News & Education April 22, 2020

Full Spectrum CBD vs. CBD Isolate

CBD is one of the fastest growing industries in the natural health sector which has, of course, led to questions about CBD laws and the differences in labeling. Two of the most common terms you may come across when you first begin searching for CBD products are Full Spectrum CBD and CBD Isolate. This article explains the key differences between these two CBD labels and will help you stay better informed when choosing the product that best fits your needs.

Inside a cannabis plant, there is a class of chemical compounds called cannabinoids which include CBD and THC as well as other lesser-known cannabinoids that exist naturally within the strain. THC is famously known as the component that delivers psychoactive effects to the body and is associated with the “high” that a consumer can experience from marijuana products. CBD, on the other hand, is not associated with psychoactive effects and has become more popular commercially due to its variety of medical and therapeutic applications as well as wider accessibility online and in physical stores.

CBD is typically derived from hemp, a type of cannabis plant that contains less than 0.3% THC. In order for a CBD product to be created, it must first be extracted from the cannabis plant which is typically done via a CO2 extraction process.

CBD Isolate

CBD isolate is often referred to as the purest form of CBD and, as the name suggests, contains no other active ingredients besides CBD that is isolated from terpenes, flavonoids, plant parts, and other cannabinoids during the extraction process. This allows for a product that is flavorless and contains little to no odor. No trace amounts of THC are found within CBD isolate, which makes it ideal for those concerned about passing a drug test.

CBD isolate still has pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, and anti-anxiety properties but one downside to CBD isolate is that the effectiveness of the product peaks at a medium dose. Scientists have found that CBD isolate has a bell-shaped response curve when it comes to dosing, meaning that at higher doses, the positive effects of CBD do not increase. This may lead to difficulty in determining the correct dose for consumers.

Full Spectrum CBD

Full Spectrum is minimally refined CBD, meaning the full plant extract is still present in the end product as are most terpenes and cannabinoids. This takes advantage of what is known as the “entourage effect.” The entourage effect states that when CBD is combined with the other parts of the plant they begin to work together in tandem to provide support in alleviating symptoms, and in turn, counteract the bell curve effect.

Full-spectrum CBD has the benefit of offering the full effects of the cannabis plant as it undergoes fewer refining processes. In addition, the ratios of the plant molecule in full-spectrum CBD are closer to what is naturally found in the plant. That being said, full-spectrum CBD may contain a strong flavor and odor that some consumers may find unpleasant. On the other hand, experienced cannabinoid users may find enjoyment from it based on personal taste and experience.

Due to federal law, all CBD products must be extracted from hemp which contains less than 0.3% THC and prevents any feeling of ‘high.’ However, drug tests may test positive even though the THC content is fractional. Keep this in mind when taking future drug tests if you do invest in a full-spectrum CBD product.

What Is Best For You?

Both types of CBD have their pros and cons. Your ailments may react differently to isolate or full-spectrum and it is recommended that you try different products and take careful note of your body’s reaction in order to find what is right for you.

Full-spectrum CBD offers the effects of the entirety of the plant working together in order to enhance the therapeutic effects of the product. However, it may not be ideal for an individual in a state with stricter laws regarding THC. Not only that, but the taste and smell may be unpleasant to consumers and may not be ideal if planned for use in cooking.

CBD isolate is a pure and potent CBD with absolutely no risk of psychoactive effects. In addition, there is little to no risk of a false positive appearing on a drug test with CBD isolate. The level of refinement that CBD goes through during the extraction process creates a product that has little to no flavor or odor, which makes it a good option for recipes. However, CBD isolate faces the bell-curve effect which shows that higher doses do not increase the potency or effectiveness of the product and can sometimes reduce it.

Whether your body is more suited to full-spectrum or isolate, we stress there is no one type of CBD that is better than the other. Rather, both labels of CBD meet different needs for consumers. Do not be afraid to try different products in order to get the most benefit to your health.