Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of those wellness-y buzzwords you’ve probably been seeing everywhere for a while now.
Not only are there tons of choices when it comes to CBD brands and products, but there are also different kinds of CBD to choose from — including CBD isolate, broad-spectrum CBD, and full-spectrum CBD. It can be a bit mystifying to sort through everything and figure out what’s right for you.
Whether you’re ready to dive in or just want to dip a toe in the water, we’re here to help. Keep reading to find out how broad-spectrum CBD compares to full-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate, plus get the lowdown on our top seven broad-spectrum product picks.
Broad-spectrum CBD products contain almost every compound found in the cannabis plant. But there’s generally one key element missing: THC.
The lack of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) makes broad-spectrum products different from full-spectrum products, which do contain a little THC — less than 0.3 percent to be considered federally legal.
Broad-spectrum products are also different from CBD isolate products. CBD isolate is pure CBD, with no other cannabis compounds.
CBD is a close sibling of the arguably more well-known cannabinoid THC. It’s different in that it doesn’t make you feel “high” like THC does, but it still may offer some health benefits.
Although research is ongoing and there’s still lots we don’t know, some research suggests that CBD:
- may help with pain and anxiety
- contains anti-inflammatory properties
- may help improve sleep
- can help reduce seizures in people with epilepsy. Epidiolex for seizures is the only prescription CBD product approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
There are also plenty of benefits of using broad-spectrum CBD specifically. These products can give you access to potentially beneficial compounds like terpenes. Terpenes are aromatic compounds naturally found in many different types of plants, including cannabis.
A 2011 review of studies published in the British Journal of Pharmacology discovered that using terpenes and phytocannabinoids together may be useful for inflammation, pain, anxiety, epilepsy, cancer, and fungal infection.
The same 2011 review showed that when THC and CBD are used together, they work better, creating what’s known as the entourage effect.
Although broad-spectrum is a good choice for those looking to avoid THC, the main drawback is that it may mean missing out on some of the benefits of the entourage effect.
It’s also important to note that some CBD products, including broad-spectrum products or those that claim to be THC-free, may still contain trace amounts of THC. In rare cases, this can lead to a positive drug test. For this reason, you may want to avoid using any CBD or THC products if you’re drug tested.
If you want to get all the benefits the cannabis plant has to offer, full-spectrum CBD may be a better choice than broad-spectrum CBD. On the flip side, if you’re only interested in CBD, isolate may be your best bet.
But if you want a broad range of benefits while still avoiding THC, then you’ll probably like broad-spectrum products the best.
Now that you know the ins and outs of broad-spectrum CBD, you might be curious about what products to try. To help you get started, we’ve rounded up seven great choices.
We chose these products based on criteria we think are good indicators of safety, quality, and transparency. Each product in this article:
- 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
- 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
- overall ingredients
- indicators of user trust and brand reputation, such as:
- customer reviews
- whether the company has been subject to an FDA warning letter
- whether the company makes any unsupported health claims
- $ = under $40
- $$ = $40–$85
- $$$ = over $85
Holmes Organics Strawberry Lemonade CBD Gummies
- Price: $
- Potency: 10 milligrams (mg) per gummy
These organic broad-spectrum CBD gummies come 30 to a jar. They’re free of gelatin, which means they’ll work for vegetarians and vegans.
The flavors and colorings used are all natural. They’re also sweetened with organic cane sugar instead of the high-fructose corn syrup found in some gummies.
Use code “Healthline” for 20% off.
Sunday Scaries CBD Oil Tincture with Vitamins D3 and B12
- Price: $$
- Potency: 500 mg per 30 milliliter (mL) bottle
Broad-spectrum CBD is suspended in coconut oil in this tincture. It has a light fruit punch taste and gets added benefits from vitamin D3 and B12.
Use the dropper to place the oil directly under your tongue, or add it to water, tea, or even smoothies. Each dropper full contains about 30 mg of CBD.
Use code “healthline20” for 20% off.
