As a leading CBD distributor in the UK, we have been asked about the differences between products that are classed as CBD isolate vs full spectrum CBD. In this guide we will provide you with all of the information you need to understand what CBD isolate, broad spectrum CBD and full spectrum CBD means, and how to choose products that best serve your needs.
For more information on the different types of CBD products we have on offer, always check the product descriptions before taking advantage of our incredible offers.
What is CBD?
CBD or cannabidiol is one of over 100 different cannabis plant compounds that is found within and can be extracted from cannabis plants or hemp plants. CBD is used all over the world for its reported health benefits including things like:
- Anti inflammatory properties
- Chronic pain relief
- Anti anxiety effects
- Relief from stress disorders
- To help treat insomnia
- Sports recovery
Of course, the benefits of CBD are not limited to these symptoms and disorders, the list of potential benefits is huge and CBD can be used for just about anything. If you would like to discover more about the benefits of CBD products then check out our blog guides where we discuss all of the latest CBD news, discoveries and uses.
CBD product types
Some CBD products like broad and full spectrum CBD contain other minor cannabinoids - not just CBD, they contain flavonoids and terpenes too. The legal content for the psychoactive cannabinoid THC found in full spectrum products is 0.2% - This is the amount deemed safe, legal and to not cause any unwanted high or psychoactive effects.
CBD is the main active ingredient in any CBD isolate, broad spectrum CBD and full spectrum CBD product . Although broad spectrum CBD products and full spectrum CBD contains other cannabinoids it is CBD that is the focus and the star of the show, the other cannabinoids and additional cannabis plant compounds are for helping to achieve the 'Entourage effect' . This is the name given to the cannabinoids working together synergistically for fuller effect for the user.
To learn more about the entourage effect, read our in-depth guide.
CBD isolate vs CBD full spectrum
CBD has become increasingly popular in recent years because it is a non-psychoactive and natural cannabis product that is capable of treating symptoms and conditions where otherwise harmful and addictive pharmaceuticals are often used.
Many people wonder, what is better? CBD isolate vs full spectrum and the answer will depend on your personal preferences and needs - there is no right or wrong answer.
What is CBD isolate?
CBD isolate is a pure crystalline, fine white crystal/powder that is 99% pure CBD - it contains no other compounds. CBD isolate products are made with CBD crystals and often mixed in a carrier oil or within a food or drink product. 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'.
For those looking for CBD in its purest form then CBD isolate is the way to go, it contains no other cannabis plant compounds and is ideal for those that undergo drug tests for sports or work situations.
What is CBD full spectrum?
Also known as ‘whole plant CBD’ or 'organically complete', full-spectrum CBD oil and other full spectrum products contain a full spectrum of cannabinoids that are naturally found in the hemp or cannabis plant (depending what is used to produce your product).
Full spectrum is often chosen for its organically complete profile and wholesome effects. When you use a full spectrum CBD oil or other full spectrum product you will get the benefits of the entourage effect.
The entourage effect suggests that when a product has a complete cannabinoid profile that all the cannabinoids work together to create increased therapeutic effects. Although full spectrum products have some THC content it is not enough to produce psychoactive effects.
Full spectrum products are not recommended for those undergoing drug testing and people that are taking specific medications. Always check with your healthcare professional before starting to take CBD. If you need any other information you can find it on healthline media websites.
After extracting the oil from the hemp plant it doesn't need to go through the same purifying process as isolate as many of the cannabinoids remain in the extract. Some of the cannabinoids it contains include CBDA, CBG, THCA and trace amounts of THC; up to 0.005%
What makes these CBD types different from one another?
The main points of difference are:
- CBD isolate is CBD extracted to its pure form as crystal. CBD Isolate ONLY contains the cannabinoid CBD and nothing else. In its crystal form CBD isolate can be used as a stand alone product or used to create other CBD products like edibles, vape e-liquids and oils. CBD isolate is popular among sports people and others seeking purity for peace of mind about what they are consuming.
- Full spectrum CBD contains the full spectrum of cannabinoids from the plant. It is more organically complete and has other flavonoids and terpenes from the plant too.
- Broad spectrum CBD contains a nearly full spectrum of cannabinoids but does not contain any THC. These products are ideal for someone looking for CBD extracts with more compounds for fuller effect but without the worry about the THC compound compromising a drug test.
Essentially, the main difference here is the amount of other cannabinoids found within your chosen product type. If you have any doubts you can speak to our expert team at any time, we have over a decade of experience in the CBD industry and can help you find the best CBD product for you.
How is CBD extracted for these products?
There are multiple extraction methods that include CO2 extraction, as well as cold ethanol extraction. In the past, the main method involved some potent chemicals which could potentially leave carcinogenic compounds in the end product.
CO2 extraction is the most popular and arguably best method which is how our CBD isolate and full spectrum products are extracted into oil form from the whole cannabis plant. A base oil such as hemp seed oil or VG/PG is then added to create a variety of CBD drops, edibles and eliquids.
It is possible to get CBD isolate and full spectrum products of all types, you are not limited to a specific product type whatever kind of CBD you choose.
Always choose high quality CBD
Most CBD products are THC free except for full spectrum CBD that contains a tiny amount of THC. Always be sure to purchase CBD from a reputable retailer so that you can be sure that you are getting the quality and CBD content that you are paying for.
Many medical institutions worldwide have progressed their research into the medicinal benefits of CBD (and cannabis) and while we don’t make these claims, many report that it does have medical benefits. However, due to some stigma and negative affiliations to cannabis use recreationally, research has been slow and it has taken some time for governments and scientists to recognise certain health benefits of cannabis plants, hemp plants and cannabis extract.
Read more about the changing UK legislation here.
Cheat sheet summary
What you now know is that the difference between full spectrum and isolate is that isolate is extracted to a completely pure state, there are no other cannabinoids, terpenes or flavonoids. Full spectrum on the other hand is organically complete and contains many other parts of the cannabis plant. Remember there is the option to choose broad spectrum too, broad spectrum means that you can have the benefits of many other cannabinoids but rest assured that there is no THC content.
If you’ve got any questions at all, let us know, especially if it’s about any of our CBD products in stock. We’re happy to help! We stock a range of full spectrum products and are adding more all the time. 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.