We take a look at the different kinds of oils the cannabis plant produces and evaluate which is best for you. Spoiler alert: some of them don't even contain CBD. What is broad spectrum CBD? Broad spectrum CBD contains every cannabinoid found in hemp plants, except THC. Learn about full vs. broad spectrum CBD today!
Label Alert: Your Hemp Oil Probably Doesn’t Contain CBD
Carolyn is a freelance fashion and beauty writer. She has contributed to Billboard, NYLON, PAPER, L’Officiel USA, and more.
Rachel is a board-certified dermatologist and Assistant Clinical Professor at Mount Sinai Hospital Department of Dermatology. She has contributed to Byrdie, as well as Harpers Bazaar, Marie Claire, Allure, Vogue, and the New York Times, and more
Liz deSousa for BYRDIE
In This Article
We don’t blame you if you haven’t made a habit of looking at the ingredients in every single one of your beauty products. But if you’ve ever used Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar (RIP), True Botanicals’ Pure Radiance Oil ($110), or even just Dr. Bronner’s soap, you’ve already been using hemp oil. surprise! The truth is, hemp oil (which also goes by the names cannabis sativa seed oil or hempseed oil) has been used in beauty products right under your nose for a long time. But an increase in demand for beauty products made from cannabis sativa—like hemp-derived CBD oil, also known as cannabidiol—means some confusion has recently surfaced when it comes to knowing which ingredient is which.
So what’s the difference? Well, it boils down to the fact that hemp oil comes from the seeds of the plant, and CBD oil typically comes from the whole plant (leaves, stems, and all). But admittedly, this is made a little more complicated when you bring in the notions of full and broad-spectrum CBD (along with CBD isolate), so let’s break it down.
Hempseed (Hemp) Oil
Hemp oil usually comes unrefined from cold-pressed hemp seeds, and is CBD and THC-free. It has been a beloved skincare ingredient for so long for its rich omega fatty acids three, six, and nine. Not only do these fatty acids hydrate the skin, but they also serve as anti-inflammatories both topically and internally.
Hemp Seed Oil
Also called cannabis sativa oil, it contains zero percent THC and is completely void of CBD (or contains only trace amounts).
The fatty acids present in the oil even help reduce signs of aging—NBD. When ingested, hemp oil definitely has its benefits, but keep in mind that it doesn’t have the same relaxing effect as CBD.
Isolate is just plain CBD (cannabidiol) without the bells and whistles. A lot of the time when you see “CBD” on a product label, it’s CBD isolate. Generally, isolated CBD is dissolved in a carrier oil like coconut or jojoba, and that’s how it’s used; it’s fully distinct from hemp oil unless the two are mixed after being created separately. With that being said, it has fairly similar properties to hemp oil.
CBD (cannabidiol) in its purest form, isolated from other elements found in the plant it was derived from.
CBD oil has also been shown to be anti-aging—but unlike hemp oil, the crux of CBD is its antioxidant effects. CBD’s incredibly strong anti-inflammatory properties are higher than that of hemp oil—which, along with the refinement process, is why it’s more expensive. Early studies also suggest that CBD is extremely effective at regulating the skin’s sebum production, which shows that it has big potential for controlling acne, too.
Broad-Spectrum and Full-Spectrum CBD
These are the other ingredients that can be marketed as CBD besides CBD isolate. If you read “-spectrum” at the end of any descriptor of hemp or CBD, it usually means that it comes with other cannabinoids found in the hemp plant—sometimes including THC (broad-spectrum CBD usually contains THC, while full-spectrum does not). Because those cannabinoids are included, you theoretically get what’s called “the entourage effect,” meaning, the other cannabinoids and terpenes work together with CBD to provide a more potent effect. Each has their own individual effect on the body, so think of it as a whole orchestra as opposed to a single violinist.
However, support for the entourage effect has been mixed. Scientists disagree when it comes to determining whether or not the other cannabinoids matter. Continuing the musical metaphor, it could be an orchestra of people who don’t know how to play—there just isn’t enough evidence for a sweeping declaration. Regardless, broad and full-spectrum CBD formulae are usually the ones most often used in products like tinctures, CBD vapes, and soothing creams—anywhere users want the “whole-plant” effect.
So What Do I Buy?
If you’re looking for something with a robust calming effect and can swing a higher price tag ($50+), a full-spectrum CBD product is likely the best fit for you. If you want a product that’s on the more inexpensive side (<$50), plus basic moisturizing and anti-inflammatory benefits, hemp seed oil is your best bet. And if you’re looking to reduce acne and inflammation with no other effects, you should lean towards an item with isolated CBD.
