Whenever you’re shopping for cannabis products, you’re going to see different kinds of cannabis extracts. Some will be cannabis isolates. Others will be said to be broad or full spectrum. These extracts are used in topicals, tinctures, oils, and vape pens. They’re also used in the smokeable form of concentrates, like wax and shatter. No matter what form they’re in, they each have advantages and disadvantages. We’re going to look at the differences between isolate, broad, and full spectrum cannabis extracts.
Let’s start with cannabis isolates. Isolates are pretty much what they sound like. They have been isolated and stripped away of all other content. This leaves behind a pure product, containing a single compound. Pure CBD isolate is an great example. A CBD isolate, or a THC isolate, is nothing more than that. All of the other cannabinoids, terpenes, and other phytonutrients have have been removed. This is done as part of the cannabis extraction process. Cannabis isolates are great for patients wanting only one specific compound.
CBD isolate is popular among patients who want to take advantage of the health benefits of CBD, without any chance of getting high.
Then there’s the next step up from isolates, and that’s broad spectrum extracts.
Unlike isolates, broad spectrum extracts still have some of the cannabinoids and terpenes left in the final product. They are said to contain zero THC.
This is an important identifier between broad and full spectrum extracts. They both have other cannabinoids and terpenes in them. The benefits of broad spectrum extracts are similar to full spectrum, which is outlined next. The zero THC is something that attracts the same patients who choose isolates, who are not wanting any sort of high.
Full spectrum cannabis products are going to be the most natural form of cannabis extracts. They don’t undergo a refining process to remove any other of the plant’s compounds. Without anything being removed during the extraction process, the final product is one containing all of the cannabinoids and terpenes of the original flower. This also includes all of the phytonutrients and essential oils that also get concentrated as part of the extraction process.
Full spectrum cannabis products will have THC. In full spectrum CBD products, the THC will be less than 0.3%, and is not enough to get you high.
For those who choose to consume full spectrum products, the benefits come from the medicinal power created by all the compounds working together. This is called the entourage effect. Experts say that the combination of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other phytonutrients support each other, amplifying the medicinal properties of each one. Essentially, even a little bit of THC, yes even if it’s just 0.3%, can boost the effects of CBD, and vice versa.
The entourage effect is the biggest benefit to both full and broad spectrum products. Although, if you’re still not looking for THC, you can still get some of the entourage effect in a broad spectrum, or skip it altogether and go with an isolate.