Receptra Naturals Serious Relief + Turmeric Tincture
- Price: $$
- Potency: 990 mg per 30 mL bottle
This broad-spectrum CBD tincture is made with MCT oil, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and avocado oil. It also contains turmeric, which is a natural anti-inflammatory. That makes this oil a good choice for pain or soreness.
Receptra Naturals recommends a 1 mL dose, which contains about 33 mg of CBD. The company suggests holding the oil under your tongue for at least 20 seconds before swallowing.
Use code “Healthline20” for 20% off.
Social CBD Cinnamon Leaf Broad-Spectrum CBD Drops
- Price: $–$$$
- CBD potency: 375, 750, or 1,500 mg per 30 mL bottle
Made with MCT oil, these vegan drops are soy- and sugar-free with a natural cinnamon leaf flavor.
To use, squeeze the 1 mL dropper under your tongue, into your water or tea, or over your food.
Sagely Naturals Drift & Dream Body Oil
- Price: $
- CBD potency: 100 mg per 100 mL bottle
Using a mix of plant-based ingredients, this fast-absorbing, lightweight oil can help with achieving a peaceful night’s rest. With relaxing lavender oil and chamomile oil, it has a light, soothing scent.
To use, massage onto damp skin to lock in moisture.
Joy Organics CBD Gummies
- Price: $
- CBD potency: 10 mg per gummy
Vegan and gluten-free, these gummies are sweetened with organic tapioca syrup and cane sugar. They’re available in strawberry lemonade and green apple flavors. Both use fruit and vegetable juice for color.
Each jar is BPA-free and contains 30 gummies.
Use code “healthcbd” for 15% off.
CBDfx CBD Gummies Turmeric & Spirulina
- Price: $$
- CBD potency: 5 mg per gummy
These broad-spectrum vegan gummies are made from organic hemp extract and contain no artificial sweeteners. The turmeric and spirulina add a boost of antioxidants.
Since each gummy contains only 5 mg of CBD, these are good for beginners who are looking for a low-dose product.
Use code “Healthline” for 15% off.
Currently, the FDA doesn’t guarantee the safety, effectiveness, or quality of over-the-counter (OTC) CBD products. That means it’s possible to buy CBD products that are misrepresented or mislabeled.
To avoid this, it’s best to look for a product that comes with an up-to-date, comprehensive COA from a reputable third-party lab. The COA should show that the product isn’t contaminated with heavy metals, pesticides, or molds. Equally, it should show that the product actually contains the amount of CBD and THC the label claims it does.
It’s also important to buy from a company that’s transparent about where it grows its hemp and how it makes its products.
Be skeptical of products or labels that promise grand results. While many people report that CBD helps them in some way, it’s not a miracle product or cure-all.
Just like anything else, you may have to experiment a little until you find what works for you. If the first product you try doesn’t work for you, you might want to experiment with different forms, ingredients, and dosages.
The way you use CBD will depend on what type you’re buying. Some products, like gummies or capsules, can be taken by mouth. Oils and tinctures are usually placed under your tongue or added to foods or drinks.
Topicals like salves, lotions, and creams are usually massaged into a specific area. This means you may experience warming, cooling, or even tingling sensations on your skin depending on the mix of ingredients in the product.
Dosages vary from person to person and depend on a slew of factors, like body weight, the condition being treated, body chemistry, and the CBD concentration in each product.
In general, it’s best to start with a small amount and then slowly work your way up depending on how you feel.
While available research generally concludes that CBD is safe, some people may experience side effects like:
- changes in appetite
- changes in weight
It’s best to talk to your doctor before trying any CBD products, especially if you’re taking any medications. CBD may interact with some medications.
It’s also important to use caution when taking edible CBD products along with high fat meals. A recent study found that high fat meals can dramatically increase CBD blood concentrations, which can increase the risk of side effects.
Broad-spectrum CBD is ideal if you’re looking to avoid THC, but still want to reap the benefits of other compounds like terpenes.
You can find broad-spectrum CBD in many forms, like gummies, topicals, and capsules. Pay close attention to the labeling, dosage recommendations, and quality of the brands you select. Always talk with your doctor before trying CBD.
Is CBD Legal? 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. Marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level, but are legal 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.