Every fitness junkie out there can relate to the “protein plight.” Remember those early days before you knew all the ins and outs of whey protein isolate and concentrate? You’d spend hours on Google trying to figure out the differences to decide which type of protein was optimal for your workout routine? Funny enough, CBD functions in a similar manner. Not necessarily in a “take two scoops with milk” kind of way, but more so in that there are two primary types of CBD extract. The two types, commonly known as full spectrum CBD and CBD isolate, have plenty of things in common — but they’re still very different.
Full spectrum CBD and CBD isolate are also not to be confused with hemp oil. That’s a completely separate substance for another blog post. These two extracts are both, for all intents and purposes, completely CBD-based. To make things easy, we’ll highlight the differences between full spectrum CBD and CBD isolate so you can have a better understanding of how they function.
Full Spectrum CBD
To better explain the nature of full spectrum, it’s important to bring up its other alias — whole plant CBD oil. This type of CBD oil, as the name suggests, keeps the full properties of the hemp plant intact. That means all the vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and yes, even other cannabinoids. Full Spectrum CBD is made up of hundreds of cannabinoids that are found in the hemp plant.
The combination of all these different elements together is what makes whole plant CBD oil stand out against CBD isolate products. The result of this is something known as the entourage effect. Full spectrum oil is reportedly also helpful in treating different medical conditions including anxiety, depression, muscle pain, migraines, and more.
Despite the number of other cannabinoids found in full spectrum CBD oil, it only contains trace-level THC. That means you won’t get the stereotypical “high” associated with smoking marijuana. To be classified as hemp, whole plant CBD oil has to contain less than 0.3% THC.
Many CBD advocates have called isolate the purest form of CBD. Unlike full spectrum CBD, CBD isolate is separate from other cannabinoids and components found in the hemp plant. You’re essentially left with an “isolated” form of CBD. Visually, it’s a fine white powder that’s roughly 99% CBD.
Because of this, CBD isolate doesn’t have the same entourage effect as full spectrum CBD. Another difference is that CBD isolate doesn’t contain any detectable trace of THC. This is especially helpful in states where THC isn’t legal as the trace amount will be nonexistent. It’s also helpful when measuring the amount of CBD you want to ingest. Since it’s 99% CBD, you’ll be able to accurately measure a milligram of pure CBD.
There has been some debate as to whether full spectrum CBD or CBD isolate is more potent, however. A 2015 study published in Scientific Research Publishing found that full spectrum CBD provided higher levels of relief. With that in mind, research is still ongoing and opinions on the matter are still divided.