CBD Isolate VS Full-Spectrum CBD (Explained & Compared)
We’ll look at CBD isolate and full-spectrum CBD. We’ll look at what makes them different, their similarities and uses. Read on to know which one you need!

Since ancient times, cannabis has been one of humanity’s favorite plants and with good reason. You can use it to get high and forget about the worries of life, or you can use it as a medicinal plant to treat several diseases. To our ancient ancestors, cannabis must have seemed like a magical plant. But we know the truth about it thanks to advances made in science and technology.

One of the things we’ve learned about cannabis is that it is made up of more than 400 different compounds. Out of the 400, there’s a group of 66 compounds that are known as cannabinoids. These are the most well-known and well-researched compounds found in the plant, and they include THC, CBD, and CBN.

THC is the most famous cannabinoid because its psychoactive effects have been well documented. Despite its popularity, it’s not the cannabinoid that’s on everyone’s lips at the moment. That distinction belongs to CBD.

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a cannabinoid that was first isolated in 1940 by a group of researchers from the University of Illinois. Since its discovery, researchers have performed several studies on it, trying to understand its properties. Despite being discovered in 1940, it’s only recently that CBD has burst into the mainstream.

At the moment it seems like everyone wants a piece of the CBD pie from company executives to celebrities and even regular people. This interest has encouraged innovation, and one of the most significant results was the emergence of different types of CBD.

There are three main types of CBD: CBD isolate, full-spectrum CBD, and broad-spectrum CBD. In this article, we’ll look at CBD isolate and full-spectrum CBD. We’ll look at what makes them different, their similarities, and their uses. Strap in. It’s going to be a long ride.

Let’s start with CBD isolate.

CBD Isolate VS Full-Spectrum CBD (Explained & Compared)
CBD Isolate contains Zero THC @uncanna

CBD Isolate

The term isolate describes something that has been set apart from other objects. Because of this isolation, the substance is kept “pure.” From this, we can infer that CBD isolate is a pure form of CBD that has been separated from all other components of the hemp plant.

You can quickly identify CBD isolate by its appearance; in most cases, it is a white crystalline powder that has a salt-like consistency. However, CBD isolate can also come in the slab form. We shall look at these different types of CBD isolate later, for now, let’s look t the production of CBD isolates.

CBD Isolate VS Full-Spectrum CBD (Explained & Compared)
CBD Isolate @ihprefinery

Industrial Production of CBD Isolate

Looking at CBD isolate, it’s easy to imagine that its production requires a lot of high tech machinery and a complicated production process. While this is true, the production process differs from company to company. 

Let’s look at how some companies make their CBD isolate.

Choosing which plant to use

You can make CBD isolate from both marijuana and hemp, but most producers prefer to steer clear of marijuana.

They avoid marijuana because it contains a higher percentage of THC than what is allowed by federal law. The strains of hemp chosen to make CBD isolate often have a higher concentration of CBD than other strains.

Production of CBD extract

There are several methods that they can choose to extract the CBD, such as Carbon (IV) oxide extraction, ethanol extraction, and lipid extraction. For this article, we’ll assume that they have chosen Carbon (IV) oxide extraction. This method involves using carbon (IV) oxide that’s at low pressure and high temperature and passing it over the plant material. This process produces highly concentrated oil.


Because of the low temperatures used during the process, the extract usually contains CBDA, the precursor of CBD. The next step involves heating the oil to decarboxylated it.

The extract then undergoes winterization to purify it. Winterization consists in mixing the extract with alcohol and freezing it overnight.

The mixture later undergoes filtration, and the alcohol evaporated away, leaving you with a purified CBD extract.

CBD Isolate VS Full-Spectrum CBD (Explained & Compared)
Ardent Nova Lift decarboxylation @ardentllc

Full-Spectrum CBD

At this point, what you have is full-spectrum CBD, but we’ll get to that a little bit later.

CBD Isolate

To make CBD isolate, the purified extract can undergo one of two processes: chromatography or short path distillation. For this article, we’ll look at short path distillation.

Short path distillation

Short path distillation takes advantage of the fact that the compounds in the CBD extract have a unique boiling point. Research has shown that CBD doesn’t have a single boiling point and boils over a range of temperature from 320F to 365F (160C to 180C).

Once the distillation is complete, you’ll be left with 99% pure CBD, CBD isolate.

