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Is CBD legal? Hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC are legal federally but still illegal under some state laws. Marijuana-derived CBD products, on the other hand, are illegal federally but legal under some state laws. Check local legislation, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved nonprescription CBD products, which may be inaccurately labeled.

One of the main forms of cannabidiol (CBD) is broad-spectrum CBD. This form contains a range of naturally occurring compounds from the cannabis plant but typically no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Medical News Today updated this article in August 2023 to remove Zatural broad-spectrum CBD softgels and Calm by Wellness CBN + CBD oil tincture.

The Zatural softgels have an undated certificate of analysis (COA), which means it is difficult to tell when the third-party lab last tested the product for safety and purity.

The Calm by Wellness tincture contains additional ingredients with little research on their effectiveness. Because there is very little medical research on additional ingredients in CBD products, there is also a concern about potential drug safety and interactions.

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While CBD isolate contains only pure CBD and no other compounds from the cannabis plant, full-spectrum CBD contains all the compounds from the cannabis plant, including a maximum of 0.3% THC.

Anecdotal evidence shows positive effects when consuming CBD products for anxiety, pain, and other ailments.

Broad-spectrum CBD products contain various compounds and cannabinoids from the cannabis plant. These include cannabichromene, cannabinol, and terpenes, such as myrcene, limonene, or pinene.

Broad-spectrum CBD typically contains no THC. However, some products will have trace quantities.

There are several ways to extract CBD from the cannabis plant. These include:

  • steam distillation
  • solvent extraction
  • carbon dioxide extraction
  • lipid extraction

The strain of the cannabis plant, its classification, and the extraction process may affect CBD’s composition.

Broad-spectrum CBD falls somewhere between full-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate. Although broad-spectrum CBD contains multiple compounds, it does not typically contain THC.

How people use broad-spectrum CBD will depend on the form they take.

People can take broad-spectrum CBD by mouth if they choose CBD gummies or oils. People typically place one or two drops of oil under their tongue and let it absorb for around 30 seconds before swallowing.

If a person chooses a topical broad-spectrum product such as a balm, cream, or lotion, they should massage the product into their skin, avoiding sensitive areas or broken or irritated skin.

People should start with a low dose and work up until they get their desired effect. However, they should never exceed the recommended dose on the product packaging.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

The following table compares the products in this article on key features:

FormCBD amountSizeCBD dosage per servingPrice
Joy Organicsoil450–2,250 mg30 mL15–75 mg$44.95
R&Roil1,000 mg30 mL33.3 mg$55
Calm by Wellnesscream200 mg50 mL4 fl oz$35.99
FOCLoil1,000–3,000 mg30 mL17–83 mg$165
CBDistillerygummies30 mg30 count30 mg$65

Medical News Today chooses broad-spectrum CBD products that meet the following criteria:

  • Ingredients: Products must contain safe and high quality ingredients, and their labels must state all ingredients clearly. They should also confirm they are free from pesticides, heavy metals, and mold.
  • Dosage: Products must clearly state the CBD dosage, and manufacturers must suggest a safe serving size.
  • Third-party labs: Products must undergo third-party testing for contaminants by an ISO 17025-compliant laboratory.
  • Available certificate of analysis: The company must demonstrate transparency and share a current COA after receiving its third-party lab results.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

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Unlike CBD isolate, which contains only pure CBD, broad-spectrum CBD products may produce heightened effects because they have additional compounds that work together. Experts refer to this as the entourage effect.

Broad-spectrum CBD does not typically contain THC, meaning it will not produce any unwanted “high” feeling.

Although there are some relatively recent studies about the entourage effect, there is currently minimal research on the individual types of CBD or which type may benefit a particular health condition.

An individual may wish to use CBD due to anecdotal evidence of its benefits for anxiety, depression, pain reduction, acne, and heart problems. CBD may also help with relaxation, so people may use it when they feel stressed or experience sleep disturbances.

Learn more about the benefits of CBD.

Below is a breakdown of some potential advantages of each form of CBD. None of these types of CBD is necessarily better than the other.

CBD isolate

This form of CBD:

  • is a pure form
  • does not contain THC
  • does not contain any other cannabinoids, terpenes, or other plant compounds
  • does not have an odor or taste

Some people believe that CBD isolate is the safest to use, as it is pure, but it is a highly processed product. Also, because it does not contain any other potentially beneficial compounds, it may not offer all the health benefits of full- and broad-spectrum CBD.

A 2015 study suggests people may have to take much higher doses of CBD isolate to get pain relief than they would with other forms of CBD.

