5 Different Types of CBD Products – And How To Know Which is Right For You

So you’ve been hearing a lot about CBD lately…it’s started to take the world by storm. First, you heard stories about it on the news; then a friend told you about how it has been helping them; and lastly, you started doing some research to see if you could find some relief from CBD for your particular ailment.

But the second you got online to get your hands on some CBD, you found a whole world of different options…hemp-derived CBD, marijuana-derived CBD, THC-free, full spectrum, broad spectrum, the one that Aunt Martha uses…and you felt stuck again. How are you supposed to decide which CBD is right for you?

We want to help shed some light on this for you. There are many different types of CBD products out there to choose from, and we want to help you understand each one so that you can decide which product is best for you.

5 Different Types of CBD Products

1) Hemp-Derived CBD vs. Marijuana-Derived CBD Products

Cannabis is cannabis, right? So does it really make a difference whether the CBD comes from hemp or marijuana?”

Actually, yes it does make a difference. A lot of people out there don’t realize that there are different strains of cannabis–hemp and marijuana, for instance–so they don’t realize that the CBD you get from each strain is vastly different.

Let’s look at the compositional differences between hemp and marijuana first.

There are two primary classifications of cannabis: Indica and Sativa. Marijuana is considered a member of both families while hemp is only classified as Cannabis Sativa. Because both strains are derived from Cannabis Sativa, they do share similarities; however, the differences that they do have are distinct and crucial, specifically when it comes to CBD products.

Cannabis contains a wide variety of different cannabinoids, the two most prominent being THC and CBD. While both cannabinoids have been shown to have tremendous benefits for the body, THC is the compound that has the psychoactive, or high-inducing, element while CBD does not.

This is one of the major differences between hemp and marijuana. While both of the major cannabinoids are found in both plants, marijuana has much higher natural levels of THC and lower levels of CBD, whereas hemp is rich in CBD and low in THC. For a cannabis plant to be considered hemp, it has to have 0.3% THC or less in the plant, which is a level that is so low that it’s impossible to get “high” off of it. Marijuana typically has THC levels ranging from 5%-30%.

Marijuana-derived CBD products are going to be higher in THC, meaning that they could have the potential for getting a person high. Many times, they are also considered to be a stronger option for medicinal uses, depending on what kind of health issues a person is dealing with.

Hemp-derived CBD products contain little to no THC, which means that there isn’t psychoactive effect that comes with it, but you get the health benefits of Cannabis. Marijuana doctors often recommend that people start with hemp-based CBD treatment since it is the milder form of the two products and then work their way up in dosage or product if needed.

2) Full Spectrum CBD Products

Alongside hemp-derived and marijuana-derived CBD, there is a whole other vocabulary of words used to describe different types of CBD products, and one of those terms is Full Spectrum.

Full Spectrum CBD gets its name based on the kind of extraction that the CBD underwent to begin with.

In order to obtain CBD, companies use extraction machines that pull a bunch of different chemical compounds out of the plant. This includes terpenes, cannabinoids, and even additional elements like chlorophyll.

This kind of oil is considered “full spectrum”.

The Ministry of Hemp1 also goes into this particular extraction process, why this kind of CBD oil is considered Full Spectrum, and why that’s significant,

“The cannabis plant contains hundreds of different phytochemicals including cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds. Full spectrum CBD or hemp oil generally refers to products that not only contain CBD but contain the other plant molecules as well. This version of CBD oil is minimally refined, leaving most of the cannabinoids and terpenes intact and in the oil.

“Full spectrum, sometimes also called “whole plant,” means the full plant extract is included. Full spectrum provides more of the plant’s molecules in ratios and amounts that nature intended.

“While there is still more research to be done, there are indications that show cannabinoids and terpenes work together2 to influence each other. This synergistic effect is called the entourage effect and has seen CBD work with THC to reduce the effects of a high3 and CBD to influence ones own cannabinoid receptors.4

The entourage effect has been a topic of some argument in the cannabis community. The entourage effect states that the cannabinoids and terpenes found in cannabis and hemp work better together to have an amplified healing effect, more so than any one of those chemicals have on their own.