Can You Make CBD Isolate at Home?

There’s a significant overlap between members of the CBD community and members of the DIY community. That’s why there’s a lot of content aimed at teaching people how to make their own CBD products.

There’s a tremendous attraction to making your own CBD products. They are cheaper, you can ensure the quality of the product, and you can customize the potency to your preferred level. With this in mind, it’s easy to see why people would be curious to see if they could make their own CBD isolate.

Unfortunately, at the moment, it’s almost impossible to make CBD isolate at home unless you invest a lot of money and time. Even after investing the money and the time, you are not guaranteed that you’ll produce a high-quality CBD isolate at home. You need expert skills to operate some of the equipment, for example, the shorthand distillation kit.

Since you can’t make your own CBD isolate at home, you should look into getting the best CBD isolate for you. We’ve written a handy guide on shopping for CBD products, and you can find it here.

CBD Isolate VS Full-Spectrum CBD (Explained & Compared)
CBD Tincture On A Tree @buckshotvaporsmfg

Types of CBD Isolate

There are two types of CBD isolate:

CBD isolate powder

This is a white crystalline powder, and it is the most common type of CBD isolate.

CBD Isolate VS Full-Spectrum CBD (Explained & Compared)
CBD Isolate Powder @extractwellness

CBD isolate slab

This is a form of CBD isolate that looks like a large flat rock. At the end of the extraction process, CBD isolate is usually in slab form, and it is later broken down to form the CBD isolate powder.

Although CBD isolate slabs are not that common, they can be used to make vape liquids, creams, and edibles.

CBD Isolate VS Full-Spectrum CBD (Explained & Compared)
CBD Isolate Slab Crystal @honeygoldprocessing

Benefits of Using CBD Isolate

CBD isolate has several benefits over other types of CBD. These benefits include:

It does not contain THC

THC is one of the most important compounds in cannabis. 

Apart from getting you high, it can help in managing several conditions such as fatigue and sleep apnea. Although THC has a lot of health benefits, and some people would even swear by it, it isn’t legal in most places. You might find yourself on the wrong side of the law if you use products that have THC.

That’s why some people prefer to use CBD isolate. The fact that it has no THC means that it is completely legal in all areas where CBD is legal.

The lack of THC also means that you won’t get high from using it. While most CBD products won’t get you high, those that contain a high enough THC content might. That’s why CBD isolate’s popularity is increasing, no matter how much of it you use you won’t get high. Plus there is no chance of it appearing in a drug test.

It’s easy to determine how much CBD you need

One of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to CBD is how much CBD should you take? And it’s usually difficult to give someone a specific answer because everyone’s body is different.

Another factor that makes it hard to give a definitive answer is the fact that the amount of CBD contained in two products may vary significantly. That’s why people are usually advised to start small and increase their dosage as time goes on.

But how small is small? Size is relative to a person, and taking the wrong dosage of CBD might affect your experience.

Knowing the CBD exact dosage you are taking is another reason why CBD isolate is popular. Because CBD isolate is pure CBD, this means that the isolate’s weight is equal to its CBD content.

Thus by using basic Math, you can determine the exact amount of CBD you are taking.

CBD Isolate VS Full-Spectrum CBD (Explained & Compared)
CBD Isolate Powder @extractwellness

You can use it to make your own CBD products

At one point or another, everyone’s wondered how it would feel to own their own brand. Be at the forefront of innovation and to be looked upon as a leader in an industry. Very few people have achieved this honor, and that’s why we make a big deal out of the people who’ve done it.

But what if we told you that you could create your own brand in a matter of minutes? You can add CBD isolate to a diverse array of products and create your own CBD products. You can even sell these products to your friends and family and earn some extra cash.

It is cheaper than other CBD products

One of the things we liked the most about CBD isolate is the fact that it is less expensive than other CBD products. Most companies usually package their CBD isolate in 1 gram container. These containers are then sold at around $20 to $40. 

One gram may seem like a small amount but remember that CBD isolate is mainly sold in powder form. It takes a large amount of powder to fill a 1 gram container.

When compared with other CBD products with an equal amount of CBD, CBD isolate is much cheaper. A CBD tincture with a similar amount of CBD often goes for close to $60.

