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What Is Full-Spectrum CBD? Advantages and Disadvantages

Jan 1st 2021

What Is Full-Spectrum CBD? Advantages and Disadvantages

There is a lot going on inside of a cannabis plant. Most of us are familiar with cannabidiol (CBD) as well as THC, but these are just two of the chemical components found in hemp. There are more than 560 constituents that have been found in cannabis.1 If you are taking just pure CBD isolate, you are missing out on so much of what hemp has to offer. Let’s take a look at what makes up the full spectrum.

What Is Full-Spectrum CBD Oil?

Full-spectrum CBD oils contain all of the different compounds that occur in cannabis.

Cannabinoids: A cannabinoid is a chemical that interacts with the endocannabinoid system of the body. The most commonly known cannabinoids in cannabis are THC and CBD, but there are many other minor cannabinoids, such as CBG, CBN, and CBC. THC is special in the sense that it is psychoactive, but the rest of the cannabinoids are not.

Terpenes: Terpenes are highly aromatic essential oils found in plants. They contribute to the way a plant smells as well as to their taste.

Flavonoids: Flavonoids, like terpenes, contribute to odor and taste, but they also contribute by a large degree to non-green coloration.2

Full-spectrum CBD extracts and oils are inclusive of each of these three categories, preserving the chemical makeup of the plant from which it was extracted.

Full-Spectrum CBD Oil Benefits

It has long been hypothesized that being treated with the full spectrum of the cannabis plant creates the “entourage effect,”3 a synergistic effect wherein the benefits received from the combination of compounds is greater than the sum of the benefits received when they are each taken individually. Many people swear by the entourage effect, only taking full-spectrum CBD oils because of the increase in benefits that they perceive.

In addition to the entourage effect, many people prefer to take full-spectrum oils because of their flavor. All of the flavonoids and terpenes provide for a richer cannabis flavor profile.

Full-Spectrum CBD Hemp Oil Disadvantages

There is one notable disadvantage to full-spectrum CBD oils: THC is present. THC is the psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis, and THC will get you high. This begs the the question “does CBD oil get you high?” CBD and the other compounds found in hemp oils, aside from THC, are non-psychoactive. However, if the oil contains enough THC in addition to the other compounds, you will get high. It can be difficult to be productive if you are high, and this is a big drawback to some full-spectrum CBD tinctures, but there is a solution to this problem.

It is federally legal to purchase full-spectrum hemp oils that contain less than 0.3% THC because, at this level, you will not get high. The endocannabinoid system can still be stimulated by low levels of THC, and every other component necessary for the entourage effect will be present, but you will not get high. Be sure to carefully examine the labels of any hemp extracts you intend to purchase.

If you are concerned about any level of THC, there are broad-spectrum CBD oils that contain no THC, but a larger amount of the cannabis spectrum compared to CBD isolate.

Try out full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and pure CBD isolates for yourself to see which one best fits your needs!


1ElSohly 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.


3Ben-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.