CBD Isolate vs. CBD Full Spectrum vs. CBD Broad Spectrum


As popular as using CBD products has become, there is a great chance at one time or another, you have heard these terms being used. Depending on the reasoning you have for using a CBD product, one type may be more effective for you than the other two. Should you be using a product that is full-spectrum? Or would using a product that is broad-spectrum or isolate a better fit for you?

Regardless of the type of CBD, you decide to use, each one is derived from the same plant. Still, depending on the type, the CBD’s structure will be different from one type to the next. With the completion of cannabinoids being extracted from a hemp plant, there are a few decisions to be made by the manufacturer. The extract can either be left as it is, or additional processes can be done to either remove or isolate specific cannabinoids. The final product type is determined on the specific routes the manufacturer follows while the CBD extract is in the lab.

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Isolate vs. Full-spectrum

Depending on the process used for extracting CBD, you will be left with a broad spectrum, full-spectrum, or isolate product. While there may be a slight variance with some of the extraction steps, while some labs may skip a few steps altogether. Generally speaking, the process will be the same from manufacturer to manufacturer, starting with hemp plant and creating the final product, one of the three primary CBD types.

Full-spectrum CBD

A CBD product containing the full profile of compounds organically found in the plant is referred to as being a full spectrum. We will describe the entire process to provide you with a better explanation.

To get started, CBD and a list of other cannabinoids will be extracted from a plant. There are several different methods this extraction can be done. Usually, what is known as the supercritical CO2 extraction is performed. What has been extracted then goes through the process of winterization.

This process will remove a range of substances that are unwanted or needed for the CBD product. This will purify the CBD even more. Decarboxylation is the next step. This process separates the molecule from a carboxyl group. The extracts components made in acid form are then transformed, creating the final process. What you are left with is known as full-spectrum CBD.

Something you need to know, there are THC molecules in full-spectrum CBD. With these full-spectrum CBD products, the majority of them are under .3 percent THC. No, this is not a high enough level to get someone high. That being said, it could be a high enough level to cause you to test positive for THC through a drug screen. If this creates an issue, you will definitely want to be using an isolate or broad-spectrum CBD product.

Whole plant and full spectrum

It is possible to interchangeably use the whole plant and full-spectrum CBD. Still, the two are very different. Separate parts of the extraction process altogether are referenced with the two. When the whole plant is used, it’s referring to every part of a hemp plant being used, instead of just the flowers that are rich in CBD.

Simply put, when the entire plant is used instead of just using the plant’s flowers, the extraction is known as the whole plant instead of just full-spectrum. Full-spectrum CBD oil will be included in the whole plant extraction process, but it won’t be the same the other way around. Full-spectrum extraction will not include the whole plant. There’s normally a higher content of CBD in a final product. This is because the majority of labs will only use the flowers.

What is CBD isolate?

With a product that is CBD isolate, you will be getting CBD in its purest form. CBD isolate is obtained through a process following the route as full spectrum, with a few steps added so the CBD will be isolated from the other extracts of the hemp plant.

When the extract has been activated following the process of decarboxylation, the extract goes through a form of distillation. There may be some differences with the exact method that is used, but the distillation of CBD is very similar to that of alcohol. Following the process of distillation, the manufacturer will be left with a white powder, usually being 99 percent CBD or greater. The one percent that is left is plant matter traces which couldn’t be removed. Following these procedures, you are left with a product this is purchased in the form of crystal, or a manufacturer will use it for creating a tincture, vape juices, and many other types of CBD products.

How CBD isolate is used

You will want to use CBD isolate sublingually, similar to how you would go about using a CBD tincture. With its crystalline powder form, you will be allowed to use it as food or drink additive, or even as a vape liquid or in a topical cream. You will need to keep in mind, isolate is at least 99 percent CBD or higher. Because of this, with just a gram of isolate, you will be getting at least 990 mg of CBD. If you plan on using a CBD product in this form, you will want to properly dilute the product to get the dose of CBD that you are looking for.

Broad-spectrum CBD

If THC is an issue for you, you will want broad-spectrum CBD instead of a full spectrum. This is supposed to be a significant difference between the two. That being said, there are many manufacturers who will label their product as broad-spectrum if it has any cannabinoid in it other than CBD. By taking full spectrum extract and removing the THC that is in it, you will be left with broad-spectrum CBD. More often than not, this is accomplished through a process known as chromatography. Once the THC has been removed from the extract, you are left with a CBD rich formula containing many different organic compounds, terpenes, and cannabinoids.

Which CBD type is best for you?

You will be able to receive the benefits of using CBD with the proper dosage of a CBD product manufactured by a reputable brand. That being said, you will want to keep a few factors in mind when deciding which type of CBD is best for you.

Upcoming drug screen?

A full-spectrum CBD product that is extracted from a hemp plant will normally have very small amounts of THC. Depending on the test you will be taking, there is always a chance of the test results coming back dirty for THC. If this is something that could create problems in your personal life, it is in your best interest to be safe and use either a broad spectrum or isolate CBD products. By definition, both types of these products have no THC in them. As we mentioned, this is by definition. Make sure you are buying a product that has been tested by a third party and is being bought by a reputable source.

Get your money’s worth

You will get what is known as the “entourage effect” from the combined work of organic compounds found in both broad-spectrum and full-spectrum products. This term is commonly used was introduced originally through a cannabinoid study with scientists discovering CBD has the potential of suppressing THC’s psychoactive effects. Through the process, it was also discovered that despite the content of THC, CBD combined with other compounds will be more effective than using CBD on its own.

Within a certain dosage range, isolated CBD creates an effect. Anything lower than that is considered ineffective. Additional effects will be created with anything higher. This is known as a bell-shaped dose-response. This entourage effect allows a CBD product to be effective without consuming such a high dosage. With higher dosage, the CBD is more effective, especially when managing pain is the reason behind using CBD.

Odor and flavor

When you choose CBD isolate, you shouldn’t get any unwanted color, odor, or flavor. You will normally get a hemp-like flavor with both full and broad-spectrum CBD, due to the organic compounds and terpenes they contain. If a clean flavor is what you are looking for or if you simply want a CBD e-juice that is easy to hide, your best option is going to be a CBD isolate product.

In conclusion

With the guide coming to an end, telling a difference between the types of CBD products should be easier for you, as well as which type will be best for what you are looking for. Depending on your priorities and personal preference, you now know what to look for with a CBD product.

Because of the entourage effect, a ton of promise is being shown with full-spectrum CBD as far as effectiveness. Still, if drug tests are a part of your life, regardless of the situation or circumstances, this is not the type of CBD you want to be using. On the other hand, the CBD type that is most versatile is CBD isolate. That being said, it is vital that you are consuming the correct dosage if it is being used in powder form. Because of this, many people will discover that broad-spectrum gives them the best results.

Regardless of the type to decide to use, you need to be positive that the source you receive your CBD products from is reputable, providing tests results from a third party.