Is there an advantage to using isolate vs full-spectrum CBD oil or powder? Read on to find out the pros, cons, and differences between the two.
In a study looking at the top ways US adults like to consume CBD, sublingual drops ranked #1. CBD oil drops are a super convenient and relatively discreet way to take your daily serving of CBD, so it’s no wonder they’re a top choice with customers.
Yet, did you know that not all CBD oils are created equal? When you head to your local CBD store or browse a brand’s online store, you may not know that there’s a difference between broad-spectrum vs isolate vs full-spectrum CBD. There are even differences between these kinds, and those which active the entourage effect in cannabis, too!
Lucky for you, we’re here to help you out with this handy guide. Today, we’re talking about everything you need to know to feel confident when shopping for CBD products.
Ready to find out why researchers think full-spectrum CBD is superior to CBD isolate? Then check out this article for the answer to that question and many more.
What Is Legal Hemp?
As of the 2018 Farm Bill, legal hemp in the US is defined as any cannabis plant grown with 0.3% THC or less. This was in an effort to encourage the production and sale of non-addictive CBD while discouraging the negative effects of potentially-addictive THC.
CBD is derived from legal hemp. Yet, it’s not the only beneficial compound found in hemp. Let’s explore three components commonly found in hemp extract.
Cannabinoids are natural chemical compounds found in the hemp plant. They act on the body’s endocannabinoid system to produce a variety of effects, including the “high” commonly associated with THC products.
Our body even produces its own version of cannabinoids called endocannabinoids. These natural chemicals influence many day-to-day functions. For example:
- The immune response
THC and CBD are both cannabinoids found in the hemp plant, but they aren’t the only ones.
The hemp plant produces over 100 different cannabinoids. They include cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC), and cannabidivarin (CBD-V), each of which has its own benefits for your health.
Terpenes are volatile aromatic compounds. This means that terpenes provide strong smells and flavors when exposed to oxygen. You may also know terpenes for their other uses in essential oils, perfumes, and even candy.
It’s terpenes that are responsible for the pungent smell of hemp. Considering that there are more than 200 different terpenes in hemp alone, that’s no wonder!
Aside from offering a delightful smell and natural flavor to your CBD oil, terpenes have health benefits too.
For example, myrcene has an earthy flavor and smell and can be found in hemp as well as thyme, parsley, and bay leaves. Scientific research into myrcene shows that this terpene may provide positive benefits for insomnia, muscle cramps, and is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent.
Other Plant Materials
In addition to terpenes and cannabinoids, hemp contains other beneficial compounds.
For example, hemp leaves and seeds are excellent sources of omega 3 fatty acids. Our bodies need omega 3s but don’t produce these fats naturally. Instead, we have to get them from dietary supplements like hemp.
Additionally, hemp contains a whole host of vitamins and minerals that, when maintained in CBD oil, can benefit your health.
Isolate vs Full-Spectrum CBD: What’s the Difference?
By now, you’re probably wondering: why does all this stuff about the components of the hemp plant matter? When it comes to telling the difference between isolate and full-spectrum CBD, it matters a lot.
That’s because the difference between the two types of products hinges on which plant components they do and don’t have.
Here’s what we mean.
CBD Isolate Explained
CBD isolate is a highly purified type of CBD oil. When the plant undergoes a process called extraction, scientists remove the oils from hemp flowers.
The scientists then put the extraction through a process called purification. The first purification step usually removes the THC and the second purification removes all terpenes and other plant materials.
Once these two purification processes are finished, the end result is a completely pure “isolate” of CBD oil. For this reason, CBD isolates are highly potent.
Full-Spectrum CBD Explained
Remember how we talked about purification? While that process is absolutely vital for producing a high-quality CBD isolate, full-spectrum extracts are made without undergoing purification.
Here’s what we mean: Full-spectrum CBD contains all the components of the hemp plant. That includes any terpenes, plant materials, or other cannabinoids present in the plant.
Yes, that means full-spectrum CBD does contain trace amounts of THC. However, even full-spectrum CBD products must contain 0.3% THC or less to be considered a legal product in most US states.
The good news is that full-spectrum and isolate aren’t the only two types of CBD oil out there. You can also pick up a bottle of broad-spectrum CBD oil. These products contain all the components of a full-spectrum product, minus the THC.
All About the Entourage Effect
According to researchers, cannabinoids like CBD provide more robust benefits when they’re combined with other components of the hemp plant, especially when compared to the benefits of each of those components alone. This is known as the entourage effect.
For example, when THC and CBD are taken together, researchers have discovered something surprising. While THC alone causes you to feel “high,” CBD may mitigate that effect. In other words, CBD may actually decrease the intoxicating effects of THC.
Can You Take Advantage of the Entourage Effect Without THC?
If you’re worried about drug testing at your job or hate the feeling of even a little buzz, you may be wondering: is there a way to harness the entourage effect without THC?
Unfortunately, you can’t take full advantage of the entourage effect without THC.
However, some whole plant products (known as broad-spectrum CBD) offer all the components of the hemp plant with the sole exception of THC. That means you can harness some of the entourage effects without consuming this cannabinoid.
The Pros and Cons of CBD Isolate
An isolate is the purest form of CBD you can buy on the market today. Yet, just because it’s super pure doesn’t mean it doesn’t have any downsides.
Let’s discuss the positives and the negatives of CBD isolates. That way, the next time you’re shopping for a new CBD product, you already know where you stand with the isolate vs full-spectrum CBD debate.
- Won’t show up on a drug test for THC
- Don’t make you feel “high”
- Are highly potent, meaning you don’t need much to feel that it’s working
- Don’t offer the entourage effect
- Are highly potent, meaning you need to be careful about not taking too much
- Are processed more times than full- or broad-spectrum oils
Full-Spectrum CBD Pros and Cons
Of course, full-spectrum CBD products aren’t without their plusses and downsides either. The entourage effect is all well and good. Yet, if you work at a job with a strict drug policy or can’t stand feeling high, you’ll want to steer clear of this type of CBD oil.
Don’t take our word for it alone, though. Check out the pros and cons of full-spectrum CBD for yourself!
- Offers the entourage effect
- Is the least processed CBD oil product you can buy
- Will show up on a drug test since it contains <0.3% THC
- May make you feel “high”
Where to Buy Full-Spectrum CBD, CBD Isolate, and Broad-Spectrum CBD
Now that you’re a CBD oil buying expert, are you looking for high-quality CBD oil? Luckily for you, we’re helping you out with this quick dive into buying CBD products. Whether you’re shopping in-store or online, here are our top tips for consumers and wholesalers.
These days, it’s easier to find a company that isn’t selling CBD. Still, keep in mind that not all CBD products are created equal.
When you’re searching for your perfect isolate or full-spectrum CBD product, make sure the company offers third-party lab testing results. This will ensure that the product on the label is really what’s inside the bottle.
Want to get into the CBD business, but don’t know where to start? Luckily for you, there are companies out there that allow you to create your own hemp private label without having to produce your own products.
The Bottom Line on Isolate vs Full-Spectrum CBD
So, what’s the final word on isolate vs full-spectrum CBD? Unless you’re worried about drug testing or don’t want to deal with a possible THC buzz, we highly recommend you try out full-spectrum CBD. Trust us, the added benefits from the entourage effect are totally worth it.
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