Full-Spectrum, Broad-Spectrum, Isolate, and PCR Oil: What’s the Difference?

As great as cannabidiol is, not all cannabidiol is created equal. 

There are three major types of cannabidiol oil out there: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate. And then there’s the term PCR, or phytocannabinoid-rich, which is used to describe some types of oils but not others. 

In your quest to find the right product, you may have come across any or all of these terms. Maybe you’re wondering which one is best. In this article, we’ll be diving deep into precisely that. Here’s what you need to know. 

What is Full Spectrum Cannabidiol Oil?

To put it simply, full-spectrum hemp oil is a type of cannabidiol oil that contains the fullness of hemp’s most active ingredients. 

These ingredients include cannabinoids (like cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol), flavonoids, terpenoids, chalcones, chlorophyll, and more. Yes, full-spectrum cannabidiol oil does contain some tetrahydrocannabinol, though by law, its concentration must stay under .3%. All told there are over 300 active compounds in the hemp plant, and a genuine full-spectrum extract will capture many of them. 

How it’s made

Making full-spectrum cannabidiol oil is pretty simple. It involves taking dried hemp flower, placing it into a specialized, airtight machine, and running what’s called a solvent through it. This solvent strips hemp’s fat-soluble compounds (i.e., all the good stuff we mentioned earlier) away from its plant material. 

Typical solvents include CO2 and ethanol. The final product is a concentrated extract that, once diluted and bottled, it’s good to go.

Bear in mind that verifying that your cannabidiol oil of choice is solvent-free is very important. That’s why we’ve rounded up the six essential analytical tests you should know in this nifty article.

Full-Spectrum Pros

The best thing about full-spectrum cannabidiol oil is an obvious one: it remains as close to nature’s design as possible. 

Scientists have shown that full-spectrum oils are more effective, per unit, than any other type of hemp oil. They’ve also discovered that full-spectrum cannabidiol was four times more effective than cannabidiol isolate on an mg-for-mg basis. It turns out that the full spectrum’s trace ingredients help cannabidiol work better, thanks to the entourage effect.

Full-Spectrum Cons

There’s only one downside to full-spectrum, however, and it’s a rare one. In some cases, people can be allergic to it. 

While not to the cannabidiol itself, of course, some of the terpenes featured may potentially cause allergic reactions. For example, people with an allergy to pine may have a hard time with full-spectrum cannabidiol oil because of its sometimes-high pinene content.

What is Broad Spectrum Cannabidiol Oil?

Broad-spectrum cannabidiol is cannabidiol that contains, well, a broad-spectrum (not a full-spectrum) of hemp’s most active ingredients. Most often, it contains everything full-spectrum cannabidiol does…just without any trace of the psychoactive compound. 

This type has risen into popularity in the last couple of years because they offer the best of both worlds — trace compounds and the freedom from stigma.  

How it’s made

Broad-spectrum starts just like full-spectrum does. First, hemp is extracted to form a full-spectrum extract, at which point advanced techniques like fractional distillation or mass spectrometry are employed to remove the extract’s psychoactive compound component precisely. Further procedures, like winterization, may be used to remove fatty acids or chlorophyll and improve the consistency of the oil. 

In simple terms, broad-spectrum cannabidiol oils are processed twice before being diluted, bottled, and sold. 

Broad Spectrum Pros

Broad-spectrum cannabidiol oils engage the entourage effect nearly as well as their full spectrum counterparts do — they’re super-effective! They may also have a refined — yet still earthy — taste.  

Finally, broad-spectrum cannabidiol is a favorite of those who need to pass drug tests thanks to its nonexistent psychoactive compound values. 

Broad Spectrum Cons

As good as broad-spectrum cannabidiol is, there’s some evidence that its lack of psychoactive compounds leads to diminishing returns. The psychoactive compound serves to ‘open up’ specific endocannabinoid receptors en route to helping cannabidiols work better; once this psychoactive compound is removed, cannabidiol has to fly solo and bind to receptors on its own. 

What is Cannabidiol Isolate?

Cannabidiol isolate is the third and final type of cannabidiol oil product. As its name implies, it is pure, isolated cannabidiol. There’s no psychoactive compounds, no terpenes, no flavones — nothing at all!

Isolate takes the form of pure, whitish powder. The purer the isolate, the more crystalline this powder can get. Furthermore, cannabidiol isolate is also tasteless and scentless.  

How it’s made

Cannabidiol isolate starts as other cannabidiol oils do, but it’s refined even further. Sometimes harsh solvents are used to separate cannabidiol molecules away from everything else, so opt for a cannabidiol isolate manufacturer that provides comprehensive lab tests, such as INX Labs.

