What Is CBD Isolate?
While shopping for CBD products, you may have come across the terms CBD isolate or full-spectrum and wondered what they meant. Isolate and full-spectrum are two slightly different types of cannabidiol (CBD) with different compositions.
At Flora CBD, our specialty is full-spectrum, and there’s good reason for that, which we’ll discuss below! But these two variations aren’t mutually exclusive - to understand CBD isolate oil, you also need to understand full-spectrum CBD oil.
The 3 Types of CBD
Although we’ve only mentioned two variants so far, there’s a third option: broad-spectrum CBD. It’s basically the middle ground between isolate and full-spectrum. Let’s take a closer look at each of these.
About CBD Itself
Widely available commercial CBD - versus what you might find at a shop in a state where all cannabis is legal - is derived from cannabis plants that are classified as hemp, not marijuana.
The distinction is that hemp plants and products are federally legal. They’re required to have less than 0.3% THC content, a minimal amount that doesn’t cause any psychoactive effects (a high).
- Instead, CBD interacts with the body to help restore and regulate.
- So, it can help your body and mind shed some excess stress, which promotes relaxation, better focus, and healthier sleep patterns.
- In turn, it can boost overall wellness in the body and mind (being well-rested and less stressed can naturally improve things like your mood, your memory, and your immune response, for example).
What Is CBD Isolate?
CBD isolate has a self-explanatory name. It’s 99% pure cannabidiol, extracted from hemp, then refined until it’s been isolated from the plant’s other natural components.
- Left unaltered, it may be crystalline or powdered. CBD isolate powder is pure white without a discernible taste or smell, while broad and full-spectrum CBD powders are yellowish and earthy.
- If you don’t want powder-packed capsules, isolate powder can easily be mixed. That makes it useful for adding to food or drink and means it’s readily available pre-mixed into oil or edible form, too.
- It’s not just CBD you can isolate. If a similar process is applied to marijuana, you can produce THC isolate. Another example is our Flora Delta-8 CBD gummies, which have an isolated hemp compound that’s not CBD at all.
What Is Full-Spectrum CBD?
Full-spectrum hemp extracts do not have to undergo as much additional refinement. This type of CBD is basically kept as-is. It’s accompanied by some of hemp’s other compounds, including:
- Different cannabinoids, like Delta-8, traditional Delta-9 THC, which is responsible for marijuana’s high, and other non-psychoactive cannabinoids similar to CBD like CBC, CBN, or CBG
- Flavonoids, which are naturally occurring antioxidants in various plants, fruits, and vegetables (and even derivatives like wine, chocolate, and coffee)
- Terpenes, like lavender’s linalool or citrusy limonene, which impact aroma and flavor in various plants but are especially prevalent in (and associated with) cannabis
- Various vitamins, minerals, protein fibers, and fats that make up the basic composition of the plant
The actual mixture in any given full-spectrum CBD is a toss-up. It depends on anything from the hemp plants themselves to the extraction process. To get a clearer picture, always check lab sheets provided by the company.
You may find less variety than you expected, sometimes even no detectable levels of THC. But since nothing natural has been purposefully removed, know that those levels closely reflect the hemp plant’s original composition.
What Is Broad-Spectrum CBD?
As mentioned above, broad-spectrum CBD bridges the gap between the other two varieties. It is extracted and then undergoes some refinement to remove the trace amounts of THC. However, most of the other hemp compounds remain.
So, it’s more like full-spectrum light than isolate plus. It’s a good compromise if you don’t want to go straight to CBD isolate but can’t risk (or just don’t want) any THC.
Which Kind of CBD Powder or Oil Is Right for Me?
You may be wondering what the distinctions are actually for.
Since it isn’t really competing with marijuana, shouldn’t CBD just be THC-free? Why aren’t all CBD products isolate? On the other hand, you may wonder why people would bother with an extended refinement process when hemp’s THC is already inactive.
The Benefits of Full-Spectrum vs. Isolate CBD
- You might consider full-spectrum CBD a more natural form, something similar to raw honey over the regular pasteurized kind. It undergoes less processing than broad-spectrum or isolate.
- Not only is there less initial refinement, but there’s less clean up afterward. The CBD must be thoroughly cleansed of extraction-related chemicals before the CBD is ready for consumer products.
And it retains more of the hemp plant’s natural characteristics. Multiple studies suggest that CBD has broader, enhanced effects when flavonoids, terpenes, and other cannabinoids are present. This is known as the entourage effect, and it should take place with both full-spectrum and broad-spectrum to some degree.
The Case for CBD Isolate vs. Full-Spectrum
- CBD isolate has basically the same beneficial CBD effects. Although it can be slightly less potent, your cannabidiol won’t suddenly be rendered useless. The worst that could happen is that you need mildly stronger CBD or larger servings.
- Plus, isolate shouldn’t have hemp’s characteristic bitter, earthy flavor either. There are no flavonoids or terpenes, after all. If you want to cook with CBD or take an unflavored sublingual oil, this is a better choice for sensitive palates.
Perhaps most importantly, isolate is the perfect choice for those who may have to take a drug test.
Standard drug tests look for evidence of THC, and the 0.3% threshold is too low to register (another reason it's crucial to buy from a company that flaunts their lab analysis certificates). However, there is a potential for residual THC to build up in your body - it can be stored in fat deposits for several days - and sometimes reach detectable levels.
Overall, CBD isolate is a good alternative for consumers. It works well, and it gives you the choice of cannabidiol without the chance of THC. But here at Flora CBD, we're big believers in the power of natural full-spectrum hemp extracts. If a drug test isn't in your future and you're ready to experience the entourage effect for yourself, make sure you check out the full-spectrum CBD-infused gummies, sublingual hemp oils, and non-tobacco CBD dip pouches made from long-cut hemp flowers.