What Is Full-Spectrum CBD?

In Brief: What Is Full-Spectrum CBD?

Full-spectrum CBD contains a full range of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavanoids, THC extracted from the cannabis plant. This wide range of compounds may work synergistically to produce an entourage therapeutic effect. Currently, there is limited research on the beneficial effects of full-spectrum CBD over other types and, therefore, warrants further investigation.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the psychomimetic compounds derived from the cannabis plant.

It has been proposed to have reduced symptoms of neuropsychiatric disorders. Studies reported its anti-epileptic, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anxiolytic properties.[1] [2]

There are many types of CBD based on the extraction process, including CBD isolate, full-spectrum CBD, and broad-spectrum CBD.

In this article, the focus is on full-spectrum CBD and its associated benefits.

What is full-spectrum CBD?

Full-spectrum CBD refers to an extract with a full range of cannabinoids, cannabidiol, terpenes, fatty acids, and trace amounts of THC (0.3% or less) extracted from the cannabis plant.

It may offer a holistic approach to the benefits of cannabis plants. It demonstrated anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects.[3] [4]

The most commonly used method to extract full-spectrum CBD is low-temperature supercritical CO2 extraction using a closed-loop extractor.

The carbon dioxide runs through the dried cannabis plant, and extracts containing cannabinoids and other bioactive components are left at the bottom of the chamber.

The extract is then refined, purified to remove unwanted lipids, chlorophyll, solvents, retaining a full range of cannabis compounds.[5]

Key features and benefits of full-spectrum CBD

Here are some of the key features and benefits –

Least processed

The full-spectrum is the least processed form of CBD and is closest to the cannabis plant in their biochemical constituents.

Follows a linear response curve

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical school study showed that full-spectrum CBD does not follow a typical bell-shaped response curve, unlike CBD isolate.

CBD isolate (purified form) followed a characteristic inverted U-shaped response curve.

When CBD reached peak concentration beyond which therapeutic impact declined, whereas full-spectrum CBD followed a linear curve once the peak plasma concentration is reached rather than falling. [6]

Effectiveness with Dosage

The effectiveness of the full-spectrum continued to increase as the doses increase with no ceiling effect. Also, the researchers found that a small amount of full-spectrum CBD achieved significant pain relief compared to CBD isolate, and the effect lasted longer.

On the other hand, the therapeutic effect of CBD isolates occurred only within a limited window; therefore, it limits its clinical use.[7] [8]

Entourage Effect

Full-spectrum CBD may produce an entourage effect.

It occurs when the active components work together in synergy, interacts with the endocannabinoid system, and potentially amplify the health benefits.

Therefore, full-spectrum CBDs are considered more beneficial and powerful. [9]


Sativex, a full-spectrum cannabis extract containing 2.7 mg of THC, 2.5 mg of CBD, minor cannabinoids, and terpenoids, improved neuropathic pain in multiple sclerosis and cancer pain.

It also prevented chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting [10] [11]

Other Benefits

A combination of THC with cannabinoids may reduce pain, nausea, and improved GI motility. [12]

CBD, CBG, and terpenoid, pinene inhibited MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). Full-spectrum CBD may offer an excellent and safe antiseptic agent. [13]

Epidemiological studies showed that higher CBD content might protect against memory loss, psychotic symptoms, and drug cravings induced by THC.[14]

The different terpenes including, linalool, alpha-pinene, beta-caryophyllene, flavonoids along with CBD, offered pro-cognitive and neuroprotective effects.[15]

CBD showed promise to control increased sebum production, thereby control the pathological root of acne.

Cannabis terpenoids (limonene) can inhibit P.acne, a key pathogen in acne. A future synergistic approach combining CBD and terpenoids may control acne.[16]

Future research studies examining the entourage effect of cannabis components will help in determining the benefits of full-spectrum CBD.

Risks associated with full-spectrum CBD

Full-spectrum CBD contains a small percentage of THC (delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol).

It can still give a positive during drug screening tests.

Moreover, it has a strong natural flavor and aroma of the cannabis plant.

Also, not all full-spectrum CBDs available in the market are of pure quality, and it may contain contaminants that will cause adverse side effects.


Full-spectrum CBD contains a full range of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and THC extracted from the cannabis plant.

It takes advantage of entourage effects and may offer improved health benefits.

There are limited research studies about the benefits of full-spectrum CBD over other types.

Therefore, more well-designed research into full-spectrum CBD and its chemical composition is necessary.