What Does Full Spectrum Mean?

Many hemp oil and CBD products on the market today claim to be full-spectrum, but what exactly does this term mean? How important is a product's terpene profile, and does it affect how we experience the benefits of a specific product?

Full-spectrum CBD consists of a variety of cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes. If you feel confused with the terms like full-spectrum, pure spectrum, and broad-spectrum we’ll try to make it all a bit easier to understand.


A full spectrum product refers to a cannabis concentrate that preserves the full cannabinoid and terpene contents of the raw cannabis plant. The purpose of a full-spectrum extract is to maintain the diverse compounds found in the cannabis plant intact, without altering them through decarboxylation or oxidation. This helps to maximize the synergies created between the different terpenes within the plant.

Popular terms used to describe a full-spectrum extract include:

  • Live Resin.
  • High Terpene.
  • High Cannabinoid.
  • Full Spectrum Extract.
  • Full-Spectrum Extract

    The Cannabis plant in its raw form has unique cannabinoid and terpene profiles that in combination with other compounds can create unique therapeutic effects. A full-spectrum extract is a type concentrate that provides all the therapeutic compounds of the raw cannabis plant which is then distilled capturing all the available compounds from the trichome glands removing any unwanted by-products and terpenes such as THC.

    Hemp Oil

    Hemp oil is extracted from the cannabis Sativa plant and Hemp seed oil comes from only seeds of the hemp plant. Hemp oil has very little risk of intoxication as all forms of hemp oil come from food-grade strains of hemp. Food-grain strains of hemp must contain less than 0.3 % tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is the compound responsible for causing the euphoric and intoxicating effects of cannabis.

    Hemp seed oil is slightly different from cannabinoid oil (CBD). Hemp seed oil comes from small seeds of the cannabis Sativa plant. Hemp seeds do not contain the same level of compounds as the plant itself, although they have a rich profile of nutrients, fatty acids and useful bioactive compounds that make hemp seed oil apt for therapeutic use. In contrast, CBD oil uses the stalk, leaves, and flowers of the hemp plant which contain a greater concentration of the beneficial terpenes that lie within the plant.

    What are Terpenes?

    Terpenes are aromatic oils present in many fruits and flowers including cannabis. Terpenes provide colors and flavors to each cannabis strain such as citrus, berry, mint, and pine. Development of terpenes in cannabis evolved for adaptive purposes; repelling predators and luring pollinators, but these terpenes can have positive effects on humans when ingested. Hemp plants terpene production depends upon climate, weather, fertilizers, soil type, age and maturation, and time of the day. There are over 100 different terpenes found in the cannabis plant and every strain consists of unique terpene type and composition a.k.a. "profile."

    Terpenes Contribute To The Beneficial Effects Of Hemp Oil

    Terpenes play a key role in differentiating the effects of cannabis strains. Some terpenes promote relaxation and stress relief. Others promote focus and acuity. Terpenes add great depth to the art of horticulture and add therapeutic value to cannabis as each has its unique medicinal properties. Additionally, with their unlimited combinations of potential synergistic effects, terpenes are opening up new scientific and medical scopes associated with cannabis research.

    Some Terpene Types Include:-

    1) Myrcene

    It is found in many relaxing cannabis strains like Blue Dream, OG kush, Cherry Pie and Granddaddy Purple. It has herbal qualities and is found in hops, mangoes, and lemongrass.

    2) Terpinolene

    It is found in uplifting, active strains like Jack Herer and Ghost Train Haze. It is fruity in flavor.

    3) Caryophyllene

    It is found in black pepper, cloves, and cinnamon. It is peppery in flavor and fuchsia in color. Caryophyllene dominant strains are Original Blue and GSC that leads to a negative experience.

    (Read more about Terpenes)

    The Entourage Effect

    The entourage effect describes the highly beneficial synergistic relationship between different cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds when combined in the cannabis plant and ingested. When cannabis is consumed hundreds of botanical compounds are assimilated into the body. Terpenes and cannabinoids work together each with their unique effects and benefits creating the entourage effect.

    Full-spectrum cannabis extraction preserves the nature of the extracted compounds. Lack of decarboxylation maintains an acidic form of cannabinoids found in the plant. Acidic cannabinoids of therapeutic benefit are quite different from neutral counterparts. This is the reason why users may not want to use full-spectrum extracts that have been decarboxylated.

    The spectrum of available compounds varies from cultivar to cultivar. Even the chemical makeup of the spectrum depends upon when it is cultivated from the plant as both the genetic and the environmental factors play a crucial role in creating the spectrum of compounds.