CBD Isolate VS Full-Spectrum CBD (Explained & Compared)
CBD Isolate Slab @karenpharma_cbdsolutions

How to Use CBD Isolate

Now that you know the benefits of CBD isolate, you might be thinking of going out and getting yourself some. But before you rush out to get some, have you thought about how you are going to use it? CBD isolate is one of the most versatile types of CBD, and you can use it in practically every way imaginable.

Use CBD isolate sublingually

Using CBD isolate sublingually is one of the easiest ways to use it. Just measure out the exact amount of CBD you want to use and put it under your tongue for roughly 90 seconds. Let it dissolve and then take some water to wash down the rest. CBD isolate has no flavor so you might consider using a flavored variant to improve the experience.

Once the isolate is placed under the tongue, it is primarily absorbed by the sublingual artery. The mucous membranes in the mouth also contribute to the absorption of the CBD. Once it’s in the sublingual artery, it makes its way to the brain through the carotid artery.

Using CBD isolate sublingually is an efficient way to use it because a large quantity of the CBD is absorbed into the body.

CBD Isolate VS Full-Spectrum CBD (Explained & Compared)
CBD Oil In A Jar @karenpharma_cbdsolutions

Ingest CBD isolate

Ingesting it is probably the easiest way to use CBD isolate. Once you’ve decided how much CBD you want to use, you can swallow it by itself. If you are ingesting the CBD isolate by itself, you should take it after eating this makes it easier for the body to absorb it.

Alternatively, you can add the CBD isolate to a drink or food and then consume it. Most people believe that this is the best way to take CBD isolate.

If you take CBD isolate in this way, it usually takes anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes for the CBD to be absorbed. The CBD usually lasts a long time in your body once it has been absorbed. The only downside about this method is that the amount of CBD absorbed is small.

Combine CBD isolate and cream to use it topically

This is what we meant when we said that CBD isolate allows you to have your own brand. You can add some CBD isolate to your favorite cream and then apply it topically. The good thing about this method is that you get to experience the benefits of CBD isolate and the benefits of your regular cream.

CBD Isolate VS Full-Spectrum CBD (Explained & Compared)
CBD Cream @kaplan_brian

Dabbing CBD isolate

One of the ways you can use CBD isolate is by dabbing it. When we say dabbing, we don’t mean that weird dance teachers and parents do to try and look cool.

In the world of CBD, dabbing is a method of consuming cannabis products where they are exposed to high temperatures and vaporized. Once they are vaporized, you inhale the vapor.

Dabbing is a very efficient method of using the CBD isolate because a large quantity of it gets into your system. However, it is a costly process. To start dabbing, you need to buy a dabbing rig which isn’t cheap. A high-quality rig will cost you more than $100, but if you can afford it, it’s worth the price.

CBD Isolate VS Full-Spectrum CBD (Explained & Compared)
Dabbing rig @shiftysbongsnstuf

Vaping CBD isolate

Vaping CBD isolate is another way in which you can use it. This is an efficient method of using CBD isolate because a large amount of it will make its way into your system. The effects will also last for a pretty long time when compared to other methods of using it.

The simplest way to start vaping CBD isolate is by mixing it with an e-juice. While this process is a little complicated, it gives you complete control over how much CBD isolate you vape.

Some of the things you need to keep in mind during this process include:

  • Most e-juices are made by combining vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol in different ratios. The ratio is what affects the consistency of your vaping liquid.
  • Some vaping devices will only work with a predetermined amount of the two, so make sure to confirm if your vaping device has any such specification.
  • Research has shown that CBD isolate will dissolve faster in propylene glycol than in vegetable glycerin. So when making your mixture, first dissolve CBD isolate in the former then mix in the latter.
  • You should be careful not to put in too much CBD isolate. A large amount of isolate increases the chances of re-crystallization. This will prevent you from enjoying the effects of CBD isolate, and the recrystallized isolate might clog your vaping tank.

How Effective is CBD Isolate?

Odds are you’ve already decided how you are going to use your CBD isolate and you might be thinking of getting some right now. Slow down, cowboy. There’s something you must know before you buy CBD isolate.

CBD isolate isn’t as effective as other types of CBD. We can see the gears turning, and you are probably asking yourself why it isn’t as effective as the rest, yet it is pure CBD. It’s a paradox and an intriguing one at that.

