Full-Spectrum vs. Broad-Spectrum CBD

CBD companies use terms like “CBD extract,” “full-spectrum,” and “broad-spectrum” to describe many of their products. But these terms can be confusing for a newcomer to the CBD industry.

What are the differences between these two terms? Is one type of extract better than another? This blog describes the major differences between full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD to help our customers better understand these terms.

Full-Spectrum CBD, Broad-Spectrum CBD, and the Entourage Effect

Full-spectrum and broad-spectrum are two different kinds of CBD extract. Both of these terms refer to the number of “extras” that are in an extract. In other words, they refer to compounds in an extract other than CBD.

These “extras” include two major kinds of organic compounds:

  1. Cannabinoids
  2. Terpenes

About Cannabinoids

Cannabinoids are organic chemical compounds native to the cannabis family. CBD is a cannabinoid. Examples of other cannabinoids are CBG, CBN, CBD, THCA, CBDA, CBC, THC, etc. These all exist in different amounts in different varieties of hemp plants, so extracts made from two different strains of hemp will have different cannabinoid profiles.

About Terpenes

Terpenes are natural compounds that give plants like hemp its smell and flavor. Because of this, they’re also called “flavonoids.” They actually exist in many different kinds of fruits and vegetables and are commonly found in hemp plants. Both cannabinoids and terpenes can work in synergy with CBD in an extract.

At nu-x®, we never use artificial flavors in any of our tincture or concentrate products. Instead, we use natural terpenes to give our CBD products their unique flavor.

Full-Spectrum vs. Broad-Spectrum CBD: What’s the Difference?

Full-spectrum CBD extracts include all of the cannabinoids that occur naturally in a hemp plant at the time of extraction. It’s essentially a concentrated form of a hemp plant with all of the actual plant matter removed. Some of the terpenes evaporate during the extraction process, but we capture those and add them back to final blends. It’s the closest thing to consuming a full-fledged hemp plant.

As a result, full-spectrum CBD will always contain trace amounts of THC, the psychoactive component in cannabis. However, full-spectrum extracts are always less than 0.3 percent THC to comply with federal laws.

In contrast, broad-spectrum CBD extracts contain only certain cannabinoids. Sometimes, CBD companies produce broad-spectrum CBD by removing as much THC as possible but leaving the remainder of the organic compounds from a full-spectrum extract.

In practice, this usually means that a broad-spectrum oil producer will remove as much THC from the extract as possible so that it is literally non-detectable in a standard threshold test. As a result, there’s no chance of feeling any psychoactive effects from broad-spectrum extracts. It’s a safe alternative for a user that wants to avoid THC in their extracts.

Video: Full Spectrum CBD Concentrate by nu-x®

Pros & Cons. Full Spectrum and Broad Spectrum CBD

Both full-spectrum and broad-spectrum concentrates have pros and cons. See the list below:


  • Less processed, most closely resembles the full spectrum of compounds found in the plant
  • Contains the same cannabinoids and terpenes as the hemp plant it was extracted from
  • Common and abundantly available in stores and online
  • Contains THC, so there are possible psychoactive side-effects
  • May appear as cannabis on a drug screening
Target users:
  • Regular CBD users
  • Users in states where cannabis is legal


  • Non Detectable limits of THC – no risk of psychoactive side-effects
  • Doesn’t contain all the cannabinoids found in the hemp plant at time of extraction
  • Less available in stores and online - more expensive because of the additional processing involved
Target users:
  • First-time CBD users
  • Consumers that want a product that has non-detectable levels of THC