Full Spectrum Extracts Demystified: What You Need to Know

live resin mac1 jar

Recently, there’s been a surge in interest around full-spectrum cannabis extracts and it’s easy to see why. Unlike products that isolate a single cannabinoid, full-spectrum extracts embrace the entire cannabis plant profile. This approach doesn’t limit the consumer to the effects of just THC or CBD but includes a broad array of cannabinoids such as CBC, CBG, THCv and CBN.

Moreover, full-spectrum extracts offer a richer array of terpenes, alongside other beneficial plant compounds like flavonoids. This comprehensive composition not only maximizes your investment but also opens the door to a fuller spectrum of benefits, embracing the plant’s potential in its entirety rather than focusing on isolated components.

What are Full Spectrum Extracts?

2 types of full spectrum extracts

The full spectrum extracts are a highly concentrated form of the essential components of the plant, which are primarily cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, and are obtained from the cannabis plant trichomes. These are precisely obtained by the extraction process that is devoted to keeping the integrity of the plant’s chemical profile, unlike the other types of concentrates. 

These extracts are often labeled as Full Spectrum Cannabis Oil (FSCO) or Full Extract Cannabis Oil (FECO), indicating their comprehensive nature. Also known as High Terpene Full Spectrum Extract (HTFSE) and High Cannabinoid Full Spectrum Extract (HCFSE), all of which are celebrated for their ability to offer a rich and unaltered cannabis experience.

How are Full Spectrum Extracts made?

Creating full spectrum extracts involves a variety of methods, each with its own benefits and characteristics. Below is a concise overview of the primary extraction techniques, formatted for easier reading:

1. Butane Extraction

  • Ideal for: Live resin, THCa diamonds.
  • Process: Uses butane as a solvent to extract compounds, followed by a purging of butane, preserving the plant’s terpenes for a flavorful extract.

2. Alcohol Extraction

  • Ideal for: RSO (Rick Simpson Oil), full spectrum CBD oil.
  • Process: Ethanol dissolves both water-soluble and fat-soluble compounds, capturing a broad spectrum of phytochemicals. The ethanol is then evaporated, leaving a potent oil.

3. CO2 Extraction

  • Ideal for: THCa diamonds, pure extracts.
  • Process: Employs supercritical carbon dioxide under high pressure and temperature as a solvent, resulting in highly pure, solvent-free extracts. Requires advanced equipment.

4. Ice Water Extraction

  • Ideal for: Solventless hash (bubble hash).
  • Process: Cannabis is mixed with ice and water, making trichomes brittle and easy to detach. The mixture is strained through mesh bags of varying sizes to separate trichomes from plant material. The collected trichomes are then dried to create a potent, pure concentrate, preserving the plant’s natural flavors and compounds.

5. Rosin Extraction

  • Ideal for: Solventless, natural extracts.
  • Process: Applies heat and pressure to cannabis material, extracting resinous sap without solvents. This method is simple and retains the plant’s natural profile.

Each method contributes uniquely to the extraction of full spectrum cannabis products, offering options for consumers to choose from based on their preferences for purity, potency, and flavour.

Examples of Full Spectrum Extracts

Bubble Hash

bubble hash ipen

  • Description: Bubble hash is made by using ice water to separate trichomes (the part of the plant containing cannabinoids and terpenes) from the plant matter. The mixture is then filtered through bags of varying micron sizes to collect the trichomes.
  • Consumption Methods: Can be smoked on its own or added to flower in a bowl, joint, or vaporizer.


fraser valley hash rosin

  • Description: Rosin is created by applying heat and pressure to cannabis plant material (flower, hash, or kief) to squeeze out resinous sap. It’s a solventless technique, making it popular among those seeking purity and potency.
  • Consumption Methods: Typically dabbed, can also be used in vape pens, applied to the outside of joints, or eaten directly.

Live Resin

live resin mac 1

  • Description: Produced by freezing the cannabis plant immediately after harvest and keeping it frozen throughout the extraction process. This method preserves a more complete profile of terpenes and cannabinoids.
  • Consumption Methods: Mostly dabbed, also available in cartridges for vape pens.

RSO (Rick Simpson Oil)

phoenix tears ounce jars

  • Description: A potent, decarboxylated extract produced using ethanol as the solvent. It was popularized by Rick Simpson and is often used for medicinal purposes.
  • Consumption Methods: Can be consumed orally, applied topically, or added to foods.

Sauce & Diamonds

thca diamonds macro

  • Description: “Sauce” refers to the terpene-rich, syrupy layer that sometimes forms during the extraction process, while “diamonds” are the THCA crystals that can form within the sauce. Together, they create a potent, flavorful concoction.
  • Consumption Methods: Typically consumed via dabbing, though it can also be used in vape pens.

Final Thoughts

As the cannabis landscape matures, so does the preference of its connoisseurs, increasingly gravitating towards full spectrum extracts. This shift reflects a deeper understanding and appreciation for the plant’s complexity, beyond one-dimensional high that can provide THC distillate for example.

Full spectrum extracts, although pricier, offer a holistic experience by preserving the myriad of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other beneficial compounds found in cannabis. This approach not only enriches the user’s experience but also leverages the entourage effect for enhanced therapeutic benefits.

Opting for full spectrum extracts is akin to choosing a rich, harmonious orchestra over a single instrument’s melody, capturing the plant’s full potential to heal, delight, and inspire. In essence, as our knowledge of cannabis deepens, so does our appreciation for products that offer the most authentic and comprehensive experience.