Full spectrum vs. Broad spectrum vs. Isolate CBD – What is the difference?

As our ABCs of CBD and THC article explains, Cannabidiol, or CBD, is the most abundant compound in hemp plants. It’s one of more than 100 cannabinoids that can be extracted from hemp and is used to make a variety of products, such as Carpe Diem’s CBD oil tinctures, lotions and creams and gummies.

Carpe Diem’s products are formulated to meet a variety of needs within the body, specifically the endocannabinoid system (ECS) (this newly discovered system is currently at the center of renewed international research and drug development and we’ll dive deeper into that in a later article). The ECS regulates and controls many of our most critical bodily functions such as learning and memory, emotional processing, sleep, temperature control, pain control, inflammatory and immune responses and eating.** When you look at the label of one of our products, you will see the product type, such as CBD Muscle Cream, and then you will see a term underneath. There are three varieties: Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum or Isolate. Each variety has pros and cons, and we outline the differences below.  (Include photos with arrows highlighting these sections)


Full spectrum means the product contains many cannabinoids beyond CBD, such as CBN, CBDV, THCV, CBG, CBC, THCA, and CBDA, as well as other compounds from the hemp plant, including naturally occurring terpenes, essential vitamins, fatty acids, protein and more. These compounds work together to benefit our bodies (the ECS) differently and full-spectrum products are particularly optimal due to what is called the entourage effect. The entourage effect is the theory that all the compounds in the cannabis plant work together, and when taken together, they produce a better, stronger effect than when taken alone. While the studies on CBD oil continue, the initial research (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7324885/#sec5title) shows that full-spectrum products’ primary benefits are anti-inflammation, pain management, PTSD, muscle recovery, anti-anxiety and sleep assistance.**

Things to consider about full-spectrum products:

  • Experience full entourage effect
  • Wide variety of products – here are a few of ours:
  • Can help with a range of health conditions**
  • It may show up on drug tests as it contains trace amounts of THC
  • Not suitable for people that react to certain cannabinoids or terpenes
  • The raw oil has a taste that’s unappealing to some (though Carpe Diem products are highly flavorful!)


Broad-spectrum CBD products contain all the same compounds as full-spectrum CBD, minus the THC. These products are for people who want most of the benefits of the full spectrum products but what to stay away from the psychoactive element of THC. While most full-spectrum products do not give you a “high,” people still have concerns about THC being in any product they consume/use, and they want to avoid the risk of testing positive for THC in a drug test.

Things to consider about broad-spectrum products:

  • Has the entourage effect to some extent (minus the THC), but does not achieve the full effect
  • Effective for multiple health issues**
  • It doesn’t show up on drug tests
  • The raw oil has an unappealing taste to some (again, our products are really tasty!)


The alternative to full spectrum and broad spectrum is the CBD isolate. In an isolate, the CBD molecule is chemically isolated from all other compounds in the hemp plant, resulting in a powder substance which is then mixed with a carrier. Research suggests (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7324885/#sec5title) that full- and broad-spectrum CBD are more valuable for a wider range of health conditions.** CBD is believed to be more effective alongside other cannabinoids (remember the entourage effect) and that a complete cannabinoid profile is more efficient than singular cannabinoid extractions.

CBD isolates still have excellent results in the health space. Many studies (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/cbd-isolate#effects) have been done on pure CBD isolates, and although the conclusion is that full-spectrum oils are better, isolates are still effective for some conditions.** You may prefer a CBD isolate because you want to avoid THC and other cannabinoids entirely. Perhaps you react badly to other cannabinoids or would like to steer clear of full-spectrum products for different reasons.

Things to consider about CBD isolates:

If you have any questions or concerns about Carpe Diem products or the use of full-spectrum, broad-spectrum or isolate products, please Contact Us.

*The endocannabinoid system: Essential and mysterious, By Peter Grinspoon, MD, Contributor, August 11, 2021, Harvard Health Publishing at Harvard Medical School.

**FDA Disclosure: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.