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The Differences: CBD Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum and Isolate

By Amy P. Castro

When it comes to CBD, not all products are created equally. Although the FDA has oversight of the human use of CBD, the agency has not approved cannabis use for animals, nor has it reviewed CBD pet products for quality or efficacy. Therefore, retailers who recommend CBD products to their customers must do their homework so they fully understand what’s really in those products and should always advise them to consult with their veterinarians before adding CBD to their pet’s regimen.

One critical factor is how much CBD is actually in a product. Independent research has found that many products claiming to have high levels of CBD turn out to have very little. Additionally, the range of active cannabinoid molecules in a product can have a huge impact on its effectiveness. A product containing all the chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant will have different properties than one containing CBD only. To understand the difference, you need to understand some key CBD terminology.

Full-spectrum CBD products are those whose CBD extract contains all the chemicals that naturally occur in the cannabis plant, including CBD, terpenes, flavonoids, trace cannabinoids and essential oils. Each of these items may have additional health benefits beyond the benefits of CBD alone. Most full-spectrum CBD products for pets come from hemp because of the plant’s low THC content. According to the law, hemp plants must contain no more than 0.3 percent THC. Full-spectrum CBD is the least processed form of CBD and produces what is known as the “entourage effect,” which is the combined benefits of all the plant’s ingredients working together. However, full-spectrum CBD can sometimes have a strong flavor that can be off-putting to some pets.

CBD isolate products are those whose CBD extract contains only CBD and no other cannabinoids or plant material. CBD isolate products contain the highest concentration of CBD. CBD isolates do not produce the “entourage effect” because they don’t contain any other plant material or naturally occurring chemicals in the plant. However, because it doesn’t contain plant material, it is flavorless, which could make it more palatable to picky pets.

Broad-spectrum CBD means the CBD extract contains all the compounds in the cannabis plant except THC, which is removed after the initial extraction from the plant. Broad-spectrum CBD also produces the “entourage effect” of the plant’s ingredients, except of course for the THC. However, there are few broad-spectrum CBD pet products on the market.

Chelsea Rivera, head of content for, said, “We opt for full-spectrum oil because studies show it is most effective due to the entourage effect. CBD is powerful; however, when combined with all other cannabinoids (including THC), the benefits multiply.”

Although the CBD pet product market is still relatively new, retailers who stay on top of the latest research and have a working understanding of the different types of CBD products will best be able to advise their customers about which products are right for their pets.