Full-Spectrum CBD vs. CBD Isolate

When you shop for CBD oil from a company like OK CBD, you’re likely to see the terms “full spectrum” and “CBD isolate” frequently. Those terms represent CBD products with very different production methods, and each has its own benefits and drawbacks. CBD isn’t cheap, and you want to make sure that you’re getting the right product for your needs. To do that, you’ll need to understand the differences between full-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate. Those are the things you’re about to learn from reading this article.

How Is CBD Oil Produced?

To understand the differences between full-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate, you must first understand how CBD oil is produced. CBD oil comes from a type of hemp called industrial hemp. Until recently, farmers primarily grew industrial hemp for the production of textiles, building materials, biodiesel and nutritious hemp seeds. Relatively recently, though, we learned that industrial hemp is rich in the cannabinoid CBD – and CBD may possess several remarkable health benefits. It isn’t easy to grow hemp for its CBD content because the hemp requires rigorous seed selection and care. It’s also virtually impossible to harvest the hemp through mechanized means because the buyers only care about the CBD-rich flowers.

After harvesting, the hemp flowers are put through a machine that extracts the hemp’s essential oil by shooting pressurized carbon dioxide through the ground flowers. The essential oil contains all of hemp’s bioactive compounds – the CBD, the terpenes and even trace levels of THC. That’s a full-spectrum extract.

How Is CBD Isolate Produced?

CBD producers may do different things to a full-spectrum CBD extract before diluting it to the correct strength and bottling it as a finished CBD oil product. Some producers simply dilute and bottle the raw extract as it is, but the problem with raw hemp extract is that it has some bitter and grassy flavor notes that some people dislike. So, some CBD producers put the raw extract through filtering and winterization to remove undesirable flavors and create a product that’s more palatable and uniform in color.

It’s also possible to strip raw hemp extract of everything but the CBD. Putting the extract through extensive filtering and purification results in a white crystalline powder containing more than 99 percent CBD. That’s CBD isolate. CBD isolate contains just one of hemp’s bioactive compounds – the CBD – but it contains no detectable terpenes or THC.

What Are the Benefits of Full-Spectrum CBD?

The benefit of full-spectrum CBD is that it contains all of hemp’s beneficial compounds. CBD isn’t the only helpful compound in hemp. The plant is also rich in a wide array of terpenes such as linalool, limonene, myrcene and many others. Terpenes are popular in aromatherapy and perfumery because people find their scents pleasant and relaxing. Researchers have also studied individual terpenes to determine what other potential benefits they may have. Published studies suggest that various terpenes may improve mood, reduce stress and fight inflammation. When you use CBD oil, then, it makes sense to use a CBD product with a complementary terpene profile that supports your desired results.

Growers experiment extensively with hemp genetics. They aren’t just experimenting because they want to produce plants with more THC or CBD; they’re also experimenting because they want to produce plants with different terpene profiles. Different CBD products come from different growers using different seed stocks. That’s one reason why you may find one CBD oil more beneficial than another.

Some people believe that cannabinoids are most beneficial when they’re used in conjunction with hemp’s naturally occurring terpenes. Those people believe that CBD and terpenes, used together, produce a greater overall benefit than any of those compounds would produce on their own. They call that the “entourage effect.” Those who believe in the entourage effect have the opinion that the most beneficial way to consume cannabis is by using the whole plant or an extract thereof.

What Are the Benefits of CBD Isolate?

There is one potential drawback to the whole-plant methodology of cannabis use: No amount of selective breeding has produced a hemp plant with absolutely no THC. That’s why regulations are in place to set acceptable standards for industrial hemp cultivation and ensure that industrial hemp plants have no recreational purpose. In the United States, for example, federal law allows for the cultivation of hemp as long as the plant contains no more than 0.3 percent THC after drying. With a THC limit that low, you will not get high from using industrial hemp – not even if you smoke it. You may, however, consume enough trace THC that it shows up on a drug test.

The benefit of CBD isolate is that, since the powder contains no detectable THC, using CBD isolate shouldn’t ever trigger a positive result in a drug screening. It is, therefore, the ideal CBD product if your employer or a potential employer requires you to take drug tests. CBD isolate should have no chance of triggering a false positive and flagging you as a marijuana user.

CBD isolate does have one potential drawback. Since purifying the raw hemp extract removes everything but the CBD, using a product made from CBD isolate means that you’ll lose any benefit that the synergistic terpenes in the raw hemp extract might have provided.

The good news is that it’s possible to extract plant-based terpenes from a variety of different sources. A CBD brand can filter the CBD isolate out of a hemp extract, make CBD oil from the isolated CBD and add back the terpenes that would have been present in the original hemp extract. The resulting product is arguably the best of both worlds because it gives you the full benefit of the entourage effect while ensuring that it would be essentially impossible for a drug test to flag you as a THC user. Some brands even make CBD oils with added terpene blends that mimic the terpene profiles of well-known cannabis strains. With those products, you get the entourage effect along with the enjoyable flavors and scents of the real plant.