This guide will teach you the 3 different types of CBD and help you understand the benefits and effects of each one, which is full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate.
We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here's our process.
If you have been searching for CBD products online then you have most likely seen the terms Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, or Isolate on several products.
The problem is most people don't know what those terms mean. This brings on some confusion about should I be taking Broad Spectrum, Full Spectrum, or Isolate and is one better than the others.
So, which one should you try? The variety of CBD products, and the different types of CBD, can make things overwhelming.
Isolate, broad-spectrum, and full-spectrum, are the three most common types of CBD, and they’re each created differently.
For that reason, we are here to simplify and explain what the differences are and how you can pick the right product for you.
Don't go anywhere because we're about to break down everything you need to know about the different types of CBD and common CBD products.
What Are The 3 Different Types of CBD
First up, let's take a look at the different types of CBD. There are three main types of CBD on the market. These are full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate.
Therefore, when shopping for CBD products, the first thing you want to get clear on is which of these three forms of CBD is best for your specific needs and preferences.
What Is Full-Spectrum CBD
Full-spectrum CBD contains CBD, as well as multiple other cannabinoids naturally found in the cannabis plant, including terpenes and small amounts of THC.
As you might know, THC is the compound found in cannabis that's responsible for the altered state effects associated with marijuana consumption.
Now, why would you want THC in your CBD?
According to a study done in 2018, 62% of people take CBD for medical symptoms. Most CBD users aren't taking it to get high.
However, it turns out that small amounts of THC can enhance the effects of CBD for certain health symptoms. For instance, research has shown that CBD in conjunction with THC offers enhanced pain relief.
To keep in line with federal laws, full-spectrum CBD products only contain up to 0.3% THC. This is not enough to have psychoactive effects.
Therefore, you can use full-spectrum CBD without worrying about accidentally getting high.
Though, take note that if you are consistently using full-spectrum products, the trace amounts of THC can accumulate over time, causing you to possibly fail a drug test.
Learn more about Full-Spectrum CBD oil here.
What Is Broad-Spectrum CBD
Like full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD contains multiple cannabinoids besides CBD. However, all of the THC is removed.
Because of this, broad-spectrum CBD products are legal in all states. What's more, they can also be a good choice if you have concerns about passing workplace drug tests.
If your workplace has a stringent anti-drug policy, you can safely take broad-spectrum CBD while still benefiting from the entourage effect of the various cannabinoids it contains.
What Is CBD Isolate
For those who want to try CBD but don’t want to risk ingesting trace amounts of THC—CBD isolate may be the best option.
THC free CBD isolate products are generally labeled as being 99 percent pure CBD. As the name suggests, these products have been isolated down to just the CBD molecule.
They have no other active ingredient and just aim to deliver therapeutic doses of CBD, isolated from the other cannabinoids and terpenes within the hemp plant.
Most common reasons people want to avoid THC: Those who are drug tested for THC, those who just don’t want to consume even the tiniest amount THC for whatever reason or for some people that are sensitive to THC, even trace amounts of THC can cause grogginess or other unwanted side effects if you are sensitive.
The table below summarizes common terms you should know when shopping CBD.
Cannabinoids are naturally occurring chemical compounds that are found in cannabis as well as hemp plants. Common cannabinoids besides CBD include THC, CBC, CBG, CBN, and offer much more promising results when taken together.
Terpenes are aromatic compounds found in plants, including cannabis that helps create the right environment for the synergistic effects of cannabis to occur, otherwise known as the entourage effect. However, While most scientists believe in the entourage effect, it is still only a hypothesis.
Meaning that when terpenes work with cannabinoids like CBD and THC, they form a synergy that creates stronger and better effects than both would achieve on their own. Terpenoids are the unsung heroes of cannabinoid wellness.
Flavonoids are known for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory health benefits providing painkilling properties that aren’t available from just terpenes and cannabinoids alone.
Certificates of Analysis (COA): A COA from a third-party lab is a detailed document that displays the lab test results.
