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Full Spectrum CBD vs CBD Isolate – What’s the Difference?

Full Spectrum CBD oil

CBD oil: it’s all over the news, in magazines, and on restaurant menus.

If you’re looking for a CBD product for yourself though, getting everything straight might seem a bit confusing. How does it work? Is it legal? Then there are all those different terms that maybe you’re unsure of. 

Two of the most common are full spectrum CBD and CBD isolate. And there’s an important difference between the two.

That’s what we want to help you figure out. We’ll also help you decide which one is best for you.

CBD Oil: The Basics

If you’re new to CBD, here are a few of the basics.

  • Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the many active cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. It’s these cannabinoids that make cannabis so valuable as far as natural medicine. 
  • It’s non-psychoactive. That means it doesn’t produce the “high” of its fellow cannabinoid, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In fact, most CBD oil comes from hemp and should contain no more than 0.3% THC. 
  • How does CBD work? Your body is full of cannabinoid receptors. They’re in your brain, your major organs, even your immune system. When certain endocannabinoids are introduced into the body, they react with those receptors. The goal is to bring about balance.

Pro tip: This just scratches the surface of the history and science behind CBD. If you want to know more, check out this post.

Ok, basics covered – so what’s the difference between full spectrum CBD and CBD isolate?

Full Spectrum CBD Oil vs. CBD Isolate

The cannabis plant contains 483 known compounds. About 60 of those are cannabinoids. CBD is just one of those compounds. A few of the most beneficial others are:

  1. Terpenes – our bodies don’t naturally produce terpenes. Terpenes are responsible for the unique scents of cannabis and hemp. They also play an important role in effecting things like stress and pain. 
  2. Flavonoids – Studies have found them to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anticancer effects. They also protect the cardiovascular and nervous systems.
full spectrum CBD

Full spectrum CBD is made with an extract that contains all or nearly all of the compounds naturally present in the cannabis plant. This obviously includes CBD, as well as those terpenes and flavonoids, and much more.

On the other hand, CBD isolate is just CBD compound isolated. It doesn’t contain any of the other active compounds found in the cannabis plant. Companies do this either by isolating the CBD or creating it artificially. You can find it as a powder or crystals. 

For some people, pure CBD oil is the go-to because it contains 0% THC, whereas full spectrum can contain minuscule amounts. That said, when looking for full-spectrum, find a reputable company that has a product with 0.3% THC.

What’s Better?

People used to think that the pure CBD was best. However, now it seems that full spectrum extract is preferable over CBD isolate for most CBD users.

That’s because, when you’re using CBD oil for the health benefits, research shows you want all those other compounds too. This is because of what scientists call the Entourage Effect.

What’s the Entourage Effect? It’s when those other compounds enhance the effects of CBD oil on the body. In fact, that same research shows that CBD is more effective overall when used with those other compounds. All of the plant extracts work together. 

Both have benefits, but in many cases taking advantage of the whole plant is a great idea. It’s the only way to get that Entourage Effect.