Find out what makes a good full-spectrum CBD oil and why products from NuLeaf Naturals, FOCL, PlusCBD, Kanibi, Sunsoil, and more made our list.
Healthline has sole editorial control over this article. Potential uses for the products listed here are not health claims made by the manufacturers. The information in this article is intended to be general in nature. It’s not intended to be a substitute for medical advice from a healthcare professional. Healthline encourages you to make any treatment decisions with your healthcare professional.
If you’ve tried cannabidiol (CBD) oil for its therapeutic benefits, you may have used broad-spectrum CBD, full-spectrum CBD, or CBD isolate. They all come from the same plant, but that doesn’t make these types of CBD extracts the same.
Read on to learn why full-spectrum CBD is different and what makes a good full-spectrum CBD product. We’ve also rounded up 11 of the best full-spectrum CBD oils on the market today.
Both full-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate are derived from the cannabis plant.
Full-spectrum CBD extracts contain all the compounds that naturally occur in the cannabis plant, including trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). That’s the cannabinoid associated with the cannabis “high.”
A theory called the entourage effect suggests that taking all the cannabinoids together is more effective and beneficial than isolating a single cannabinoid. That’s one reason why you might consider a full-spectrum CBD oil.
A CBD isolate, on the other hand, is exactly as it sounds — it’s been refined so that it’s only CBD, with no other compounds from the plant.
This can be a good option if you’re interested in the therapeutic benefits of CBD but want to avoid THC completely. You won’t experience the entourage effect, but there’s research that suggests taking CBD alone may have benefits.
There are lots of CBD oils on the market, but availability alone doesn’t make them all safe. At this time, the FDA doesn’t guarantee the safety, efficacy, or quality of over-the-counter CBD products, which means it’s up to the consumer to choose wisely.
As you consider CBD products, check for current certificates of analysis (COAs). They should be easy to find on the company’s website or available upon request. Scan the COA to get an idea of how much CBD a product has to ensure it matches the label. You should also look check that the product has passed testing for contaminants like:
Opt for CBD companies that are forthcoming about where they grow their hemp and how they make their products. Scanning customer reviews may also offer insight into how effective a particular product has worked for others.
Finally, check for any FDA warning letters or pending lawsuits from the brand you’re considering.
Shake the bottle well and use the included dropper to measure an appropriate dose. Place it beneath your tongue and hold it there for 30 seconds to 1 minute so it can properly absorb, then swallow. Note that CBD oils that are ingested will most likely take longer to take effect.
You can also add CBD oil to food and drinks, but absorption occurs during digestion, so it may take longer to feel the effects.
Full-spectrum CBD oils will come with a recommended dosage. Because appropriate serving sizes can vary significantly depending on factors like body weight, metabolism, and body chemistry, it’s always best to start with the lowest dose so you can gauge your reaction. You can gradually increase your dosage over time until you get your desired results.
Research suggests that, in most cases, CBD is considered safe to use, but some people can experience negative reactions. These can include:
appetite and weight changes
Talk with your healthcare professional before taking CBD, especially if you’re taking any medications or supplements. CBD could interact with certain medications, including those with a grapefruit warning.
Full-spectrum CBD does contain THC, the compound associated with feeling high. But by federal law, it must be in very small amounts (less than 0.3%).
For most people, that’s not enough to feel intoxicated. However, those effects can depend on a product’s potency and how much you consume at one time. A large enough dose of a very potent product could be enough to produce a euphoric effect.
What is the difference between full-spectrum CBD and broad-spectrum CBD?
Both full and broad-spectrum CBD contain various components from the cannabis plant, including different cannabinoids and terpenes. But while full-spectrum CBD contains up to 0.3% THC, broad-spectrum CBD contains no THC.
If you want to avoid THC in a CBD product, even in low amounts, look for broad-spectrum or isolate products.
Can full-spectrum CBD cause anxiety?
A 2014 study that looked at the impact of medical cannabis in the treatment of neurological conditions found a possible link between higher levels of THC and anxiety. Other evidence suggests cannabis may help relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety.
More research is needed for a definitive answer, but if you’re prone to anxiety, you may want to explore CBD options without THC, like broad-spectrum or isolate products.
Will I test positive for THC if I take full-spectrum CBD?
You might. If enough THC is present, it can show up on a drug test. That’s why it’s important to buy CBD products from reputable brands that test their products to confirm potency.
Full-spectrum CBD oil can be worth trying if you’d like to experience the benefits of the entourage effect.
Keep in mind that full-spectrum CBD products do have trace levels of THC. While it’s likely not enough to cause any kind of intoxication, that will depend on a product’s potency and how much you’re taking.
Talk with your healthcare professional before trying CBD.
Is CBD legal? The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the legal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. This made some hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC legal at the federal level. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3% THC still fall under the legal definition of marijuana, making them illegal at the federal level. Some states have legalized CBD, so be sure to check state laws, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the FDA has not approved nonprescription CBD products, and some products may be inaccurately labeled.
Jessica Timmons has been working as a freelance writer since 2007, covering everything from pregnancy and parenting to cannabis, chiropractic, stand-up paddling, fitness, martial arts, home decor, and much more. Her work has appeared in mindbodygreen, Pregnancy & Newborn, Modern Parents Messy Kids, and Coffee + Crumbs. See what she’s up to now at jessicatimmons.com.
Last medically reviewed on November 9, 2023
How we reviewed this article:
Healthline has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.