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Full-spectrum CBD includes all the naturally occurring cannabis plant compounds, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It may help ease inflammation, pain, and anxiety, and many products are available to try.

Is CBD legal?The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the legal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. This made some hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC federally legal. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3% THC still fall under the legal definition of marijuana, making them federally illegal but legal under some state laws. Be sure to check state laws, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the FDA has not approved nonprescription CBD products, and some products may be inaccurately labeled.

CBDA compound within the C. sativa plant that does not create the high sensation individuals commonly associate with cannabis use.
THCA compound in the C. sativa plant. It is the psychoactive compound that creates the high sensation from cannabis use.
Full-spectrumA full-spectrum product will contain all of the natural compounds in the cannabis plant, including THC. However, THC levels must be no more than 0.3% to comply with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation on full-spectrum CBD products.
Broad-spectrumBroad-spectrum products contain natural compounds of the cannabis plant. However, while manufacturers remove all or most of the THC in broad-spectrum CBD, it may still be present in trace amounts.
CBD isolateThis is the purest form of CBD and should contain 0% THC.
CannabinoidsThe compounds within the cannabis plant, of which there are over 120. CBD is the second richest compound in the plant after THC.
TerpenesAnother compound of the C. sativa plant, terpenes typically give plants their specific aromas. Some terpenes, such as limonene, may have specific health benefits.
Certificate of analysis (COA)Reputable manufacturers of CBD products should ensure a COA is available for inspection. A COA provides information on the third-party testing that independent labs conduct on a particular product. Sometimes, products have a scannable smartphone code directing people to the COA online.

Read more about terminology and other important CBD information here.

Full-spectrum CBD contains all the naturally occurring compounds in the cannabis plant, including:

  • Cannabinoids: CBD and THC are two cannabinoids found in cannabis. THC is the part of cannabis that often provides the “high” feeling. As a result, full-spectrum CBD products can contain no more than 0.3% of THC.
  • Terpenes: These compounds provide cannabis with its scent and flavor. Terpenes can also enhance the effects of cannabinoids, such as promoting relaxation, stress relief, and boosting energy and focus.
  • Flavonoids: There are about 20 flavonoids in the cannabis plant, and they are also present in fruits, vegetables, and flowers. According to a 2019 study, flavonoids provide an anti-inflammatory effect.

In contrast, broad-spectrum CBD does not contain THC, and CBD isolate contains CBD only.

How CBD works has yet to be fully understood. Research suggests that it interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is responsible for many bodily functions.

Endocannabinoids bind to and activate receptors — CB1 and CB2, specifically — which tell the ECS to complete certain functions. CB1 is found in the brain and spinal cord and can regulate appetite and reduce pain. CB2 receptors are primarily present in immune cells and can reduce inflammation.

CBD may prevent endocannabinoids from breaking down, meaning they can activate receptors for longer and enhance their effect on the body.

While CBD does not directly interact with the CB1 and CB2 receptors, THC does. THC binds to CB1 and CB2 and can have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, pain relieving, and euphoric effects.

Learn more about the differences between CBD and THC.

Because full-spectrum CBD contains the full range of cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, it can produce the “entourage effect.” This term describes how cannabinoids work more effectively together than in isolation, creating a more noticeable effect on the body.

People should consider the pros and cons of full-spectrum CBD before trying it.


  • It may help relieve pain and anxiety.
  • It may improve sleep.
  • It may reduce pain and inflammation.
  • It may produce the “entourage effect.”
  • It comes in a wide range of products.
  • It may be more potent than broad-spectrum and isolate CBD.


  • Some forms can produce psychoactive effects in high doses.
  • It can be more expensive than other types of CBD.
  • It can produce positive results on urine and drug tests.
  • It may be too potent for people new to CBD.
  • It contains trace amounts of THC, which some people may prefer to avoid.
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Full-spectrum CBD may suit individuals who wish to experience its full benefits. It may also be a good option for people who have previously used CBD and are looking for more potent formulas.

Researchers associate CBD with anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, and antipsychotic effects. As a result, people living with pain or anxiety may consider full-spectrum CBD.

The table below compares the ingredients that full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, and CBD isolate contain.

CBDContains THCFlavonoidsTerpenes
Full-spectrum yesup to 0.3%yesyes
Broad-spectrum yespotential trace amountsyesyes
Isolate yesnono no

Below, we look at nine of the best full-spectrum CBD products, including oils, topical products, and gummies.

The three products below are some of the best topical full-spectrum CBD products for pain and skin care.

The three products below are some of the best full-spectrum gummies people can try for relaxation and to improve sleep.

The table below compares the full-spectrum CBD products listed above. The prices listed in this table are for one-time purchases.

Form Price CBD dose
CBDistillery tinctureoil tincture$7033 mg per serving
Lazarus Naturalsoil tincture$40 to $12050 mg per serving
Joy Organicsoil tincture$47.96 to $79.9630, 45, or 75 mg per serving
Aspen Greencream$89.991,000 mg per product
CBDistillery creamcream$60500 mg per product
Charlotte’s Web balmbalm $14.99 to $29.99300 mg per oz
Cornbread Hempgummies $39.9920 mg per serving
PlusCBDgummies$33.99 to $50.9910 mg per serving
Charlotte’s Web gummiesgummies $44.9915 mg per serving

We selected these CBD products based on criteria we think are good indicators of safety, quality, and transparency.

As a part of our vetting process, we consider:

  • the product’s composition, ingredients, and overall quality
  • any third-party certifications
  • the company’s reputation and business practices
  • any lab test results
  • marketing claims

Read more about how we vet products and brands.

