* DISCLAIMER: The information in this article is for educational purposes only. It does not exploit or provide medical advice of any kind. Therefore, any reliance you place on the information below is strictly at your own risk. Please check with your medical provider before starting or changing a CBD routine.
People are becoming aware of the health benefits of CBD oil. Reducing pain, alleviating anxiety, decreasing inflammation and even potentially offering protection against brain trauma and cancer are just some of the awesome things that CBD oil can do for users.
But there are so many different CBD products available to choose from. More specifically, there are two different types of CBD oil that you can take: isolate vs. full-spectrum CBD oil.
What's the difference between the two? Is one necessarily better than the other?
Both isolate, and full-spectrum CBD oil provides a host of benefits to the body and can alleviate a myriad of symptoms, but the two differ in a few key ways.
What is CBD Oil Isolate?
CBD isolate is the purest form of cannabidiol. It's powerful and takes effect in the body very quickly. It's extracted from the hemp plant using a variety of different extraction methods, including solvent, dry ice, olive oil, and CO2 extraction. These techniques are used to draw out the cannabinoids of the hemp plant, along with other healthy plant material that naturally occur in the plant.
Once extracted, what's left is a substance that's then purified to filter out any unwanted components through winterization, leaving behind a CBD isolate product that's as much as 99% pure CBD.
What is Full-Spectrum CBD Oil?
Full-spectrum CBD oil has the full cannabinoid profile of the hemp plant, as well as other compounds that are present, including other cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes. Also referred to a "whole plant extraction," full-spectrum CBD oil extraction allows users to experience the full beneficial effects of other compounds that the hemp plant naturally possesses, which creates what is called the "entourage" effect.
Which One is Better: Isolate Vs. Full-Spectrum CBD?
There is no definitive answer to this question, however, ask yourself what your exact needs are to get the right product for you.
CBD isolate is promising and provides the body with near-immediate effects. It's exactly what it sounds like: an isolated CBD compound without any other active compound. It's the purest form of CBD. However, often times the effects vary amongst individuals.
It was long believed that CBD isolate was the best form of CBD to take, for obvious reasons. But that might not necessarily always be the case.
Since full-spectrum CBD oil contains a variety of other active compounds that work together, the "synergistic effect" of all the cannabinoids and other compounds in the hemp plant work well to provide powerful relief from a variety of symptoms.
Currently, there are over 100 known cannabinoids in the hemp plant, along with other compounds that have been shown to have a beneficial effect on the body. When these interact with each other, what's known as an ‘entourage effect’ occurs in which all of the cannabinoids, flavonoids, terpenes, and other compounds work together and interact with each other in the body creating a more potent and therapeutic impact.
When all of these compounds work together, they have a more powerful effect on the body. Nothing is removed in full-spectrum CBD extraction, and as such, it is not as vigorously processed before being manufactured into various formulas.
Full-spectrum CBD is available in a variety of different formats, including oils, tinctures, capsules, balms, topicals, crystals, vapes, and more. Depending on the exact reason for the use of CBD, different formulas may be more appropriate for different purposes.
Some of the essential compounds found in the cannabis plant and are part of full-spectrum CBD oil include the following:
As mentioned already, terpenes are also found in the hemp plant and have been linked to a number of health benefits, particularly when combined with cannabinoids like CBD. Terpenes are essential oils that are secreted by the hemp plant and give it its distinct color, scent, and flavor. They've been shown to relieve stress, improve mood, relieve pain, reduce inflammation, alleviate anxiety, and provide antiseptic properties, among others.
Vitamins and Minerals
Full-spectrum CBD oil also contains a number of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, B-complex vitamins, beta-carotene, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium, and phosphorous. It's well-known how important such vitamins and minerals are to overall health and wellness, and full-spectrum CBD oil can provide the body with these essential nutrients.
Fatty Acids and Protein
Essential fatty acids are a major source of energy in the body, and they're also necessary for optimal heart health. Omega-3 and omega-6 are the two main essential fatty acids that the body requires and are ideally consumed at a ratio of 3:1. The average American diet, however, typically reverses this ratio disproportionately, with much more omega-6's being consumed than omega-3's. Full-spectrum CBD oil features both of these essential fatty acids in the ideal 3:1 ratio.
A Word About THC
It should be noted that full-spectrum CBD may have some traces of THC in it since nothing is removed from the plant during extraction. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the cannabinoid that gets users high, and it's possible for it to be present in a full-spectrum CBD product.
That said, CBD that is extracted from the hemp plant should contain no more than 0.3% THC. Otherwise, it would be considered cannabis and not hemp. The type of plant that the CBD is extracted from plays a crucial role in whether or not THC will be present in a CBD product. Full-spectrum CBD derived from hemp should be nearly void of THC, while that extracted from the cannabis plant may contain THC in varying concentrations.
When purchasing full-spectrum CBD products, make sure that they are not only clearly labeled as full spectrum, but they should also detail the type of plant that the CBD was extracted from.
Reputable manufacturers of CBD oil products will have detailed information on their labels and provide third-party lab reports that will give you all of the information needed to know about the product, the type of plant it comes from, and the extraction method used to draw the CBD hemp oil out to create the final product.
Both CBD isolate, and full-spectrum CBD oil are amazing products that can provide a host of medical benefits to the mind and body. When choosing between the two, it's important to consider your exact requirements, as each product may be better suited for different circumstances. It's also helpful to factor in your preferred method of use and the extent of your specific condition. Regardless, CBD oil can provide you with amazing benefits to alleviate your symptoms and improve your overall health.
Kai Pattison, M.S.
Athlete Relations x Physiologist
Kai Pattison was born and raised on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. Kai graduated with a Master’s degree in clinical physiology from Point Loma Nazarene University. He is very passionate about human physiology and the applications in sport performance, recovery and clinical diagnostics. Kai has specialized in cardiopulmonary diagnostics, exercise induced energy expenditure and metabolism. Kai has also gained extensive research experience at UCSD on Parkinson’s disease. He enjoys educating and informing people on the importance of exercise to reduce risk of multiple inflammatory diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease. His passion for alternative medicine enables him to strive when promoting health and wellness.