The COA provides independent evidence showing the exact cannabinoid profile, potency, and THC content in a given product plus other test results, which show that the product is free from pesticides, heavy metals, and other impurities.
Entourage effect is the theory that all of the compounds in cannabis, including cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, work better together than when taken alone.
Ways to Take CBD
Now that you know about the different forms of CBD let's take a look at the most common types of CBD products you can find on the market.
These consist mainly of CBD oils, tinctures, beverages, edibles, topicals, and vape juices.
Research is still limited on whether CBD is safe or even effective for dogs and cats. Before giving your pets CBD, it’s best to check with your vet first.
CBD Oil and Tinctures
One of the most common types of CBD products is CBD oils which are CBD-infused liquids.
You can take CBD oil by putting it directly under your tongue (that part of the mouth is a capillary-rich area and so the CBD will reach your bloodstream quicker). This method is known as sublingually.
The downside of this type of CBD product is that some people don’t like the taste because CBD oil has an unpleasant taste when taken sublingually.
Capsules or Softgels
When looking at different CBD options, you'll most likely also come across CBD capsules and soft gels and they come in either broad-spectrum, full-spectrum CBD, or CBD isolate.
The disadvantage is that CBD capsules are taken orally, passing through your digestive system before entering the bloodstream.
CBD is only effective when it reaches the bloodstream. The longer the journey to the bloodstream, the less CBD will inevitably reach the bloodstream.
One of the advantages of taking CBD in capsule form is that you can easily control the dosage.
If you love a good snack and are keen to try CBD, then edibles can be one of the best CBD products to sample.
CBD edibles generally contain either full- or broad-spectrum CBD or CBD isolate.
There are many CBD edibles available these days, including CBD-infused chocolate, and gummies, etc.
However, edibles typically have one of the slowest release times of all the different types of CBD products. On the other hand, the CBD results last longer than oils.
As you can probably guess from the name, CBD infused drinks is simply beverages that has been infused with cannabidiol. When it comes down to it, there are two ways to make CBD drinks.
One option is to add CBD oil directly to your favorite beverage and the other is to buy CBD drinks with CBD already in them.
The easiest way to get your morning cup of joe with CBD is with a CBD coffee pod.
CBD vape starter kits, vape pens, and vape juice is now widely available. The exact ingredients vary from brand to brand—however they broadly consist of the regular vape juice components with one of the forms of CBD added.
If you vape, then CBD vape juice might be one of the most enjoyable types of CBD products to try.
Last but not least, we have topicals. Topicals are all types of CBD products that are applied to the skin. Creams, lotions, patches, or ointments.
Topicals are great for providing direct relief to a specific spot on the body.
CBD topicals are generally used to treat things like arthritis pain, sore muscles, skin conditions, and bites and stings.
Shopping for CBD Products
When looking for CBD products, only consider the most trustworthy CBD companies that provide clarity for consumers and transparency when it comes to their formulas.
With this in mind, here are some of the best CBD products on the market. All of these options, listed below, come from reputable brands with transparent lab testing, clean hemp sources, and excellent track records with their customers—so you can trust that you’re getting the highest-quality CBD product out there.
Best Isolate CBD Oil: Medterra Isolate CBD Oil
Medterra is one of the premier CBD brands that many customers love and trust. It sells a wide range of high-quality CBD products. But, their isolate CBD oil is its number one selling product.
Learn more about the Medterra brand and its products here.
Medterras' Hemp is grown and extracted in the USA, is fully compliant under the Kentucky Department of Agricultural Industrial Hemp Pilot Program and it's certified by the U.S. Hemp Authority.
Medterra recommends starting with a lower dose and potency to see how your body reacts to CBD.
With that advice in mind, users can purchase one of the lower-potency options available initially and use the suggested serving size information on the label.
