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The Ultimate Guide to CBD Isolate vs. CBD Full-Spectrum Oil
Categories: Guides

The Ultimate Guide to CBD Isolate vs. CBD Full-Spectrum Oil

Posted: August 13, 2018

As one of the leading CBD shops in the UK, we’ve been asked about the difference between products that are classed as CBD isolate vs full spectrum oil. If it’s a question you also have, this is the ultimate guide with everything you need to know:

What is CBD?

  • Extraction methods
  • What is isolate and what is full-spectrum?
  • Comparison table
  • What makes them different from one another?
  • What do they do?
  • How are they used?
Once you’re done, head to our CBD store to browse our range of e-liquids, oils, edibles, and premium quality CBD isolates in both wholesale and retail quantities.

What is CBD or Cannabidiol?

CBD is the main element of both CBD isolate and is also present in full spectrum cannabinoid products. It is one of at least 113 active chemical compounds found in hemp (a type of cannabis plant) that can be extracted for use in a range of products. CBD has become increasingly popular in recent years as it is non-psychoactive and won’t get you high. As a result of this, it’s legal in the UK and while we don’t make these claims, many report it has medicinal benefits (read more about the changing UK legislation here). However, for many, it’s simply preferred to THC products made from another active chemical in cannabis - tetrahydrocannabinol - which is mind-altering. Extraction methods include CO2 extraction, as well as cold ethanol extraction. In the past, the main method involved potent chemicals which left carcinogenic compounds in the end result. CO2 extraction is the most popular and arguably best method, which is how our CBD isolates are extracted, and our full spectrum products are extracted in oil form from the whole plant. Then a base oil such a hemp seed oil or VG/PG is added to create a variety of CBD drops, edibles and e-liquids.

What is CBD Isolate?

CBD isolate is a pure crystalline, fine white powder that is 99% pure CBD. Potent, it only contains the compound CBD in its most concentrated form. It is also completely natural; it is refined down from the hemp plant using precision techniques. The extraction process involves non-toxic CO2 to cool, and further down the process it is pressurised and reheated. It then goes through further extracting and purifying processes to remove the other compounds, including THC and fatty acids to leave a pure CBD compound of 'isolate'.

What is CBD full-spectrum oil?

Also known as ‘whole plant CBD’, full-spectrum oil contains the 'Full Spectrum' of legal cannabinoids, that are naturally found in the hemp plant and many users are now preferring full spectrum cannabinoid derived products due to the Entourage effect. After extracting the oil from the hemp plant, not the isolate form, it does not go through the purifying process that CBD isolate goes through to ‘isolate’ the CBD from the other compounds. Some of the chemicals it contains include CBDA, CBG, THCA and trace amounts of THC; up to 0.005%

Comparison table

CBD Isolate CBD Full-Spectrum Oil
Pure CBD (99.9%) Full spectrum cannabinoids
Whitish powder Full spectrum oil
Contains no other compounds Contains terpenes, CBG, CBGA, CBDA, CBC, and THCA
C02 extraction from hemp Extracted oil from the whole plant
cbd facts diagram                       Note: Any health benefits are purely speculative at this time and are not endorsed by the MHRA.

What makes them different from one another?

The main difference is that CBD Isolate is pure whereas full-spectrum oil also contains a variety of other compounds that are naturally found in hemp and aren’t removed during the extraction process. This gives full-spectrum oil an aroma as it contains terpenes such as pinene and limonene.

What do they do?

Research is still being done into the effects of CBD. Again, we don’t report any health or medicinal effects and do not have a license to sell medicinal products, but many report that it can help with several health conditions. If you are interested in this aspect, The Guardian have written about it in detail here. In the past it was thought CBD isolate was the most effective way to take CBD as a supplement as it was pure, but tests in mice are now showing that having the other compounds present may help the effects of CBD be felt 'the entourage effect'. However, it likely depends on the individual, their dose, and the results they are looking for. Both still have a place; yet, some won’t want the trace THC found in full spectrum oils.

How are they used?

CBD isolate is commonly used in e-liquids to create products with a certified and accurate level of CBD. As isolate is odourless and tasteless, adding it to the liquid doesn’t affect the flavour. It is also used for dabbing, manufacturing CBD oils and food supplements. CBD full-spectrum oil is also used as a food supplement and can be found in pipette bottles, mouth strips and edibles. It is less commonly added to e-liquids because it has an aroma.


At ICE Headshop we hope this has been an informative guide and that you now have a better understanding of the differences between the two. If you’ve got any questions, let us know, especially if it’s about any of our CBD products in stock. We’re happy to help! We stock a healthy range of full sprectrum products and are adding more all the time, please take a look here. Still, more research is needed into CBD, especially as it’s becoming increasingly popular and discussed more in the mainstream media. Disclaimer: Please note that we do not claim cannabis has medicinal effects. However, when discussing CBD Isolate and CBD Full-spectrum oil in this way, we felt it necessary to comment on perceived uses and benefits.