Learn more about CBD isolate.

Full-spectrum CBD

This form of CBD:

  • may produce more benefits because of the entourage effect
  • is not as refined as CBD isolate
  • contains up to 0.3% THC in dry-weight form

Full-spectrum CBD products contain all the compounds from a cannabis plant, including low doses of THC. This means that the entourage effect is strongest in full-spectrum CBD products. It is also the most natural form of CBD because it undergoes the least amount of processing.

While full-spectrum products contain THC, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stipulates that they must not contain more than 0.3%.

Learn about full-spectrum CBD vs. CBD isolate.

Broad-spectrum CBD

This form of CBD contains other cannabinoids and terpenes alongside CBD, so it may produce the entourage effect. It contains trace amounts of THC.

The entourage effect caused by these compounds working together may increase the likelihood of the product producing beneficial health effects.

Learn about broad-spectrum vs. full-spectrum CBD.

Some companies use the terms “oil” and “tincture” interchangeably. However, they are not the same. The main difference lies in manufacturing and how producers extract CBD.

Learn more about CBD oil.

Manufacturers produce a CBD tincture by soaking cannabis in alcohol, allowing them to infuse. Slowly heating the solution removes the alcohol, resulting in a CBD-infused liquid.

Learn more about CBD tinctures.

Before purchasing a CBD product, individuals should always read the product labels.

However, the FDA does not regulate many CBD product terms. A THC-free product, for instance, may still contain traces of the compound. Reading labels can help avoid any misunderstandings and adverse effects.

Read our complete buyer’s guide to CBD.

A person may choose a broad-spectrum CBD product based on several factors:

  • Use: Topical products such as balms and salves may be best for muscle pain, while ingestible products such as gummies may be more appropriate to assist with sleep quality.
  • Strength: Strength is based on the amount of CBD in the product, measured in milligrams (mg). The general rule of thumb is for a person to start with the lowest possible dosage of CBD and increase it until reaching the desired effect. A person should avoid using a product that does not state the dosage per serving on the packaging.
  • Hemp source: Some people may wish to consider the environmental impact of sourcing hemp. Some brands do source hemp responsibly. Not all hemp is grown in the United States, so it may need to be imported.
  • THC-content: People avoiding THC should avoid using CBD products that contain THC.

Anecdotal evidence suggests many people tolerate CBD well, but it can have side effects, including:

It is best to speak with a healthcare professional before trying CBD, particularly if the aim is to help with pain, lack of sleep, or another health-related issue.

Broad-spectrum CBD refers to CBD that contains little to no traces of THC, which is the compound in the cannabis plant that people associate with the “high” feeling. According to the World Health Organization, people usually tolerate CBD well, and it has a good safety profile.

Other types of CBD, such as isolate and full-spectrum CBD, will contain differing amounts of THC.

Broad-spectrum CBD is the best option for people who want to get all the benefits of a wide range of cannabinoids without exposure to THC.

However, a person taking prescription medication should check with a healthcare professional before using CBD. It may interact with their medication.

Broad-spectrum CBD can increase a person’s risk of experiencing side effects because it contains a wider range of cannabinoids compared to CBD isolate.

Broad-spectrum CBD contains various compounds that may hold additional health benefits in comparison to CBD isolate. The compounds may help relieve pain, improve skin health, reduce anxiety, and help with sleep.

Read more about CBD benefits.

There are minor differences, and the right choice depends on a person’s preference.

A 2018 study found that full-spectrum CBD eases pain due to the combined effects of CBD and THC.

As broad-spectrum CBD also contains additional compounds, it may have effects similar to those of full-spectrum CBD. However, broad-spectrum products typically have less or no THC, usually 0.3% or less.

CBD isolate is CBD in its purest form, with no other cannabinoids. These products may best suit people trying a CBD product for the first time. Isolate contains no other hemp extracts that could potentially alter its effects.

Full-spectrum CBD is stronger than broad-spectrum CBD, as it contains all cannabis compounds from the plant, with the exception of THC. The combination of multiple compounds produces something known as the entourage effect.

This is where all the compounds work together to produce a more significant effect or response to a CBD product than any one compound would have on its own.

Broad-spectrum CBD may not produce a positive drug test result because it typically does not contain THC.

Broad-spectrum CBD products contain other cannabinoids but only trace amounts of THC, if any. These products may have more pronounced effects than products with CBD isolate.

It is important to remember that research into the effects of broad-spectrum CBD is still emerging.