When shopping for CBD these days, there are so many different product forms on the market. And so many of these CBD products retail in similar sizes, but for markedly different prices. For newcomers, the different labels, such as “full-spectrum”, or “isolate” don’t mean much. In fact, this lingo can be overwhelming. Even long-time users occasionally have trouble keeping up.
We know how frustrating this confusion can be. So, to help clear things up a bit, let’s focus on the differences between “full-spectrum” and “isolate” CBD. While both products contain the same key ingredient, cannabidiol (CBD), and a few potential health benefits, that’s about all they have in common. Which is why we’ll highlight some of the key differences as well.
What Is CBD Isolate?
CBD is one of over 100 different cannabinoids found in the cannabis family of plants. And, in addition to cannabinoids, there are additional plant products and compounds that come along for the ride during the CBD extraction process. CBD isolate most often comes in a powder or crystal form. It contains only CBD without any additional cannabinoids or plant-based additives. The purity of CBD isolate is generally claimed to be around 99 percent.
There are several different processes used today to produce CBD isolate. One common method is to focus on extracting all additional plant matter and cannabinoids from the plant. This process would leave behind only pure CBD isolate in a crystal form. The crystal may be sold in that form or converted to powder.
What Is CBD Isolate Used For?
CBD isolate is used by people who want to enjoy the health benefits of CBD without any interaction from additional cannabinoids like THC, CBN, and CBG. There are significantly more studies regarding the benefits of CBD compared to studies focusing on additional cannabinoids. By taking only the pure CBD, they believe they are reducing the risk of incurring negative side effects. Keep in mind, there are some problems with this theory. But we’ll address those later.
CBD isolate is not often sold as oil, unlike most other CBD products. The powder that results from the extraction process is usually sold as-is, and you can use it in a process called “dabbing”. To ‘dab,’ you vaporize a small amount of CBD isolate on a hot surface. You then inhale the vapor. CBD isolate intended for dabbing may also be sold as wax or as “shatter”, which is a harder substance that resembles glass.
Traditional oils and edibles that use CBD isolate are becoming slightly more common. But they are not nearly as popular as full-spectrum oils. That brings up the next question, of why most people prefer full-spectrum products.
What Are the Benefits of CBD Isolate?
All of the benefits associated with CBD isolate apply to full-spectrum products as well. However, this list will not include benefits believed to be associated primarily with THC or other cannabinoids found in the hemp plant.
Benefit 1: Pain Relief
This is one of the most significant benefits associated with CBD isolate. CBD appears to have powerful analgesic properties. This prevents certain nerve endings in the body from releasing neurotransmitters or peptides that would otherwise indicate pain. Because of this, CBD isolate has become a very popular supplement for people suffering from certain neurological disorders.
Benefit 2: Stress Relief
CBD may target stress and anxiety by altering the way our brains respond to specific chemicals, which in turn greatly reduces symptoms of stress. In fact, in one study conducted in 2019, researchers found that 79 percent of participants experienced reduced anxiety when exposed to CBD.
What Is Full-Spectrum CBD?
As you might have guessed, this is the opposite of CBD isolate. Full-spectrum CBD includes the full range of cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. All of these cannabinoids are included during the extraction process. This means that a full-spectrum CBD product may include a very small THC concentration, which may worry some individuals.
However, as long as your full-spectrum CBD is sourced from hemp plants, you don’t have to worry. Strict regulations govern the growth of hemp plants and the production of CBD (including full-spectrum CBD). Legally in the United States, hemp plants used to produce CBD must not contain a THC concentration higher than 0.3%. Now, since this percentage is so low, it’s considered completely negligible in terms of benefits and side effects. That level of THC most certainly can’t trigger psychoactive effects.
What Is Full-Spectrum CBD Used For?
Full-Spectrum CBD can be found in nearly all possible forms, aside from crystalline. It’s most often sold as a tincture or mixed with additional carrier oils in lotions, salves, and many other products. It is a popular ingredient when making legal edibles because it does not lose all of its health benefits during the cooking process.
The people who rely on full-spectrum CBD enjoy all of the benefits associated with CBD isolate, and so much more. That’s because the general scientific consensus is that cannabinoids work better together than on their own. There has even been a study that covered this subject, now known as the “entourage” effect. It is because of this effect and study that many consumers prefer full-spectrum CBD.
What Is The Entourage Effect?
We know that CBD works by interacting with specific receptors in your endocannabinoid system. Just like CBD, other cannabinoids can interact with these receptors as well. Their effect, though, is not always the same. The two cannabinoids that are most well-understood are CBD and THC.
An entourage is a group that surrounds and follows an important person. In this case, CBD is that important person, and the other cannabinoids form the entourage. The entourage effect suggests that the benefits of CBD are greater when consumed with additional cannabinoids.
But that’s not all: not only do other cannabinoids boost the impact of CBD on the body. They also produce their own benefits. And, other terpenes found in the hemp plant can also be beneficial.
The entourage effect has been noticed and studied on multiple occasions. In 2011, the British Journal of Pharmacology published a massive review of studies that pointed toward the existence of the entourage effect. This review of studies indicated that the phytocannabinoids and terpenes produced in the cannabis plant possessed a powerful synergy.
Of course, without a high volume of studies, it is possible to cast doubt on a theory. A 2019 study suggested that there was no additional change to CB1 or CB2 receptors when CBD was consumed with additional terpenes. This most likely indicates that additional research is needed to determine just how these phytochemicals working together in the body and how their synergy produces increased benefits.
Why Are People Affected Differently?
With both forms of CBD, we see that two different people can be affected very differently. This is what leads to a lot of confusion surrounding CBD-based products. Why is it that two different people can experience two different reactions when taking identical CBD products?
Once again, genetics impacts our lives in ways that we can’t control. Some people are born with more CB1 and CB2 receptors in their body. This provides them with more potential CBD interactions and thus a greater potential for experiencing health benefits.
This includes your health, sex, and body type. Various health conditions will affect how cannabinoids impact your system. As such, you should always discuss CBD use with your doctor, especially if you suffer from a chronic health condition. Additionally, a higher body fat percentage will mean that you need to consume more CBD to experience the same effects as someone with a lower body fat percentage. Finally, some studies suggest that females may be more sensitive to the effects of CBD.
Conclusion: Which Product Is Better?
Are you trying to make a decision between CBD isolate or a product containing full-spectrum CBD? Allow us to weigh in. Here at Tanasi, we believe that full-spectrum CBD is a superior product. The entourage effect means that the CBD will deliver increased health benefits in addition to unique health benefits associated with the included cannabinoids or terpenes. Full-spectrum CBD is simply a more well-rounded product, with a greater chance of producing desired effects in your body.
Even so, we realize some people want to avoid THC at all costs. The only way to truly accomplish this is by purchasing a CBD isolate product. Doing so will still provide you with many of the benefits associated with CBD.
Finally, if a CBD isolate product does not deliver the benefits you seek after allowing enough time for your body to adjust to the supplement, then we recommend sampling a full-spectrum product. Remember, legal CBD must contain less than 0.3% THC and most high-quality products will contain less than this. So you can enjoy a full-spectrum CBD product without fear of legal repercussions.