The Difference between CBD Isolate and Full Spectrum

By December 31, 2018 January 8th, 2019 No Comments

With so many CBD products available these days, it’s hard to know what a quality product is. Knowing what to look for in a quality CBD product helps you make an informed purchase. Not all CBD oils are created equal. One of the most confusing things for new CBD users is knowing the difference of CBD isolate vs full spectrum.

In some products, there is only a small amount of CBD in the product. Other materials, such as corn oil and increased amount of other cutting agents may be the primary ingredients – not actual CBD oil. CBD oil is derived from two sources – cannabis and hemp. Cannabis-derived CBD contains terpenes and may contain additional cannabinoids. Hemp-derived CBD may contain small amounts of CBD. These products can also have terpenes added to them.

Terpenes are sourced from thousands of plants, trees and herbs – many of which you likely eat on a daily basis and don’t even know it.

It is important that you look at how the CBD oil is made. Read the label to see what form of CBD oil is used.

Ask yourself these questions – does the label say exactly what’s in the bottle? Is the actual amount of CBD listed? Does the product say it’s tested for purity? Is it isolate or full spectrum? What’s the difference between CBD isolate vs full spectrum?

How is CBD Oil Made?

Where the hemp in your CBD oil is grown makes a big difference. Some hemp is grown merely for its industrial value – such as seeds, fibers and to become a textile. High-quality hemp that is grown for therapeutic reasons produces beautiful flowers with plenty of usable resin. These strains of hemp aren’t grown for their seeds or fiber content.

When hemp is cultivated, it’s sewn tightly together. Some cultivators put 20 to 30 plants in a square meter. Hemp plants grow tall – 15 feet tall sometimes. The stalks are thin. Flowers on a hemp plant are larger at the top and smaller near the interior.

If hemp is grown for fiber or other industrial practices, harvesting must take place prior to the flowering stage. If hemp is grown merely for seeds, CBD doesn’t even come into play. There are no cannabinoids or CBD in the seeds.

Once industrial hemp plants become fertilized, the plant’s energy is focused on seed production. Cannabinoids, if they are present, are in minimal amounts.

Hemp that is grown specifically for CBD is often grown in pots or plots. This process allows the plant to spread out a little more. These plants are rich in CBD with both terpenes and cannabinoids present. Medicinal hemp and industrial hemp are different. There are several different strains of CBD-rich hemp.

It’s easy to confuse a CBD-rich hemp plant with a cannabis plant. Hemp and cannabis have similar cultivation practices and the same aroma. Hemp that is grown for CBD should contain between 10% and 20% CBD and should contain additional cannabinoids and terpenes.

cbd isolate vs full spectrum

CBD Structure

Stages of Refinement

There are 4 main stages of refinement. Once a plant is ready for harvest, extraction and refinement take place. Four steps are often used to obtain a high-quality CBD oil.

The four stages are:

  • Extracting the raw hemp extract
  • Filtering chlorophyll and unnecessary/unwanted solids out
  • Distilling the concentrate
  • Additional distilling to isolate just the CBD

Each stage uses different products. In the first stage, the end product is just raw hemp extract. The second stage includes a filtering process that results in an ingestible extract. Potent, full spectrum CBD oil is the product of the third stage of distillation. An extreme distillation process (stage 4) is where pure CBD isolate comes from.

The cannabinoids and terpenes naturally found in hemp remain intact during the first 3 stages of refinement.

Hemp extract comes from stage 1 of refinement. While it does have a good blend of terpenes and cannabinoids, it isn’t very tasty. It’s hard to get a consistent amount of terpenes and cannabinoids from raw hemp extract.

The hemp extract still contains chlorophyll, waxes and other unwanted solids. Additional distillation and filtering processes are needed to create an effective and consistent hemp extract.

Quick Stage Breakdown

Full spectrum CBD oil is the product of additional refining and the addition of a cutting agent. A cutting agent is a base oil – MCT oil, coconut oil, olive oil, grape seed oil and hemp seed oil are common cutting agents. All of the terpenes and cannabinoids remain.

Proper formulation of full spectrum CBD oil provides consistent potencies. The goal of ingesting CBD is for the cannabinoid to enter your bloodstream. In order for this to happen, the CBD needs to have increased bioavailability. Bioavailability means that the CBD is able to circulate in the body to have an active effect.

Now, onto CBD isolate. Refined CBD oil is combined with a cutting agent base. The essential oils of the hemp plant become undetectable. The naturally-occurring terpenes and cannabinoids of the hemp plant are also gone. The entourage effect is no longer on the table.

In order for a CBD isolate to produce the entourage effect, it needs to have terpenes and cannabinoids added back to it. Broad spectrum CBD products have had cannabiniods and terpenes added back to the formula. 

If the entourage effect is what you seek, you again need to decide between CBD isolate vs full spectrum. 

CBD Isolate vs Full Spectrum – Which is Better?

In hemp plants, CBD is main cannabinoid. The entourage effect can only be produced when all of the cannabinoids and terpenes of the hemp plant are present. Terpenes, like limonene, actually help the body absorb more cannabinoids. Other terpenes interact with various cannabinoid receptors in the body. Terpenes play a vital role in the efficacy of CBD.

There are uses for CBD isolates. Epidiolex uses CBD isolate in its formula. For most CBD users, isolate is not ideal.

When it comes down to CBD isolate vs full spectrum – full spectrum is the superior option.

CBD Isolate vs Full SpectrumClosing Thoughts

Always read labels and product descriptions. Knowing the ingredients of your CBD oil is crucial. If you don’t want any THC in your CBD product, ask the manufacturer if you cannot determine if the product contains THC or not. Look for lab testing results within manufacturer websites and product descriptions to ensure that the CBD oil you’re purchasing is clean. Weight the options and determine the best option for you in terms of CBD isolate vs full spectrum. Canna Trading Company proudly displays our lab results within our product descriptions.

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