How To Choose Between Full Spectrum and CBD Isolate

CBD’s history of therapeutic use is long, and while current interest is at an all-time high, so is confusion over the various terms that govern the marketing and use of CBD products. Making matters all the worse is some manufacturers seem to be confused as to the facts as well. Nowhere is this clearer than in the mix-up over the difference between CBD isolate and full-spectrum CBD formulas.

Both full-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate are cannabidiol compounds that are derived from the hemp plant. Where they differ most starkly, and importantly, is in terms of their THC content. Full-spectrum CBD may have traces of THC present, while CBD isolate will be THC-free.

But there is a lot more to the isolate versus full-spectrum CBD debate than just the above. Are you curious to know more about the advantages and disadvantages that both offer? Please read on. And, of course, in the end, we will look at a couple of our favorite products for both niches.

What is the difference between CBD Isolate and Full Spectrum?

What separates full-spectrum CBD from CBD isolate?  The largest difference, as noted above, is the presence of THC and other cannabinoids, terpenes, and various other chemicals found in full-spectrum CBD. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant.

THC is usually stripped out of CBD oil during the extraction process; the remaining amount is regulated to be less than 0.03%—even in full-spectrum products. In contrast, CBD isolate contains around 99% pure CBD, excluding other compounds, THC and terpenes.


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Those wanting to avoid THC should look for a broad-spectrum or CBD isolate formula. However, some research has shown that CBDs’ best benefits are most effective when a whole range of cannabinoids joins CBD. Some studies point to the success of full-spectrum formulas in treating epilepsy.

And while a full-spectrum formula may have THC present, it is essential to note that it is at levels so minute that it could never get one “high.” There are currently Phase 3 trials being conducted using full-spectrum CBD to treat alcohol abusers.

Benefits of Full Spectrum CBD

The benefits are multitude when it comes to full-spectrum CBD products. Below are a few of our favorites:

  • Full-spectrum CBD formulas leave in more terpenes- the beneficial fatty acids that may get stripped out of CBD isolate during the extraction process.
  • In addition to terpenes, there is also an excess of cannabidiols, a variety of lesser-known CBD-like compounds that can provide a helpful boost known as the “entourage” effect.

Full Spectrum CBD Considerations

If there is one significant downside to full-spectrum CBD products, it is the presence of THC in addition to CBD. Because of the low level of THC (up to 0.03%)—levels, it should be noted, far lower than the threshold to produce any sort of intoxication—some users may still wish to shun the use of full-spectrum products altogether. Additionally, if screening for THC is a possibility, you may want to avoid full-spectrum CBD just to be on the safe side.

Benefits of CBD Isolate

CBD isolate has several distinct advantages over other CBD products. An isolate’s main advantage is its purity, and this is true for CBD isolate as well. When compared to different styles of CBD extract, it is by far the purest form of CBD that is available. In addition, CBD isolate gives off no noticeable color and generally blends clearly into products. These facts make CBD isolate popular as an additive to food and drink, as it won’t change the existing flavor profile or appearance of popular fare.

CBD Isolate Considerations

Of course, there are considerations when it comes to CBD isolate as well. One thing that can be a concern is the extraction process through which the isolate is created. CBD isolate is derived from hemp plants, and the CBD compound is isolated out through an extraction process. Sometimes this process involves harsh chemicals or solvents such as cryo-ethanol.

Avoiding CBD isolate that uses such unsavory extraction methods can be hard to do, as many won’t disclose how they extract their CBD isolate in the first place. This is just one reason why trust in your CBD provider is so important.

Choosing Between CBD Isolate and Full Spectrum CBD

Now comes the tricky part, CBD isolate versus full-spectrum formulas. How do you know which is the right one for you? The answer is a little more nuanced than a snap recommendation. It will have to take into consideration your own needs and desires in a CBD product.

The answer is if you can find a CBD isolate product, and you wouldn’t mind missing out on secondary terpenes and cannabidiols, it is the purest choice of CBD around and a great option. Likewise, if you need to avoid THC at all costs, for whatever reason, choosing a CBD isolate is wise. However, for almost any other case, both can be used interchangeably.

The best way to figure out which style of CBD product you like best is to sample a few varieties and see which your body reacts to best. In all honesty, everyone’s body will respond differently, and for this reason, it is always best to start with a small dose and listen to your body.

Wrapping Up

To summarize, CBD isolate is a good choice for those looking to avoid THC altogether, while the rest of us will do just fine with full-spectrum CBD formulas. We know the topic can be confusing, but we hope we’ve cleared up some common misconceptions.

Of course, if you still are confused between the CBD full-spectrum and CBD isolate—or maybe you want to know where broad-spectrum formulas fit in? —please don’t hesitate to reach out!

We love to answer questions and are always looking for the best new CBD products.

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