Many people who work in the cannabis industry advocate for “full-spectrum” products, meaning they advocate for the consumption of all of the cannabinoids found within cannabis. The benefit of consuming full-spectrum forms of cannabis is that you are able to experience all phytocannabinoids and they're potential benefits. So far, researchers have identified over 100 cannabinoid molecules within the cannabis plant.
When our endocannabinoid systems (ECS) is stimulated by all phytocannabinoids, we experience what is referred to as the “entourage effect”. The entourage effect refers to the synergistic interaction of all phytocannabinoids, which inspires a deeper physiological response than if any single cannabinoid was consumed on its own.
Even among full-spectrum CBD products, there is a spectrum of how much THC you could expect to find within. The difference depends on whether the CBD was derived from “marijuana” or “hemp”. As of the 2018 Farm Bill, the US government distinguishes between “marijuana” and “hemp” based on the amount of THC found within the Cannabis Sativa plant. If it has more than 0.3%, it is considered marijuana. If it has less than 0.3% THC, then it is considered hemp. The majority of products available in the CBD marketplace are hemp-based as hemp is federally legal, while marijuana is still federally illegal.
Broad-Spectrum: A cannabis product that contains all phytocannabinoids but zero THC.
Opting for a broad-spectrum CBD product allows a consumer to experience their own entourage effect (the synergistic combination of the various phytocannabinoids found within cannabis) of all cannabis compounds with the exception of THC.
This may be the right approach for someone who is not permitted to consume THC for legal or occupational reasons. For instance, federal workers in the United States are not permitted to consume cannabis products containing THC this is similar for most, if not all, professional and amateur athletes.