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CBD Isolate vs Full-Spectrum CBD

Given the wide range of CBD products and a growing awareness of their potential health benefits, many people are confused and want to understand — what’s there to know about CBD isolate vs. full-spectrum CBD?

Before you jump in and buy the first hemp or CBD oil tinctures or products you come across, it’s important to first understand what the terms CBD isolate or full-spectrum CBD mean. Both forms come from Cannabis Sativa but have quite a few key differences between them.

What is CBD isolate?

CBD and a host of other cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and the psychoactive component THC are extracted from the cannabis plant. There are several types of extractions. Some of the usual extraction processes use carbon dioxide, ice water, butane, and alcohol or ethanol.

But to make a CBD isolate solution, there is a specific extraction process used to remove all the other cannabinoids with the exception of CBD. The result of this long process is CBD isolate — the purest form of CBD. CBD isolates are usually available in crystal or powdered form. But, more likely, these powders or crystals are added to something else.

Studies have shown that pure CBD isolates can have major therapeutic benefits in palliative care for conditions like cancer, depression, anxiety, and insomnia [1]. In fact, they can also decrease nausea and swelling, boost appetite and focus, and contribute to a general feeling of well-being and relaxation.

What is full-spectrum CBD?

In contrast, full-spectrum CBD products can contain CBD as well as other cannabinoids, terpenes, essential oils, and even some of the other material parts of the plant. It’s key to note that a full-spectrum CBD product can contain traces of THC. However, regulations dictate that full-spectrum CBD products can only contain a maximum of 0.3% THC.

Furthermore, full-spectrum CBD products, unlike others, offer the entourage effect. The entourage effect is when these organic compounds work synergistically with your body and each other.

Moreover, the entourage effect refers to the interactions between CBD, terpenes, and cannabinoids, each of them with their unique properties. Thus, you experience a deeper and more powerful effect. Many studies have explored the effectiveness of full-spectrum CBD against pain and inflammation with successful results [2].

CBD isolates vs full-spectrum CBD

These two types of products each have their own advantages. Since it has no THC at all, CBD isolates are a great choice for first-time users who are very much wary of trying out a product that could possibly have a psychoactive effect or show up in a drug test.

Moreover, since isolates are pure and sort of tasteless, they can easily be mixed into drinks and food. However, one limitation of isolates is that their effects plateau after a certain dose is reached.

Full-spectrum CBD, on the other hand, by virtue of its richer composition, is not only more powerful, but its effects also grow proportionally to the dosage. This was shown in a study by the Lautenberg Center for General and Tumor Immunology [3].

The study compared the effectiveness of CBD isolates with full-spectrum for pain and inflammation. Isolates were ineffective before and after a certain dosage, while full-spectrum CBD effects continued to increase as higher doses were given. The conclusion is that full-spectrum CBD extracts are superior to isolates from a medicinal perspective in certain use-cases.

The takeaway

Both CBD isolate and full-spectrum CBD have health benefits. However, the right one for you will depend on your specific needs and preference. A higher dosage won’t necessarily mean a better experience, either. You may also be interested in broad-spectrum CBD benefits.

Whatever your needs are, it is always essential to check the label and look for certifications to ensure that the product is safe and of good quality. Here are some of the most trusted CBD isolates and full-spectrums available in the market today:

CBD isolates

Full-spectrum CBD


  1. Likar, R. 2020. Cannabidiol in cancer treatment. Available at:
  2. Maayah, Z. 2020. The anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of formulated full-spectrum cannabis extract in the treatment of neuropathic pain associated with multiple sclerosis. Available at:
  3. Gallily, R. et al. 2015. Overcoming the Bell‐Shaped Dose‐Response of Cannabidiol by Using Cannabis Extract Enriched in Cannabidiol. Available at: