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WTF is "Full Spectrum" CBD?

Updated: Jul 21

CBD has exploded in popularity since the 2018 Farm Bill legalized cannabis plants with less than 0.3% THC. The variations are available in so many different forms. From body oils to gummies to sexual enhancement products, the amount of CBD products available can be confusing. Then there’s the types of CBD available: broad spectrum, full spectrum, as well as other cannabinoids like CBG, CBN, and Delta-8. If you’re new to the world of CBD, this amount of information and options to choose from can be daunting and understandably so. Let’s start with the basics.

What is CBD?


CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a chemical compound naturally found in the cannabis plant. Hemp is cannabis that has less than the federal legal limit of 0.3% THC (the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis that gets you high). Cannabinoids work with the body’s own Endocannabinoid System. The Endocannabinoid System is a system in the body just like there is a digestive system, circulatory system and nervous system. The Endocannabinoid System is believed to be one that is responsible for ensuring homeostasis (balance) within the body. There are three major parts of the endocannabinoid system - the endogenous cannabinoids (made by the body), the receptors (to receive the endocannabinoids), and the enzymes that breakdown these endocannabinoids once they’ve done their job. With plant-made cannabinoids, like those found in the hemp plant like CBD, these compounds work like the body’s own made compounds would work. The plant’s cannabinoids fit to the receptors and assist with whatever various functions that need to be executed at the time.

Now let’s discuss one of the most popular types of CBD available today: full spectrum CBD.

Full Spectrum CBD


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Think of full spectrum CBD as the “full package.” This form of CBD is an extract of all of the natural compounds of the hemp plant. The terpenes, essential oils, and other cannabinoids all come together to aid your body in the relief of mild pain, anxiety, stress, PTSD, and much more. However, full spectrum CBD contains trace amounts of the psychoactive element THC (less than 0.3% legally). If you are subject to drug testing, be advised that although there is not enough THC in CBD products to get you "high", some tests may detect the trace amounts of THC--this is the only use case in which we would not recommend full-spectrum CBD use. It’s been speculated that full-spectrum CBD is more effective, when broadly compared to the many types of CBD available. Since full spectrum CBD utilizes the full amount of the plant’s compounds, some researchers refer to full spectrum CBD’s effect as the Entourage Effect. The Entourage Effect states that all the parts work together collectively for the user than a singular compound would work alone. As herbalists, we trust in the intelligence of the whole plant, and will almost always advise consumers to choose full spectrum CBD over CBD isolates and broad spectrum CBD. Like humans, the whole plant is also greater than the sum of its parts!

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