What is CBD Isolate? How It's Made and What it Does

What is CBD Isolate? How It's Made and What it Does

CBD Isolate is the little known CBD product that is pure CBD. Discover how it’s made, what it does, and why that matters to you.

If you’re familiar with the CBD industry, you’ve probably seen the terms “full spectrum” and “broad spectrum” used to describe CBD products. These terms refer to the cannabinoid content of the product. Full spectrum typically means that a product contains all of the original cannabinoids (including a minuscule amount of THC – too little to get you high). Broad spectrum means all cannabinoids are present except for THC.

What you may not be aware of is a third, slightly less common option that is championed by some of the most high-profile CBD users in the world – professional athletes. This third type of CBD is CBD isolate.

What is a CBD isolate, you may ask? As the name implies, it is pure CBD.

Many athletes and others who face regular drug testing rely heavily on CBD isolate products to give them the boost they need without worrying about THC.

Before we discuss celebrity endorsers and all of the things CBD isolate is used for, let’s take a closer look at how CBD isolate is created.

How CBD Isolate Is Made

Creating CBD isolate is both simple and complex. It’s simple in that there really aren’t that many steps to walk you through. Meanwhile, the process’s complexity comes from the precise scientific work that needs to be done to ensure a pure product.

The first factor that adds to the complexity of the process is that there is no universally standard method of extraction for CBD isolate. However, because most CBD isolate manufacturers use either CO2 or ethanol extraction, we’re going to discuss these two popular methods before detailing how CBD isolate is refined and added to products.

CO2 Extraction

When done correctly, supercritical (or subcritical) CO2 extraction is perhaps the most high-tech and efficient method of extraction used in the CBD industry today. The process uses carbon dioxide that is kept at extremely high pressure and very low temperature to remove all cannabinoids and terpenes from hemp flower.

This method can produce an extremely pure product when done to perfection, but the steep learning curve and high cost of equipment often cause companies to stick with tried-and-true methods like ethanol extraction.

A female scientist stirs a thick gold liquid in a laboratory flask

Ethanol Extraction

While ethanol extraction may not be as cutting-edge as its supercooled counterpart, it is a simple, safe, and effective way to separate CBD from the whole flower. To extract CBD using this process, high-grade grain alcohol (also known as ethanol) works as a solvent to release CBD and other cannabinoids from hemp flowers.

Both methods are extremely effective, and the choice ultimately comes down to personal preference. No matter how the cannabinoids are extracted, the next step is universal – winterization.

A white powder spills onto a table out of a slender glass jar


Once the cannabinoids and terpenes have been stripped from the plant, they still need to be separated to create a CBD isolate through a process called “winterization.” And while winterization may not be exactly what it sounds like, it’s not that far off.

For those of you in colder climates, we aren’t talking about preparing your house for a long, snow-filled winter. However, things are going to get pretty chilly.

Like ethanol extraction with a twist, winterization happens by soaking the CBD flower extract in alcohol and freezing it until a pure CBD isolate has been separated from unwanted things like fats, chlorophyll, and other plant matter.

After this process, you should be left with a fine, white CBD isolate powder that contains no detectable THC or other cannabinoids.

What is CBD Isolate Used For?

CBD isolates work exactly the same way as any other type of CBD. It’s extremely easy to make CBD oil from isolates, which is why there are so many CBD isolate oil products like tinctures, gummies, and topicals.

A cyclist in a blue and black outfit rides his road bike on an indoor track

Because of the wide variety of CBD isolate products as well as their complete lack of THC, CBD isolate has become a favorite among professional athletes, construction workers, white-collar executives, and anyone who wants to try CBD without any potential risk of failing a drug test.

However, not all isolate-based, THC-free formulas are completely devoid of any other cannabinoids and terpenes.

Superior Broad Spectrum

cbdMD’s Superior Broad Spectrum formula takes the best qualities of CBD isolate and full spectrum formulas. This formula uses a unique process that combines specific amounts of isolated CBD, CBG, and CBN with select terpenes, to create something entirely new.

Superior Broad Spectrum products provide unrivaled quality while also being as THC-free* as an isolate should be.

CBD isolate crystals sit atop green leaves

Want More Info? We Got It!

If you’re reading about CBD isolate, it’s safe to say you like learning about CBD. If so, you’re in luck, because we love telling people all about it.

Here are a few related blogs to give you a better understanding of what CBD is, how CBD oil is made, and what exactly Superior Broad Spectrum means.

CBD Facts: The Real Truth About CBD Oil

There’s a lot of misinformation surrounding the CBD industry, and we want to set the record straight. Whether you just discovered CBD yesterday or you’ve been taking it for years, you’ll learn something new from this blog.

The Complete Guide to How CBD Oil is Made

Fascinated by the CBD isolate extraction techniques in this article and want to learn more? Well then, we have a blog written just for you.

cbdMD Redefines the CBD Industry with New Superior Broad Spectrum Formula

Flash back to the day cbdMD announced their Superior Broad Spectrum formula. Gain new insight on what makes this formula so special, and why cbdMD chose to go in such a unique direction.

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