Why Choose Medterra:
- Medterra guarantees there will be zero THC in this product
- Good for day or night
- A great option if you want to experience CBD benefits without THC
- Good for reducing stress, easing pain and discomfort, and better sleep
The tincture is exceptionally well-reviewed. Over 3,500 customers on Medterras' site and most say it's a great product. Very few users say that I really haven't noticed any change bad or good.
Best Organic Broad-Spectrum: R&R Medicinals Fresh Mint THC-Free Tincture
R&R spent nine months developing its USDA Certified Organic Broad-Spectrum formula to include a similar cannabinoid profile that customers get with their Full-Spectrum products, without any THC.
This is truly Broad Spectrum because its specialized Organic process yields a phytonutrient rich blend that delivers a complete entourage effect that includes natural terpenes, flavonoids, and antioxidants.
From farm to end-product, it’s all done in an FDA registered facility and is registered with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).
They never use inorganic chemicals or pesticides on their hemp, which is raised using natural growth methods.
Every product is third-party tested to ensure potency, safety, and quality. Their lab test results are readily available on their website.
Why Choose R&R Medicinals:
- Non-detectable levels of THC according to HPLC analysis by third-party labs
- FDA registered facility
- One of the first brands to earn the USDA Organic Certification
- High-quality, effective CBD product
- Good for anxiety, stress, is relaxing for sleep and reduces overall aches and pain
Most customers agree that R&R has some of the highest quality CBD on the market. Not only does R&R have the best price, they have the best customer service!
Best Full-Spectrum: Nuleaf Naturals CBD Oil
NuLeaf is one of the oldest leading reputable CBD oil brands on the market today. Highlights of the brand include quality customer service, quick and free shipping, and highly effective full-spectrum CBD offerings.
Learn more about the NuLeaf Naturals brand and its products here.
NuLeaf Naturals’ Full-Spectrum CBD Oil is hands down, one of the best tinctures I’ve tried. This tincture is made with just two simple ingredients: CBD extract and organic virgin hemp seed oil.
I really like that it’s oil comes in a light-defense glass to keep your tincture fresh day after day.
All products are made with organically grown hemp in Colorado and are cGMP certified (Current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations enforced by the FDA).
If you're just starting out with Nuleaf's CBD, I recommend getting the smallest size. It's 300 milligrams of full-spectrum CBD.
This is a good sample size of the product, and it’s the brand’s lowest-priced CBD oil, which is a great place to start with if you aren't sure whether this brand is right for you.
Why Choose Nuleaf Naturals:
- Contains the optimal amount of naturally occurring synergistic cannabinoids and terpenes to maximize healing effects
- A whole plant CBD extract that’s highly concentrated in CBD
- Ensures a safe and regulated product, with unsurpassed potency and consistency
- Eco-friendly farming
- Good for Pain relief, Reduced inflammation, Stress reduction, Improved sleep, and Overall wellness
With having over 24,000 highly rated customer reviews, NuLeaf Naturals is a superior product with exceptional customer service.
Best THC-Free Gummies: Green Roads CBD Relax Bears
These award-winning gummies are an all-time favorite of mine because they have a great flavor and really work for getting some relaxation time in.
Green Roads Pharmacist-formulated products are THC-free, gluten-free, and soy-free and have always been a customer favorite.
They pack a rush of delicious fruit flavor, with a tiny sour note that complements the taste and masks the taste of the hemp.
With 10mg of CBD in each relax bear, these CBD treats deliver on their name's promise by helping you to unwind and destress when needed most.
They've got delicious flavor, satisfying texture and they're made with the highest standards of quality.
Why Choose Green Roads:
- Powerful enough to take the edge off and help you relax at the end of a long day, but mild enough for regular day-time use too
- Made with CBD isolate
- I found that taking one was just enough for relaxation
- A great Pharmacist formulated brand and products are consistently good quality
- Good for a truly relaxing and delightfully tasting CBD gummy
With having over 6,000 positive reviews, these gummies are one of the best on the market. So if you're looking for an amazing product to help you relax and just have a better day or great evening, give them a try.