Cannabidiol Isolate Pros

When done right, cannabidiol isolate can be really good!  It mixes into virtually anything, and it’s both fat and water-soluble. It also seems to provide plenty of help to those with anxiety. Finally, cannabidiol isolate has been very well-studied; scientists often prefer analyzing isolates over natural, whole plant forms. 

Cannabidiol Isolate Cons

Even then, cannabidiol isolate isn’t as powerful as other types of cannabidiol oil. It misses out on the entourage effect — and because it doesn’t contain any trace compounds to modulate things, it can also be hard to dose. Those who are desperate for relief may unwittingly take too much cannabidiol isolate and experience mild side effects like dry mouth.   

What is PCR Oil?

PCR oil, or PCR hemp oil, isn’t so much a type of product as it is a broad umbrella term. 

PCR is often used so consumers know they’re getting the type of hemp oil that contains cannabidiol, not the kind that comes from hempseeds. Full-spectrum cannabidiol, broad-spectrum cannabidiol, and cannabidiol isolate are all examples of PCR oils. 

Why? Because they’re all rich in phytocannabinoids! If you’re looking to activate your body’s endocannabinoid system and improve your health, PCR hemp oils are the way to go. 

Want to make sure the quality of your hemp-derived products is the best one for your business? INX Labs’s goal is to deliver our clients quality analytical data with reasonable pricing and rapid turn-around time of test results. Set up an appointment or give us a call today:

How Common is Toxic Mold?

Are you worried that something in your home or workplace could be making you sick? More than 200 species of toxic mold are potentially poisonous and could cause serious health effects.

How common is toxic mold?

Molds are ubiquitous in homes and buildings where they grow and spread in damp conditions. Toxic molds are usually found indoors and can be white or greenish or, in the case of Stachybotrys atra, black, which gives it the more commonly-used name Black Mold. Indoor mold can often be found in attics, behind drywall, under carpets, in insulation, fabrics, leather, and foods. 

Any time an area of a house has been exposed to a leak or moisture, it should be thoroughly verified for the presence of mold, which presents as fuzzy, foul growths of differing colors. Mold breaks down and destroys any fabric or material it grows on and can affect the safety of a building. If you notice a new water stain on a wall, bowed buckled floorboards, or black or white specks on a surface, it is time to investigate. 

How does toxic mold affect your health?

Allergic reactions to mold are the most common health effects of mold and are, therefore, the most significant health risk related to mold. It may cause asthma attacks in people who have a history of asthma and are allergic to mold. Even in some nonallergic individuals, mold can cause symptoms of irritation in the skin, eyes, and airways. The “black mold” Stachybotrys, along with some other types of mold, produces toxins known as mycotoxins that can irritate the skin and airways in susceptible individuals.

The presence of molds may lead to allergic reactions, and the reactions may happen immediately or develop after the following exposure. Symptoms and signs of mold allergy may include:

  • sneezing
  • runny nose
  • coughing
  • wheezing
  • watery eyes
  • redness of the eyes
  • itchy eyes
  • skin irritation, or rash

Where does mold grow in homes?

Bathrooms, shower stalls, and basements are usually moist areas prone to mold growth; any damp area in the home can be moldy. Other examples of areas in the house that can harbor mold with the right growing conditions are drywall, ceiling tiles, furniture, ductwork, carpets, roofing, under sinks, and the areas around plumbing pipes. Mold spores from the outdoor air can enter the building through open doors, windows, and vents. It can also attach to clothing, shoes, and pets and, therefore, be carried indoors.

How do you remove mold from your home?

Mold clean up procedures are somewhat dependent upon the extent of the problem and the type of surface contamination. There are some solutions available such as the INX Labs Do It Yourself Mold Air Test Kit that gives a solid understanding of the contaminants you’re breathing in and the health effects that may result from that exposure. The kit also provides insight into what microbes you may be blowing throughout your home. This mold test gives you a cost-effective alternative to expensive third-party complete home mold inspections. 

Be sure to discuss any health problem with a healthcare professional before attempting to remove and clean mold if you have an allergy or are sensitive to molds. Use rubber gloves when washing with soap and water. Avoid touching moldy surfaces with bare hands.

If using bleach and harsher cleaning agents, use nonporous gloves (for example, natural rubber, neoprene, nitrile, polyurethane, or PVC) along with protective eyewear. Wearing an N-95 respirator can further limit exposure to airborne mold or spores when cleaning. 

After mold removal, it is essential to prevent mold further by keeping affected areas as dry as possible.

