CBD products, including CBD oil, are growing in popularity. As you look at the various products available, you will notice that there are several categories of CBD, including isolate and full-spectrum. Understanding the differences between these two categories will help you ensure that you purchase the right product for your needs.
A Refresher on CBD
To better understand the differences between CBD isolate and full-spectrum CBD oil, you need to make sure that you understand what CBD is. CBD can come from hemp or cannabis plants and is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid. Because it is not psychoactive, CBD does not show up on drug tests and does not cause a high. It is also legal in many areas.
The Difference Is What the CBD Contains
Because CBD comes from the hemp or cannabis plant, it can easily contain other components of these plants. The designation of CBD isolate or full-spectrum depends on what is in the oil in addition to the CBD.
With a CBD isolate, you only have the CBD. There are no other plant materials, including no other cannabinoids, no terpenes, and no flavonoids.
Full-spectrum CBD is almost the complete opposite. The process of extracting the CBD retains much of the other plant material. As such, full-spectrum products will have terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids.
Importantly, full-spectrum CBD typically contains THC, although it is usually in small quantities. To be considered hemp-based and legal in most areas, full-spectrum CBD must have less than 0.3% THC. In areas where marijuana is legal, then full-spectrum CBD products can have higher levels of THC, as well.
Bonus: Broad-spectrum CBD
There is also another type of CBD that fits between isolates and full-spectrum, closer to the latter. Broad-spectrum CBD refers to almost the same thing as full-spectrum, but there is no THC. This makes it an extra option for those who do not want to consume THC.
The Entourage Effect
For those unfamiliar with it, the entourage effect refers to the fact that when you combine various compounds in cannabis, they increase each other’s effects. For example, if you take CBD along with other cannabinoids, the CBD itself would produce a stronger effect than if you had the same amount of CBD in an isolate.
Which to Choose
If you want to maximize the entourage effect, then you would choose a full-spectrum CBD product, or perhaps a broad-spectrum one. Either of these will contain additional cannabinoids as well as terpenes to enhance the CBD’s effects. Some of those other cannabinoids found in full-spectrum and broad-spectrum products include CBDV, CBDA, CBG, CBD, and CBN. By contrast, CBD isolate is pure CBD, so there are no additional plant compounds present.
Differences in THC Content: Which to Choose?
As mentioned, one of the significant differences between CBD isolate and full spectrum is the presence of THC. Some people will appreciate the presence of THC in full-spectrum products, while others will want to avoid THC and stick to isolates or broad-spectrum products.
Start by thinking about whether the entourage effect is important to you. If it is but other factors make you want to avoid THC, you could opt for broad-spectrum products. If you want the entourage effect and do not mind THC based on the following other factors, then full-spectrum products are fine, as well.
Many people who prefer CBD isolate over full-spectrum do so because of drug testing. Most full-spectrum products will have trace amounts of THC, typically less than 0.3%, so they can be legal in more areas. Despite this, there is still a chance that this will be enough to show up on a drug test. As such, people who need to pass drug tests should typically avoid full-spectrum products.
Because of the small quantities of THC typically found in full-spectrum CBD oil, not everyone will notice the psychoactive effects from consuming them. However, this is a possibility. If you do not want to risk experiencing psychoactive effects, you should avoid full-spectrum products.
How to Use Each
CBD isolate typically comes in the form of crystals, although this can vary. You can also find other product forms that contain CBD isolate, such as capsules, edibles, or oils. However, some of these are harder to find than others.
You can consume CBD isolate by itself or mix it into your food or drink. If you consume it alone, you can just put some under your tongue and wait for it to be absorbed.
Full-spectrum CBD oil obviously comes in as oil, although you can also find it in the same other forms as isolates, like edibles or capsules. Like isolate crystals, you can directly place some full-spectrum oil under your tongue and let your body absorb it or mix it into food or drinks.
What to Look for in Your CBD Products
Whether you choose a CBD isolate, a full-spectrum product, or a broad-spectrum product, you should always make sure that you buy a reliable product from a reputable manufacturer.
Because of the lack of regulation surrounding CBD products, most manufacturers offer certificates of analysis or some sort of independent lab testing. This testing or certificate serves to confirm that the CBD and/or THC concentrations present in the product are as advertised.
Testing also helps confirm that there are no contaminants or other potentially harmful chemicals in a CBD product.
To further ensure the quality of your CBD product, take a few minutes to confirm that the company has a strong reputation. You can confirm this via reviews and testimonials, both on the company’s website and on independent websites.
CBD isolate refers to products that only contain CBD and nothing else. Full-spectrum CBD oil contains CBD in addition to the other components of the hemp or cannabis plant, including terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids like THC. Full-spectrum products take advantage of the entourage effect for enhanced effects, while isolates will ensure you pass drug tests and do not experience any psychoactive effects.