Best High Potency Broad-Spectrum Gummy: Joy Organics CBD Gummies
Joy Organics USDA-certified organic high potency CBD gummies are a customer favorite, and it’s no surprise why. This convenient formula is designed for the ultimate stress management go-to for the hectic moments in your daily life.
They are sweetened with clean ingredients like organic tapioca syrup and organic cane syrup. They’re gluten-free, vegan, and free of THC.
The gelatin-free composition of Joy Organics’ CBD gummies makes it a perfect choice for vegans.
This consumer-first brand differentiates itself from competitors with three foundational pillars: quality, transparency, and outstanding customer service that is friendly, respond in a timely manner, and is helpful in answering your questions.
Why Choose Joy Organics
- Made with premium-grade organic ingredients
- The broad-spectrum extract brings out CBD’s benefits without the THC
- I was impressed with both the taste and the calming effectiveness of these gummies
- No corn syrup or artificial flavors
- They don’t just test for potency (CBD and THC content); they also test for over 50 pesticides and other contaminants
These gummies are popular amongst Joy Organics' customers. Saying excellent as always. Effective at chillin' the nerves and they love the low sugar content. Along with being so happy with the results.
Best Full-Spectrum + THC Gummies: Cornbread Hemp CBD Gummies
Unlike other CBD brands, Cornbread Hemp uses flower only instead of the whole plant to make their products more potent without the stems and leaves of the hemp plant (which doesn't contain CBD anyway).
These gummies pack a punch with 1mg of THC and 20mg of CBD per gummy. They don’t contain high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin, or artificial colors. Instead, you just get the high quality vegan good stuff.
And they are organic having the USDA organic seal to back it up.
Cornbread Hemp also offers discounts for military and veterans, first responders, teachers, medical professionals, disabled, low-Income, and unemployed under the Discount Programs tab.
Why Choose Cornbread Hemp
- The cannabinoids in these gummies are derived from the flower of the plant, and not the stalk and stem, providing higher cannabinoid and terpene content
- These gummies are vegan and free from high-fructose, gelatin, corn syrup, and artificial colors or flavors
- Better tasting and more potent and effective at reducing my anxiety
- Good for everyday use for feeling less pain, less anxiety, and sleep much better
Verified buyers share that these CBD gummies are perfect when you need a relaxed mood. Quite a few customers had success with the whole flower CBD gummy which helped improve pain and discomfort and their sleep. The flavor is good with little to no aftertaste.
Strongest Topical Salve: CBDistillery CBD Salve
Totally smooth and packed with full-spectrum extract, this strong 500mg CBD Salve is a sore muscle and pain relief dream.
What we love about CBDistillery salves is that they are made with all-natural ingredients that are kind to your skin that is non-greasy and absorbs easily and quickly.
This topical salve has a whipped consistency with air bubbles intact. It has an enjoyable, light scent and feel upon dipping into the jar.
CBDol goes on smooth with a somewhat oily feel that dries down once the salve has had time to absorb into the skin.
This salve brings the benefits of CBD directly to your skin for long-lasting targeted relief.
Why Choose CBDistillery
- One of the strongest CBD topical products on the market
- Provides pain relief below the surface
- Relief is strong, nearly immediate, and lasts for up to a few hours
- Lets you get back to daily tasks without constantly being interrupted by the pain
- Good for pain relief such as back, neck, or joint pain. Its anti-inflammatory properties are beneficial for sore muscles and tension, swelling, and arthritis and to calm skin disorders like eczema and psoriasis or to help heal acne or rashes
Verified buyers share that this CBD salve felt and smelled good and went on easily. It's a great product. CBDol Topical Salve is an essential part of their CBD routine.
Best Anti-inflammatory CBD Cream: CBDfx CBD Cream For Muscle & Joint Cooling Formula
This product packs a different kind of punch, and CBD’s pain-relieving qualities begin to work their magic quickly along with the other natural ingredients including White Willow Bark, known as ‘nature’s aspirin‘.
