Hemp: The Difference Between Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum and CBD Isolate


When considering the wide variety of hemp extract products that have hit the shelves since the legalization of industrial hemp with the 2018 Farm Bill, consumers are likely to come across a number of them boasting labels such as “Full Spectrum,” “Broad Spectrum,” and “CBD Isolate.” These terms relate to the inclusion or lack thereof of various chemical compounds known as cannabinoids, and terpenes, in addition to the cannabidiol (CBD) that you are presumably searching for.

What do you need to know? Let’s start at the beginning, with the cannabinoid extraction process.

Not all hemp extract is extracted equally.

The extraction method itself is important to consider when choosing the right hemp products for you. There are a variety of methods to extract cannabinoids from the cannabis plant, and different extraction methods are believed to have considerable effects on the quality of the hemp extract products derived.

One frequently used method is alcohol extraction or using chemical solvents. Utilizing liquid ethanol, butane or hexane to separate cannabidiol and other compounds from the plant, the solvents are subsequently evaporated, leaving the active cannabinoids. However, traces of chemicals can remain and could cause adverse health responses or pose health risks if consumed.

Another prevalent method, used here at Holief, is CO2 extraction. C02 works like a solvent through specific pressure and heat, extracting the desired cannabinoids as well as other valuable terpenes and chemical compounds, without using potentially harmful chemicals, for a much cleaner hemp extract.

Which brings us back to the question at hand.

Broad-Spectrum, Full-Spectrum, and CBD Isolate all relate to the extraction of the cannabinoids and the remaining components or lack thereof through the extraction process. It is believed by some researchers that due to a biological phenomenon known as The Entourage Effect” it is beneficial to retain various cannabinoids and natural compounds, in addition to the popular cannabidiol, that are found in the hemp plant. That these compounds, for example, THC and other lesser-known phytochemicals like CBN, may work together cohesively to magnify their individual effectiveness and to enhance their mutual benefits within the human body.


Full Spectrum Hemp Extract 

Full Spectrum hemp extract retains all the hemp plant’s naturally-occurring compounds through the extraction process in order to leverage The Entourage Effect. Full-Spectrum hemp extract contains cannabinoids, terpenes, and fatty acids as well as can contain trace amounts of THC, as long as it remains under the legal limit of 0.3%.


Broad-Spectrum Hemp Extract

Broad-Spectrum is also a form of hemp extract that retains various other cannabinoids, terpenes and fatty acids that naturally occur in the hemp plant, and are thought to be beneficial to the human body. However, through the extraction process, THC is removed.

CBD Isolate 

CBD Isolate is a form of hemp extracted to remove all additional components of the hemp plant so that solely pure cannabidiol (CBD) remains.

It is worth noting that all three forms of hemp extract can be made into hemp extract oil or other hemp supplements, tinctures, or topicals. Products labeled “hemp seed oil” do not contain cannabidiol and are an entirely different product extracted from the seed of the hemp plant, and cold-pressed into an oil akin to sunflower seed oil or coconut oil. They have completely different health benefits and uses. For more information on the difference between “hemp seed oil” and “CBD oil” see this article.


Holief strives to provide a trustworthy and thorough resource, to help you make a well-informed decision when it comes to choosing your source of hemp extract. Please note that it is always suggested that you consult your healthcare provider before incorporating any new supplements or treatments into your wellness routine.

At Holief we approach pain the way you approach life: with unshakeable optimism and conviction. We believe natural, and mighty relief should be accessible to everyone.

Our hemp-derived products are designed and tested by experts in our field to deliver trustworthy, accessible, natural relief and an effective alternative to ibuprofen or other pain relief medications.