Full-Spectrum vs Broad-Spectrum vs CBD isolate

Hemp flowers and leaves, even though most widely grown for CBD, also contain over 480 other valuable elements — cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids.

Terpenes are responsible for the fragrance of hemp flowers, meanwhile flavonoids for the colour. But both groups of elements can also interact with the human body and contain anti-inflammatory attributes.

Dr Raphael Mechoulam (known as the “the father of CBD”) was the first scientist to describe the “entourage effect” of hemp in 1998, proving that different compounds of hemp flowers can work together to achieve better results than individually. [1]

It is widely believed that residual values of THC provide the entourage effect and increase the effectiveness of Canabd (CBD).

However, other cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids seem to provide similar synergistic abilities, so THC-free products can be just as effective.

Therefore, it is important to check the product label, finding out if the product is actually full-spectrum, broad-spectrum or CBD isolate.


The full-spectrum tag means that the product reflects the natural composition of the hemp plant. It contains all residual cannabinoids (CBDA, CBG, CBC, CBV and others), terpenes (myrcene, limonene, pinene, humulene, linalool, bisabolol, caryophyllene, ocimene and others) and flavonoids (apigenin, quercetin, cannaflavins, b-sitosterol and others).

Most cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids are sensitive to specific light, temperature, oxidation, and other physical/chemical reactions. Therefore, in order to maintain a full-spectrum composition of hemp flowers, the producer will apply mild and low-temperature methods of processing (harvesting, drying, extraction, distillation).

Full-spectrum products contain the widest range of hemp flower compounds and are believed to be the most effective, as they provide the vastest entourage effect, delivering the synergy of different elements.

The effect of applying full-spectrum oil should be about the same as eating the hemp flower itself (since eating raw plants is not too entertaining).

It also smells and tastes a lot like hemp flowers.

The downside of full-spectrum products is that they also usually contain 0.05 – 0.2% levels of THC, which can bring side effects (anxiety, dizziness), make you fail a drug-test, or are simply illegal in countries/states with zero-tolerance of THC.

The good news is that some laboratories (including the one of H Drop) are able to produce full-spectrum THC-free products.

This is achieved by applying state-of-art preparative CO2 chromatography (do not confuse it with CO2 extraction) technology, which removes 99.9% of THC molecules, leaving other cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids untouched.

P. S.: some high-quality producers call “full-spectrum THC-free” products “broad spectrum”. However, “broad spectrum” is a misleading term, which does not indicate how broad the composition of cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids is. Some manufacturers add only a few isolates, earning the right to employ the “broad-spectrum” tag. In order to avoid confusion, we underline that our products are full-spectrum, except for THC.

Broad Spectrum

The broad-spectrum tag, as mentioned in the paragraph above, is rather confusing. It could mean that the product is full-spectrum, BUT excluding THC, which was carefully removed during the production process.

It could also mean that the product includes only CBD and few other cannabinoids and/or terpenes isolates, which were selectively mixed by the manufacturer.

So, broad-spectrum products could contain:

- the full spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, except THC (the option H Drop calls full-spectrum THC-free).

- or, for example, CBD + CBDA + CBG + CBGA + limonene + myrcene + pinene.

- or CBD + CBG + CBC + CBDV + CBV.

- or just CBD + CBDA.

Basically, it is any composition of more than one hemp flower compound, which should be listed on the label.

However, broad-spectrum products are always THC-free.

So, broad-spectrum effectiveness depends on the specific cannabinoids and terpenes composition selected by the producer. In any case, they fully guarantee legality and safety. Also, their taste is not as intense as full-spectrum.

CBD isolate

CBD isolate is the purest and, usually, the cheapest form of CBD.

It is a completely separated CBD molecule of over 99% purity.

Diluting full-spectrum or broad-spectrum oil into side products, such as food, beverages, or cosmetics, would hardly be possible. For that reason, producers of CBD topicals, water, cookies, gummies, chewing gum, chocolate, coffee, etc. use CBD isolate as the ingredient.

Some CBD oils and capsules also include CBD isolate only.

Isolate is preferred by users who wish to avoid any taste or smell of hemp. CBD isolate also means that there is no THC inside. However, these products completely miss the desired entourage effect.

[1] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0014299998003926

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