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CBD Isolate vs Full Spectrum Oil

Beyond the Hype series – Part 5

Navigating the world of cannabidiol (CBD) is difficult with so many acronyms and new terms to understand.  One distinction between oils is Isolate versus Full Spectrum versus Broad Spectrum which all boil down to how the oil is extracted and refined. 

Cannabidiol (CBD) is just one of over 100 Cannabinoids found in both the hemp plant and the marijuana plant.  For the purpose of this article, we will focus only on CBD and cannabinoids derived from the hemp plant. 

What is CBD Isolate?

Isolate is the most refined version of CBD, essentially pure CBD with all of the other plant matter removed.  This includes removal of all other cannabinoids and terpenes (think smell) found in the plant.  Isolate generally has no smell or taste as it is 99% pure CBD.  This is beneficial for many CBD products where taste is a factor or potency is important.

What is Full Spectrum CBD Oil?

Full Spectrum oil is a less refined oil that maintains all of the plant’s natural cannabinoids and terpenes.  This includes a small amount of THC, which is the psychoactive chemical found in marijuana. But, for the product to be legal in the United States, THC must be .3% or below.

What is Broad Spectrum CBD Oil?

Broad Spectrum oil is basically a Full Spectrum oil that has been refined to 0% THC.

What is The Entourage Effect?

Cannabinoids interact with our bodies’ endocannabinoid systems (ECS).  Experts believe that the primary role of the ECS is to maintain homeostasis in the body.  Since the ECS has receptors all over the body that are linked to many different processes (appetite, digestion, chronic pain, inflammation, sleep, stress, etc.) and cannabinoids aid in that process, it is believed that all of the cannabinoids found in a full spectrum oil can have a more beneficial result on homeostasis than a single cannabinoid like CBD.  This is called “the entourage effect,” meaning all of the cannabinoids can have a more synergistic effect than a single cannabinoid. 


We know that both Isolates and Full Spectrum oils work for most people. It is impossible to know if one or the other is better for each individual because everyone’s ECS is unique to them.  It’s probably best to try both at the same dosage and see what works best for you.  If you are concerned about taste, drug testing and purity, an Isolate might be better.  

Keeping it Simple

Cannabidiol/CBD = one of the main cannabinoids found in hemp and marijuana plants

Isolate = pure CBD with no other cannabinoids

Full Spectrum Oil = all the cannabinoids but with .3% THC or less

Broad Spectrum Oil = Full Spectrum oil but with zero THC

Endocannabinoid System/ECS = receptors in the body that interact with cannabinoids and help maintain homeostasis

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