CBD Isolate vs. Full Spectrum vs. Broad Spectrum (Finding the Right Type of CBD for Your Needs)
The CBD market has exploded in recent years, giving consumers a wide (and sometimes confusing) range of options. You can add a dose of hemp CBD oil to your coffee, enjoy a CBD gummy after (or on top of) your ice cream, or simply take a CBD gel capsule in the morning and before bed. On top of this, new terminology has developed faster than many consumers can keep up, and terms like isolate, broad spectrum, and full spectrum can be confusing if you’re new to the world of CBD.
Before you start choosing between gummies, oil tinctures, tablets, and topical creams, take a step back and consider what is in each product. To help you understand your options, let’s quickly and clearly explore the difference between CBD isolate vs full spectrum vs broad spectrum.
What Is CBD Isolate?
In a hemp or cannabis plant, there are hundreds of distinct substances, from cannabinoids (like THC, CBD, and CBG) to terpenes (like limonene and myrcene).
CBD isolate is just like it sounds: it’s a product that has isolated CBD from other cannabinoids and terpenes. That means no psychoactive THC (the compound we normally associate with “getting high”). Cannabidiol (CBD), on the other hand, is NOT psychoactive. It will not affect your mind or inhibit your judgement, and you won’t have to worry about failing a THC drug test. That makes CBD isolate a popular choice for many consumers who don’t want or can’t have THC in their products.
That said, there are reasons why you might want other cannabinoids present in your gummies, oil tinctures, or other CBD products. In those cases, you might prefer full spectrum or broad spectrum.
Broad Spectrum CBD
Broad spectrum, like CBD isolate, is 100% THC-free with no psychoactive effects. However, there are many other compounds present that naturally occur in the hemp plant, like flavonoids and terpenes.
Flavonoids and terpenes are responsible for the distinctive flavor and smell of hemp. In fact, flavonoids and terpenes are found in just about every plant on Earth, and you consume these in your salad, smoothies, and even the lettuce on your Big Mac.
You might ask yourself then, what is the benefit of broad spectrum compared to isolate, especially considering the flavonoids and terpenes seem to primarily contribute to the taste and smell?
Many consumers search for broad spectrum CBD extracts because of the “entourage effect” – the theory that cannabinoids like CBD have enhanced benefits when consumed alongside other naturally occurring hemp or cannabis compounds.
For those consumers who want even more of the entourage effect (and who can have THC in small quantities), the next step up from broad spectrum is full spectrum.
Full Spectrum CBD
Broad spectrum is close to a full-plant extract, except that it eliminates THC. Full spectrum, on the other hand, uses the whole plant – including THC – in an effort to maintain the natural ratio of cannabinoids and terpenes.
THC, you say? Does that mean full spectrum CBD products are psychoactive?
While THC is indeed the compound that creates a “high,” full spectrum CBD contains 0.3% or less THC. So unless you’re consuming entire bottles of full spectrum cannabidiol, you’re no more likely to get high than if you were taking a dose of CBD isolate.
Keeping the THC in full spectrum CBD products contributes to the entourage effect and increases the effectiveness of hemp oil tinctures, gummies, capsules, and topical creams.
What CBD Product Is Right For You?
In the end, the best advice is to know and trust your own body and needs. If you know you can’t have any THC – due to health restrictions or the possibility of being drug tested – stick with CBD isolate or broad spectrum over full spectrum. But if you aren’t sure, take a couple weeks to try CBD isolate vs broad spectrum vs full spectrum. Take notes about how you feel – did you sleep better? Were you more or less anxious? Did pain levels diminish? . This will help you hone in on what works best for your body.
And, perhaps more important than the isolate vs broad vs full spectrum CBD debate, make sure you find a hemp CBD company you trust so you can be sure you’re getting the pure, consistent doses you expect (and nothing else).