CBD Isolate vs. Full Spectrum

CBD Isolate vs. Full Spectrum

CBD Isolate vs. Full Spectrum

by Jane Meggitt

Decisions, decisions. While the benefits of CBD oil are unmistakable, there is a learning curve involved in using these products. Terms like CBD isolate vs. full spectrum are confusing to the novice, but learning the differences will make you a more educated consumer and guide you to the best products for your purposes.


What is CBD Isolate?

CBD “isolate” refers to products containing only the CBD molecule. Virtually everything else has been filtered out, so the product is approximately 99 percent pure CBD, other than a carrier oil in some extracts. Because of this significant refinement process, expect to pay more for CBD isolate vs. full-spectrum CBD.


Although it was previously believed that isolate is more potent than full-spectrum CBD, a 2015 study from the Lautenberg Center for General and Tumor Immunology, Jerusalem, Israel has disproved that. It is possible that the full-spectrum version may lead to allergic or other reactions in users that the pure, isolate form would not cause.


The CBD Isolate Purifying Process

When it comes to creating CBD isolate, the initial stage of the extraction, removing CBD from hemp, is the same as other methods for making CBD. Once the CBD is extracted, the process to purify CBD isolate begins. All plant material is removed, and the remaining oil then goes through a so-called “winterization” process to eradicate any remaining plant substances that got past filtration. The result is the highly refined white powder known as CBD isolate. This powder heads to a third-party laboratory for testing prior to sale.


How to Use CBD Isolate

If it’s important for you to know just how much CBD you are using, then isolate is the form to consider. That’s also the case if you cannot risk having any THC in your system. While it is unlikely that the tiny amount of THC found in full-spectrum CBD will show up on a drug test, it’s understandable that remote possibility is a deal breaker for many CBD users.


For those using CBD for pain relief, efficiency is paramount. Such users understandably want relief as soon as possible, and vaping is considered the fastest method for reaching this goal. CBD isolate is the preferred form for vaping.


What is Full-Spectrum CDB?

Also known as full-plant CBD, full-spectrum CBD contains every cannabinoid found in cannabis. Think of full spectrum CDB oil as minimally refined and processed. The plant molecules found in full-spectrum CBD oil include:


  • Cannabidiol oil
  • Cannabigerol (CBG), which may aid in fighting various diseases, including cancer and glaucoma
  • Enzymes
  • Flavonoids, with anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and antioxidant effects
  • Terpenes, aromatic components

Full-spectrum CBD does contain a minute amount of THC, but not enough to cause any psychoactive effects. In addition, full-spectrum CBD contains various vitamins, minerals, proteins, amino acids, essential fatty acids, and fiber. With full-spectrum CBD oil, all of the cannabidiols work synergistically, enhancing their effects.  That’s something CBD isolate can’t provide, and it changes the therapeutic results.


Full-Plant Benefits

The synergistic qualities of full-spectrum CBD result in the “entourage effect.” The therapeutic value of each component of the plant boosts the overall effect. For example, the combination of particular terpenes helps reduce anxiety, while others help your body battle the inflammation that causes acne.

In general, full-spectrum CBD is more popular among users than isolate.


CBD Isolate vs. Full Spectrum

How do you determine the best form of CBD for your needs? Sometimes, it is literally a matter of taste. Full-spectrum CBD contains hemp extract, which might prove unappealing to some palates. If you don’t like the taste of full-spectrum CBD, the lack of flavor in CBD isolate is probably a better choice.


You’d like to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of CBD-enhanced food and drink, but you don’t want to change the taste of your culinary efforts. For use in cooking, go with CBD isolate, which is basically flavorless. Keep in mind that some potency is lost when CBD is cooked at high temperatures. For best results, do not use CBD isolate in a dish requiring a temperature above 350 degrees.


Are you using CBD oil for your pet’s health? Again, mixing an unflavored product into your animal’s food improves the odds your pet will eat it. It’s easy to mix CBD isolate into carrier oils and create a topical solution for joint and muscle pain relief.


When it comes to full-spectrum CBD, there are advantages other than the nutritional benefits. As noted, users may find greater therapeutic effects with this form of CBD. That is especially true for those using CBD to combat joint inflammation or nausea. The full-spectrum version is also preferred for those suffering from Parkinson’s disease and other neurological conditions.


Making the CBD Oil Decision

There’s no right or wrong decision when it comes to CBD isolate vs. full spectrum.  For best results, sample both types and see if one works better for the conditions affecting you, whether that’s anxiety, depression, insomnia, pain or fighting inflammation. Perhaps you won’t experience much of a difference with either isolate or full spectrum, or perhaps the differences are obvious. Your body chemistry is unique, and what works for one person won’t necessarily work for another. No matter which you choose, remember that either form of CBD possesses advantages over the prescription drugs you would otherwise take to address your health issues.



Jane Meggitt’s work has appeared in dozens of publications, including USA Today, The Alternative Daily, nj.com, The Houston Chronicle, and The Nest. She is a graduate of New York University.