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CBD: What’s the Difference Between Isolate and Full Spectrum?

cbd oil isolate vs full spectrum

When discussing CBD, it is often mentioned whether it is isolate or full spectrum. There is frequently some confusion about what those terms mean. Is there a significant difference between the two and is one better for you than the other?

CBD isolate is what it sounds like: a chemical component derived from cannabis plants, where the CBD has been split (isolated) from all other components in the plant, such as terpenes and other cannabinoids. There are a variety of advantages to using CBD isolate, including:

  • No THC. THC is the psychoactive element of cannabis. If you work in a job where THC could prove problematic, CBD isolate can be an excellent alternative.
  • Easy to Calculate Dosage. Since CBD isolate is separated from all other compounds, even a simple kitchen scale can work to determine the dosage; generally speaking, one milligram of CBD powder is equivalent to one milligram of CBD.
  • Less Expensive. CBD isolate can be significantly less expensive than other types of cannabinoids, such as CBD oils and tinctures.
  • CBD Isolate is Used for Many Health and Wellness Issues. While scientific data is still being collected, more and more evidence (particularly user testimonials) has pointed to isolate as being effective for several issues such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, autism, ADD, and ADHD.
  • CBD Isolate, being separated from all other compounds, is considered the cleanest and purest CBD available on the market.

Full-spectrum CBD, on the other hand, contains much more than just the CBD, though the amount of CBD may be identical in both. Full-spectrum oils, for example, contain terpenes. These are aromatic compounds that are found in many plants. Although they are often thought of in relation to cannabis, they are also found in plants like cinnamon and ginger. They are the compounds that give the signature scent to these plants, as well as fruits, vegetables, flowers, and herbs.

When terpenes are present with CBD, they produce a synergistic effect to help the CBD work better. This is referred to as the entourage effect and is one of the benefits of full-spectrum oils. While it has been claimed that THC isolate is more effective than full spectrum, it is now generally believed to be the opposite, with full spectrum being considered the more effective and preferred option due to the entourage effect.

You may also have heard about “broad-spectrum” CBD, which is a product that contains a range of other cannabinoids, but no THC. This provides most of the benefits of the entourage effect but allows for use by those who do not wish to consume THC, or who are often drug tested at work.

If you are wondering which is the best choice for you, the options can be summed up thus: CBD isolate is the purest and most potent form of CBD, often containing upwards of 90% cannabidiol. It also poses no risk of psychoactive effects and an exceptionally low risk of a false-positive result on a drug test. Being tasteless and odourless, it can be used for cooking.

Full-spectrum CBD on the other hand, has the entourage effect. It is often considered to be closer to the original plant and thus more natural. If you want powerful and efficient CBD, it is your best bet.