It's likely you've come across the terms "full spectrum" and "isolated" while shopping for CBD. These two labels basically tell you the kind of cannabinoid content to expect in your product.
Cannabidiol or CBD is just one of many cannabinoids. This means that it is one of the active substances found in the cannabis plant, of which there may be more than a hundred. While CBD and its psychoactive counterpart, THC, are found in high amounts and are the most well-known, there are plenty of other cannabinoids worth knowing about.
This includes CBG, the precursor to both CBD and THC, and CBN. Each cannabinoid has different effects on the body and it is thought that combining the different cannabinoids can lead to an enhanced effect on the body.
Let's dig a little deeper into the terms 'full spectrum' and 'isolate' to find out exactly what they mean with regard to these cannabinoids.
First, what is CBD isolate?
Probably the most basic form of CBD is an isolate. These contain nothing but pure, isolated CBD. In other words, there are no other cannabinoids, terpenes or flavonoids – just the well-known CBD.
Although this can be considered 'basic' at first glance, it is actually much more difficult to extract an isolate from hemp. When hemp undergoes the extraction process to remove its cannabinoids, all the compounds of the plant are extracted. All cannabinoids and terpenes come from the plant. This means that additional steps must be taken to isolate and release the CBD from other compounds. This makes CBD isolate quite difficult to make.
It comes in many forms. The most common CBD isolates you will see are vapors. In case you didn't know, "dapping" is the act of vaporizing compounds on a hot nail and inhaling the resulting vapor. It's a bit like vaping, except you're not using an e-cigarette or e-liquid. CBD isolate dabs come in the form of powder, crystals, wax, resin or shatter, supposedly because of its glassy texture.
However, dabbing is not for everyone and it is increasingly common to take CBD as oils, edibles and capsules.
What is Full-Spectrum CBD?
Unlike isolates, full spectrum CBD products contain a full range of cannabinoids. When the cannabinoids are extracted from hemp, the whole extract is made into a consumable product, meaning you get a healthy dose of all the cannabinoids that were in the plant.
The primary concern here is THC. If you live in a state or country where cannabis is illegal, or if you just don't want to consume THC yourself, you might be concerned about THC content. However, due to legislation, all CBD products must be extracted from hemp and not from marijuana. Hemp by definition contains less than 0,3% THC, which means that the extract will also contain only negligible amounts of THC. These tracks will certainly not make you high.
So what are the benefits of a full spectrum CBD oil? It used to be believed that isolated CBD was more effective than full spectrum, but now the opposite is the case; most now agree that full spectrum CBD is preferred for something called the “entourage effect”.
The “entourage effect”
This phenomenon refers to the way cannabinoids work together to become more effective. A 2005 study conducted in Jerusalem found that subjects who received full spectrum CBD experienced increased relief compared to those who received a CBD isolate.
In general, users prefer a full spectrum CBD to improve their overall well-being. However, this does not make CBD isolates superfluous.
Although non-psychoactive, a full spectrum CBD can give you a false positive during a drug test, especially if you use high doses of CBD oil of this type daily.
That is where the broad-spectrum CBD is discussed.
What about broad-spectrum CBD?
It is likely that you have also seen the term 'broad spectrum'. This refers to a CBD product that contains a range of other cannabinoids, but no THC. It offers most of the benefits of the entourage effect, but without the risk of THC.
This is ideal if you are completely against THC, or if you are worried about taking it or if you often have to be tested for drugs (eg at work). Of course a CBD isolate can also be used, but you will not experience the full power of the entourage effect at work.
Do I have to use Full-Spectrum, Wide-Spectrum or a CBD isolate?
Now that you know what each term means, you may be wondering how to make a decision between the different types. There is no way to be sure of the best type of CBD for you; it's just a matter of weighing the pros and cons.
CBD isolate has the advantage of being the purest and most powerful form of CBD. It often contains more than 90% cannabidiol. There is no risk of psychoactive effects and minimal risk of flagging a false positive on a drug test. Moreover, CBD isolate is both tasteless and odorless. This is perfect for those who want to cook with CBD as it can be added to recipes without altering the taste. The only real downside to CBD isolates is that they don't create the entourage effect.
When it comes to full spectrum CBD, the standout benefit is the entourage effect. If you are looking for powerful, efficient CBD, this is the way to go. In addition, it is often considered closer to the original plant and is therefore the most authentic natural. It undergoes less processing compared to isolates.
The disadvantages of full-spectrum CBD are that it can have a positive effect on a drug test due to the fractional THC content. The negligible values are likely to be rejected in a follow-up test, but a positive can cause unnecessary stress for you or others.
Second, cannabis terpenes and flavonoids can create a strong flavor and aroma that some people find unpleasant. While there are ways to deal with it, it can be easier to just use an isolated product.
CBD isolate is best for ...
- People with sensitivity to THC and other cannabinoids.
- People who live in states or countries with strict THC legislation, or people who regularly undergo drug testing at their workplace.
- People who want to cook with CBD and want something with a light taste.
Full-spectrum CBD is best for ...
- People who are looking for a more specific use
- People who live in states or countries where cannabis is completely legal and who do not have to be afraid of legal consequences.
- People who want to get the most out of their CBD experience.
We must emphasize that no CBD type is better than any other. Although products with a full spectrum are suitable for some people, others will find CBD isolate products more to their liking. It is a matter of deciding what works for you.
Full spectrum CBD oil tinctures contain CBD in addition to a wide variety of naturally occurring cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. These compounds work synergistically to produce “the entourage effect”, which is said to provide benefits and effects beyond pure CBD oil alone. If you're concerned about drug test failure, there are so-called broad spectrum CBD products, which contain a wide variety of cannabinoids, but are 100% THC free.