CBD isolate vs Full spectrum vs broad spectrum

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While shopping for your CBD, you may have observed some labels on the products, with statements such as “Full spectrum CBD”, “Isolate CBD”, or “Broad-spectrum CBD”. These phrases can be confusing, but by the end of this article, you will understand what they mean and will be able to decide which you want to buy when shopping next.

In the CBD world, the more common types of CBD are isolate and full-spectrum CBD, with the broad-spectrum CBD being less common. Despite the terminology being similar, there is actually quite a difference between these types.

If you carefully read the labels on the product, you will find that a lot of companies describe their product as full-spectrum, but upon further study of these products, you may find that they contain broad-spectrum extracts as well. This begs the question, what is the reason why companies sell broad-spectrum CBD products as a full-spectrum? And what is the difference between broad, full-spectrum and Isolate CBD?

CBD isolate vs Full spectrum

When discussing the differences and similarities of isolate and full-spectrum CBD, it is best to start with their similarities -as they both contain cannabidiol. While there are several ways to extract these types of CBD, the best way to extract both is through the CO2 recovery. This produces the cleanest extracts. While in this sense the two are similar substances, there are many ways the products differ. The following is a breakdown of the main differences between isolate CBD and full-spectrum CBD:

CBD isolate:

  • This is the purest form of CBD
  • It does not contain THC or the other cannabinoids
  • Usually does not include plant compounds such as terpenes
  • It is processed more extensively than the full spectrum CBD
  • It supplies CBD directly to the body

Full-spectrum CBD:

  • Contains CBD, and some other natural plant compounds
  • If derived from hemp, the THC it contains is less than 0.3%
  • It uses fewer processes to produce than CBD Isolate
  • It works hand in hand with THC and the other plant compounds found in cannabis.

It is not a secret that the cannabidiol in CBD isolate is more concentrated than that of full spectrum. This is, however, not an indication that it is the more potent option. Whilst there is a need for more research to be done to conclude this, current studies suggest that full-spectrum CBD has an additional effect which is known as “environmental effect”. This is because it contains a combination of plant compounds, cannabinoids, and some other herbs.

Furthermore, it is widely acknowledged that among all the non-psychoactive compounds in cannabis, the benefits of CBD is the most documented. However, the other compounds do combine with CBD to produce a dynamic blend. For instance, THC is a compound that mimics anandamides (these are natural endocannabinoids), and in doing so, it has proven to have a number of positive benefits. Some researchers’ advise that all parts of plant contain benefits of some kind. 

Although full spectrum CBD typically includes some other cannabis compounds, when the product is derived from hemp, the THC levels are still quite low – at no more than 0.3. Some studies have concluded that there are benefits to be derived from using a combination of THC and CBD.

Broad-spectrum CBD

Simply put, the broad spectrum is a hybrid of both full-spectrum CBD and isolate CBD. What that means is that there is complete isolation of all the individual compounds in the cannabis plant, and thereafter, recombination is done to mimic the effects of the full spectrum extracts – but with some modifications.

In terms of phytochemical profiles, there is a variation in broad-spectrum extracts. Some producers remove only the THC to enable them to sell the products in places where products with THC are prohibited.

One of the advantages of creating broad-spectrum extracts is that it allows for the selection and control of the ratio and level of cannabinoids, to ensure consistency across products. Full-spectrum extracts do not allow for this. 

It is hard to achieve this with the natural full spectrum extract because there is a varying level of phytochemicals in individual plants.

So, in the following section, we will explain when you should consider taking each type of CBD. Of course, you should base your decision on the reason for which you want to use CBD, and, for some consumers, the price and possible blood tests results may also be a the deciding factor in your choice. With these factors in mind, the following list can help you choose which CBD type is best for you:

CBD isolate

This is the purest form of CBD, with all other plant compounds and cannabinoids completely removed.

Best for:

  • People who have been specifically recommended to take high doses of CBD
  • People sensitive to THC or other cannabinoids
  • People who are regularly tested for drugs
  • People who prefer light or tasteless flavours
  • People living in states with strict THC laws
  • Novice users who may be reluctant to take other cannabinoids

Full-spectrum CBD

Full-spectrum CBD is a type of CBD in which the CBD substance is extracted from the plant alongside the other compounds and cannabinoids.

Best for:

  • People who will benefit from specific THC/CBD ratios
  • People who will not find sufficient relief from CBD isolate and broad-spectrum, perhaps due to chronic illnesses or severe pain
  • Individuals who reside in countries or states where cannabis is legal

Broad-spectrum CBD

CBD which has been extracted from the cannabis plant along with all other compounds and cannabinoids except THC.

Best for:

  • People with diseases which cannot be relieved by isolated CBD alone
  • People sensitive to THC
  • People living in states that have strict THC laws
  • Novice users hesitant about THC

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