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People looking for full-spectrum CBD products should consider these factors:

  • Ingredients: People should check ingredient lists carefully to make sure they do not contain allergens or ingredients they want to avoid. People can check lab test results to see exactly what a product contains.
  • Price: Prices for CBD products vary and some can cost over $100. People should consider their budget and the cost-effectiveness of the product they wish to buy. Some may benefit from subscription services that offer products at a lower price.
  • Form: CBD products come in different forms, such as oil tinctures, creams, balms, and gummies. People should consider what they want to use the product for and choose the most appropriate form.
  • Reviews: It is helpful to read customer reviews to understand whether the product performs as well as the company claims. However, some websites filter out more critical reviews, and online reviews may only represent part of the spectrum of customer experiences.

People wanting to avoid the effects of THC should avoid full-spectrum CBD.

Additionally, those who take regular blood and urine tests should also avoid full-spectrum CBD because it can produce positive results.

Children and pregnant and breastfeeding people should not try CBD in any form unless a doctor advises them it is safe to do so.

CBD products of all kinds can contain allergens such as coconut, dairy, or soy. People should read ingredient labels carefully before buying a product and stop using it if it causes a reaction or side effects.

Research into CBD’s health benefits is still in its early stages. However, multiple studies have found it to have health benefits.

For instance, a 2021 study assessing the real-world evidence of CBD benefits found that it can improve symptoms of anxiety, depression, and severe pain, but it had less of an effect on those with mild symptoms.

Learn more about CBD and anxiety.

A 2020 study suggests that full-spectrum cannabis extract may have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties that may be effective for neuropathic pain.

Learn more about CBD oil and pain.

There is a range of disadvantages to full-spectrum CBD, including side effects.

Full-spectrum can produce positive drug and urine test results, so it is unsuitable for people taking these tests regularly. It may also be unsuitable for people new to CBD, as it can have more potent effects.

Additionally, the FDA writes that CBD of any kind can:

The FDA has only approved one CBD product for medical use: Epidiolex. This treats severe forms of epilepsy. It means that no other CBD product has FDA backing, and some manufacturers include misleading, unproven, or untrue health claims about their products.

People should always speak with a doctor or healthcare professional before trying CBD.

People should follow manufacturer instructions when using a CBD product.

Typically, companies recommend that people hold CBD oils and tinctures under their tongues for up to 60 seconds before swallowing to let the formula absorb.

Some companies suggest that people hold CBD gummies in their mouth for a short time before chewing, as the CBD may be on the outside of the gummy rather than infused throughout.

People should typically apply topical items to the affected area, avoiding sensitive areas of skin, the eyes, and the mouth. They may be able to apply topical CBD products several times a day. Due to the direct application, topical CBD may be able to provide targeted pain relief.

If a person experiences side effects, they should stop using the product and contact a qualified healthcare professional.

The FDA states CBD may interact with some medications and, in some cases, cause liver damage or problems with fertility. People should always speak with a doctor before trying CBD to make sure it is safe for them to do so.

According to the FDA, CBD can cause:

  • irritability
  • drowsiness
  • diarrhea
  • reduced appetite

The FDA has not approved any CBD product besides Epidiolex. It is working to better understand the safety and effectiveness of CBD for health, warning consumers that there are risks to consider. These can include unsupported medical claims, contaminated products, and side effects that may go unnoticed.

Products that contain less than 0.3% THC are federally legal in the United States, but they may still be illegal in certain states.

Cannabis-derived CBD products are illegal federally but legal in some states.

People should check that CBD is legal in their state or in the states where they are traveling.

People should speak with a healthcare professional before trying any CBD product. This ensures that it is safe for them and will not interact with medication or existing health conditions.

CBD may not be the best treatment for a person’s health concern. A doctor can advise on the safest and most effective treatment for health concerns that CBD companies often claim their products can improve, such as sleep problems, anxiety, and pain.

People should also speak with a doctor if they experience side effects from CBD products.

Below, we answer some common questions about full-spectrum CBD.

Yes, full-spectrum CBD contains THC, but products sold in the United States can only contain up to 0.3% THC, which may not be enough to cause any psychoactive effects.

Full-spectrum CBD does not usually cause a “buzz” or “high.” However, some people may experience some psychoactive effects if they take a high dose. People who wish to avoid this can consider broad-spectrum CBD or CBD isolate.

Individuals who use full-spectrum CBD products may receive a positive result on a drug test. This can occur during THC screenings, as full-spectrum CBD contains THC. People who wish to avoid THC should use broad-spectrum or isolate CBD.

CBD labeling is important and required, per the FDA. If a person has purchased a CBD product from a reputable company, it will always have the CBD type, quantity, and dosage recommendation clearly marked on the label.

If this is not the case, and a person has a CBD oil without any label information, they should not use it because it may contain harmful ingredients or dosages.

A person should always ensure their product comes from a reputable company, with transparent ingredient lists and readily available COA.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that full-spectrum CBD oil is good for helping people get to and stay asleep.

A 2022 systematic review found that CBD may effectively treat insomnia. However, further research is necessary to confirm this.

Full-spectrum CBD products contain all compounds found naturally in CBD, including THC, terpenes, and flavonoids. These may help relieve pain and inflammation and reduce anxiety symptoms, although research is in its early stages and ongoing.

People can try full-spectrum CBD in gummies, creams, and oils.

Individuals should consult a healthcare professional before using CBD. When choosing a product, they should also check the ingredients, third-party lab test results, and customer reviews.