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With the flood of cannabis products, promos, and promises, it can be hard to tell what’s what. These cannabinoids come in oh so many forms and claim to offer relief for everything from anxiety to gut inflammation.
5 best broad-spectrum CBD products
- Best unflavored oil: Joy Organics Unflavored: Organic Broad Spectrum CBD Tincture
- Best flavored oil: Charlotte’s Web THC Free CBD Oil
- Best softgel: CBDistillery Broad Spectrum CBD Softgels
- Best gummy: Joy Organics Broad-Spectrum CBD Gummy
- Best topical: CBDfx CBD Cream for Muscle & Joint Cooling Formula
Broad-spectrum refers to CBD (aka cannabidiol) that contains all of the natural compounds from the cannabis plant *except* for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Since the THC has been extracted, broad-spectrum CBD products won’t make you feel intoxicated. And even if teensy traces of THC linger after extraction, it’d be super unlikely to show up on a drug test.
There are 3 types of CBD:
- Full-spectrum. This includes all of the natural compounds in Cannabis sativa, with a very low level of THC (less than .3 percent).
- Broad-spectrum. This is essentially full-spectrum CBD, but with the THC removed.
- Isolate CBD. This is highly filtered CBD in which every compound but pure CBD has been extracted.
- Cannabis. This refers to the Cannabis sativa plant and products made from its 500+ chemical substances.
- Cannabinoids. Of the substances, more than 100 are cannabinoids, including iconic CBD and THC.
- CBD (aka cannabidiol). This cannabis component is derived from hemp, Cannabis sativa‘s close cousin. CBD is thought to balance the “high” from THC. CBD is the second most abundant compound in cannabis.
- THC (aka tetrahydrocannabinol). This is the compound in cannabis that can make you feel “high” and is the most prevalent compound in cannabis. Drug tests are also designed to detect THC.
- Flavonoids. These antioxidant-rich compounds are found in fruits, veggies, and other plants — including cannabis.
- Terpenes. These naturally-occurring oils are responsible for plants’ unique aromas. The terpenes in cannabis can also contribute to CBD’s effects.
Research on CBD’s benefits is ongoing, but here’s what we know:
- Some studies reflect promising results for managing pain and inflammation related to surgery, injury, illness, or chronic conditions.
- Research has also suggested that CBD helps relieve issues like anxiety and trouble sleeping.
So, what’s so special about broad-spectrum CBD specifically?
- It offers all the calming effects of CBD without the potential “high” from THC.
- It’s a better CBD choice in places where THC is illegal.
- It’s might be a better CBD choice for you if you’re regularly drug-tested at work.
The not so good
Without THC, broad-spectrum is less likely to give you the coveted “entourage effect” — a boost in CBD’s therapeutic effects when all the cannabinoids (THC included!), terpenes, and flavonoids work in tandem.
Basically, if you’re looking to squeeze the maximum results from CBD use, full-spectrum may be the way to go.
But is broad-spectrum CBD right for me?
Broad-spectrum CBD’s a prime option for people who:
When it comes to CBD and your well-being, only the crème de la crop will do. We evaluated products based on criteria we think are good indicators of safety, quality, and transparency. Each product we picked to feature in this article:
- is made by a company that has proof of third-party testing by an ISO 17025-compliant lab
- is made with U.S.-grown hemp
- contains no more than 0.3 percent THC, according to the certificate of analysis (COA)
- is free of pesticides, heavy metals, and molds, according to the COA
We also considered:
- company certifications and manufacturing processes
- product potency
- entire ingredients profile
- indicators of user trust and brand reputation like:
- customer reviews
- whether the company’s gotten a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warning letter
- whether the company makes any unsupported health claims
- $ = under $50
- $$ = $50–$75
- $$$ = over $75
Best unflavored broad-spectrum oil
- Price: $
- CBD per serving: 15 milligrams (mg)
- Total CBD: 450 mg
- Product type: oil
- COA: available online
If you’re looking for a flavor-free way to get your broad-spectrum on, this Joy Organics oil is a great option. You can take it straight up or add it to your fave food or drinks. No worries about the taste overwhelming your smoothie!
