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 the one-man 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 as it’s a loosely defined term, 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.

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 plant 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.

CBD isolate can be likened to a vitamin or supplement. While vitamins and supplements can be important additions to the daily diet, the whole plant or food they are derived from is often the better alternative. With whole plants, all of the components present can work together to produce a more significant result.

Conversely, a single vitamin – or CBD isolate – can offer a more targeted approach. CBD isolate can also be a way to complement your existing CBD intake.

What is full-spectrum CBD?

In contrast, full-spectrum CBD oil usually comes in 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 typically derived from hemp. 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 extracts align with the idea that whole plants support whole people. The use of the entire 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, terpenes, and flavonoids in hemp to work as a team to impact the endocannabinoid system. Essentially, the whole plant is potentially greater than the sum of its parts.

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, Hemp Classic, is a full-spectrum extract blended with organic cold-pressed hemp seed oil from Canada. The Hemp Complete blend contains both heated cannabinoids (CBD) and raw cannabinoids (CBDA). CBDA, otherwise known as cannabidiolic acid, is the raw and unheated cannabinoid which is then added to extra virgin olive oil along with additional terpenes extracted using a gentle steam process. Finally, our Hemp Signature contains a full-spectrum hemp extract blended with frankincense and black cumin seed oil and emulsified in organic cold-pressed hemp seed oil.

Bluebird does offer CBD isolate and THC-Free* CBD Oil for sale. Our THC-Free* 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.

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!