In this article, we’ll talk about what the terms ‘CBD isolate’ and ‘CBD full-spectrum’ mean. We’ll also discuss whether or not specific products are better suited for specific medical conditions.
CBD oil is one of the fastest rising industries in North America (and not to mention the globe) in the last few decades, so it pays to be up-to-date on what CBD oil is, how it works, and how it’s made.
What is CBD, first of all, and how is it made?
CBD is an active chemical compound or cannabinoid that is found in the cannabis plant. CBD doesn’t get you “high.” This is a huge reason it’s become so popular, unlike regular cannabis (THC).
It’s important to distinguish between the terms “hemp,” “marijuana,” and “cannabis”. Cannabis is an umbrella term that includes both hemp and marijuana plants. Cannabis sativa is actually the scientific name of the cannabis plant (Cannabis = genus; sativa = species).
The difference between hemp and marijuana
Hemp and marijuana are two different “varieties” of cannabis. You could refer to both marijuana and hemp plants as “cannabis” plants. However, you would not, for instance, refer to a “marijuana” plant as a “hemp” plant.
The key difference between hemp and marijuana is that hemp contains practically zero THC. To be classified as hemp, a cannabis plant must contain less than 0.3% THC by volume. This definition is important because it’s the sole reason hemp products are legal to buy, sell, and ship.
CBD oils and many other CBD products come from hemp. This is which is why the industry is seeing such a monstrous spike in popularity–there are no psychoactive effects. This allows anyone to get online and order CBD medication straight to their doorstep.
If you’re trying to keep track of all this, just remember the following:
- Marijuana mostly contains both THC and CBD, it gets you high, and, depending on the state you live in, it is illegal
- Hemp contains minor amounts of THC.
- Hemp contains other cannabinoids, one of them is CBD
- Both hemp and marijuana plants fall under the larger umbrella term of “cannabis” plants
There are a few methods that can be used to extract CBD. The most popular one involves running harsh chemicals like butane (lighter fluid) or hexane over the raw plant material. This process often leaves trace amounts of carcinogenic compounds (like formaldehyde) in the end-product.
While many manufacturers still use this method, most are switching over to the CO2 extraction process. This technique is much cleaner and is believed to be healthier.
Also, cold ethanol extraction is considered to be another good option, but it’s unclear on how much safer this technique is than actual butane extraction.
In any regard, the exact extraction process determines whether the active CBD compound is removed from the plant as an “isolate,” or as a “full-spectrum” oil.
CBD isolate vs. full-spectrum oil: A general comparison
A CBD isolate is exactly what it sounds like; pure, isolated CBD compound, all by itself. It exists as a white-ish powder and contains no other active compounds.
It was initially believed that pure CBD was the “gold standard” of non-psychoactive cannabis therapy, but recently people are figuring out that this is hardly the case (more on that later).
Full-spectrum oil, on the other hand, contains other active plant compounds in addition to the CBD. This includes other cannabinoids such as CBN, CBL, and CBCVA, as well as aromatic (nice smelling) cannabis terpenes like pinene and limonene.
So other than the presence of cannabis compounds, what’s the difference between full-spectrum CBD oil and CBD isolate? How do you know which one you need?
How to choose between full-spectrum CBD oil and CBD isolate
Most recently, the dominant ideology was that “pure CBD,” or CBD isolate, was much more powerful. And that would make sense too, right? CBD is primarily the active compound in the plant that provides the most medical relief and therapy.
It would make sense then to make a 100% pure powder out of it. However, there is mounting evidence this isn’t necessarily the case.
In 2015, researchers out of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Lautenberg Center for General and Tumor Immunology discovered the “entourage effect.” This refers to the functioning of CBD along with other cannabis plant compounds, rather than just by itself.
The research showed that in mice, CBD was much more effective when used along with other compounds of the cannabis plant, than used alone. While they haven’t yet figured out why exactly this is the case, it’s now generally accepted that full-spectrum CBD oil is more effective at treating a majority of medical conditions.
And if you ask around, you’ll find that the vast majority of frequent CBD users strongly agree with this. In fact, for conditions like anxiety, depression, and chronic pain, nearly every single CBD patient will claim that full-spectrum oil is by far the superior option.
Final notes: CBD isolate vs. full-spectrum oil
CBD isolate still has a very relevant place in the cannabis market, however. A lot of people, for instance, use it to concoct their own personal daily CBD remedies – they mix the pure powder with oil, add it to their coffee, or make edibles out of it. Since it comes in a measurable powder, it’s a great option for those individuals who are trying to calculate exact doses of CBD medication by the milligram.
For the majority of average users though, a high-quality full-spectrum CBD oil will be the better, more efficient option. These concentrated oils have delivered incredible results so far, and have been observed to effectively treat everything from anxiety to diabetes, to severe chronic pain. And with the inevitable continued research that’s to come, it’s expected that the quality of full-spectrum products will only continue to improve.
It’s still important to conduct plenty of research and find a reliable CBD manufacturer, before spending money on any old product. Since the market is still unregulated by the FDA, there are a plethora of phony companies out there that are selling completely bogus products. We recommend only using oils from reliable companies with a proven track record.
- Full-spectrum Hemp extract
- No pesticides, solvents or chemical fertilizers
- 3rd party laboratory tested
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- Full-Spectrum Extract (Made in USA)
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- Contain no artificial flavors or preservatives
- Prices range ($48-$125)
- High-grade CBD formula
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- Made from organically grown hemp
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- CBDPure uses a chemical-free CO2 extraction process
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- Huge selection of CBD products
- Implement natural hemp practices
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- Price Range ($29 - $99)
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- Certificate of analysis for all products
- Seed-to-sale hemp-based CBD products
- Price Range ($19.99-$124.00)
- All CBD products follow Good Manufacturing Protocols
- Made from all-natural, non-GMO Colorado hemp
- Community-minded brand
- Local sourcing where possible
- Price Range ($29.99-$199.99)