Full Spectrum CBD Oil UK: Is The Whole Plant Best?

If you use CBD oil or would like to start, you will have come across products that mention the words "full spectrum" and "broad spectrum". Would you like to know the difference and which one is best? Then you've come to the right place.

Full Spectrum and Broad Spectrum CBD Oil: The Difference

Full-spectrum CBD oil and broad-spectrum CBD oil are both made from extracts of the hemp plant (or cannabis plant). The extraction method is the same, except for one detail: there is an extra purification step to make CBD broad-spectrum, where the THC is removed. As a result, broad-spectrum CBD oil contains 0% THC. 

Cannabinoid Hemp Oil Extraction and Purification

To obtain any type of CBD, an extract from the (hemp) plant needs to be made. The most common methods for transforming dried hemp into an initial crude extract are alcohol and CO2 extraction. The dried plant material is infused into either solvent, which is then filtered off and evaporated to leave a crude extract. This extract contains all the cannabinoids, chlorophyll (the green colour of plants), oils and waxes, terpenes, flavonoids, etc., but none of the solid parts of the plant. It has a dark colour, with a powerful odour and a particularly bitter taste. In this state, it is often impossible to use it in products.
Fortunately, there are ways of purifying this raw CBD extract. One such method is distillation, during which elements such as chlorophyll and THC can be specifically removed, leading to full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD. In another step called 'winterisation' the extract is cooled to the point where the oils and waxes solidify, allowing them to be separated. Finally, there's crystallisation, which creates a pure CBD isolate in the form of a powder or, as the name suggests, crystals.


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Whole Plant Full Spectrum CBD Oil: Entourage Effect

When a full-spectrum extract of the hemp plant is diluted in carrier oils (for example MCT oil, olive oil, or hemp seed oil), the resulting product is a full-spectrum CBD oil. As well as CBD, this product contains other cannabinoids such as CBG, traces of THC and sometimes terpenes and flavonoids. The presence of all these compounds can lead to what is known as the "entourage effect", where they amplify each other's effects [1]. As long as the full-spectrum CBD is extracted from varieties of industrial hemp that contain little THC (0.2% per unit of hemp dry matter), it will not get you high and it is legal in the UK and EU.

Broad Spectrum CBD Oil: Best CBD Oils

Analogous to full spectrum CBD oil, a broad-spectrum CBD oil is a mixture of broad spectrum distillate in carrier oil. The major difference is that this product contains no THC. Nevertheless, it still contains a range of other cannabinoids and terpenes found in the hemp plant, so you can still benefit from an entourage effect. Our Harmony premium CBD oil is made using the highest quality broad spectrum CBD extract to let you enjoy all the benefits the hemp plant has to offer without having to worry about ingesting traces of THC. 

CBD Isolate: Best for Vaping

Although at Harmony we don't use CBD isolate in our oils, we do use it in certain cosmetic products and our 10ml e-liquids. This is because CBD isolate is 100% pure and delivers a precise dose of CBD that won't interact negatively with your vaping hardware or other skincare products you might be using.

Organic CBD Oils

Whether it's full or broad spectrum or even isolate CBD oil - all these hemp and CBD products can of course also be organic. Organic CBD oils means that they are made from certified organic natural ingredients and organically grown hemp extracts.


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The Benefits of CBD Oil

The benefits of full spectrum CBD oil and broad spectrum CBD oil are plentiful according to user feedback and a growing body of scientific studies: among them better quality sleep, relaxation, reduced stress and anxiety. One study suggests that CBD can have a positive effect on sleep quality if taken at a minimum dosage of 25 mg in the evening [2]. And a survey of CBD users revealed that 42.5% of them use it to improve their sleep or even to treat insomnia. With regard to stress management, the same survey showed that 37% of CBD users use it to combat stress and 42.6% to treat the anxiety they feel [3]. And indeed, the anxiolytic properties of CBD have been proven by further research [4]. Stress is a growing symptom in our society, and CBD oil could contribute to greater general well-being. In addition, preliminary studies are showing certain anti-inflammatory, antioxidant [5] and analgesic properties [6] of CBD. This means that it could potentially be used for even more therapeutic purposes. 


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How Much CBD Oil Should I Take?

Consuming CBD oil is very simple: place several drops of CBD oil under your tongue (the number of drops depends on the CBD content of your oil and the dosage you want to consume). Leave the drops under your tongue for as long as possible before swallowing or taking a sip of water. This method of administration is called "sublingual application" and ensures better bioavailability (i.e. maximum absorption) [7]. 70% of CBD consumers take CBD oil in this way.
The effects of CBD will depend on the quantity of drops you consume, the concentration level of the CBD oil, and of course your personal tolerance to cannabinoids. CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system in our bodies, which is different from person to person. Be patient when you take CBD - start with a lower dose and gradually increase it if you feel it's needed, always monitoring your body's reaction.

Our CBD oils come in the form of a dropper bottle or spray containing between 15 ml and 30 ml of liquid, at a very affordable price that varies according to the CBD concentration. A little pro tip to get the most out of CBD oil: consume the oil at the same time as a high-fat meal, as this could increase bioavailability by around 4x according to one study [8].

Should I Choose Full Spectrum or Broad Spectrum CBD Products?

At this point, the question you're going to ask yourself is: which type of CBD oil is best? Our short answer is: it's up to you! If you're worried about the effects of THC, either physically or as part of a drug test, it's best to choose a broad spectrum CBD oil. With full spectrum products, the effects of CBD can be more enhanced or modulated by the THC in the blend.

When choosing a product, always look at the certificate of analysis, as this will tell you the levels of all the cannabinoids present in the product. This is the best way to check that there is no THC and to know whether the product is full spectrum or broad spectrum. Finally, as always, if anything is unclear or you need help making a decision, please don't hesitate to contact us. We'll be delighted to help.


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Portrait of Anna Falk

written by

anna falk - head of product

As the Head of Product at Harmony, Dr Anna Falk leads the development of our products and provides expert tips for your wellness. With over 10 years of experience in the research and development of natural products, her work is based on rigorous scientific studies.

Anna is an award-winning, internationally published researcher with a PhD in Organic Chemistry. She applies her expertise to develop Harmony's certified products that support your overall well-being. From research to development, she ensures that our products are of the highest quality and meet the highest standards.

We ensure our content is current and accurate with strict guidelines about sourcing that rely on governmental authority, academic institutions and peer-reviewed studies..

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  • [2] Shannon S, Lewis N, Lee H, Hughes S. Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. Perm J. 2019;23:18-041.link to source
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  • [8] Taylor L, Gidal B, Blakey G, Tayo B, Morrison G. A Phase I, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Single Ascending Dose, Multiple Dose, and Food Effect Trial of the Safety, Tolerability and Pharmacokinetics of Highly Purified Cannabidiol in Healthy Subjects. CNS Drugs. 2018 Nov;32(11):1053-1067.  link to source