Broad Spectrum CBD vs CBD Isolate - Which is best?

A full and comprehensive discussion between the differences of full spectrum CBD, Broad Spectrum CBD and CBD isolate.

The CBD industry has grown at a huge rate over the past few years, transforming the shape of the health and wellness industry. This growth has seen a wealth of new CBD products hit the market with a range of different descriptions from ‘full spectrum’ to ’CBD nanoemulsions’. It is safe to say that it is confusing for a consumer entering the CBD market for the first time to know which product to purchase. 

It is essential to understand that not all CBD products are the same, but the differences between them are very easy to understand when you know a bit of the science behind the language.

One such decision to make to first-time buyers is between full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate. Just understanding the difference between these types of CBD can help narrow your parameters and make searching for the CBD product for you a much easier task.

What are cannabinoids?

To help with understanding the differences between full spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate, you must first understand a simple bit of chemistry behind the cannabis plant.

The cannabis plant contains over 400 known compounds, these can be: 

  • Cannabinoids - A group of compounds that are unique to the cannabis plant. They are the compounds which react with the human body's endocannabinoid system to cause an effect. Cannabinoids are the active chemical in cannabis and are involved in appetite, memory, sleep and some other them are even used for their intoxicating effects (THC).
  • Terpenes - The second most important molecules in cannabis after cannabinoids. The terpenes are resinous and sticky, aromatic molecules that give cannabis their flavor profile. These compounds are not unique to cannabis and can be found throughout nature in other plants and insects. They also have some medicinal properties. An example of a terpene would be limonene, which is found in some strains of cannabis and well as in lemons.
  • Flavonoids - A broad category of chemical found in all plants that are generally responsible for color, as well as acting a chemical messengers within plants. The red in beets and the yellow in lemons are caused by flavonoids and they are also found in abundance in different cannabis strains.

A lot of research is currently being conducted into all aspects of the cannabis plant, however, the two main constituents that are known for their medical properties are both cannabinoids, called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

Full Spectrum CBD vs CBD Isolate

Full spectrum CBD refers the extracts from the cannabis plants that contain cannabidiol (CBD) along with almost all of the other compounds that are naturally found in the cannabis plant, including other cannabinoids such as CBN (cannabinol) and CBG (cannabigerol) as well as all the terpenes, flavonoids and much more.

Full spectrum extracts also contain THC, the compound in cannabis known for its intoxicating effects. However, because full spectrum CBD is extracted from hemp plants, the THC concentration is so low that no intoxicating effects will occur.

On the contrary, CBD isolate is CBD that has been extracted from the cannabis plant and purified so that it is just the isolated cannabidiol with none of the other components from the cannabis plant. When it is isolated and purified, CBD exists as a white crystal so sometimes it will be given the name crystalline CBD. 

CBD isolate is sometimes sold in its purified form, but more commonly it will be mixed with a carrier oil. In fact, both the extracts from full spectrum CBD and CBD isolate can be mixed with a carrier oil, such as MCT oil, and sold as CBD oil.  

When purchasing CBD oil or any CBD products, you should be able to easily distinguish whether the product is full spectrum CBD, broad spectrum CBD or CBD isolate. Any CBD products that don’t immediately distinguish the difference in their product description should be avoided.

Which is the better option?

Both full spectrum CBD and CBD isolate have their own advantages and disadvantages. Which one you purchase will depend on your personal preference.

No THC - No worries

CBD isolate is particularly popular with people who are consuming lots of CBD on a regular basis that may also be subjected to randomized drug tests. Because CBD isolate contains no THC, which is compound tested for in drug tests, there is absolutely no chance a drug test will fail with CBD isolate. 

However, the THC concentration is so low in full spectrum CBD that they are non-intoxicating and shouldn’t fail a drug test either. With full spectrum products, you are still consuming small amounts of THC, so there is always the possibility of a failed drug test.

CBD isolate is more to provide peace of mind to those consuming CBD oil who want zero chance of failing a randomized test.

Health benefits?

Full spectrum CBD is believed to have greater therapeutic effects than CBD isolate because it contains all of the other cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. These compounds are believed to work together in what is known as ‘the entourage effect’, which makes them better than just CBD on its own.

Research conducted into CBD products suggests that full spectrum CBD products provide better relief from some symptoms than CBD isolates. The theory is that it is because CBD interacts with the other molecules found in hemp in such a way to make its own effects stronger. 

What is broad-spectrum CBD?

Broad spectrum CBD takes both of the positives from full spectrum CBD and CBD isolate and combines them.

Full spectrum CBD contains all the different molecules from hemp and is considered to be medicinally stronger than CBD isolate. CBD isolate has no THC so won’t cause you to fail a drug test.

Broad spectrum CBD is the same as full spectrum CBD in that it contains all of the different molecules from hemp, except for THC. So, the benefits of the entourage effect can still be observed while not having to worry about failing a drug test.

It is perfect for people who are looking for that peace of mind while being safe in the knowledge they are getting the most out of their CBD oil.

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