It relates directly to an argument over full spectrum CBD oil vs. isolate CBD oil. The idea is that if the entourage effect causes the cannabinoids and terpenes to work in a more effective and cohesive way that if they were isolated lends to the argument that full spectrum CBD oil is more effective than isolate CBD oil.

3) Isolate CBD Products

When a bottle of CBD oil is labeled as “isolate”, it’s also referring to the extraction process that it went through.

The plant is sent through the extraction machine and once all of the CBD is initially extracted, they put the oil through another round of processing and refinement so that it is only CBD oil and nothing else–no terpenes, no other cannabinoid trace, just CBD.

While it may seem like a no brainer to use full spectrum CBD vs isolate CBD, isolate CBD oil has its place, as CBD Origins goes into in their article5 comparing and contrasting the two different types of CBD products,

“It was previously believed that CBD in its isolated form was more potent and concentrated than full spectrum CBD; however, in 2015, the theory was debunked by a study6 from the Lautenberg Center for General Tumor Immunology in Jerusalem. In the study, researchers administered full spectrum CBD and CBD isolate to two different groups of mice. When comparing the data of the two groups, the results proved that the group administered with full spectrum CBD were provided with higher levels of relief. Furthermore, the study demonstrated that full spectrum CBD continued to provide relief as the dose increased, while CBD Isolate did not provide the same effect when there was an increase in dosage.

“While full spectrum CBD has ultimately proven to be more effective than CBD Isolate and can be used to effectively treat a wide variety of ailments, it does not discredit the effectiveness of CBD Isolate. There are a wide variety of situations when CBD isolate would be preferred over Full Spectrum CBD. For example, you may not necessarily need the full capabilities of Full Spectrum CBD, or if you aren’t legally allowed to use THC. It is also important to note that other cannabinoids may cause negative reactions when isolated CBD wouldn’t (if the condition you are suffering from is critical, we definitely advise you speak to a medical consultant before trying out any version of CBD).”

4) Broad Spectrum/THC-Free CBD Products

If you noticed the theme, most of the names of the different types of CBD products have to do with where they came from and how they were extracted, and broad spectrum CBD products are no different.

Broad spectrum CBD products are extracted and processed with the specific goal in mind of removing any trace amounts of THC that remained after the initial extraction. After the initial extraction, the THC is isolated and removed, leaving you with a THC-free product that is still rich in CBD and other cannabinoids and terpenes.

Broad spectrum CBD is like a hybrid of full spectrum CBD and isolate CBD. Broad spectrum CBD is like isolate CBD in that it has no THC in it. But it’s like full spectrum CBD in that it has a wide range of other cannabinoids, terpenes, and chemical compounds and therefore benefits from the entourage effect.

Broad-spectrum CBD is great for people that can’t have any traces of THC in their system, whether for legal purposes, passing a drug test, or anything else. Removing the THC in these broad-spectrum CBD products also ensures that someone can enjoy the benefits that CBD has to offer without having to worry about any legality issues.

5) Synthetic CBD Products

The last of the different types of CBD products that we want to touch on is synthetic CBD.

Synthetic CBD products are man-made chemical compounds whose chemical composition matches that of CBD exactly, but that also comes with a plethora of negative side effects.

Synthetic CBD was Big Pharma’s way of trying to get into the CBD industry. They started creating their own versions of synthetic CBD in the 1940s in an effort to replicate the health benefits that you get right from the plant.

The problem arose as people started using these synthetic CBD products. They started to experience many different adverse side effects, even to the point of experiencing a psychoactive high. This caused people to think that CBD was similarly responsible like THC in having mind-altering properties, but studies later showed that it was the synthetic product itself that was causing people to experience the high. And while studies watched as the man-made CBD product caused even more issues for the people taking it, the natural forms of CBD were found to not have any of these negative side effects.

