CBD Isolate vs. Full-Spectrum CBD Oil

full-spectrum vs isolate

When you’re evaluating purchasing a particular CBD product, one of the most important things to consider is whether the product is full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or an isolate. While this detail may seem innocuous, these differences can heavily influence the way CBD interacts with the body. 

The easiest way to break this down is to imagine a one-man circus act versus a full Broadway production. CBD isolate products are like one-person shows - they feature one starring ingredient, CBD, doing the whole song and dance by itself. It’s pretty impressive, but then there’s a Broadway production. Full-spectrum hemp extracts are like an entire ensemble of talented contributors performing a magnificent multi-act show. It’s not just about one starring actor - it’s about the collaborative production of the whole crew. Broad-spectrum is also similar to full-spectrum in this way, but these products are specifically stripped of THC and sometimes other constituents as well. We won’t touch any further on broad-spectrum CBD as it’s a loosely defined term; we just know it’s somewhere between isolate and full-spectrum.

Without further ado, join us as we break down the more scientific details of full-spectrum hemp extracts and CBD isolate.

Key Takeaways:

  • The type of CBD (full-spectrum or isolate) influences how it interacts with your body.
  • Full-Spectrum CBD: Contains all the natural hemp plant compounds, including multiple cannabinoids (like CBD, CBG) and terpenes. This creates an "entourage effect" where all these compounds work together, potentially enhancing the benefits of CBD. (Think Broadway production with many performers)
  • CBD Isolate: The purest form, containing only CBD with minimal to no other plant compounds. It acts alone, without the influence of other cannabinoids or terpenes. (Think one-man circus act)


What is CBD isolate?
What is full-spectrum CBD?
Full-spectrum CBD vs CBD isolate - Which is better?

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What is CBD isolate?

In simple terms, CBD isolate is a purified crystalline powder of approximately 99% pure CBD. 

CBD isolate differs from full-spectrum CBD oil in that it only contains CBD without the presence of other cannabinoids or cannabis compounds. Isolates usually start as a full-spectrum hemp extract. They are then run through a distillation process using a carefully controlled temperature inside a sealed environment to evaporate and separate the desired cannabinoid. Scientists often use different cannabinoid isolates, including CBD isolate, in research to help determine the exact effect of each individual cannabinoid compared to cannabis’s effect as a whole.

A CBD isolate product can offer a more targeted approach. CBD isolate can also be a way to complement your existing CBD intake.

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What is full-spectrum CBD?

In contrast, full-spectrum CBD oil usually comes in a tincture format from a dropper bottle. Full-spectrum oils can vary in color from deep amber to bright green and often have a bright, earthy taste. “Full-spectrum” means that many other phytocannabinoids, including CBC, CBG, CBG-A, CBC-A, and CBN, are found alongside CBD in the product. These CBD oils also feature other natural molecules such as amino acids, vitamins, omega fatty acids, and trace minerals.

Both CBD isolate and full-spectrum CBD oil can be ingested directly. Both isolate and full-spectrum are hemp-derived CBD products. Neither product produces psychoactive effects.

A full-spectrum CBD oil also contains the entire spectrum of chemicals present in the hemp plant, leaving out only inert plant matter like cellulose and waxes. This extract includes a wide variety of plant compounds, often called “phytochemicals,” such as flavonoids, terpenes, vitamins, omega fatty acids, and the full naturally-occurring cannabinoid profile.

Full-spectrum CBD products align with the idea that whole plants support whole people. The use of the entire cannabis plant rather than an isolated active ingredient allows the myriad of essential components to work in conjunction with one another in a more natural and impactful way. This idea is referred to as the “entourage effect.”

The entourage effect posits that utilizing whole, natural plants – or full-spectrum CBD oil – allows for the natural synergy to improve how these ingredients interact with our bodies. Much in the same way that people in a community can work together to produce a result far beyond each of their individual capabilities, full-spectrum CBD oil allows all of the cannabinoids and other cannabis plant compounds to work as a team to impact the endocannabinoid system. Essentially, the whole plant is potentially greater than the sum of its parts.

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Full-spectrum CBD vs CBD isolate - Which is better?

In most cases, a first-timer who is interested in exploring plant extracts as a wellness option would be better served by the entire spectrum than they would by an individual cannabinoid.

Most of Bluebird’s core product line contains full-spectrum hemp extracts.

Our most popular CBD oil, Classic CBD Oil, is a full-spectrum extract blended with organic MCT oil. 

The Complete CBDA + CBD Oil blend contains both heated cannabinoids (CBD) and raw cannabinoids (CBDA). CBDA, otherwise known as cannabidiolic acid, is the raw and unheated cannabinoid that is then added to organic MCT oil, along with additional terpenes extracted using a gentle steam process. 

Bluebird also offers THC-Free* for sale. Our  THC-Free* CBD Oil features just CBD Isolate alongside organic MCT oil, while our Signature CBD Oil + Botanicals features broad-spectrum CBD combined with Frankincense and black cumin seed oil. Broad-spectrum CBD oil was created with civil servants, athletes, and customers with THC sensitivities in mind and allows users to enjoy CBD without the potential complications of THC. Our broad-spectrum CBD products are great options for those with an upcoming drug test, as our broad-spectrum extract is THC Free based on third-party HPLC analysis.

Still have questions? Bluebird’s customer care team is here to help. Email info@bluebirdbotanicals.com to talk with one of the flock.

And make sure to check out our free guide, Finding Success with CBD, to learn more!

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