpenes and other cannabinoids like CBN, CBDV, THC, CBG, CBC amongst others. The main component being CBD and the rest are trace amounts. Usually with roughly 0.3 % THC. Not enough to get you high, but as previously mentioned, could possibly show up on a drug test.

What’s the advantage? Well, as previously mentioned, isolates follow a bell curve dose/response relationship, whilst full spectrum continues past where the isolate, tapers off [2]. How high can you go? That hasn’t really been established. There is also, according to research, an “entourage” effect, where the cannabinoids, which includes all the trace amounts, work in synergy to produce a stronger more potent response.

So, if you’re not worried about testing, go for the Full Spectrum. More on testing later.

Broad Spectrum CBD

Not much to tell on this one. It’s basically the same as Full Spectrum CBD, but with one exception. All of the THC is removed, whilst leaving the other cannabinoids intact. So, no chance of something showing up on a drug test…duh, obviously.

Drug Testing

If you’re drug tested and all you use, are Broad Spectrum and Isolates, there is no issue. You can’t test for something that doesn’t exist. Well, what about Full Spectrum CBD, what’s the verdict on that?

Different drug tests have different thresholds. The most common drug test for THC, is a urine test. For THC to be detected, your urine has to contain a minimum of 50 ng/ml of THC. At 0.3% THC, you’d have to consume a large amount of CBD (over 1,000mg per day). That’s a lot of cartridges. For perspective, my vape refill bottle has 2000 mg (5 ml). My cartridges take 0.5-1 ml. I definitely don’t vape a whole cartridge in one day and even if I did, I’m still not close.

Blood, hair, and saliva tests are much more accurate and THC stays longer in these samples. It might be possible to detect, but again unlikely.

Now THC is fat soluble and at low concentrations, could accumulate in the body, if you’re a very heavy user. So, if there’s an upcoming drug test and you want to be super safe, stop using your CBD product for 2-3 weeks.

This might sound daunting, but it’s highly unlikely that THC from CBD oil will show up in a drug test. Just make sure that your CBD comes from somewhere reputable, with good 3rd party testing, like pure spectrum.

Update: There was an error in the original article, where the headings were mixed up for Full Spectrum CBD and Broad Spectrum CBD. This resulted in misleading information about Broad Spectrum containing THC, which is the exact opposite of what is true. The mistake has since been corrected and the article is now accurate.

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  • Michael says:

    I have wanted to try some for a while now. I have bad knees and other ailments from activities I did “back in the day” The problem here is traffic cops and random breath testing, then a drug test, and if they still have nothing on you a walk around your vehicle to look for something. 

  • Sheddy Ovb says:


    Such an educational and informative article on full spectrum CBD vs isolated and broad spectrum CBD. CBD oil has gradually taken it’s place health wise. I basically never knew that there was a slight difference between the full spectrum CBD oil and the broad spectrum CBD oil. Thanks for pointing out that fact and for also pointing out the importance and usefulness of CBD oil. Great article. 

  • Steve G says:

    Absolutely great info – my wife and I are getting up there in age, accompanying that maturity are the aches and pains that with it.   Both of us have problems with knees and back.    This is a very timely post, thanks for clearing up the questions we had.  We have been hearing a lot about CBD and it seems that it is popping up in quite a few lotions being sold over the counter.    While we believe in the health benefits; but, we are concerned about the purity of the products as well as the amount of actual CBD and THC in these products.

     Where can we find the purest form of Broad Spectrum CBD?

  • Ryan says:

    Thank you for clearing this up. Since CBD oil become popular and more widespread in natural health stores and CBD shops, I’ve been confused about weather you would fail a drug test or not after having ingested CBD. Now I know from your extensive research that pure spectrum CBD is what I need to look for! Thank you for your research.

    – Ryan

    • The Dragon says:

      Hi Ryan, There was a typo in the article…I’m sorry for the somewhat misleading info. The headings were mixed up. It is actually the Broad Spectrum that does not have the THC…

  • Charles says:

    Great content and nice write up, You talked about a topic that has been causing a few debates of late, Now u know clearly the difference between full spectrum CBD and Isolate CBD. cbd is gaining attention day after day but so many people are not so cool with it owing to the fact that it is an extracts from marijuana but I don’t have any problem with that because I will rather focus on the benefits. 