It turns out, CBD isolate’s most significant selling point is also its biggest flaw. When you remove every other compound, you significantly reduce the effectiveness of CBD. The compounds in cannabis need to work together for you to get the most out of them. This is known as the entourage effect, and we’ll look at it in more detail in the next section.

Because of this reduced effectiveness, you need a higher dose of CBD isolate for it to be as effective.

CBD Isolate VS Full-Spectrum CBD (Explained & Compared)
Peppermint CBD Oil @wander_woman_vaper

Full-Spectrum CBD

Now that we’ve looked at CBD isolate let’s look at its polar opposite, full-spectrum CBD.

To understand what full-spectrum CBD is, we need to look at the term spectrum. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a spectrum is a group of items in a continuous range. So when we say that an object is “full-spectrum” it contains all the objects in that particular range.

From this, we can infer that full-spectrum CBD is a type of CBD that contains all other cannabinoids and compounds found in the plant.

It is easy to identify full spectrum CBD because of its color and consistency. In most cases, full-spectrum CBD is golden yellow, but you might get others that are brown and dark green.

Let’s learn about full-spectrum CBD.

CBD Isolate VS Full-Spectrum CBD (Explained & Compared)
Full-spectrum CBD @goatgrasscbd

The Cannabinoid Profile of Full-Spectrum CBD 

When people talk about full-spectrum CBD, one of the things that they focus on is how it has all these cannabinoids and cannabis compounds. If you are like us, you’ve probably wondered where these cannabinoids come from and who gets to determine the concentration of each.

We did a little digging, pun totally intended, and here’s what we found out. The cannabinoid profile of the full spectrum CBD is a reflection of the profile of the plant from which it’s been extracted. If you have a plant with a higher concentration of THC than CBN, then your full spectrum CBD will have a higher concentration of THC than CBN.

While this might seem like a minor point to some people, it’s a big deal to us and to those who want to use full-spectrum CBD to manage a health condition. Understanding a product’s cannabinoid profile ensures that you purchase one that is right for you.

Now you know why farmers and researchers are always coming up with new strains of cannabis and hemp. They are trying to find the golden ratio of cannabinoids in a plant. A lot of factors determine the ratio, and the main one is the law. In the US for a CBD product to be legal at the federal level, it has to contain less than 0.03% THC. Factors such as this can prevent companies from achieving that elusive golden ratio.

CBD Isolate VS Full-Spectrum CBD (Explained & Compared)
Bottles Of CBD Oil @othersidelondon_

Making Full-Spectrum CBD at Home

Since we’ve already looked at the industrial production of full-spectrum CBD, let’s look at whether you can make your own at home.

Unlike CBD isolate, full-spectrum CBD is relatively easy to make at home. Here’s a handy guide:

  • Obtain the plants you plan on using. Remember to keep it legal and only use plants that contain less than 0.03% THC.
  • Once you have your plant, prepare the buds and leaves that you plan to use.
  • In a cooking pot, add equal quantities of olive oil and water and then add the leaves and buds that you had prepared.
  • Turn the cooker on to low heat until you see bubbles. When you see bubbles, reduce the heat.

Sidenote: During the heating process, you should try and ensure that the temperature remains steady at 200F. The temperature should not reach 300F because that will get rid of the compounds you want.

  • The entire process takes roughly 30 minutes. Once it’s done, you’ll notice that the cannabis floats to the top and most f the water will have evaporated away.
  • Let it cool before straining it using a sieve. Store it in a safe place.
CBD Isolate VS Full-Spectrum CBD (Explained & Compared)
Full-Spectrum CBD Hemp Oil @hallow33n_child

How to Use Full-Spectrum CBD 

Using full-spectrum CBD is a lot like using CBD isolate. You can:

  • Ingest it
  • Use it sublingually
  • Add it into a cream and apply it topically
  • Dab it
  • Vape it

The most significant difference between using CBD isolate and full-spectrum CBD is that full-spectrum CBD does not need to be continuously dissolved, unlike CBD isolate.

What are the disadvantages of using full-spectrum CBD?

If you were to ask the team whether they wanted the good news or bad news first, most of us would say the bad news. It’s not that we are pessimists, it’s the opposite.

We like being done with the bad news first before we enjoy the good news. And in the spirit of being done with the bad news first, let’s look at the negative side of full-spectrum CBD. 

