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CBD Isolate Vs Full Spectrum CBD - What Are The Key Differences?

When a fresh industry emerges onto the market, it is littered with new and confusing terminology. Terminology that you the consumer must take time to understand to assure you know what product you are purchasing. CBD oil is no exception and it can sometimes feel like this fast-growing industry just has terminology designed specifically to confuse.

In this article we will break down two terms used to describe CBD products - CBD isolate and full spectrum CBD - and we will compare and contrast the differences in relation to each other for an in-depth explanation.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid found exclusively in the cannabis plant. Known for a range of different medical applications, CBD can be extracted from the plant and subsequently used in a variety of different ways depending on the medical relief desired.

CBD is one of over 100 different cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, all of which have different physiological effects, ranging from medicinal properties to how intoxicating they are. One such intoxicating compound present in cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive constituent of cannabis that recreational users will use to get ‘high’.

What is CBD Isolate?

CBD Isolate is made by extracting and isolating the CBD away from all of the other compounds present in the cannabis plant, including all of the other cannabinoids and terpenes that may be present. As the name suggests, they have no other active ingredients in them, just isolated CBD.

CBD isolate on its own is a white crystalline product, which can be purchased by consumers. However, CBD isolate is commonly added to carrier oils, edibles or lotions for ease of use.

What is Full Spectrum CBD?

Full spectrum CBD is when CBD is extracted from the cannabis plant along with all of the other compounds present, including cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and much more. Full spectrum CBD products contain CBD as well as other active compounds found within the cannabis plant, including THC.

Commonly referred to as ‘whole plant CBD’, full spectrum CBD products provide CBD with other cannabinoids in ratios in which they are more commonly found in nature, and some early research indicates that full spectrum CBD products may be more beneficial to medical patients due to the cannabinoids working synergistically with each other.

Understanding the Differences Between the Two

Why do both CBD isolate and full spectrum CBD products exist, and

  • Full spectrum CBD contains THC;
  • Both CBD isolate and full spectrum CBD extracted from hemp are non-intoxicating;
  • Studies suggest full spectrum CBD is more effective;
  • Both isolate and full spectrum CBD have a range of benefits.

Full Spectrum CBD contains THC

CBD isolate products don’t contain any other cannabinoid, so they won’t contain the intoxicating cannabinoid THC. Full spectrum CBD products contain the full spectrum of products in the plant material, so will contain THC within their products, even if it is a minute amount.

Both CBD Isolate and Full Spectrum CBD are non-intoxicating

Although full spectrum CBD contains THC, it is extracted from hemp which must contain less than 0.3% THC by weight to meet regulations. Therefore, consuming both CBD isolate and full spectrum CBD won’t cause the user to feel ‘high’ or ‘stoned’.

Studies suggest Full Spectrum CBD is more effective

In 2015, a study was conducted into tumour immunology that compared full spectrum CBD and CBD isolate to two groups of mice. The results showed that the full spectrum CBD provided higher levels of relief than CBD isolate. However, this doesn’t mean that CBD isolate is ineffective, it just means it has different applications.

Both Isolate and Full Spectrum CBD have a range of benefits

Despite their differences, both types of CBD have a range of benefits to the consumer. Isolated CBD has been shown to be effective in reducing seizures in patients with certain forms of epilepsy, whereas full spectrum CBD has shown greater pain relieving qualities.

Which type of CBD Oil is Better?

Generally speaking, full spectrum CBD is more effective than CBD isolate due to the way in which all of the cannabinoids, terpenes and other compounds work in synergy to produce an overall effect, commonly referred to as the ‘entourage’ effect.

However, this doesn’t mean that CBD isolate is ineffective. It just means that the CBD works better in the presence of other compounds found within the cannabis plant, the way that it is found in nature. So, if this is the case, then why does CBD isolate exist at all?

CBD isolate products exist because they appeal to a market of people who wish to be more cautious about the THC they are consuming. This could be for a myriad of reasons, including that they may be sensitive to THC or due to the fact that they may have drug tests at work which tests for the THC’s presence. However, the likelihood of failing a drug test to a full spectrum CBD product is extremely small, but still exists.

So, Should You Be Using CBD Isolate or Full Spectrum CBD?

Whether you should use CBD isolate or full spectrum CBD is personal and comes to weighing up the pros and cons of both and how they relate to your personal life. Interestingly, some clinical research scientists are beginning to argue that neither work as well medicinally as consuming CBD buds. However, given the choice, full spectrum CBD is generally better than CBD isolate.

If you undergo regular drug tests with work or if you believe you are sensitive to THC, then CBD isolate products may be for you. However, the THC levels are so low in full spectrum products that the chances of failing a test or feeling ‘high’ are next-to-none. This likelihood could increase if purchasing from unreputable companies, so always do research on the company you are purchasing CBD products from.