This product is also vegan, USDA certified-organic, and made in an olive oil base.
Reviewers enjoy this oil’s calming effects that help them remain balanced during the day and relaxed at bedtime. Many users also rave about how the brand goes above and beyond if a customer isn’t satisfied.
Best flavored broad-spectrum oil
- Price: $$
- CBD per serving: 25 mg
- Total CBD: 30 mL
- Product type: oil
- COA: available online
Charlotte’s Web THC FREE CBD oil offers delicious mint chocolate flavor on top of all of the broad-spectrum benefits. Each bottle contains only USA-grown hemp extract, carrier oil, and flavoring, so you don’t have to worry about any extra fluff when you’re trying to get your calm on.
While users enjoy the unique chocolatey flavor, those who aren’t fond of mint found this oil a bit, erm, hard to swallow. However, reviewers are satisfied with the overall quality of this oil and Charlotte’s Web’s service and products.
Best broad-spectrum softgel
- Price: $$$
- CBD per serving: 30 mg
- Total CBD: 900 mg
- Product type: softgel
- COA: available online
These easy-to-swallow softgels offer a simple and perfectly portioned way to add broad-spectrum CBD to your routine.
CBDistillery claims that their proprietary blend gives you all the soothing, sleep-promoting benefits of CBD, including a limited entourage effect, without the THC. These non-GMO, U.S. Hemp Authority-certified softgels use fractionated coconut oil (aka MCT oil) as a carrier.
“Convenience” is a common theme among many reviewers. They love how this product takes the guesswork out of dosing — especially when on the go. Many also say these softgels help them sleep more deeply through the night.
Best broad-spectrum gummy
- Price: $
- CBD per serving: 10 mg
- Total CBD: 300 mg
- Product type: gummies
- COA: available online
Billed as a dietary supplement to support your wellness regimen, these vegan gummies are a fun option if you’d like to give CBD a try. The green apple or strawberry lemonade gummies are made with organic ingredients and come in a BPA-free jar.
Another cool thing: Joy Organics offers discounts to veterans, first responders, teachers, and medical personnel.
Users are big fans of these yummy gummies, especially enjoying their fruity flavors and how easy they are to take. However, a few mention an odd aftertaste. Others say they wish the gummies were available in a sugar-free option.
Best broad-spectrum topical
- Price: $$$
- CBD per serving: n/a
- Total CBD: 1000 mg
- Product type: cream
- COA: available online
Combining the power of CBD, white willow bark, menthol, and caffeine, this cooling cream was created to soothe muscle and joint pain.
The formula is vegan and cruelty-free. Plus, it’s mixed to absorb quickly without gross, greasy residue.
A handful of users say it takes a few uses for full effects, but this could vary based on the severity of pain or discomfort.
Our list is a great jumping-off point for sure, but, as the wise consumer you are, it’s key that you know how to research, evaluate, and buy CBD.
Know your product
First you need to decide which type of CBD (full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate) is right for you. Revisit the CBD glossary to compare the differences.
Then consider which type of product you want to purchase. Fancy a fun CBD snack? Try gummies! Hoping for fast-acting anxiety relief? An oil, tincture, or softgel might be best for you. And don’t forget the soothing creams and balms for aching muscles!
Some game-changing tips for your shopping spree:
- Learn how to read CBD labels. This is the only way you can tell if you’re getting a premium product with quality ingredients. It’s also how you find out what the concentration, dosage, and usage particulars are.
- Understand the variations in product composition. Oral versus topical, pure versus diluted, gummy versus capsule, etc. It’s especially important to know what else is in your CBD. Many products use carrier oils (like coconut oil), which cut concentration but make it easier to consume the CBD.