It’s expensive to buy

One of the things we did not like about full-spectrum CBD is that it’s pretty costly. A high-quality bottle of CBD isolate is going to cost you more than $100. Such prices are the reason why DIY full-spectrum CBD oils have become popular.

It contains THC

Including this as a disadvantage is a pretty controversial decision, but allow us to explain. In most areas of the world, THC is illegal, and the fact that full-spectrum CBD contains THC makes it illegal in those areas. This means that people in those areas can’t get to enjoy the therapeutic properties of full-spectrum CBD.

If you live in an area where THC is illegal, consider using broad-spectrum CBD. It contains all the beneficial cannabinoids you would find in full-spectrum CBD except THC.

Determining the exact amount of CBD you are using is hard

Possibly the most significant disadvantage of full-spectrum CBD is that it’s challenging to decide on how much CBD is in a single dose accurately. This is because there are other compounds that you have to take into account when doing your math. Another issue we had with this is that each full-spectrum CBD has a unique composition. This makes it even more challenging to keep track of how much CBD you’ve taken if you are sampling different brands.

CBD Isolate VS Full-Spectrum CBD (Explained & Compared)
CBD Full-Spectrum Drops @muscle_mx

What Are the Benefits of Using Full-Spectrum CBD?

Now that we are done with the bad news let’s get to the good news. There are a lot of benefits to using full-spectrum CBD. Some of them include:

It is easy to use

One of the best things about full-spectrum CBD is that it is easy to use. Once you have it all you need to do is decide how you are going to use it. Of all the methods we listed, using it sublingually is the easiest. You don’t need any special equipment, and it’s pretty discrete. You can use it at any time and in any place where you can get 5 seconds to yourself.

It contains THC

Hello old friend, seems like we were destined to meet again.

The presence of THC can be both an advantage and a disadvantage; it just depends on the circumstances. When it comes to the legality of full-spectrum CBD, the presence of THC is a disadvantage.

On the other hand, when it comes to the effectiveness of the CBD, THC is a definite advantage. THC and CBD work well together to treat several conditions.

CBD Isolate VS Full-Spectrum CBD (Explained & Compared)
CBD Full-Spectrum Hemp Extract @twosistershempwv

How Effective is Full-Spectrum CBD?

To properly understand the effectiveness of full-spectrum CBD, we need to look at the entourage effect.

According to scientists, the entourage effect is a phenomenon whereby the different compounds in cannabis work together in the human body. When these compounds work together, they create a more significant therapeutic effect than a single compound alone.

Because of the entourage effect, full-spectrum CBD can be used to manage a broader range of diseases and conditions than any other type of CBD. Leafly made a very hand chart that shows how the different cannabinoids work together, and you can find it here

CBD Isolate VS Full-Spectrum CBD

Now that we’ve overanalyzed each type of CBD let’s take a look at how they stack up against each other.

  • Price– Store-bought CBD isolate much cheaper than store-bought full-spectrum CBD.
  • DIY– It’s easier to make your own full-spectrum CBD than to make your own CBD isolate. Making CBD isolate at home requires special equipment and skills while making full-spectrum CBD does not.
  • How to use them– You can use both CBD isolate and full-spectrum CBD in the same way. The only difference is that in most cases you’ll have to dissolve the CBD isolate before using it.
  • Legality– CBD isolate is legal in more areas than full spectrum CBD. Full-spectrum CBD contains THC while CBD isolate does not.
  • Effectiveness– Full spectrum CBD is more effective than CBD isolate because it has a broader cannabinoid profile. A more comprehensive cannabinoid profile ensures that users of full-spectrum CBD enjoy the entourage effect. Users of CBD isolate do not possess the entourage effect.
CBD Isolate VS Full-Spectrum CBD (Explained & Compared)
Full-Spectrum Oil @twosistershempwv

There you have it, folks, a full analysis, and comparison of CBD isolate and full-spectrum CBD. These are the two most common types of CBD in the market. Now that you know more about them, you can make a more informed decision next time you are shopping for CBD.

Thank you for reading with us today! Be sure to check out “7 Things to Consider When Shopping For CBD Oil” for info and tips to consider when getting your bottle of CBD oil.

Join us on Facebook or Instagram to be a part of the conversation and stay up to date with all things CBD! See you there!!



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