CBD Isolate vs Full Spectrum: What’s the Difference?

CBD Isolate vs Full Spectrum: What’s the Difference?

Learn the differences between CBD isolates and full spectrum CBD and which one may better suit your needs.

People are using CBD every day for several reasons. While you can find research through the internet about its overall benefits, there are reasons to believe that certain CBD types can benefit you in specific ways.

There are different types of cannabidiol (CBD): CBD isolates, a pure form of CBD, and full spectrum CBD that contains many other cannabis compounds, like additional cannabinoids and terpenes. And there’s a third type too. But what do these CBD forms mean exactly?

This article will help you understand the main differences between CBD isolate vs full spectrum, what a CBD isolate is, what full spectrum CBD is, and which is more beneficial between full spectrum CBD oil and CBD isolate oil.

A brightly colored diagram shows the difference between full spectrum and cbd isolate

What is the Difference Between CBD Isolate vs Full Spectrum?

So how can you tell the differences between CBD isolate vs full spectrum? That depends on what each form contains, and what elements they have are a direct result of how the CBD oil is made.

Manufacturers can extract CBD oil in various ways. Depending on how the CBD extract is processed, the extract may or may not contain additional elements. Based on these extra elements, you can compare the differences between the two forms.

How is CBD Isolate Oil and Full Spectrum CBD Oil Made?

Before CBD becomes a final product for human consumption, it starts with industrial hemp. Hemp is a non-intoxicating type of cannabis plant because it legally cannot have more than 0.3 percent THC content per dry weight.

It contains CBD and several other beneficial compounds, including phytocannabinoids and terpenes. CBD manufacturers create their products by extracting the oil from the flowers and leaves of the hemp plant.

These extracts start as crude, containing different types of cannabinoids, fatty acids, terpenes, and other plant material.

How are Full Spectrum CBD Oil and CBD Isolate Oil Extracted?

There are several ways to extract CBD oil, but the most commonly used methods are carbon dioxide (CO2) extraction and solvent extraction. The CO2 extraction method uses pressurized carbon dioxide to extract as many cannabinoids as it can.

With the CO2 method, the essential oils, cannabinoids, and terpenes are cleanly pulled from the hemp material. The solvent extraction uses liquids, such as ethanol, alcohol, butane, or isopropyl, to remove cannabinoids and other valuable elements from the hemp plant.

However, the solvent method doesn’t provide a clean extraction, as it may also strip chlorophyll and other unwanted plant material. With either technique, the CBD extraction is further processed, leading to its accurate labeling.

Why is CBD Isolate Oil and Full Spectrum CBD Oil Processed?

The processing of a CBD extraction removes several elements from the crude extract, like chlorophyll and other hazardous components. But this is also the point where the CBD oil begins to branch into its different forms.

Full spectrum CBD still retains various cannabinoids, terpenes, and other helpful components after processing. At the same time, CBD isolates have nothing but cannabidiol, making it the purest form of CBD.

The main difference between the two is that one carries other cannabinoids and terpenes with cannabidiol, while the other keeps nothing else besides CBD cannabinoids. But what are these two forms exactly?

Beads spell out full spectrum and sit below cbd pills and a hemp leaf

What is Full Spectrum CBD?

Full spectrum CBD includes many extracts from hemp material, including other cannabinoids, terpenes, and essential oils. It may also contain trace amounts of THC, but does that make full spectrum CBD oil illegal?

Products with full spectrum CBD may have up to 0.3 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the cannabinoid that defines marijuana cannabis because of its psychoactive properties. However, the THC is minuscule, so it doesn’t produce a “high” or intoxicating effect.

Because full spectrum CBD has all these different cannabis compounds, they can work together to offer whole-plant benefits that aren’t available from CBD by itself. The benefits of combined cannabis elements are called the entourage effect.

Is Full Spectrum CBD Legal?

Even though full spectrum CBD may contain low amounts of THC, it still follows federal regulations if derived or extracted from industrial hemp, making it legal. Remember, for cannabis to classify as industrial hemp, it must contain no more than 0.3 percent THC, according to the 2018 Farm Bill.

However, certain areas of the United States have also legalized cannabis for adult use. In these places, full spectrum CBD with a higher THC level might be available for human consumption. It will still offer the whole-plant benefits of the entourage effect because the oil will have different cannabinoids, including THC, working together.

What is the Entourage Effect?

The entourage effect is a concept that suggests CBD is more beneficial when more cannabis compounds are working with it. These compounds include cannabinol (CBN), cannabigerol (CBG), tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and cannabichromene (CBC).

Combined, these cannabinoids create a more substantial impact than a single cannabinoid could display by itself. And you can bring on the entourage effect by consuming any number of phytocannabinoids, including but not limited to THC and CBD.

Other natural compounds can also influence the entourage effect. In cannabis plants, these components are called terpenes and terpenoids, although they are found in several kinds of plants.

Similar to cannabinoids, terpenes have individual and unique characteristics; they’re also the cause of cannabis plants’ distinct scent. Terpenes that are common in hemp plants include limonene, myrcene, ocimene, and humulene.

These characteristics separate full spectrum CBD oil from CBD isolate oil, but the latter also has unique properties that may benefit people in different ways.

