CBD oil: full spectrum or isolate?


Ranging from the type of oil manufacturer to the percentage of cannabidiol (CBD) in the mix, there is a wide variety of CBD oils available in the market. Therefore, choosing the most appropriate CBD oil might become quite a challenge. Although there are basic rules that we all should follow when considering buying CBD oil, there’s always one very difficult question that remains: full spectrum or isolate?

Full spectrum CBD oil

This kind of oil is called “full-spectrum” because it contains more than just CBD.

Full spectrum CBD oil is obtained directly from the hemp plant and contains not only CBD, but other chemical components of hemp like terpenes, flavonoids, vitamins, fatty acids, and ions. It also includes other cannabinoids, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This composition gives the oil very interesting properties.

The levels of THC are usually below 0.2% or 0.3%, as required by law in most countries, and do not cause any psychoactive effects. In fact, low levels of THC are thought to yield similar effects as to those of anandamide (also known as AEA), a natural-occurring human cannabinoid.

Moreover, this combination of different chemical components provides what is known as the entourage or synergistic effect. In other words, all the plants’ components contribute to the beneficial effects of the oil, also providing nutritional support and supplementation.

Full spectrumCBD isolate
Trace amounts of THCNo THC
Does not induce psychoactive effectsDoes not induce psychoactive effects
Other cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, amino acids etcNo other chemical compounds from the plant
Entourage / synergistic effectsExclusively CBD-induced effects
Usually more expensiveUsually less expensive
Hemp-flavoredFlavorless and odorless
CBD levels may be difficult to quantifyCBD levels more easily controlled

CBD isolate

Whenever we read “CBD isolate” on a product label, it means what we are holding is a purified form of CBD oil.

While CBD full spectrum oils are obtained from plant material (usually the stalks or stems of the hemp plant), CBD isolate is obtained through lab separation and purification methods.

This type of oil does not contain any traces of THC or any of the other chemical components of the plant, therefore not yielding the “entourage” effect.

Which one should you choose?

It all depends on what your tastes and goals are.

CBD isolate is usually preferred by consumers who avoid consuming any THC at all, since there is absolutely no risk that a CBD isolate contains anything more than just CBD. Nevertheless, it is always advisable to choose the product manufacturer well and read the label thoroughly.

Moreover, if you dislike the “hemp” flavor and prefer something flavorless and odorless to add to any foods, drinks, or others, this might also be a good choice.

Besides, CBD oils containing CBD isolates are usually less expensive than CBD full spectrum oils. Also, one other important fact is that, since CBD isolate only contains CBD, it makes it easier to control the CBD levels you are ingesting.

On the other hand, strictly speaking, you may find more benefits in consuming full spectrum CBD oils. Mostly because of the synergistic effect of having more than one plant component, there is a high probability that CBD’s beneficial effects are increased by the presence of other compounds such as terpenes and vitamins.

These components exist in the oil in the same proportions in which they exist in nature: usually, nothing is added or removed. This generates a natural balance between the substances, and when the oil is consumed you will have a wide variety of nutritional and beneficial substances to boost your health, not just CBD. Due to this fact, this type of oil is usually more expensive, but if don’t have any nutritional restrictions, allergies, or others, it might be worth it.

Nonetheless, whichever oil you choose, there are important things you need to keep in mind:

  • Don’t mix CBD oil and medication without asking your doctor first;
  • Given the low to none levels of THC, it’s highly unlikely that any of these types of oils can cause intoxication;
  • Do not exceed the recommended dosage in the products’ package;
  • ALWAYS confirm that your product comes from a trusted source and doesn’t contain pesticides or other additives.



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