How Is Full-Spectrum CBD Different From CBD Isolate?

CBD oil bottles with shadows

A friend has recommended that you try CBD. It worked for them and they think it will work for you.

But after visiting your friendly local retailer, you’re faced with an assortment of options. It’s not just “CBD”. It’s “Full-Spectrum CBD Oil”, “Broad-Spectrum CBD Oil”, “CBD Isolate”, and all kinds of edibles and smokables made from one or more of these extracts. It’s confusing. Overwhelming. 

What’s the difference between all of these options, what benefits do they provide, and which one is right for you?

Full-Spectrum CBD Oil vs CBD Isolate

Whether it’s branded as CBD isolate, full-spectrum CBD oil, or any variation thereof, it all contains cannabidiol (CBD) and is extracted from the cannabis plant.

The difference is in the chemical compounds that the extract contains.

What is Full-Spectrum CBD Oil?

Full-spectrum CBD contains the “full spectrum” of cannabinoids and other compounds found within the cannabis plant.

They are extracted from high CBD strains and contain very high levels of CBD, but you’ll also find trace amounts of other cannabinoids, as well as the terpenes responsible for producing the plant’s rich flavors and aromas.

There are no legal limits governing the concentration of CBG, CBN, terpenes, and other compounds, but full-spectrum CBD must contain no more than 0.3% THC.

What is CBD Isolate?

CBD isolate is an extract that has been “isolated” to contain only CBD. You won’t find other cannabinoids or terpenes here—it’s just pure CBD.

What is Broad-Spectrum CBD Oil?

Broad-spectrum CBD contains all of the same compounds found in full-spectrum CBD, minus the THC. 

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Which Is Better CBD Isolate Or Full Spectrum?

If you’re looking for a morning pick-me-up, do you take a caffeine pill or drink a cup of coffee? If you need a healthy amount of antioxidants, should you take a pill or eat a salad? Isolates can work very well, but oftentimes, the best way to experience something is to consume it in its whole and natural form. Such is the case with CBD. 

CBD seems to work best when combined with other cannabinoids and terpenes. It provides something known as the “entourage effect”. In essence, it’s the belief that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and it has been the subject of a lot of promising research into cannabinoids.

People’s responses to cannabinoids are becoming increasingly well known, with extracts of CBG, CBN, and CBC finding their way onto more dispensary shelves. But terpenes also play a major role.

Terpenes are natural plant compounds and are the main constituent of essential oils. Many of the benefits associated with herbs and plant extracts stem from these amazing little compounds, including curcumin, which is responsible for granting turmeric its “superfood” status..

The cannabis plant contains terpenes such as limonene, myrcene, linalool, caryophyllene, and pinene. If you have ever detected a hint of lavender or pine from a hemp flower or extract, it’s likely because it contains the same compound found in these other plants.

Terpenes compounds are thought to possess immune-support properties, calming properties, and more.

Take linalool as an example. This fragrant terpene is found in many popular cannabis and hemp strains and is also the most common terpene in lavender.

In animal studies, linalool has displayed pronounced calming effects while small-scale human studies have shown that it has potential as a sedative. Anyone who has ever sprayed lavender oil on their pillow, dropped lavender oil into their bath, or enjoyed a tea made from lavender flowers can profess to these responses.

With full-spectrum CBD oil or broad-spectrum CBD, you may experience similar responses and these could enhance someone’s response to CBD. 

With CBD isolate, you’re getting all of the CBD but none of the enhancing “entourage” effects.

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Should I Always Choose Full-Spectrum CBD Oil Over CBD Isolate?

Most users will be better off using high-quality full-spectrum CBD products.

However, there is a notable exception and that’s if you regularly undergo drug tests.

CBD is legal and doesn’t appear on a drug test. The chances of testing positive for a drug test is slim, however if this is a concern for you we do not take full-spectrum CBD in any form.

Full-spectrum CBD oil and other full-spectrum CBD products contain trace amounts of THC and if you’re using a lot of these products, which means THC can accumulate in your body and may appear on a drug test.

It’s unlikely that you will fail a drug test following a single use of full-spectrum CBD oil, but THC is fat-soluble and so it can linger and accumulate. 

It’s not enough to get you high and should not cause any adverse reactions, but if you’re ingesting full-spectrum CBD, your body may contain enough THC to register on a drug test.

Marijuana is legal in many US states and has been decriminalized in others, but you can still lose your job if you fail a drug test. As a result, anyone working in a profession with strict drug testing protocols should refrain from using full-spectrum CBD products, as well as smokable hemp flowers.

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Is Full-Spectrum CBD The Best?

Full-spectrum CBD is certainly the best option for users who want to experience everything that this plant has to offer as it contains more terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids. 

However, you may wish to stick with a pure CBD isolate if you are regularly drug tested or don’t want those other beneficial compounds.

This doesn’t just apply to oils and other extracts, it’s also true for CBD edibles, which can be made from both CBD isolate and full-spectrum CBD.

Summary: CBD Isolate vs Full-Spectrum CBD

CBD isolate has undergone a thorough extraction process to remove all other cannabinoids and terpenes, but these compounds remain in full-spectrum CBD extracts.

If you want more of a whole plant extract, something that will provide richer flavors, fragrances, and potential cannabis synergy, stick with full-spectrum CBD oils. 

If you need pure CBD that will not trigger a positive drug test no matter how many CBD gummies you eat or how much oil you consume, look for a CBD isolate.

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