Understanding the Benefits of Full Spectrum CBD vs. Isolate CBD

By August 11, 2019 No Comments

If you’ve not yet noticed, all CBD products are not created equal. If you look closer at the labeling, you’ll see that some are marketed as full-spectrum, and others as CBD isolate. So, what’s the difference?


Full-spectrum CBD is made with an extract that contains all or nearly all of the compounds naturally present in the cannabis plant, including CBD, other cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and more. This includes less than 0.3% THC.

On the other hand, CBD isolate contains only CBD. This can be achieved by either isolating CBD from cannabis extract, or by artificially creating in a lab. However, both full-spectrum CBD and isolates have pros and cons.


CBD isolate allows users to take large amounts of CBD and know how much they’re getting, without the sometimes unpleasant taste of hemp extract.  CBD isolates can also be more expensive than full spectrum CBD because they undergo more extensive refinement and require more plant matter in order to get high levels of isolated cannabidiol. This means that there is zero THC, which is appealing to some who are concerned about drug testing. However, CBD isolate does not offer the same benefits as full spectrum CBD.


Full spectrum CBD contains all of the compounds found in cannabis, and is believed to have greater therapeutic benefits than CBD isolate due to what is called the “entourage effect.”

The entourage effect theory claims that the combined compounds in cannabis can produce unique effects in the body. For example, research suggest that CBD in cannabis can counteract some of the negative side effects of THC, such as anxiety. One theory is that CBD can block some cannabinoid receptors, therefore blocking the effects of THC, which binds directly to these receptors.

Research has also shown that full-spectrum CBD products tend to offer better relief from certain symptoms, like pain and inflammation, than isolates.

The entourage effect doesn’t just extend to THC and CBD. All of the components in cannabis can interact with each other and create unique effects, including terpenes, aromatic oils that color cannabis varieties with distinctive flavors like citrus, berry, mint, and pine. Terpenes play a key role in differentiating the effects of various cannabis strains. Pinene, for example, has been shown to reduce some of the cognitive impairment caused by THC. In addition, pinene, myrcene, and caryophyllene have also been shown to reduce anxiety.


If you’re looking to buy CBD and want to benefit from the full health potential of the cannabis plant, we highly recommend full-spectrum products. Purchasing CBD isolate products will often leave users thinking, “That did nothing for me,” and they give up on CBD altogether before experiencing full spectrum CBD.

If you’re still unsure what to try, please stop in and chat with us – we’re happy to help you select a CBD that will work for you.