The formula contains potent anti-inflammatory botanical extracts like white willow bark, menthol, and caffeine that are proven effective in the treatment of muscle aches and joint pain.
I like that unlike a thicker salve or balm, this cream is thin enough that a small amount covers a pretty large area.
One small, metered pump from the bottle produced only a dime-size of cream but was enough to cover an entire knee area.
One small pump of this CBDfx CBD Cream releases a mixed aroma of menthol and essential oils. The smell is what you would expect from a cream meant for deterring pain and muscle aches, but, it's not as mentholated smelling as an Icy Hot type product.
Why Choose CBDfx
- The menthol cooling effect of this cream is immediate. As soon as the cream touches your skin, you feel the soothing relief you were hoping for
- Vegan and cruelty-free
- Contains potent anti-inflammatory botanical extracts
- Water-based topicals more easily travel through the different layers of the skin and reach affected areas
- Works well for 3hrs plus
- Good for aches and muscle cramps, restless leg syndrome, tennis elbow, sciatic swelling, and pain. Works for a wide range of ailments, topically.
Verified buyers share that this CBD Muscle & Joint Cooling Formula felt it's an extraordinary product that delivers. They have experienced good relief with this product. It works better than anything else they've tried.
How to Pick A CBD Product
It all comes down to your preferences, your lifestyle, and the reasons you want to take CBD.
Topicals, Oils, Gummies, Softgels, what's best for you?
Many people like to take CBD as an Oil (oral drops). You simply put the desired amount in your mouth and hold it for 30 to 60 seconds before swallowing. It’s one of the most effective ways to take CBD.
Topicals are your source of on-the-spot CBD support for muscle or joint pain, arthritis-related pain, or nerve pain.
Softgels offer a simple way to supplement your wellness plan with CBD, especially if you don't enjoy the taste of CBD oil tinctures or want an easy on-the-go option.
Gummies or other edibles can be a convenient, tasty way to take CBD. While CBD oil consumed under the tongue works faster and more noticeably, CBD that passes through the digestive system can take 30 minutes or longer to take effect. But, once it’s kicked in, the CBD benefits stick with you a lot longer.
Pick the one that best fits your personality, circumstances, and daily wellness routine.
CBD Safety and Side Effects
While CBD is generally considered safe, there may be some side effects, according to a 2017 review.
Here are the most commonly reported side effects:
- changes in appetite or weight
It’s a good idea to speak with your doctor before trying any CBD product to play it safe, especially if you’re currently taking any medications. CBD may interact with some OTC drugs, dietary supplements, and prescription medications.
If you’re using a topical CBD product, start with a test patch to make sure you don’t have an adverse reaction before you use it more broadly.
Some CBD Warnings To Be Aware Of
- Do not use if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have a medical condition, or are taking any medications.
- Keep out of reach of children and pets.
- Do not take full-spectrum if you are subject to a drug test.
- Not intended for use by anyone under 18 years of age.
- Consult your physician before use.
Final Thoughts: Types of CBD
With all the options out there and the CBD lingo, it can feel very confusing when you first start trying to decide which types of CBD to try.
So which type of CBD is right for you?
Finding the right type of CBD for you depends on several factors.
It's important to understand the differences between the most common types, as everyone's preferences and lifestyles do vary.
Whether you’re concerned about cost, effectiveness, or passing a drug test, familiarize yourself with these 3 types of CBD that are full spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate.
Along with third-party lab tests (COA) will allow you to know what’s inside the CBD you’re buying and how it will interact with your body to bring you balance and relief.
Hello! We are writers here at Hemp Jubilation. We are a diverse small group of experienced CBD users. We strive to bring you the finest, up-to-date reviews and content on all things CBD.
We have been writing about CBD for more than 5 years and have tried and reviewed dozens of CBD products. We are knowledgeable about the popular CBD brands and products, the CBD industry as well as the science and research behind this popular natural remedy.