Isolate vs Full Spectrum – What is the difference?

full-spectrum-or-isolate

One of the most common questions in the CBD business is “What is the difference between full spectrum CBD oil and CBD isolate?”


CBD isolate means that the product contains only CBD and no other cannabis compounds. For isolates, the CBD is extracted from the plant and isolated from other cannabinoids. 


The term ‘full spectrum’ means that CBD and all the other cannabinoids found in the hemp plants, including terpenes and essential oils, are preserved and not removed through the extraction process.

In simple terms, the differences between CBD isolate and full spectrum products are as follows:

CBD isolate:

  • Pure CBD
  • Typically doesn’t contain plant compounds such as terpenes
  • Doesn’t contain any other cannabinoids (or THC)
  • Processed further than full spectrum CBD



Full spectrum:

  • Contains CBD and other naturally occurring plant compounds
  • Undergoes less processing than isolate
  • Works synergistically with THC and other plant compounds



Although CBD isolate is a more concentrated form of Cannabidiol, it doesn’t mean that the effects are any greater. In fact, some research indicates that full spectrum CBD (a combination of cannabinoids) has a complementary effect, known as the ‘Entourage Effect’.

What to look for in CBD products:
Is the product full spectrum or isolate?
Is the CBD grown from organic or conventional hemp?
Has the product been tested by a third party lab and does it have a COA (Certificate of Analysis)
What other plant compounds are present?

In summary:
CBD isolate refers to a pure, concentrated form of CBD with no other cannabinoids present, tends to be a cheaper option. Full spectrum CBD refers to a solution that includes all of the naturally occurring plant compounds, e.g. cannabinoids, terpenes and essential oils. From experience, Full Spectrum CBD oils are more effective than those made from isolate powders, however, they do carry a heavier price tag.

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