What’s the difference between a CBD isolate and a full-spectrum CBD?

CBD isolate and full spectrum 2

In recent years, the CBD industry has truly exploded. Millions of people use CBD in their everyday routines to help relieve ails such as chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia and hormonal imbalances. 

As a result of the increased popularity of CBD, there is now a myriad of products that harness the natural power of CBD to help you in countless different ways. Gummies, oil tinctures, topical creams, patches and suppositories are all popular choices for incorporating CBD into your daily routine. 

The delivery method of CBD is not the only aspect that may vary. You can also purchase your CBD in many different concentrations, usually from 500mg all the way up to 10,000mg, and play around with different dosages, too. Usually, a CBD newbie should be taking around 2.5mg per KG of their body weight. For example, a 75KG person should begin with a dosage of around 187mg a day. After a week or two, this can be increased to around 5mg/KG and so on and so forth. 

Alongside the different concentration levels and delivery methods, you may well have seen different labeling on your CBD products. Most notably either, ‘CBD isolate’ or, ‘full-spectrum CBD’. Whilst these may sound like different names for the same things, they are actually very different.

These terms relate to the different ‘extraction’ proccess of CBD from the hemp plant. Whilst they are both still ‘CBD’ they actually have varying chemical compounds and may have different results for your health and wellness. 

Before we divulge into the distinct differences between CBD isolate and full-spectrum CBD, it may be helpful to whizz back to the basics. As such, the first section of this article will briefly outline the composition of the cannabis plants and the different compounds that are found within it. 

The Cannabis Plant: A Brief Overview 

When it comes to the world of CBD, you may quickly find yourself overwhelmed with lots of different terms, leaving you feeling confused as to what everything actually is. Hopefully, this section of the guide will provide a simple explanation to the basics of cannabis. 

So, the term ‘cannabis’ actually refers to a ‘family’ of plants sometimes referred to as cannabaceae. The family is often divided into separate species. Firstly, we have cannabis sativa, which is more commonly known as hemp. 

One of the defining characteristics of hemp is that the plant produces very low levels of THC. In fact, any hemp plant which tests over the limit of 0.3% THC are legally considered marijuana and would be illegal in many states and countries across the world. 

As a result, marijuana differs greatly from its plant-sister, hemp. Marijuana is naturally high in THC, which results in a psychoactive high when consumed or smoked by humans. As a result, marijuana is the most ‘common’ type of cannabis for recreational drug use- although it is important to note that many people are legally prescribed marijuana for different reasons. 

So, whilst the terms cannabis and marijuana are often used interchangeably- there is actually a difference. 

To take a step further, ‘cannabinoids’ are cannabis compounds that are found within each of the plants. Two of the most well-known cannabinoids are CBD (yay!) and THC. However, there are well over a hundred different cannabinoids present within the cannabis plant.

However, scientists are not entirely sure about what each and every compound does. Although, it is noted that the positive effects of cannabis are heightened when numerous cannabinoids are consumed together (this bit will be important later!). 

Compounds called terpenes are also present within the cannabis plant, these compounds are found it many different types of plants and make up the foundation of many essential oils. Terpenes are usually the components that are responsible for the unique smells of the cannabis plant. 

CBD Isolate

Okay, so now we’re a little more clued up on the basics of the cannabis plant, we can go back to focusing on CBD and, particularly, the different extraction methods of CBD. 

Firstly, we have CBD isolate. CBD isolate is basically an ultra-refined version of CBD, wherein the molecules have literally been ‘isolated’ from all other compounds found in the hemp extract. This means that all other cannabinoids, such as THC, have been removed from the product and only CBD remains. As a result, some people refer to CBD isolate as ‘pure CBD’, as it doesn’t contain any other cannabinoids or terpenes.  

Many people think that CBD isolate is the very best choice of product, however, this is not always the case. Returning to what we mentioned earlier, cannabinoids are most powerful when they work together. CBD isolate does not provide any benefits from the other compounds, thus many people using CBD isolate may experience less benefits than those who opt for different CBD products.

Full-Spectrum CBD

And so, we move onto full-spectrum CBD. In comparison to CBD isolate, full-spectrum CBD products are extracted alongside the naturally occurring cannabinoids in the hemp plant. 

As a result, full-spectrum CBD is known to be more effective than CBD isolate. However, some people are concerned over the presence of THC in their full-spectrum CBD. Whilst the THC levels are legally required to be less than 0.3% (so, trace amounts), there is some concern over the proper regulation of this. As CBD products are not FDA approved or regulated, there is some anxiety over the fact that some sellers may be producing CBD that contains higher levels of THC than allowed. 

Whilst this is rare, our advice would be to always purchase your CBD from a reputable seller, that tests in third-party labs to ensure trace amounts of THC. 

Okay, so hopefully you will be feeling a little bit more clued up surrounding the world of CBD! As a beginner, it can be very overwhelming whilst doing research. However, our main piece of advice would be to choose a product that sounds right for your specific needs. 

Extraction methods are not the be all and end all of selecting the best CBD product for you. The beauty of CBD is that if you tried something that didn’t quite work for you, you can always try something else. 

So, take it one day and a time and figure out what you like best. Good luck!

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