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Oil or gummies. Tinctures and pills. Full-spectrum vs. broad-spectrum CBD.
Thinking about jumping on the cannabidiol wagon but not sure where to begin? It can be pretty intimidating, so let’s start with the basics.
CBD, aka cannabidiol, is just one of more than 60 cannabinoids in marijuana plants.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the one that’s famous for getting folks high. Unlike THC, CBD won’t make you high. Instead, it could help you sleep better and feel less stressed.
In sum: Think of CBD as THC’s chill sober cousin.
What are the main types of CBD?
Not all CBD is the same — especially when it comes to full-spectrum vs. broad-spectrum CBD.
The devil is in the details:
- Full-spectrum CBD contains all the cannabinoids of the plant, including THC.
- Broad-spectrum CBD can contain any number of cannabinoids but not THC.
- CBD isolate is pure cannabidiol. There’s no THC or other cannabinoids.
Full-spectrum vs. broad-spectrum
Question: What’s the difference?
Answer: Full-spectrum CBD contains high-inducing THC, while broad-spectrum CBD does not.
Full-spectrum CBD is said to have more benefits than broad-spectrum because of the entourage effect. This theory suggests that when all compounds of the cannabis plant are taken together, they offer more benefits than when they’re taken separately.
So far, the entourage effect is just a theory. But some research suggests that taking phytocannabinoids (like CBD + THC) and terpenes (another component of the plant) together may better ease issues such as:
- fungal infections
So, people who don’t mind a little THC could possibly maximize the effects of CBD by choosing a full-spectrum CBD product.
The best full-spectrum CBD products
Full-spectrum CBD products are available in an array of forms and potencies. Here are a few recs to get you started.
- $ = under $50
- $$ = $50–75
- $$$ = over $75
1. Best full-spectrum CBD oil: NuLeaf Naturals Full-Spectrum Hemp CBD Oil – 900mg
NuLeaf Naturals Full-Spectrum Hemp CBD Oil is the total package. It’s a whole-plant extract that combines cannabinoids, terpenes, and virgin hempseed oil.
It comes in a variety of sizes, which is nice if you want to try it out or take it only occasionally.
The company uses organic, U.S.-grown hemp and a CO2 extraction process to yield a more potent blend. That means the product contains significant amounts of secondary cannabinoids for a little extra oomph. #winning
Order NuLeaf Naturals Full-Spectrum Hemp CBD Oil.
2. Best full-spectrum CBD gummy: Charlotte’s Web CBD Gummies – Calm
Charlotte’s Web CBD Calm Gummies are formulated to help relieve stress and improve focus. Dreamy, right?
Charlotte’s Web uses U.S.-grown hemp and natural flavorings. The products are formulated with proprietary hemp genetics that feature naturally occurring phytocannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and lemon balm. These are an affordable option for on-the-go stress relief.
Order Charlotte’s Web CBD Gummies.
3. Best full-spectrum CBD tincture: Absolute Nature CBD Full-Spectrum 1,000mg CBD Oil Drops/Tincture
Absolute Nature CBD Full-Spectrum Tincture is made with only two ingredients: whole-plant CBD oil and MCT oil. It’s non-GMO and claims to contain a high amount of CBD + other naturally occurring cannabinoids and beneficial compounds from the cannabis plant.
Basically, it’s designed to provide the best possible benefits without producing a high.
This product is a bit pricey. But since it’s grown without chemicals, additives, or preservatives, it might just be worth it.
Order Absolute Nature CBD Full-Spectrum 1,000mg CBD Oil Drops/Tincture.
Broad-spectrum CBD is the way to go if you want all the chill vibes with none of the THC-induced high.
Just keep in mind that taking CBD without THC might not be as effective as taking the two together. It’s that whole entourage effect theory.
That said, broad-spectrum CBD still contains other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids that might boost the benefits beyond what you’d get from CBD alone.
The best broad-spectrum CBD products
There are dozens, if not hundreds, of broad-spectrum CBD products on the market. Here are the ones that meet our standards (more on that below).
$ = under $50
$$ = $50–75
$$$ = over $75
1. Best broad-spectrum CBD oil: Joy Organics Premium CBD Oil – Mint, 450 mg
Joy Organics CBD Oil Tinctures are formulated to provide quick, easy results. Each drop contains 0.0 percent THC phytocannabinoid-rich hemp oil. No alcohol, binders, fillers, or dyes. The super-simple tincture should be safe to take any time of the day or night.
The family-founded company uses U.S.-grown hemp and tests each batch of products for consistency. The company’s high standards + the money-back guarantee = a comfort to new customers.
