Types of CBD

Alyssa Jank

When choosing which CBD product to buy, consumers have to make a few decisions: product format, brand, dosage strength, and the type of CBD (full spectrum, broad spectrum, or isolate).  That final choice can be polarizing - and confusing!  According to our consumer insights, over a quarter of CBD consumers aren’t sure what type of CBD they prefer. So, what are the differences between them?


What is CBD Isolate?

The easiest type to understand is isolate.  This is a crystallized form of pure CBD.  It is only CBD, with no other cannabinoids or terpenes.  It can be added to basically kind of product format - from topicals to capsules - and has the added benefit of being tasteless and odorless.


Full Spectrum CBD vs. Broad Spectrum CBD

Full spectrum CBD is an extract that contains all other naturally occurring parts of the hemp or cannabis plant, including terpenes, other cannabinoids, and even a very small amount of THC (in hemp derived CBD, THC is limited to 0.3% or less). Broad spectrum CBD is almost the same as full spectrum CBD, except that all THC has been removed.  Because broad and full spectrum both contain terpenes and other cannabinoids, they will have a stronger “natural” flavor and smell.


There are pros and cons to each type.  For those concerned with drug testing or consuming even very small amounts of THC, isolate or broad spectrum may be best.  For those trying to reap all of the benefits of the hemp or cannabis plants, full spectrum or broad spectrum would be better, as the entourage effect from the inclusion of the terpenes and cannabinoids may make the extract more beneficial.  For those concerned about price, isolate is usually the least expensive option, while broad spectrum can be 20-50% more expensive than full spectrum.

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Consumer CBD Type Preferences

According to our CBD Consumer Insights, full spectrum is the preferred type of CBD for 47% of CBD consumers, followed by broad spectrum, with 20% of consumers.  Only 8% of consumers prefer isolate.

Of those consumers that prefer full spectrum, over half say they prefer it because it is better quality.  Of those that prefer broad spectrum, about 30% say it is because it is better quality and another 30% say it is because it was recommended to them. About 1 in 4 of those that prefer isolate say it is because it was recommended to them, 17% say it is because it has no THC, and 15% say they prefer it because it is cheaper.


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