Along with this, a range of other bad side effects was being seen. And these are the same side effects that the FDA warns potentially come with using synthetic CBD:

  • mood changes;
  • dizziness, trouble concentrating;
  • feeling “high”;
  • weakness, lack of coordination;
  • anxiety, confusion;
  • stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea;
  • warmth or tingly feeling; or.
  • sleep problems (insomnia).
  • disturbing psychiatric symptoms
  • hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • syncope (fainting),
  • tachycardia (fast heartbeat)
  • death

In 2015, the CDC received notification that the U.S. poison centers were receiving an influx of phone calls related to the ingestion of synthetic CBD7. The National Poison Data System tracks monthly calls to all of the poison centers across the country, and they reported that adverse health effects or concerns about possible adverse health effects related to synthetic cannabinoid use increased 330% from 349 calls in January 2015 to 1,501 calls in April 2015.

“It is this synthetic CBD that has been causing so much fear in the CBD conversation,” says HempLucid8,

“This conversation is causing politicians to create bills behind closed doors, media outlets to scream terror from the rooftops, corporations to collect patents, and the unknowing public to sit on their couch watching the manipulated conversation unfold, perfectly content that this natural plant will not be available unless they have great insurance or a thick wallet.”

This isn’t just a problem with big pharmaceutical companies, anymore. With the cannabis industry on the rise, especially after the Farm Bill passed in December 2018, there is a lot more potential for sub-par and synthetic products to be made and sold by companies looking to make a huge profit off of unsuspecting people.

Choosing a product that is naturally cannabis-based is a much better, smarter health move for you than choosing a synthetic CBD product. The real, natural thing is the best option and could help you find relief for the health issue that you are dealing with.

Which is right for you?

Hopefully, this helps as far as creating a clear picture and understanding of the different types of CBD products out there.

Typically, people end up narrowing the options down to Full Spectrum CBD and Broad Spectrum CBD, with the deciding factor being whether or not they want or don’t want trace amounts of THC in their product. Both of these two different types of CBD products will give you the full range of health benefits and the benefits of the entourage effect.

Now you can go and choose the product that is right for you!


  1. “Full Spectrum CBD VS. CBD Isolate: Which CBD Should I Take?” Ministry of Hemp, Ministry of Hemp, 18 Dec. 2018, www.ministryofhemp.com/blog/full-spectrum-cbd-isolate/.
  2. Russo, Ethan B. “Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects” British journal of pharmacologyvol. 163,7 (2011): 1344-64.
  3. Schubart, Christian D., et al. “Cannabis with high cannabidiol content is associated with fewer psychotic experiences.” Schizophrenia research 130.1-3 (2011): 216-221.
  4. Thomas, Adele, et al. “Cannabidiol displays unexpectedly high potency as an antagonist of CB1 and CB2 receptor agonists in vitro.” British journal of pharmacology 150.5 (2007): 613-623.
  5. Cadena, Aaron. “CBD Isolate Vs. Full Spectrum CBD – CBD Origin – Medium.” Medium.com, Medium, 7 Sept. 2017, https://medium.com/cbd-origin/cbd-isolate-vs-full-spectrum-cbd-b78a6eab319c.
  6. Gallily, Ruth, Zhannah Yekhtin, and Lumír Ondřej Hanuš. “Overcoming the bell-shaped dose-response of cannabidiol by using cannabis extract enriched in cannabidiol.” Pharmacol Pharm 6.2 (2015): 75-85.
  7. “Notes from the Field: Increase in Reported Adverse Health Effects Related to Synthetic Cannabinoid Use – United States, January–May 2015.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 12 June 2015, www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6422a5.htm?s_cid=mm6422a5_w.
  8. Ballard, Jared. “Pharma Is Working Hard to Chemically Mimic the Benefits of Natural CBD. Be Warned There Is a Huge Difference between Man Made Synthetic CBD and Natural CBD Made by Good Mother Earth.” Hemplucid CBD Oil Natural Products, 26 Feb. 2019, www.hemplucid.com/blogs/news/synthetic-cbd-know-the-difference/.