What Actually Is Full Spectrum CBD Oil?

Understanding the difference between CBD and Full Spectrum CBD

While cannabidiol (CBD) is all the rage at present, it is often hard to understand what you are getting. With so many products available, it can be nightmarish trying to navigate the confounding influx of “market terminology.” Full-spectrum oils, isolate tinctures, CBD cannabis oils, CBD hemp oils — what does it all mean?

With so many products available, it can be a nightmare trying to navigate “market terminology.”

In this article, we answer the popular question ‘what is full-spectrum CBD oil‘ as clearly as possible. We’ll also talk about how full-spectrum CBD oils are made, how they’re different from other types of oils, and how you can tell quality full-spectrum tincture from low-grade ones.

What is Full Spectrum CBD Oil?

Believe it or not, CBD (cannabidiol) is just one of 100+ cannabinoids that have been identified in the Cannabis sativa L plant. Full-spectrum CBD oil includes most of these cannabinoids, while CBD isolate oil contains only the isolated CBD compound.

Depending on what exactly you are trying to achieve, full spectrum CBD oils can work better than CBD isolate. In fact, research has shown that cannabinoids “working together” are more effective than cannabinoids working by themselves. This phenomenon is known as the entourage effect (more on that later).

In addition to a “full inclusion” of cannabinoids, full spectrum CBD contains an assortment of other beneficial plant-based ingredients. These ingredients may include:

  • Essential vitamins and minerals
  • Beneficial fatty acids (i.e. Omega-3 and Omega-6)
  • Plant-based protein and fiber
  • Chlorophyll
  • Terpenes
  • Flavonoids

Sometimes you might see the milligram amount on a bottle of CBD oil identified as “hemp oil extract.” This term can be ambiguous, as it doesn’t clarify how much CBD you’re actually getting. This is where the importance of lab reports and cannabinoid profiles comes into play.

Also, one last thing before we explain the benefits of full-spectrum CBD oil. It’s important to understand that full-spectrum CBD can come from both hemp and marijuana. Products that are for sale online (and that can be shipped to all 50 states) are made from industrial hemp. Industrial hemp has a THC content lower than 0.3%, and thus is legal federally.

Products with a higher THC content are not legal in all states. Most marijuana dispensaries in legalized states also sell “full-spectrum CBD oils,” but these are not the same as the full-spectrum hemp oils for sale online. It’s confusing, but we’ll clarify in more detail later on.

The Benefits of the Whole Plant

full spectrum cbd

One of the most important studies relating to full-spectrum CBD oil took place at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2015. It compared the performance of a full-spectrum cannabis extract with one that contained CBD only. The study concluded that, in mice, the full spectrum extract was more effective for pain and inflammation. In fact, scientists claimed that the whole plant cannabis extract was “ideal for clinical uses” as compared to isolated CBD.

In other words, while “pure CBD” can be effective, it appears that full-spectrum extract is preferable for therapeutic purposes. And indeed, there has been scientific validation to back this up.

One molecule [i.e. CBD by itself] is unlikely to match the therapeutic potential of Cannabis as a ‘phytochemical factory.’

The aforementioned entourage effect helps to explain the efficacy of whole plant cannabis extracts. As we mentioned, there are over 100 identified cannabinoids in the Cannabis sativa L plant. When in the presence of one another, these cannabinoids appear to combine synergistically to enhance physiologic effects.

In a January 2019 publication, Dr. Ethan Russo suggested that “one molecule [i.e. CBD] is unlikely to match the therapeutic potential of Cannabis itself as a phytochemical factory.” Among many other things, whole-plant cannabis extract has been shown to provide positive therapeutic benefit on the following conditions:

  • Gastrointestinal Disorders: This includes conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Crohn’s disease
  • Anxiety Disorders: THC has widely been known to induce symptoms of anxiety. Full-spectrum CBD is known to counteract the effects of THC, which may help alleviate symptoms stemming from stress, PTSD, and chronic anxiety.
  • Neurological Disorders: Cannabis extract has shown to help in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and more.

Why Is Full Spectrum CBD Different to CBD Only Oils or Isolates?

While full-spectrum CBD oil contains a complete array of cannabinoids and terpenes, CBD isolate oil contains only the cannabidiol compound by itself. This can lead to confusion, as products labeled “99.9% pure CBD” would seemingly be more beneficial than something labeled “full-spectrum extract.”

Of course, this where the skill of knowing how to read a lab report comes into play. High-quality CBD oil manufactures include labsheets which outline the cannabinoid profiles of the various products they are selling. In addition to the CBD component, several other ingredients are typically included in “full-spectrum” hemp extract.

What Does Full Spectrum CBD Oil Contain?