Broad-Spectrum CBD: Robust calming effect at a higher price point, derived from the “whole plant”
CBD Isolate: Treats acne and inflammation, separation from all other components of the cannabis plant makes it more pure
Hemp Seed Oil: Basic moisturizing and anti-inflammatory benefits at a lower price tag, derived from the seed
Of course, this is all presuming that each of these CBD forms would affect you in the same way they typically affect others—but the human body is a complicated system. Always read the ingredients list before you use a product and do your due diligence when you’re trying a new brand. As always, your doctor or dermatologist is the best person to consult when it comes to finding the right form of CBD for you.
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Belury MA, Andridge R, Malarkey WB, Glaser R. Omega-3 supplementation lowers inflammation and anxiety in medical students: a randomized controlled trial. Brain Behav Immun. 2011;25(8):1725‐1734. doi:10.1016/j.bbi.2011.07.229
What is Broad Spectrum CBD?
You may have been hearing a lot about CBD lately, but with so many different kinds available, even experienced CBD consumers can get confused. Below we’ll go over what broad spectrum CBD is, its benefits, and the differences between broad spectrum CBD, full spectrum CBD, and CBD isolate so that you can make an informed decision and find the products that fit your needs best.
What is Broad Spectrum CBD?
Let’s back up a bit. CBD, or cannabidiol, is just one of over 100+ cannabinoids that can be extracted from hemp. Scientists have found that these plant compounds have a better effect on the body when they work together, rather than alone. This phenomenon is called the entourage effect and, up until recently, was only associated with full spectrum CBD products which contain minute amounts of THC (less than 0.3%. Now with Charlotte’s Web TM Broad Spectrum THC-free† CBD, you can enjoy the benefits of the “entourage effect”.
Broad spectrum CBD is one of three main forms of CBD, the other two being full spectrum CBD and CBD isolate. Broad spectrum CBD products contain every cannabinoid found in the hemp plant, except for THC, the compound in marijuana that gets you “high.” This means that people who may be subject to drug screenings can still get the benefits of the “entourage effect” without the small chance of their CBD products triggering a positive drug test.
Is THC-free† CBD the same as broad spectrum CBD?
Yes and no. THC-free† CBD can be broad spectrum, but not all THC-free† CBD products are. As we’ll talk about in a bit, some brands use extraction processes that remove the THC and other cannabinoids along with it. By doing so, these THC-free† products are no longer considered truly broad spectrum. However, Charlotte’s Web has pioneered a new refinement process to ensure THC is removed to less than 0.01% and the other beneficial cannabinoids are left intact. The exact amount of cannabinoids in each bottle can be seen in that batch’s Certificate of Analysis.
Read our blog post on THC-Free CBD to learn more.
Broad Spectrum CBD vs Full Spectrum CBD vs CBD Isolate
Now that you know what broad spectrum CBD is all about, let’s go over how it’s different from both full spectrum CBD and CBD isolate as well as the benefits of each:
Broad Spectrum CBD vs CBD Isolate
CBD Isolate products differ from broad spectrum CBD products in that isolates only contain the CBD cannabinoid and nothing else while broad spectrum CBD products contain additional cannabinoids other than THC. The benefit of CBD isolate is that you can enjoy the benefits of CBD without worrying about consuming THC. However, by only consuming the CBD cannabinoid, you’re missing out on the added benefits of the “entourage effect” we talked about earlier.
Full Spectrum vs Broad Spectrum CBD
The difference between full spectrum and broad spectrum CBD is THC. Full spectrum CBD contains a variety of cannabinoids in the hemp plant, including THC, whereas broad spectrum CBD contains cannabinoids in the hemp plant, except for THC†. The benefit of full spectrum CBD is the enhanced “entourage effect” that comes with consuming cannabinoids together. However, because THC is present, full spectrum CBD products may trigger a positive drug test.
Broad Spectrum CBD and Hemp Extracts
Broad spectrum THC-free† hemp extracts combine the best of both worlds. You don’t have to worry about consuming THC while also getting the added benefits of a variety of cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. Keep reading to learn about how broad spectrum CBD is made.
How is Charlotte’s Web Broad Spectrum THC-Free† CBD Made?
To create the best broad spectrum CBD on the market, Charlotte’s Web has developed a sophisticated extraction method and processing technology called Supercritical Fluid Chromatography. This eco-friendly process produces a true broad spectrum extract unlike some other brands that use processes that tend to strip out most of the beneficial compounds along with the THC.
Everything You Want and Nothing You Don’t
Charlotte’s Web Broad Spectrum THC-Free CBD oil is perfect for people looking for the added benefits of a full-spectrum extract without consuming THC. To learn more about CBD, read our blog posts on why CBD may not be working for you and how much CBD is right for you or contact us directly.