Order Joy Organics Premium CBD Oil.
2. Best broad-spectrum CBD gummy: Hawaiian Choice Fruit Jellies
These fruit jellies are not your average gummies. They’re handcrafted in small batches with Hawaiian Lilikoʻi (passion fruit), pineapple. and ʻŌlena (turmeric). Bonus points for being vegan and containing no artificial colors or flavors!
The company refers to these as grown-up CBD gummies. Each jelly contains 25 milligrams (mg) of broad-spectrum CBD and absolutely no THC.
Hawaiian Choice recommends popping 1 or 2 gummies a day, but there are only 4 jellies per package — so maybe order a few boxes at a time.
Order Hawaiian Choice Fruit Jellies.
3. Best broad-spectrum CBD tincture: Sunday Scaries CBD Oil Tincture with Vitamins
Besides having an awesome name, Sunday Scaries CBD Oil offers a slightly stronger-than-average dose of CBD. Whether you need to sleep like a baby, chill on a turbulent plane ride, or enhance your meditation practice, this CBD tincture will get it done.
The tincture is made with the company’s signature proprietary blend of broad-spectrum CBD + vitamins B12 and D3. Each bottle contains a higher dose of 500 mg of CBD mixed with coconut oil.
It tastes like fruit punch, so it’s a yummy addition to teas, smoothies, and H2O.
Finding the best CBD for you is no easy feat. While we can’t claim to have tried them all, we *have* whittled down a list of products based on safety, quality, and transparency (not just CBD quantity alone).
Every product on our list:
- is made by a company that provides proof of third-party testing by an ISO 17025-compliant lab
- is made with U.S.-grown hemp, according to the company
- contains no more than 0.3 percent THC, according to the company’s certificate of analysis (COA)
- is free of pesticides, heavy metals, residual solvents, and molds, according to the company’s COA
Also important to our selection:
- each company’s certifications and manufacturing processes
- product strength
- overall quality of ingredients
- stellar customer reviews
- other indicators of brand reputation (companies that make unsupported health claims or that have been subject to an FDA warning letter = no bueno)
Maybe you’ve already tried the full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD products on our list. Maybe you want to keep looking for more brands or flavors.
If you’re still shopping around, keep these tips in mind:
- Read product labels carefully. Pay special attention to the type of carrier oil and the concentration of CBD.
- Make sure the manufacturer has an up-to-date certificate of analysis (COA), which is proof of third-party testing.
- Consider the CBD source and type. Look for U.S.-grown hemp for products aligned with strict agricultural regulations.
- Federally legal CBD products must contain less than 0.3 percent THC. #TheMoreYouKnow
- Read the reviews! Other customers can help you determine if the product will suit your needs.
- Be on the lookout for over-the-top marketing jargon. CBD products are not a cure-all.
How you use CBD depends on the type of product you buy.
Pills are straightforward. Same with gummies — you eat them. But always follow directions on the product label.
Oils or tinctures are typically placed under your tongue for fast absorption. You can also add them to smoothies, liquids, or food.
For topical treatments, check the product label’s instructions.
PSA on dosage
CBD dosage can get tricky, especially if you’re a newcomer to the world of edibles. Here’s your new mantra: Start low and go slow.
Most products have a recommended dosage, but that doesn’t mean you have to start there.
CBD is considered generally safe. Research is still being conducted on how CBD could interact with other medications or drugs.
If you have liver disease, be careful with CBD and talk with your healthcare provider before trying it. Also, we don’t know what effects CBD might have on babies, so be cautious if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
Currently, the FDA doesn’t guarantee the safety of CBD products except for *one* approved pharmaceutical CBD drug that’s been proven to help with seizures.
If you have questions about whether CBD is right for you, don’t be shy — talk with your healthcare provider.
Any side effects?
Yep. As with most supplements and medications, you could have some bummer issues with CBD.
Potential side effects of CBD include:
Minimize your risk by following the dosing instructions and talking with a healthcare provider. It’s always a good idea to reach out to a medical professional for recommendations. Every body is different.
The choice between full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD comes down to one thing: THC or no THC.
If you concerned about getting high from THC, stick with broad-spectrum CBD. If you’re hoping for stronger effects, try full-spectrum CBD.
There are hundreds of CBD products and thousands of glowing customer reviews. The most important factor in choosing a product is quality ingredients.
Do your research and talk with your doc before starting any new CBD regimen.
Is CBD legal? Marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level but are legal under some state laws. Hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level but are still illegal under some state laws. Check the laws in your state and anywhere you plan to travel. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved and may be inaccurately labeled.