10 Facts About Pesticides That Will Help Your Hemp Crop

If you’re growing hemp commercially, these are the things to bear in mind when working with pesticides.

  1. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates pesticides under the 1996 Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. The act provides regulation of pesticide distribution, sale, and use. All pesticides must be registered by EPA to be distributed or sold in the United States.
  2. Through a scientific, legal, and administrative procedure, the EPA examines the ingredients of the pesticide, the site or crop where it is to be used, the amount, frequency, and timing of its use, and storage and disposal practices.
  3. Risk assessments are essential to evaluate the potential for harm to humans, wildlife, fish, and plants, and contamination of surface water or groundwater. 
  4. Active ingredients are the chemicals that help control the pests. Active ingredients must be identified by name along with the percentage by weight on the pesticide product’s label. 
  5. There are three categories for active ingredients: biopesticides (types of ingredients derived from specific natural materials), antimicrobial (substances used to destroy or suppress the growth of harmful microorganisms on inanimate objects and surfaces), and conventional (all ingredients other than biological and antimicrobial pesticides).
  6. On the other hand, pesticides contain at least one active ingredient, and other intentionally added inert ingredients. Inert ingredients, which are chemicals, compounds, and other substances, are combined with active ingredients to make a pesticide product.
  7. All inert ingredients play vital roles in pesticide effectiveness and must be approved by EPA before they can be included in a product. These can, among other things, act as a solvent to help penetrate a plant’s leaf surface, protect the pesticide from degradation, and extend the product’s shelf-life.
  8. Under federal law, the identity of inert ingredients is considered confidential business information. Only the total percentage of all inert products must be disclosed on the product label.
  9. The EPA also evaluates and approves the language on each pesticide label, ensuring that the directions of use and safety measures are appropriate to any potential risk.
  10. EPA may limit the amount of each inert ingredient in the product if the pesticide is applied to food or animal feed. The agency requires food tolerance for each inert ingredient.

Did you know that INX Laboratories performs Pesticides Testing? While hemp yields are valuable, you may be forfeiting thousands of dollars by losing crops to mites, mold and other pests that try to consume the plant. Call us today to speak with our experts: (352) 429-3181.

How to Read a Certificate of Analysis (COA)

COA Sample

You’ve probably heard how important it is to accurately disclose the contents of a hemp-derived product, such as dosage and the psychoactive compound that should be below 0.3%, and how doing so helps you establish transparency and gain customer trust.

But there’s another way to provide product clarity and protect consumers: a Certificate of Authenticity (COA).

A COA is a document from an accredited laboratory that provides reliable information about the chemical contents of a sample. This document may profile cannabinoid strains and terpenes of hemp-derived products, verify that the tetrahydrocannabinol levels are under the legal limit, as well as to detect dangerous compounds like pesticides and heavy metals.

Related Article: What’s in Your Cannabidiol? 6 Tests That Will Help Improve Your Hemp Crop

Why is a COA important to hemp-derived products?

A 2017 study by Penn Medicine found that nearly 70% of all cannabidiol products sold online were either over or under labeled. Marcel Bonn-Miller, Ph.D., adjunct assistant professor of Psychology in Psychiatry and lead author of the study, believes that the mislabeling is a result of inadequate regulation and oversight.

Bonn-Miller adds that consumers “may not be getting the proper dosage; they’re either not getting enough for it to be effective or they’re getting too much.”

While the industry remains unregulated, farmers and entrepreneurs should understand that labels are not enough, especially since it is difficult for customers to fully grasp everything that goes into the products they are purchasing.

Most companies include COA reports on their websites, and while not all states are required, it has become common practice to place a QR code that allows consumers to look up the product’s specific COA. 

But once you find it, how do you make sense of what you’re reading?

How to Read a COA

While it depends on the test administered to a particular sample, a typical COA might include:

  • Cannabinoid Profile: A cannabinoid profile names the cannabinoids present and their respective concentrations. If there’s an “ND” or “non-detect,” next to a particular cannabinoid, it means the instruments found no traces in the sample.
  • Terpene Profile: A terpene analysis presents the terpenes detected in the sample, followed by their weight percentage.
  • Pesticide Analysis: When analyzing pesticides, a third-party laboratory will test several conventional pesticides. The units are expressed in parts per billion (ppb), and, depending on each pesticide, the report will list the lower limit of detection against a “Limits” column, which is the maximum amount allowed for consumption. After the analysis, each pesticide tested will indicate whether it passed (under the legal limit) or not passed (above the legal limit).
  • Heavy Metals Analysis: This portion of the report shows the chemical symbol and name of the metals tested and their concentrations. These are followed by the “Use Limits” section, which includes the amount determined by current regulations (“Ingestion”).

