CBD Isolate vs. Full-Spectrum CBD vs. Broad-Spectrum CBD – What is Best?

There are three types of CBD extract – and over 30% of people don’t understand the difference. Or they’re blindly unaware other types exist. Knowing the key differences between the three will help you understand which one is best for you.

There are over 104 cannabinoids which are compounds derived from cannabis. They provide several benefits of CBD including anti-anxiety, anti-inflammation, pain relief and more.

The main difference between CBD isolate vs. full and broad-spectrum CBD is in the extraction process, but it’s not all that simple. In this comparison, we’ll discuss the types of CBD, why they differ and what that means for you.

What is CBD Isolate? 

CBD Isolate is the chemically “purest form” of CBD extracted from cannabinoid plants, such as hemp. It often comes in the form of white powder or crystals. To create CBD isolate, the oil is extracted through chromatography – a process that removes cannabinoids. Then this compound is heated to remove carboxyl – an amino acid – to release carbon dioxide (decarboxylation).

The extraction process means CBD isolate is void of other substances, such as terpenes, flavonoids and cannabinoids. (Terpenes and flavonoids give CBD its taste and smell.) The isolate can then be added to food products or dissolved in liquid; so it’s a versatile form.

cannabis sativa plant

CBD Isolate vs. Full-Spectrum

Some might argue CBD isolate is not as natural as full spectrum CBD. Due to the extraction process, CBD isolate becomes one compound which is not in its “natural” state.

Note: CBD isolate is never taken on its own. It tends to be suppliers that buy in bulk to then create organic products, like CBD patches.

On the other hand, full-spectrum CBD is the pure extract directly from the plant. It contains THC – the psychoactive substance from cannabis – of less than 0.2%, which is the legal limit in the UK . Another distinguishing factor is that full-spectrum CBD also has terpenes and flavonoids, so there’s a unique taste and smell. It can have a bitter, almost rubbery flavour.

Full-spectrum CBD comes directly from the Cannabis Sativa plant without meddling with its properties. Hence why it contains a higher concentration of THC; although diluted enough not to cause a psychoactive “high”.

Full-Spectrum vs. Broad-Spectrum CBD

Lastly, broad-spectrum CBD is the goldilocks of the group. Like full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum is a natural form, containing other cannabinoids, terpenes and plant oils. But the THC is removed. Though it may still contain trace amounts of THC, even though brands will say it’s all removed. So always triple-check the label.

In general, full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD are seen as more potent. This is because it contains the infamous flavonoids and terpenoids that contribute to its “wide therapeutic window”.

Full-spectrum products do contain THC with less than 0.3% – although legal limit in UK is 0.2% (and legal limit in US is 0.3%). However, the original point wasn’t the legal limit it was discussing differences in CBD. I have changed to reflect the UK.

entourage effect

What is the Entourage Effect?

The Entourage Effect is pretty simple. Essentially: full-bodied cannabinoids have more positive benefits than diluted ones. The term manifested by an Israeli scientist called Raphael Mechoulam, and typically defines why full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD is seen as more efficacious.

This is not to say CBD isolate is ineffective. However, full and broad-spectrum CBD is believed to have an Entourage Effect because they both contain phytochemicals including terpenes, flavonoids and other cannabinoid compounds which contribute to incredible benefits. For instance, they provide antioxidants and alleged anti-cancer functions.

Which CBD is Best?

This is a tricky question. Firstly because it comes down to personal preference. Secondly, it’s important to factor in dosage.

With CBD isolate, this compound is often mixed with other ingredients. For instance, our CBD cream for muscle and joints is made from pure CBD isolate with menthol and shea butter. This blend makes it more effective against muscle pain and tension.

Full and broad-spectrum CBD is common in a wide range of products, including oils and edibles like gummies. Some products also claim to be made from CBD but are just hemp – and there is a difference here (remember the extraction process).

Why is CBD Isolate Better?

The main issue with full and broad-spectrum CBD is the compound might be diluted down when mixed with ingredients to create particular products. The CBD might also be a low-grade form, so the benefits might be dulled down.

A lot of people don’t like the taste of CBD – this is the case for full vs. broad-spectrum CBD. Hence why products made with CBD isolate tend to be more palatable. Also, some prefer to use products without THC.

When it comes to dosage, adults above the age of 18 can start with 24mg to 60mg per day. However, you should consider your age, height, weight, and how much you want to feel the effects of CBD.

CBD for anxiety

What CBD is Best for Anxiety?

Most of the studies that argue in favour of CBD tend to examine the effects of CBD oil (full or broad-spectrum CBD).

Studies show that, generally, it’s not the concentration of CBD that is effective, but rather the administration and dosage. One study found that participants inhaling 32mg a day reduced anxiety significantly. Another found that participants ingesting small doses of CBD capsules daily over 48 weeks was just as effective.

Again, it comes down to you. That’s why we have various CBD products that will suit your needs. From gummies and patches, between 16mg to 50mg. You can take these as often or as little as you like. Whether on-the-go or part of your bedtime routine.

Key Takeaways

  • CBD isolate is a chemically “pure” form containing 0% THC. Whereas broad-spectrum CBD and full-spectrum CBD include other cannabinoids in the tincture, with <2% THC.
  • The main difference is in the extraction process and how concentrated the CBD is in sold products.
  • All types of CBD are effective for pain relief, anxiety and depression, but it depends on the dosage and personal preference.