Know your manufacturer
Federal oversight on CBD is minor, so you’ll want to buy products from a trusted source. A reputable maker will have a high degree of transparency and legitimacy. This means it should be relatively easy to get stuff like:
- info about the company (including contact details and any industry awards or certifications)
- comprehensive product info (including ingredients and instructions)
- insight into their processes (including third-party product verifications)
- independent customer reviews
- customer satisfaction policies
Know your marketplace
You have some options when it comes to buying CBD:
- Dispensaries. These are great because they’re local and typically have staff available to help you through your decision.
- Health stores and some pharmacies. Some now sell certain CBD products. However, the testing rigor for drugstore products may not be on par with dispensaries.
- Online marketplaces. They might be the way to go if you’re a virtual shopper. This is especially convenient if you want to compare a variety of products from multiple manufacturers.
- Manufacturer websites. They offer a great way to shop online, particularly if you know what you want. You may even save money by buying direct (lower markups, frequent buyer programs, etc.).
Everybody is unique, so everybody will respond differently to CBD. When you factor in product and usage variances, the range of reaction to CBD just grows.
So, Rule #1 of Club Cannabis is: Start low and go slow. It’s a bit of a try-and-see approach, so you just have to experiment (carefully!) to see what works for you.
The guidelines on your product label can help you get an idea of where to start. The products featured here start with dosages of 10 to 30 mg per day, as desired.
What are the potential side effects of broad-spectrum CBD?
Like any other drug, there are possible downsides and plenty of unknowns when it comes to CBD.
- CBD can interact with chemo meds and blood thinners.
- CBD may cause liver damage.
- When used in conjunction with alcohol or other drugs, CBD can lead to drowsiness or sedation.
- CBD may harm male reproductivity.
- CBD could disrupt your gastrointestinal (e.g., diarrhea) and metabolic (e.g., appetite changes) systems.
- CBD can affect your mood or alertness.
- Taking CBD with high-fat meals may dramatically raise CBD blood concentrations and increase the possibility of side effects.
Keep in mind that CBD products have other ingredients, like fillers, flavorings, carrier oils, preservatives, vitamins, and more. Sometimes these components can cause unintended or negative reactions.
Does broad-spectrum CBD make you high?
No, broad-spectrum CBD won’t make you high.
Broad-spectrum CBD products do not contain THC, the cannabinoid that causes that intoxicated, tingly, or “high” feeling.
Which is better for anxiety: full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD?
Some studies suggest that full-spectrum CBD may have an anxiety-busting edge over other types of CBD. That’s because it offers all the cannabis compounds: both terpenes and phytocannabinoids (like CBD and THC).
However, research also suggests that all types of CBD may be able to ease anxiety symptoms.
Is CBD safe?
Early research suggests that CBD is usually well-tolerated. In fact, one review found that CBD could be safer than other drugs for treating certain conditions, such as epilepsy. Still, the consensus is that more studies are needed to confirm CBD’s safety and effectiveness.
Some safety factors to keep in mind:
- CBD products *might* interfere with some medications. So talk with your doctor before implementing a CBD routine, especially if you’re on a treatment plan for a medical condition.
- Research shows that high-fact meals can dramatically increase CBD blood concentrations, which boosts the risk of side effects. So use caution when ingesting CBD (think: tinctures, edibles, etc.) with fatty foods.
- Always start with the lowest possible dose.
Is CBD legal?
Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp-derived CBD that contains less than 0.3 percent THC is federally legal — but still illegal in some states. All of the broad-spectrum CBD products in our roundup fall into this category.
It’s critical to do your research on legality in your state and wherever you travel. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved and may be inaccurately labeled.
CBD is being used to treat a variety of physical and mental health conditions, from pain to depression. We’re still a long way from solid scientific or medical proof of CBD’s safety and efficacy, but current research is encouraging.
Broad-spectrum CBD is a form of cannabis that’s had all the THC removed. Zero THC gives you extra reassurance that you won’t get any of the psychoactive effects of THC, but you could still reap the benefits of all the other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids naturally found in the cannabis plant.
The products we picked above have been thoroughly vetted, so you can trust that they’re high quality options and A+ choices for getting started on your broad-spectrum CBD journey.
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 your state’s laws and those of anywhere you travel. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved, and may be inaccurately labeled.