  • Abayomi says:

    Excellent article on CBD,the post is very educative and exciting,the source of the CBD I discovered it here as Cannabis and I’ve read something about this cannabis as dangerous plant to the health of man but how come is now the source of the CBD.Isolate CBD is simply an extract devoid of any trace elements of other cannabinoids,and this has opened my eyes to so many thing I did not know,your write-up is awesome,thank you for sharing.

  • Nazmun Nahar says:


    Great informative article about a different type of CBD. I used to work as a senior health carer in the last 8 years. Most of the service users we got, had dementia and I know how dangerous could be when dementia goes to the Alzheimer disease. And recently medical scientist found how good CBD works for these types of disease. One question I have if anyone has this type of mental health problem, can they buy CBD from online and have their self or they should ask the doctor to describe to them? I mean is there have any restriction if anyone wants to buy from online?

  • Kevin says:

    Great post on full spectrum CBDs versus isolates, I learned a lot. CBD seems to get more and more popular with every passing day and it’s quite interesting to look into the potential benefits of using it. Unfortunately to say, there is still a stigma with CBD products from their association with cannabis. I myself am not quite sure about the benefits or negatives of using CBD, but your site certainly puts out informative posts about the topic. That being said, are there any great benefits for a young athlete to use these products?

  • shirian says:

    This is amazing topic and glad to know the differences between Full Spectrum CBD vs Isolates CBD. Recently there are many questions and discussions about this incredible products and its beneficial aspect out there.For instance,I have read an article about CBD Isolated side effects and have figure out a major advantage of pure CBD isolate is that it contains no measurable amounts of THC. I was curious about it and came across your post to get more information over the matter. I didn’t know how to and where to test the CBD.But thanks to this post,today I have learnt more about this amazing product.


  • Jones says:

    This is really interesting and educating. The study of CBD is skyrocketing day by day. I read an article that said isolate CBD can’t completely be free of elements of other cannabinoids, I got the wrong idea from that article, thanks to your article, I now know that its possible even from THC or any of the other strains. This post is so enlightening, I really like it, I look forward to seeing more from you.

  • Dave says:

    Hallo there Dragon, 

    Thank you very much for the deep explanation for the three CBD’s. You have discussed them very well that I more feel like I have known them for years. A good friend of mine who has been using CBD for a good while now recommended me to try them out but he couldn’t quite explain the difference between full spectrum and isolates and I thought I should research more on them. I have also shared the post with my friend so that he can understand better as well. 

    Cool username by the way. Cheers!

  • Henderson says:

    Was told to buy some cbd from a chemist as a prescription to stress. I didn’t know the difference between the three but I think now I do. It was really confusing to me when I was asked which type I wanted to get. Well, I will have to go for the full spectrum since that’s your recommendation. Thank you

  • Chris says:

    My wife was recently looking into Pure Spectrum CBD options but she managed to stumble upon an article that listed more than a few side effects which worried her – wondering if you could set me straight on a few of them so I can reassure her?

    She’s mainly troubled by the fact that this product can (apparently) cause Low Blood Pressure and Dizziness – are these something she should be worried about?

    • The Dragon says:

      CBD can lower blood pressure. If you’re healthy it shouldn’t be a problem. If you have already have low blood pressure, just pick and choose when you take it…maybe closer to bed time…

  • RoDarrick says:

    Cbd oil has become very well accepted all around and the fact that it works well and it is very effective. Though it comes in two forms as explained here but I make use of the isolate rater than the full spectrum. The full spectrum consist of THC to which gets people psycho actively high. I’m an athlete and this could lead to my failing of a drug test and as such I desist from it. Great article you have up here

  • John says:

    Tha k you for explaining the differenve between the three different cbd. I wass a little confused when someone told me about full spectrum cbd oil. I use isolate and I thought that was the only type that existed. When it comes to drug testing, I think I have had a little knowledge about the fact that one won’t be seen positive if one is taking cbd. You have really enlightened me on that part. Thank you very much. When done with this, I’ll go for the full spectrum cbd oil.

  • drinkteahub says:

    A really thorough and informative review about the different type of CBD products available. I didn’t realise there was a difference between full spectrum CBD and pure spectrum CBD. I’m surprised that an amount as small as 0.3% would show up on a drug test – would it be enough to count as a fail I wonder?

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