Full-Spectrum vs. Isolated CBD: Which is the One for You?
CBD has become increasingly popular and more accepted for its non-intoxicating natural healing and wellness properties. As the CBD industry grows, the range of products available on the market is growing too. There are countless companies offering different CBD tinctures, oils, vapes, lotions, edibles and more in both full-spectrum and isolate forms. With so many options, it can be tough to decide where to start.
One of the first things you will need to choose is what type of CBD you want to use. Most CBD products will fall into one of two categories: full-spectrum or isolate.
Not all CBD is created equal. In this article we will help you understand the differences between full-spectrum, isolated, and broad-spectrum CBD and why they matter. We will also give you a bit of insight into how the different types of CBD work. Armed with this knowledge, you should feel more confident in making an educated decision on what type of CBD is best for you.
What are Full-Spectrum, Isolated, and Broad-Spectrum CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of over 100 cannabinoids found in the plant Cannabis sativa. Hemp and marijuana are two varieties of Cannabis sativa with one major difference: the natural concentration of THC. Hemp only contains trace amounts of THC and is the source of most of the CBD products available on the market today.
CBD is available in three forms: Full-Spectrum, Broad-Spectrum, and Isolate
Hemp plants contain hundreds of natural phytonutrients. When CBD is extracted from hemp, the resulting oil also contains other cannabinoids, terpenes, essential oils, vitamins, minerals, and more. This is full-spectrum or whole plant CBD extract.
CBD + Other Cannabinoids + Terpenes + Essential Oils + Nutrients
Full-spectrum CBD extracts contain cannabinoids, terpenes, and other nutrients in their natural ratios.
CBD is the most naturally abundant cannabinoid in hemp, but many more are present. These include, but are not limited to, CBG, CBN, CBC, and trace amounts of THC (within the legal limit of < 0.3%). CBD and THC are the most widely studied cannabinoids, but many others have shown potential therapeutic qualities of their own as well.
THC is an important synergistic component that makes up the full spectrum of natural unmodified CBD extract. Some companies claim to have full-spectrum products and also claim to have zero THC. Without THC, the products cannot be considered true full-spectrum CBD. They fall into the category of broad-spectrum.
Terpenes give natural full-spectrum CBD oils their characteristic aroma and flavor. In addition, the terpenes and other nutrients present also offer their own additional health benefits.
As the name suggests, CBD isolate only contains CBD and no other active compounds. CBD isolate is sometimes referred to as pure CBD.
CBD – NO THC
Additional processing removes all other cannabinoids, terpenes, and other phytonutrients from natural hemp extracts to isolate the CBD. These isolated CBD extracts contain zero THC and have no flavor.
Broad-spectrum CBD extracts fall somewhere in-between full-spectrum and isolate. They contain more natural hemp compounds than CBD isolate, but do not have the complete spectrum found in full-spectrum CBD extracts.
CBD + Some Other Cannabinoids + Some Terpenes – NO THC
Broad-spectrum extracts can be made by isolating individual compounds from full-spectrum hemp extracts and recombining only desired components. They typically contain CBD, a few other selected cannabinoids, some selected terpenes, and zero THC.
Not all broad-spectrum products will contain the same blend of cannabinoids and terpenes, so it can be helpful to look for a certificate of analysis. A third-party lab analysis should let you know which cannabinoids and terpenes are present.
How do the different CBD types work?
Thousands of medical studies have been performed on CBD that show a wide array of potential health benefits. So, how do you get the most out of your CBD?
Scientific evidence suggests the health benefits of whole fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based foods far outweigh the benefits of vitamins and supplements. When the active compounds in plants are consumed together as a whole in their natural ratios, they interact with each other to produce greater overall health benefits than the individual parts could on their own.
Hemp – and, by extension, CBD – is no exception to the synergistic effects and benefits of whole plant consumption. Full-spectrum CBD contains all of the natural components of hemp in their natural ratios. The benefits of each component multiply each other, rather than add, to provide the strongest relief and widest range of benefits. As a bonus, full-spectrum CBD is also rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that can boost your overall wellness.
Full-Spectrum CBD = Orange, CBD Isolate = Vitamin C Supplement
Taking CBD isolate would be akin to taking a vitamin C supplement, while taking full-spectrum CBD would be like eating a whole orange. Both will give you a boost in vitamin C, but the orange offers more health benefits
In 2015, researchers at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem performed a study that demonstrated the limits of CBD isolate and how to overcome them with full-spectrum CBD.
When mice were given pure CBD isolate, therapeutic responses were only observed within a narrow dose range. Doses both lower and higher than the ideal amount did not offer relief.
The bell-shaped dose-response curve of isolated CBD can make it difficult to find the ideal dose that will provide relief. To get the most out of your CBD you will need to find the ideal amount that offers you the most relief. Taking too little will not offer any benefit and overshooting your ideal dose and taking too much will also make the therapeutic benefits of CBD decrease.
Mice that received full-spectrum CBD showed increased relief as the dose was increased. Full-spectrum CBD proved to be more potent and more efficient for reducing inflammation and alleviating pain than isolate.
The benefits of full-spectrum CBD correlate with the dose. If you wish to feel a stronger response from your CBD, simply increase the dose until you feel relief.
Full-spectrum CBD offers the strongest relief with the widest range of potential health benefits. It is also the easiest to find your ideal dose with. While full-spectrum CBD has been proven to be more effective than isolate or broad-spectrum, it does not discredit the effectiveness of the other forms of CBD. Most users prefer full-spectrum CBD, but if having zero THC is very important to you then one of the other forms may be a better fit.
At EVO3 we offer CBD in its natural full-spectrum form and a custom THC-free broad-spectrum blend that is boosted with 30+ terpenes and other nutrients to rebuild the natural profile of whole hemp. We invite you to browse our high-quality CBD products in our store.