A vial of cbd isolate sits beside a hemp leaf

What is a CBD Isolate?

CBD isolates are created by extracting CBD from the hemp material and then processing it by removing all other cannabinoid components, including THC. Essentially, isolated CBD is 99 percent pure CBD because it doesn’t retain any terpenes or flavonoids.

By itself, CBD isolate is a white, powdery substance; it typically gets infused with a carrier oil to make tinctures. It can also go in capsules, topical creams and gels, or edible products like gummies.

But is a CBD isolate oil safe to use? And why would anyone choose to use CBD isolates over full spectrum CBD oil? It really depends on your personal preference, including your specific need for using CBD and quite possibly your unique lifestyle.

Are CBD Isolates Safe?

Like full spectrum CBD, oils containing isolated CBD also have to follow federal regulations by having less than 0.3 percent THC content. And while the initial CBD extraction may have included other cannabinoids and elements, the process of isolating the CBD cannabinoids ensures there are no other cannabis compounds.

CBD isolates also don’t contain any beneficial flavonoids or terpenes that would contribute to an entourage effect. But most importantly, CBD isolates are without THC, CBC, CBG, and CBN cannabinoids. If you happen to be worried about how your body may respond to THC or generally having THC in your system, a CBD isolate oil may be the best choice.

Why Use CBD Isolate Oil?

People who choose to take large amounts of CBD may prefer to use CBD isolates. It allows them to use as much as they want without any THC, which their bodies could be sensitive to. CBD isolate oil may not offer all the benefits from the entourage effect, but it could still be helpful to those whose needs don’t require the whole-plant impact.

If you’re subjected to random drug screenings, CBD isolates allow you to use as much as your needs require without triggering a positive test reading. Because there’s no THC, it shouldn’t show up with conventional drug tests. However, you should still be cautious when buying CBD products under such conditions.

If your work or living environment has a zero-tolerance drug policy, it may be possible for extra sensitive drug tests to detect cannabinoids, whether it’s THC or not. Check with your HR department or housing authority to know and understand their policies before buying CBD.

Cbd isolate is seen under a microscope in bronze color

Which is More Beneficial? CBD Isolate vs Full Spectrum CBD

Each CBD form has its pros and cons. However, it’s best to approach this question by asking which one better suits your needs. Full spectrum CBD oil has its benefits, but so does a CBD isolate oil. When you understand what each one has to offer, you can better compare them based on your needs.

What are the Benefits of Full Spectrum CBD?

Full spectrum CBD may have a bit more impact on the body than pure CBD because it contains multiple cannabis compounds. It allows the entourage effect to work because many cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids work together, providing the body with whole-plant benefits.

Products containing full spectrum CBD may also have some THC content, even though THC levels have to be less than 0.3 percent according to federal law. There are also rare occasions when THC levels can unexpectedly increase during the manufacturing process as the CBD extraction converts into a concentration.

A reputable CBD manufacturer will have their certificate of analysis (COA) publicly available, showing what ingredients and compounds were used and how much is included with each batch, including the THC. And because full spectrum CBD retains more cannabis components, it is less processed than CBD isolates, which some consumers believe to be more natural.

What are the Benefits of CBD Isolates?

CBD isolate offers the purest form of CBD. Since there are no other cannabis elements, CBD isolates may be better for first-time consumers who wish to experience CBD without interacting with any other compounds, mainly THC.

CBD isolates are also extra refined, so there is no distinctive odor or taste that consumers might be sensitive to when using. As mentioned earlier, people may use as much CBD isolate oil as they need without fear of receiving a positive drug test reading.

Why Compare CBD Isolate vs Full Spectrum CBD?

Comparing the two substances allows consumers to understand better which one fits better with their lifestyle or personal needs. CBD with other cannabinoids and terpenes may offer whole-body benefits when interacting with the endocannabinoid system.

Full spectrum CBD oil contains the many different cannabinoids and terpenes that may interact with the endocannabinoid system significantly more than CBD compounds alone. On the other hand, CBD isolates let consumers take larger amounts and may be easier to mix with food or drinks due to a lack of taste or smell.

A vial of cbd oil sits among cbd capsules

Deciding What’s Best For You

With this article, you’ve received information and answers to some of the common questions about comparing a CBD isolate oil to full spectrum CBD oil. The primary difference between the two forms is that one has more cannabis elements, while the other is pure CBD.

Full spectrum CBD oil is less processed; it retains several different cannabinoids, including CBN, CBC, CBG, terpenes, and flavonoids that all work together to offer whole-plant benefits. It also contains low amounts of THC that aren’t significant enough to cause any intoxicating effects.

CBD isolates are further refined to remove all other cannabis compounds from the CBD extraction. There are no other cannabinoids or terpenes included, leaving a tasteless and odorless substance, becoming infused with carrier oils or different products.

Both CBD forms possess a unique set of benefits, depending on your particular needs. Full spectrum CBD may work more substantially with the endocannabinoid system because all the cannabinoids are interacting synergistically. CBD isolates may allow for much larger daily servings without any THC accumulation that might get detected through drug screenings.

Have you already decided which one is best suited for you? Have you had more success with full spectrum CBD oils or CBD isolate oils? Or maybe you’ve found a useful combination of the two? Let us know your thoughts and comments on our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter channels.