Written by: Samantha Smith and Shelby Andrews

Unless you’re well-versed in the hemp-based wellness community, you’re probably unclear on what the words “full-spectrum” and “isolate” have to do with CBD. These terms are used frequently and it’s important to know the key differences before choosing which CBD product will best suit your needs.

We’ll do our best to walk you through some key terms, and hopefully clear up some common misconceptions.

What is a cannabinoid?

There are over 100 known cannabinoids found in the cannabis family, the most well-known being ^9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC for short) and cannabidiol (CBD). Cannabinoids are a diverse group of chemical compounds that give the plant its medicinal and recreational value. The exact effect of the cannabinoid depends on the region of the brain it interacts with (the endocannabinoid system); cannabinoids also act a bit differently when used together as opposed to individually. For example, CBD is non-intoxicating (it won’t get you high) and actually reduces the mind-altering effects of THC.

Full Spectrum CBD

When CBD is full spectrum it contains the full range of cannabinoids present in the original hemp plant. Yes, this can include trace amounts of THC – but keep in mind it will be less than 0.3%, which is far below the legal limit and not enough to get you high.

Full spectrum CBD also contains compounds called terpenes (which give the plant its fragrance, improve blood flow, and kill bacteria) as well as vitamins, minerals, protein, and essential fats. These components work together to create what has been coined the “entourage effect.” This term refers to the synergistic way the cannabinoids interact to bolster the therapeutic values of CBD.

CBD isolate

CBD is the most abundant cannabinoid found in industrial hemp, and accounts for the widest range of health benefits; CBD on its own exhibits almost all the medicinal qualities of the other cannabinoids.  Unlike full spectrum CBD, isolate contains no trace amounts of THC – this is ideal for individuals subject to drug screening or with sensitivity to other cannabinoids.

CBD isolate is the purest and most versatile product on the market, making it a favourite for many users. The odourless, flavourless crystalline powder is decarboxylated, a fancy word meaning you can cook or bake with it. You can also add it to water, although it won’t dissolve completely. You can even heat it and infuse it with oils to create your own therapeutic topicals and cosmetics (a topic for another time)!

Arguably the most appealing feature, isolate can also be vaporized. Vaporized CBD contains no harsh carcinogens (cancer causing agents) and is gentle to inhale. It also has a rapid onset, taking about 10 seconds to get into the blood stream and take effect and making it the ideal choice for individuals combating seizures, panic attacks, and sudden or immobilizing pain.

Take Home Points

We know this is a lot of information to take in at once, so we’ve broken things down into a few main points to take away.

  • CBD isolate guarantees a pure and concentrated product
  • CBD isolate can be vaporized for rapid medical relief
  • Full spectrum CBD brings all the benefits of raw hemp – this includes vitamins, minerals, proteins, and essential fat
  • Full spectrum CBD can contain trace amounts of THC – not enough to require a medical license and definitely not enough to get you high

The effects of CBD are optimized when used alongside other cannabinoids (ie. Full spectrum CBD), but cannabidiol on its own still exhibits a wide range of medical properties.

If you’re still unsure about how CBD can aid with mental illnesses, or need more information on which CBD product is best for you, contact us! We’re happy to help.