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More Than CBD: What Does Full-Spectrum Mean?

Sep 30th 2020

More Than CBD: What Does Full-Spectrum Mean?

When shopping for CBD oils you may come across some terms that appear unfamiliar. Commonly, you will see phrases such as “full-spectrum CBD” or “full-spectrum hemp extract.” So what exactly does it mean for hemp oil to be full-spectrum?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is just one of the components found in the cannabis plant. Many CBD oils you see have focused on extracting just CBD. You’re missing a lot of the plant with isolated CBD. In fact, there are over 560 constituents that have been identified in cannabis.1 With Complete Hemp’s full-spectrum cannabis oil, you’re getting the full spectrum of the phytocannabinoids (cannabinoids such as CBD that are derived from hemp) along with many other constituents of the plant, like flavonoids and terpenes. In other words, you’re getting more of the Complete Hemp.

CBD Isolate vs Full-Spectrum

CBD isolate is when CBD has been extracted, isolated, and refined for potency. The rest of the spectrum of phytocannabinoids is not available in CBD isolate. You will receive only the possible benefits from CBD and nothing more.

Complete Hemp’s full-spectrum CBD oil contains the rest of the phytocannabinoids in addition to CBD as well as the terpenes and the flavonoids from the hemp plants from which it was extracted.

The idea behind the benefit of full-spectrum CBD oil vs CBD isolate is synergy, the combination of two or more things has a result that is greater than the sum of their individual effects. This means that the effects of CBD on the endocannabinoid system can be more potent, as well as the effects of the other phytocannabinoids, compared to when only one isolated compound is present. The theory that this creates the “entourage effect,” a synergistic effect, for phytocannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids has been hypothesized for more than two decades.2

Think of it like this: each phytocannabinoid is like a key. Keys can only open doors to which they fit properly in the keyhole. The endocannabinoid system has receptors that interact with the phytocannabinoids at specific receptor sites (keyholes). The more phytocannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids that are present, the more keyholes can be unlocked, and more doors (possible benefits) can be opened.

To continue that analogy, with CBD isolate, only doors with a keyhole for CBD can be opened. With full-spectrum hemp extract, doors with a keyhole for CBD will be still be opened, but other doors will also be opened. Behind doors that are opened are more doors with different keyholes that can then be accessed. In theory, this has the potential for greater possible benefits.

Will Full-Spectrum Hemp Extract Get Me High?

Complete Hemp’s full-spectrum CBD oil contains less than 0.3% THC. THC is the psychoactive compound found in cannabis. At this level, it will not get you high. It has been third-party lab tested to ensure that not enough THC is present for psychoactive effects. If you are still concerned, on all of our bottles you will find their batch number for reference and you may look into the test results for the specific batch you have received.

A word of caution: in states where recreational or medicinal cannabis is legal, you may find full-spectrum hemp extracts that contain higher amounts of THC.

If any amount of THC is an issue for you, but you like the idea of getting more than just CBD isolate, you may look into Complete Hemp’s lines of broad-spectrum cannabis oil. They contain a broader spectrum of phytocannabinoids than a CBD isolate but are THC free.

Whichever type of CBD oil it is for which you are looking (that is legal nationwide), Complete Hemp will be here to help!


  1. ElSohly MA, Radwan MM, Gul W, Chandra S, Galal A. Phytochemistry of Cannabis sativa L. Prog Chem Org Nat Prod. 2017;103:1-36. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-45541-9_1. PMID: 28120229.
  2. Ben-Shabat S, Fride E, Sheskin T, Tamiri T, Rhee MH, Vogel Z, Bisogno T, De Petrocellis L, Di Marzo V, Mechoulam R. An entourage effect: inactive endogenous fatty acid glycerol esters enhance 2-arachidonoyl-glycerol cannabinoid activity. Eur J Pharmacol. 1998 Jul 17;353(1):23-31. doi: 10.1016/s0014-2999(98)00392-6. PMID: 9721036.