"Full Spectrum" CBD & Why You Should Be Skeptical

Lately we are receiving a lot of questions surrounding the term “full spectrum.”

The purpose of this blog post is to discuss what “full spectrum” actually means, what it does not mean, and some of the problems associated with its use by companies selling THC-Free or CBD products with less than 0.3 percent THC oil online. We hope we can clear some things up. At Sow Eden we are about education and full transparency.

Just as a rainbow has many colors, full-spectrum cannabis oil contains a wide variety of cannabinoids including THC, CBD, CBG, CBC, and so forth.

Just as a rainbow has many colors, full-spectrum cannabis oil contains a wide variety of cannabinoids including THC, CBD, CBG, CBC, and so forth.



So let’s talk.

While we still have much to learn about cannabinoids such as CBD, the term “full spectrum” is making quite the buzz over the internet recently. “Full spectrum” implies that either the finished product such as a tincture or the concentrated oil used in the manufacture of said tincture contains a wide variety of cannabinoids — a “full spectrum”— including THC, CBD, CBG, CBC, CBN, and so forth.

The opposite of a full spectrum product is CBD isolate, in which all the other plant compounds have been stripped away through a chemical process. All that is left is 98+ percent CBD. CBD isolate contains zero traces of THC, other cannabinoids, and terpenes – the aromatic scent compounds. A recent study in Israel has demonstrated that CBD isolate products are less effective from a medicinal standpoint. The notion that CBD works better when in the presence of other cannabinoids and terpenes is known as the “entourage effect.”

In order for a company like Sow Eden to legally sell CBD oil products online, our products must contain less than 0.3 percent THC. Per government regulations, if a product contains no greater than 0.3 percent THC, then this means that it is “hemp-derived,” because hemp can legally contain 0.3 percent THC or less. By the way, CBD rich hemp is technically cannabis. Remember, it’s all about the THC concentration!

CBD isolate is usually a crystalline powder.

So here’s the catch: While high resin CBD “hemp” flowers generally contain less than 0.3 percent THC by dry weight, their full-spectrum extract contains more than 0.3 percent THC. So why does the THC increase when the oil is extracted? When the CBD-rich resin is concentrated into oil form, the 0.3 percent THC is also concentrated and the oil often ends up with a THC concentration greater than 2 percent! The same can be said about CBD. High CBD cannabis flowers can contain over 10 percent CBD, and once they are extracted into oil the CBD content jumps to over 50 percent. A true full-spectrum CBD oil generally contains a cannabinoid profile with over 2 percent THC, 1 percent CBG, etc. True full-spectrum CBD oil should only be available at a legal dispensary because of its higher THC levels.

Common CBD to THC ratios are 1:1, 24:1, and 30:1. Other names for full spectrum oil are RSO (“Rick Simpson Oil”), FECO (“Full Extract Cannabis Oil”), and “Whole-Plant” extract.

In order to transform this “hot” or illegal CBD oil back into legal CBD “hemp-extract,” the oil must undergo a secondary extraction process that mitigates the THC to legal levels – which once again are 0.3 percent THC or less. Unfortunately, volatile terpenes and other minor cannabinoids are lost in this secondary refinement process, which brings into question “full spectrum” claims made by many online companies using the term. Currently, no CBD rich hemp varietal exists with zero percent THC. This means that all CBD oil produced for legal hemp products must undergo some level of THC-mitigation. In sum, this means that all true full-spectrum CBD oil is refined and processed to some degree, unless of course online companies are selling illegal products with THC levels greater than 0.3 percent THC.

Currently, there is no regulating body governing the usage of the term “full spectrum.” This is problematic because companies can use the term as a marketing ploy. At the most, these companies should be calling their CBD products “broad spectrum” if they are using CBD oil or distillate. If companies are using CBD isolate instead of oil, they should absolutely not be using the term full-spectrum to describe their product(s).

One final point we will make is dilution rates of so-called full spectrum CBD oil. CBD oil extract is generally diluted and infused into various products, ranging from tinctures, capsules, balms, etc. If a CBD oil containing no greater than 0.3 percent THC is truly “full spectrum,” by the time the oil is diluted into a carrier oil the THC concentration becomes so low that most of the time the THC comes back as “non-detected”(ND) on laboratory tests. Many companies even make claims that after taking their so-called full-spectrum CBD products that you will not test “dirty” for THC on a drug test. The final THC levels found in infused-products are so negligible that the THC unlikely contributes to any synergistic effect with the CBD. Therefore, calling them “full spectrum” is misleading and inaccurate. Once again, a true full spectrum oil is best found at a cannabis dispensary or made at home using home-grown cannabis.

All of our products are made with the finest broad-spectrum CBD oil produced by our partner farms in Oregon, USA. They contain less than 0.3 percent THC. Learn more about our artful infusion process in our previous blog post!


If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask us!


© Sow Eden Organics, LLC


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