Although COAs may test for different things, the information it contains should deliver relevant and pertinent information about your hemp crop, and you should pay close attention to dates and batch numbers from where the samples came from. If a product fails to offer a COA, that brand or company should be avoided.

What’s in Your Cannabidiol? 6 Analytical Tests That Will Help Improve Your Hemp Crop

HPLC machine

As cannabidiol continues to find its place in the marketplace, customers are giving hemp-derived products a shot. In fact, one in seven Americans said they use cannabidiol-based products, according to a poll by Gallup.

However, one recurring concern among consumers when shopping for these products is the accuracy and information found in their labels. A 2017 study by Penn Medicine found that nearly 70% of all cannabidiol products sold online were either over or under labeled.

To accurately determine the contents found in hemp-derived products —such as correct dosage and ensuring tetrahydrocannabinol levels are under the legal limit of 0.3%—, you can rely on third-party testing to help you provide transparency and gain customer trust in every step of the growing life of your crop. In this article, we share six analytical tests that can significantly improve your hemp crop.

Cannabinoid Potency Testing

Potency Testing measures the cannabinoids found in your hemp sample and the compound’s strength. Through Ultra High Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), the industry’s preferred equipment for testing hemp flower, INX Labs can analyze samples at ambient temperature without requiring a catalyst to produce a heat response. This technique offers the ability to perform rapid separations for the detection and profiling of cannabinoids.

While regulations in the United States continue to change since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, standards and consistent strength monitoring are indispensable to protect consumers against unwanted side effects and contamination of the plant. Potency Testing can also be used to ensure your hemp plant is lawful by showing that the psychoactive compound contains less than the legal limit (0.3%). 

Terpene Testing

Terpenes are organic carbohydrates that occur naturally in hemp and other plants. They fend off harmful predators and lure helpful pollinators to ensure optimum growth while providing the unique aroma and flavor of the plant. 

Moreover, terpenes synergize with cannabinoids like psychoactive compounds and cannabinoids in hemp to make up the entire profile of the plants. The cannabinoids and terpenes combine to maximize the benefits of each of other and mitigate potential side effects, commonly known as the “entourage effect.”

Mycotoxins Testing

Cultivation conditions for hemp plants provide an ideal environment for the growth of molds and fungi, which can start producing chemical mycotoxins if allowed to reproduce. Mycotoxins are a known risk throughout the food safety industry and are associated with kidney and liver harm, reproductive disorders, and immune suppression. 

For example, the aflatoxins, a form of mycotoxin generated by some species of Aspergillus fungi, which are potential carcinogens, are extremely dangerous. Even if the dosage of aflatoxin is high enough, immediate exposure can be life-threatening as the resulting aflatoxicosis can cause severe liver failure.

Residual Solvent Testing

Organic solvents such as butane, ethanol, CO2, and propane can extract and isolate active ingredients like psychoactive compounds from the plant material during the production of hemp extracts and concentrates. The process of extraction is usually a solvent intensive process and requires skill in removing solvents. 

Residual Solvent Testing identifies the presence of these harmful solvents, impurities, and other trace residues. It is crucial to assess the efficiency of the manufacturing process and the quality of the product for safe consumption.

Pesticides Testing

Due to the number of pesticides used in modern-day agriculture, hemp tends to clean the soil, migrating pesticides into the plant. Pesticides, including some intended only for ornamental plants, may be associated with cancer or other serious health effects. 

While hemp yields are valuable, you may be forfeiting thousands of dollars by losing crops to mites, mold, and other pests that try to consume the plant. To ensure safety and optimum growth, it requires trustworthy pesticide testing.

Heavy Metals Testing

Heavy metal bioaccumulation is a known process that occurs in hemp plants. During extraction, heavy metals are concentrated in processed oil, increasing the risk of contamination. Hemp producers are required to test for heavy metal contaminants in products intended for retail sale, ensuring products meet all state and federal regulations and are safe for consumption.

Through rigorous lab analysis, you, too, can provide transparency and gain customer trust with your commercial hemp crop. Seek a reliable third-party testing laboratory that can make all the difference. 

To speak with our experts for more information about third-party testing, please visit

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Welcome to INX Labs

INX Laboratories, Inc. has been providing clients with affordable and reliable testing services since 1998. Our key goals are to deliver our clients with quality analytical data with reasonable pricing, rapid turn-around time of test results, and the very best in tailored customer service. 
INX Laboratories believes in developing strong and long-lasting relationships with our clients. We are thrilled about the future of the company and welcome the chance to prove our over-all capabilities to you, our valued client.