While most readers are probably aware of the impact THC and CBD can have on their health, there are “lesser-known” cannabinoids that may also provide therapeutic benefit. When checking the lab report for a quality full-spectrum CBD oil, you may see some of the following cannabinoids:

  • Cannabigerol (CBG)
  • Cannabinol (CBN)
  • Cannabichromene (CBC)
  • Cannabidivarin (CBDV)
  • Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV)

High-quality full-spectrum CBD oils are not limited to phytocannabinoid content, however. Quality, well-grown hemp contains an assortment of additional ingredients, each with their own benefit. A full spectrum extract should also contain terpenes (aka ‘terpenoids’), essential vitamins and minerals, fatty acids, and plant-based protein.

full spectrum cbd oil


Terpenes are chemicals that give the cannabis plant its unique scent. Even in small amounts, terpenes are believed to work synergistically with cannabinoids to heal the body. Here are some well-known terpenes that may be found in full-spectrum CBD oil:

  • Limonene: A stress reliever that is believed to help boost mood. May also assist with gastric issues.
  • Pinene: May potentially improve memory and boost alertness. Also anti-inflammatory.
  • Linalool: Has a sedative effect and may work to help patients with depression, insomnia, and stress.
  • Caryophyllene: An antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. May help relieve the symptoms of pain and insomnia.
  • Humulene: Has antibacterial properties and may work as an appetite suppressant.

Vitamins & Minerals

Most full-spectrum CBD oils will contain vitamins A, C, and E along with complex B vitamins such as niacin, riboflavin, and thiamine. An increasing number of people don’t consume beta-carotene, but it is abundant in full-spectrum oil. Essential minerals contained in full spectrum hemp extract include zinc, potassium, iron, calcium, and phosphorus.

Essential Fats & Protein

Full-spectrum CBD oil also contains up to 20 amino acids, including the nine essential ones. Essential fatty acids such as Omega 3 and Omega 6, which promote heart health, are included in an optimal 3:1 ratio. Hemp oil is also a good source of protein, which helps repair and build tissues.

The Function of “Other Cannabinoids” in Full-Spectrum CBD Oil

Apart from its use in treating seizures, little is known of the clinical action of CBD. Even less is known of the clinical action of “other cannabinoids” found in full spectrum CBD oil. That said, there have been publications suggesting therapeutic benefits of compounds other than CBD:

  • Cannabigerol (CBG): Known as the ‘stem cell’ cannabinoid, CBG is transformed into CBD (and to a lesser extent THC) via chemical processes. As a result, most end-user CBD oils have low levels of CBG.
  • Cannabinol (CBN): The degradation of THC leads to CBN. While there is usually a low amount of it in the fresh plant, decarboxylation typically raises the level of CBN. It offers a slight psychoactive effect, and is believed to have a greater affinity for CB2 receptors compared to CB1 receptors.
  • Cannabichromene (CBC): This is probably the least studied cannabinoid – even though it is rather abundant in certain marijuana strains. There simply isn’t enough data available to suggest it offers isolated therapeutic benefits.

Final Thoughts on Full Spectrum CBD Oil

Although pure, isolated CBD has its advantages (i.e. avoiding a positive drug test), most would agree that full-spectrum CBD oil offers a superior therapeutic benefit. In addition to the CBD compound, full-spectrum tinctures contain dozens of other cannabinoids and terpenes. In the presence of one another, these ingredients combine to produce a synergistic effect that is greater than the effect of a single ingredient by itself. Studies from 2015 and 2019 back up this claim (see above text for source links).

Full-spectrum CBD oil has been known to help relieve pain, reduce stress, and help improve sleep patterns. On a more general level, it is also thought to improve homeostatic balance by keeping your body strong, fit, and healthy.

For more information on the effects of CBD oil, please read through the following resources:

Site Name
Our Score
  • Over 10 Years Experience
  • Products meet EU & UK Standards
  • Full Spectrum CBD Oil
  • Price Range (£39.99 - £49.99)
5% Coupon Code: 5OFFCBD1
  • Full-spectrum, entourage effect oil
  • Lab Tested for Guaranteed Quality
  • Made in the U.K with organically grown hemp
  • Price Range (£24.99-£69.99)
  • Maximum potency and purity
  • Market leader in the U.K
  • Organic hemp CO2 extracts
  • Price Range (Price Range (£24.95 - £49.95)
  • Full-Spectrum Extract, 99% pure
  • No pesticides, solvents or chemical fertilizers
  • 3rd party laboratory tested
  • Price Range (£29.99-£99.99)
5% Coupon Code: 5OFFCBD1
  • Organic hemp CO2 extract tincture
  • Available in Cinnamint & Natural
  • Full-spectrum extract
  • Price Range (£24.99-£89.99)
  • Full-spectrum Hemp extract
  • No pesticides, solvents or chemical fertilizers
  • 3rd party laboratory tested
  • Price Range ($48.00 – $139.00)
5% Coupon Code: 5OFFCBD1
  • Maximum potency and purity
  • Compounded by a licensed pharmacist
  • Highly concentrated extraction process
  • Price Range ($26-$169)
  • Full-Spectrum Extract (Made in USA)
  • 100% Natural and Organic
  • Contain no artificial flavors or preservatives
  • Prices range ($48-$125)
  • CBDPure uses a chemical-free CO2 extraction process
  • 3rd party laboratory tested
  • Certified hemp grown in Colorado
  • Price Range ($29.99 – $79.99)
  • Full-spectrum Extract
  • Derived from Non-GMO Hemp
  • Ship to all 50 States
  • Price Range ($49.00 – $299.00)
  • Over 5 Years Experience
  • 3rd party laboratory tested
  • Organic hemp CO2 extract tincture
  • Price Range ($62.00 – $204.00)
  • Organic hemp CO2 extract tincture
  • Available in Cinnamint & Natural
  • Full-spectrum extract
  • Price Range ($39 - $249)

Article Sources: