Rescue 1 CBD Blog

Full Spectrum vs Broad Spectrum CBD for First Responders

If you’re new to the CBD world, you might not know that there are different types of CBD. As a first responder, the type of CBD you buy matters. What’s the difference between full spectrum vs broad spectrum CBD for first responders?


Full spectrum vs Broad spectrum CBD for first responders

Can first responders take either? Does it matter for drug testing?The difference between full spectrum and broad spectrum CBD

Full spectrum CBD products contain 0.3% THC in them. Is this enough to fail a drug test?


They both contain more than one cannabinoid. But, one has THC.

Hemp has over 100 compounds in it. The family of compounds that we’re so obsessed with is the family of cannabinoids like CBD. CBD and THC are the main cannabinoids found in hemp and marijuana, but there is a whole spectrum of major cannabinoids like those just mentioned and minor cannabinoids like CBG, CBC, and CBD just to name a few.

In short, Full Spectrum CBD contains THC with CBD and maybe has some other cannabinoids. It’s a kind of a misleading name because it doesn’t contain the full spectrum of cannabinoids. This industry isn’t regulated by a government agency like the FDA so there really isn’t a defined or specific criteria for calling a product Full Spectrum.

However, it’s an unspoken rule among the farmers/manufacturers of CBD products that a Full Spectrum CBD product contains at least the two cannabinoids CBD and THC. It can contain others, but doesn’t have to.

Legal note: Full Spectrum has to contain <0.3% THC by weight otherwise it’s considered marijuana.

By that same unspoken rule, broad spectrum can never contain THC. But it still has to contain CBD and at least one other cannabinoid. For example, a very common formula is CBD with CBG. This would be considered broad spectrum because it contains CBD and one other cannabinoid but has NO THC.


Can full spectrum CBD cause a failed drug test?

It’s only 0.3% THC, but it CAN cause a failed drug test

Cannabinoids bind to fat in your body and once they do, they’ll hang out for a long time before your body gets rid of them. This means that your body can become saturated with cannabinoids over time. This is a good thing and it has some proven health benefits for homeostasis, inflammation, as well as a whole slew of researched stuff that we couldn’t fit into this article. 

That being said, if that cannabinoid that’s saturating your body is THC, it will build up slowly over time faster than your body can eliminate it and will pass the threshold for a failed drug test sooner or later (in most people). This is mostly a theory since there are no double-blind controlled studies for this, however there are plenty of case studies where Full Spectrum CBD causes failed drug tests after consistent use.

Anyone who tells you the THC content in Full Spectrum CBD is not enough to cause a failed drug test has been misinformed. If you take random drug tests, it’s important that you avoid Full Spectrum CBD and read the lab test to ensure that the THC content is 0.000% (With THREE zeros after the decimal place).

(All Rescue 1 CBD products are created and tested to have 0.000% THC)


Is broad spectrum CBD better than full spectrum CBD?

Depends on what you want it for!

THC gets a bad rap because it produces intoxicating effects and it’s federally illegal if it comes from the marijuana plant, plus it also causes a failed drug test like we spoke about. 

But for pain relief, it appears to be the superior cannabinoid compared to CBD. This is because THC affects your CB1 receptors which are mostly in your central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) as they relate to pain reception.

CBD affects CB2 receptors that reduce inflammation and stress.

So, if your pain is from inflammation, Broad Spectrum can be just as effective. If your pain isn’t from inflammation, Full Spectrum may be the superior product.

The issue will always come down to drug testing for us. If you’re drug tested for marijuana, Full Spectrum could cause you to fail your drug test and should be avoided.

(All Rescue 1 CBD products are created and tested to have 0.000% THC)

Fire departments in general do not distinguish between full spectrum and broad spectrum CBD products. They simply allow or prohibit them based on your policy.


See our blog post on FD/Union CBD policy and language


They both have their benefits, but if you’re taking random drug tests for marijuana it’s important that you stay away from Full Spectrum CBD because the industry standard is to keep the naturally occurring amount of 0.3% THC in the product. This is a small amount, but it can lead to a failed drug test.

Broad spectrum CBD doesn’t contain THC. Well, it’s not SUPPOSED to contain THC. But, since this is an unregulated industry it’s on you to check your products and your lab tests to know if you’re buying from a reputable source. See our post on what to look for in a lab test. We lab test the hell out of our products and make sure there’s always 0.000% THC in every order of broad spectrum you place.


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About Rescue 1 CBD

At Rescue 1 CBD, our mission is to challenge the status quo of health and safety in the US Fire Service, while also bringing to light the potential of the cannabidiol compound to be a game changer for wellness. 

We are also here to provide products and information to help first responders stay healthy well into retirement. Our content is aimed at leaving the Fire Service better than we found it by letting firefighters have a more common sense-based standard for physical and mental wellness.

Our enduring goals are: improving our first responders’ sleep and physical/mental health and helping them to cut back on the number of medications required to do what they do on a daily basis.


*Always be sure to consult a physician before making any changes to your health or fitness regimen.*


Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Disclosure

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases. This website contains general information about diet, health, and nutrition. The information is not advice and is not a substitute for advice from a healthcare professional.