    Different Full-Spectrum Extracts

    • Sauce

    Often referred to as terp sauce, is a non-uniform extract with a sticky, liquid consistency. It consists of most if not all of the plant's available compounds including high-level of terpenes (that renders it an exceptional flavor). The sauce can be a full spectrum product free from plant fats and waxes.

    • Live Resin

    Extracts made using plant material that was frozen immediately after harvest are considered as live resin. This process ensures maintaining the full spectrum available at the moment of harvest and maintaining Aroma as fresh as that of the live plant. Live racing extracts are considered the most flavorful and aromatic concentrates in the market as the monoterpenes are not lost from these extracts.

    • Rick Simpson Oil (RSO)

    It is undefined and potent cannabis oil extracted with the help of ethanol or naphtha. This is not a full spectrum extract as it consists mostly of all trichomes available compounds. In other words, the RSO extraction process is carried out using a room temperature solvent that extracts all of the plant's fats and waxes. This is why RSO is not considered a full-spectrum extract. RSO is still a very beneficial extract that renders benefits in different medical marijuana patients.

    Clearing the Air of Confusion

    If you feel confused with the terms like full-spectrum CBD, pure spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum, etc, it is all about the number of different cannabinoids and plant material found in the product. Full-spectrum CBD consists of a variety of cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes. Full-spectrum CBD products undergo less processing than CBD isolates.

    Manufacturers use dried hemp plants to extract cannabinoids. A method known as supercritical CO2 extraction is used to draw out different plant compounds. On the other hand, for broad-spectrum or isolates, manufacturer filter and process the oil more extensively until only desired cannabinoids are left. Full-spectrum CBD is also referred to as a pure spectrum. Some of the cannabinoids you can expect in pure spectrum products include:-

    Cannabidiol (CBD)

    This is nonpsychoactive cannabinoid famous for its wide range of daily usage.

    Cannabigerol (CBG)

    CBG is a harbinger to other cannabinoids. It is an essential compound with its own benefits. Recent studies are showing it has promise in helping the body maintain stasis. It is found in quantities of less than 3% in pure spectrum oils.

    Cannabichromene (CBC)

    CBC is one of the most abundantly found cannabinoids and binds with the body’s vanilloid receptor 1 and ankyrin 1 receptors which are linked to pain perception.

    Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV)

    It is found in tiny quantities in the full spectrum products and has wide implications for appetite control as well as anxiety suppression.

    Consuming Hemp Oil Products

    Full full-spectrum CBD products could be ingested in the form of a tincture, capsule or even as a topical cream.

    • Tincture

    CBD tincture, or CBD Oil, is a simple combination of CO2-extracted CBD and organic coconut oil. Tinctures come in a variety of flavors, like Original (unflavored), Lemon, Blueberry, Mint and more. The flavored tinctures use organic extracts of their named flavors. A full spectrum tincture is made with the finest quality CBD, extracted from hemp grown organically. It contains a wider array of cannabinoids and terpenes with less than .3% THC.

    (Read more about Tinctures)

    • Topicals

    A CBD topical is any cream, lotion, or salve that’s infused with CBD and can be applied directly to the skin. It allows users to target the areas that hurt most. For patients with arthritis, back pain, or ache in particular parts of their body, topical products ensure CBD gets exactly where it is needed. 

    • CBD Capsules

    CBD capsules are the easy alternatives in the CBD pills form. These capsules render an option to take CBD in a traditional pill form when CBD tinctures neither are nor preferred. CBD capsules are found to be more convenient to incorporate their daily routine. Active ingredients in these capsules include- Organic Fractionated Coconut Oil, CO2-extracted Full Spectrum Hemp Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, and Gelatin.

    Close Inspection Of Full Spectrum Product

    While CBD oil, the product would include a carrier oil to stabilize and preserve the CBD and help your body absorb it. The main ingredients of the product may be grapeseed oil, MCT oil, olive oil, or even cold-pressed hemp seed oil.

    CBD oils or an edibles might also contain a natural or artificial flavoring or coloring. While buying a full-spectrum product, cross-check the THC percentage to be assured of its effects. Before buying abroad- or full-spectrum product, check cannabinoids and terpenes included. 

    As a rule of thumb always look at the most recent lab results for a product. If labs are not made available for a particular product you are interested in it is advised to keep searching.

    Labs provide you with important information that certifies not only the purity of the product but will also provide information about the strain and growing method used to produce the plant as well as the method used to extract the desired terpenes.

    Serenity Potions only offers products whose manufacturers make Lab results available. CBD Lab results will include the potency and terpene profile analysis providing you with a high-quality product and a level of potency you can rely on.

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