Founder & CEO of Bluegrass Botanic, Inc.
Full spectrum CBD or CBD isolate? What's the difference? Is one better for you? If you're taking CBD because you like what the studies are showing about possible therapeutic health benefits, then you need to know the difference when you choose your CBD.
Here's everything you need to know about their differences and when you should choose one or the other.
CBD ISOLATE VS FULL SPECTRUM: WHAT ARE THEY?
Just like your body is made up of many types of proteins, fats, calcium, electrolytes and other chemicals and nutrients, a plant is made up of hundreds of compounds. When someone offers you "Full Spectrum CBD", they're saying that the CBD includes hundreds of naturally-occurring phytochemicals, cannabinoids and terpenes found in hemp plant's flowers.
CBD isolate means that the CBD has been completely removed from these other substances. It's pure or as close as it possibly can be, usually around 99% pure CBD. If it is run through a lab, it would show no active ingredients other than CBD. In other words, no THC...not even a trace.
CBD ISOLATE VS FULL SPECTRUM: BENEFITS & USES
Full spectrum CBD is more like consuming a whole food versus an isolated vitamin. The many surrounding compounds are believed to complement the CBD. For example, one of the compounds, Terpene, is a flavor enhancer. It may also enhance CBD effects.
Aside from THC, which is only present in trace amounts in hemp-derived, full spectrum CBD, we know little about the other cannabinoids in cannabis. It's likely that they have similar beneficial properties. All cannabinoids are antioxidants.
A recent study demonstrated that full spectrum may have a "synergistic effect", also called the "entourage effect", where everything is working together to support an outcome. Full-spectrum exists on this premise.
CBD isolate doesn't have the entourage effect. It's more pure. CBD alone has shown that it can reduce inflammation in the body. Using a CBD isolate means you're getting more CBD with less potential "fluff". Taking a CBD isolate makes it easier to know exactly how much CBD you're getting so that you can adjust doses to find what helps you meet your goals.
Hemp alone has an earthy taste so full spectrum also has that flavor. It's hard to cover up. Flavors like peppermint, cinnamon or vanilla can make it quite palatable. Isolate has no flavor other than what is added as the natural flavor agent.
Isolate does not have a significant taste. This makes it easier to put isolate into edibles without influencing the taste. If you'd like to try cooking with CBD, then isolate is the way to go. It won't alter the flavor of your food.
Finally, it's important to note that most scientists use isolate for their studies. So when you see a report that CBD does this or reduces that, the researchers are probably using isolate. If you're trying to mimic a study, then you'll probably want to use isolate as well.
CBD ISOLATE VS FULL SPECTRUM: HOW ARE THEY EXTRACTED?
In its natural state, CBD isolate usually comes in a white powder that can be mixed with other things. True isolate and full spectrum are both derived from the stalks of a healthy hemp plant, never the seeds. That's just hemp-seed oil, which doesn't contain significant CBD and is commonly used as a filler oil.
The process for extracting isolate is a bit more involved than spectrum, as you can imagine. It takes 3 steps. It starts with the full spectrum extraction process for which the best option is CO2 extraction. Now, you have concentrated CBD with its entourage.
Next, a special filter isolates the non-CBD compounds and removes them. Finally, the CBD undergoes a process called "winterization". This removes plant waxes and any remaining plant residues to further purify the isolate. Isolate takes longer to extract so it may cost more. You may also need less of it.
CBD ISOLATE VS FULL SPECTRUM CBD: WHICH IS BETTER?
Both CBD isolate and full spectrum CBD serve a purpose and more studies are needed to say definitively which is better for a specific person or precisely how much a person needs.
It's important to note that people's bodies can respond differently to substances like CBD. So honestly, they both have pros and cons and you may want to try both to see which works best for you personally. The best CBD for you is the one that helps you meet your CBD goals and that may take some experimenting at this point in the game. To get more honest answers about CBD, follow our blog.