CBD Isolate vs. Broad Spectrum vs. Full Spectrum — What’s the Difference?

Making a home in the cannabis marketplace, the widely studied cannabinoid CBD shares a lot in common with its counterpart THC, but remains non-psychoactive on its own. A growing list of potential benefits has created more interest in CBD’s different forms and how they compare to one another — CBD Isolate vs. Broad Spectrum vs. Full Spectrum. As no one form reigns supreme, it can be beneficial for potential users to consider which type of CBD might be best for them, their needs and their lifestyle as a whole. 

 

CBD Isolate vs. Broad Spectrum vs. Full Spectrum at-a-glance

 

Type of CBD

What It Is

How It’s Made

Best For

CBD Isolate 

  • The purest form of CBD.
  • All other plant compounds, cannabinoids are removed entirely.
  • By excluding all other compounds found in cannabis (terpenes, flavonoids, other cannabinoids).
  • Those who need to take a large dose of CBD, but have a sensitivity to THC or other plant compounds in cannabis. 
  • Those undergoing drug screening.
  • Those living in THC-strict states.
  • Those hesitant with other cannabinoids. 

Broad Spectrum 

  • Free of THC, but preserves a multitude of other cannabinoids. 
  • Delivers benefits of the “entourage effect.”
  • No psychoactive effects of THC.
  • Extracted for preservation, just not of THC. 
  • Provides a balance between CBD isolate and Full spectrum CBD.
  • Those with large relief demands.
  • Those undergoing drug screening.
  • Those living in THC-strict states
  • Those hesitant with THC. 

Full Spectrum

  • CBD extracted from cannabis with other plant compounds and cannabinoids.
  • Maintains a full spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenes, and essential oils.
  • Compounds therapeutic benefits. 
  • Those who suffer from conditions that require both THC and CBD. 
  • Those that live where cannabis is legal. 

 

 

What is CBD Isolate?

What it is:

CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD, with all other plant compounds and cannabinoids completely removed.

How it’s made:

CBD isolates are made by excluding all other compounds found in cannabis, including terpenes, flavonoids, other cannabinoids and more.

Benefits

Unlike the other types of CBD, isolates are totally pure and are solely composed of the cannabinoid CBD. This form will not produce psychoactive effects, but is very powerful when it comes to delivering CBD alone. 

Who should use it?

Individuals who need to take / consume a large dose of CBD, but also have a sensitivity to THC or other plant compounds in cannabis. Free of THC, CBD isolate can be best for those undergoing drug screening, those living in THC-strict states, and those hesitant to experiment with other cannabinoids. 

Pros

  • Will not cause psychoactive effects.  
  • Typically odorless and tasteless.
  • Generally considered safe.
  • Very pure form of CBD versus others.

Cons

  • Contains no other beneficial plant compounds.
  • Typically odorless and tasteless.

 

What is Broad Spectrum CBD?

What it is:

Broad spectrum CBD is free of THC, but preserves a multitude of cannabinoids and can therefore deliver benefits of the “entourage effect,” without the psychoactive effects of THC.

How it’s made:

Broad spectrum CBD is extracted with the idea of preservation, just not of THC. In this way, it’s sort of the happy medium between CBD isolate and full spectrum CBD.

Benefits:

Similarly to full spectrum CBD, broad spectrum CBD contains a variety of cannabinoids that help to cause the entourage effect. However, broad spectrum offers users a way to enjoy these potentially beneficial effects without the presence of THC. 

Who should use it?

Individuals who demand more relief than that could be provided by CBD isolates. Similar to these isolates — free of THC — broad spectrum CBD can prove great for those undergoing drug screening, those living in THC-strict states, and those hesitant to experiment with THC.

Pros 

  • Produces the full benefits of cannabis.
  • Contains cannabinoids and creates the “entourage effect.”
  • Will not cause any psychoactive effects.  

Cons 

  • Can have a strong or off-putting scent / taste. 
  • Has been studied less than other CBD forms.
  • May not be as available as other CBD products.

 

What is Full Spectrum CBD?

What it is:

Full spectrum CBD is extracted from cannabis right alongside all other plant compounds and cannabinoids.

How it’s made:

Full spectrum CBD includes literally a full spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenes, and essential oils extracted from the cannabis plant work together to magnify their therapeutic benefits.

Benefits:

With a more simplistic extraction process, full spectrum CBD allows for a multitude of other compounds to remain and impact the effects of the product. With other cannabinoids and terpenes present, full spectrum is known for its rich but balanced effects.

Who should use it?

Individuals who suffer from more serious conditions that require both THC and CBD. Full spectrum CBD can also present a great option for those that live where cannabis is legal.

Pros

  • Produces the full benefits of cannabis.
  • Contains cannabinoids and creates the “entourage effect.”
  • Goes through a less severe extraction process. 

Cons

  • Can produce very mild psychoactive or sedative / relaxing effects.
  • May be present on drug tests.
  • Can have a strong or off-putting scent / taste. 

 

FAQs

What is better, CBD isolate or full spectrum?

One type of CBD is not created better or worse than the other. There are many factors that go into how certain cannabinoids interact with and impact the human body — weight, substance history and chemical make-up, just to name a few. Looking at both forms, their pros and cons, and what one’s needs are (legal constraints considered) can help make the decision between CBD isolate and full spectrum CBD.

     

    What is the difference between broad spectrum CBD and CBD isolate?

    Broad spectrum CBD contains many other cannabis compounds in addition to CBD, while CBD isolate is the pure extraction of that one cannabinoid. Some may seek the fuller cannabis plant benefits of broad spectrum CBD. CBD isolate is a form more suited for those needing a high dosage or more purified CBD. 

       

      Is full spectrum better?

      Full spectrum CBD is objectively no better than any other type of CBD. In terms of being less processed and encouraging the entourage effect, full spectrum is “better” than its counterparts — but this is totally dependent on what users desire from their CBD products. 

         

        What are the benefits of broad spectrum CBD oil?

        Broad spectrum CBD is considered relatively new in the cannabis market, finding itself somewhere between full spectrum and CBD isolate. Because of its “just right” balance of chemical compounds, broad spectrum CBD oil can deliver a powerful amount of pure CBD as well as other beneficial cannabinoids.