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Out of all the CBD products, and all the shapes and forms they can take, only one is approved by the FDA.
Approved by the FDA in June 2018, Epidiolex is a CBD isolate for ages two and up to help treat rare forms of epilepsy that are notoriously drug-resistant. This includes Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Dravet syndrome, with the latter bringing significant attention to CBD in the early days.
Unlike the majority of CBD products, CBD isolates don’t contain a single drop of THC, which is the psychoactive compound that gives marijuana plants their high. Right away, this seems like it can make the decision between CBD isolate over full spectrum and broad spectrum the logical choice. But not so fast!
While it’s great to see a THC-free CBD product approved by the FDA, CBD isolate may not be the best form for you, nor is it the most popular form by far. Most people, whether it’s for themselves or their pets, find they prefer full spectrum CBD products, and research generally does as well.
Full spectrum CBD differs from CBD isolate in a lot of ways besides the fact it contains some THC., which we will be covering in this article. However, none of this discounts some of the key advantages CBD isolate provides over the others.
So, let’s find out if CBD isolate is the right choice for you or if you should look for another form of CBD.
Meet CBD isolate, one of the three main forms of CBD products. Isolate CBD is known for being the purest form of CBD, typically containing anywhere between 90-99% cannabidiol (CBD). Cannabidiol is one of many of therapeutic phytocannabinoids found in cannabis plants. To achieve this purity, the cannabinoid, CBD, is separated from all the cannabinoids and other therapeutic phytochemicals that appear in cannabis and in the other forms of CBD such as full spectrum CBD.
While named after the cannabinoid, cannabidiol, the three types of CBD aren’t defined by CBD per se. Instead, they are defined by whether the other cannabinoids make an appearance or not in the finished CBD product.
All CBD products are derived from the resin that forms on the flowers, leaves, and stalks of the cannabis plant. Within this resin are two main groups of therapeutic compounds: cannabinoids and terpenes.
If you’ve used essential oils before you’re already familiar with using terpenes to improve health as they are the aroma molecules that give plants their smell. There are hundreds of different aroma compounds that appear in cannabis. Then we have our cannabinoids, with CBD and THC being the most famous. But they don't just end there as there are over a hundred more as well, including CBG, CBC, and THCV.
All of the cannabinoids have potential health benefits because they interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). But it is difficult to stay to what degree they can. Many only appear in trace amounts, making it difficult to study them. However, we do know some like CBD have a greater interaction with the ECS than some of the others.
This, along with the issues THC brings, are what sparked the idea of creating a CBD concentrate that only featured what appeared to be the most therapeutic cannabinoid after THC.
What Is The Difference Between CBD And CBD Isolate?
While other CBD products like full spectrum CBD oil and broad spectrum contain CBD, they don’t just contain it. Instead, they contain all the cannabinoids and terpenes that naturally occur alongside the compound, cannabidiol (CBD).
A CBD isolate, on the other hand, is just that, pure CBD. Unlike with the other types of CBD, an isolate CBD is usually in a crystalline powder form at the end of the extraction process. While sometimes they are then additionally mixed with an agent to improve absorption, this isn’t the norm like it is with full and broad spectrum CBD extracts.
The biggest difference between the effects of CBD isolate and another form is going to be the absence of the entourage effect with a CBD isolate. The entourage effect describes the synergistic relationship between the cannabinoids and terpenes found in cannabis. Basically, it says that our cannabis compounds work better together than they do apart. This happens for two reasons.
First, while CBD has a more prominent influence on the ECS than others, some of the other compounds can interact with it in a positive way that CBD can’t. Second, the cannabinoids and terpenes can provide each other with a helping hand. For example, some of them make it easier for CBD to get to the places it needs to be so it can even help.
Which Is Better: CBD Isolate Or Full Spectrum?
While containing trace amounts of THC, full spectrum CBD products are vastly preferred. The small amounts of it in full spectrum can’t cause a high, but they still contribute to the overall health benefits.
While a CBD isolate is the only approved form of CBD by the FDA, it’s not the most popular choice. And not just because it requires a prescription where the others don’t. The cannabis plant is a complex crop that contains hundreds of therapeutic compounds that are slightly different from one another. Where other CBD concentrates feature these compounds, a CBD isolate does not. And this results in very different effects.
In truth, the reason only an isolate has been approved is because it is significantly easier to get approval for one compound vs. a collection of several hundreds.
While offering the unique advantage of no THC, the benefits of CBD isolate are somewhat random. Where you may find full spectrum helps with anxiety, pain, and inflammation, with an Isolate, it is common to see some of the traditional benefits of CBD randomly disappear. One of the reasons this occurs is due to a CBD isolate working significantly better when administered within a certain dosage range. With an isolate, the effects won’t gradually increase when increasing dosages like with CBDs that retain the entourage effect.
Full Spectrum CBD Oil
Sometimes referred to as a whole-plant extract, full spectrum CBD are hemp-derived CBD products that contain all the cannabinoids and terpenes naturally found in hemp plants. This is the least refined CBD product, not including raw CBD, which we won’t go into here.
While the potency of a CBD isolate is unmatched in the CBD department, full spectrums are unmatched when it comes to the range of benefits they can provide. Backed by several hundreds of other cannabinoids and terpenes, including THC, none of the other CBDs can match full spectrum products' ability to work with the ECS in so many intricate ways. With the most complete entourage effect vs. broad spectrum and CBD isolate, a full spectrum hemp extract is generally the best choice for the average CBD user. Especially for people and pets who don’t have to worry about THC messing up a drug test.
The biggest highlight of a CBD isolate powder is the fact it will be THC-free. But there is another CBD concentrate that is often THC-free as well. Broad spectrum CBD products have the same goal as isolates, and that’s to make a more potent CBD concentrate by focusing on the most potent cannabinoids. There is also the focus on removing all traces of THC as well.
Unlike CBD isolate, broad spectrums are focused on retaining the entourage effect when eliminating the non-CBD cannabinoids and terpenes. To do this, most broad spectrum CBDs retain everything except THC.
You can think of broad spectrum CBD products as the middle child between full spectrum and CBD isolates. While generally preferred over CBD isolate, most still ultimately prefer full spectrum CBD oil.
To keep it simple, if you don’t have an issue with THC, and most don’t, it’s a good thing to have in your hemp extract.
One of the significant advantages of CBD isolate is it doesn’t contain any THC, meaning you can’t possibly test positive for marijuana on a drug test. More specifically, drug tests look for THC metabolites. Now, even with full spectrum CBDs, it's very unlikely to test positive for THC because there are only trace amounts in it. However, it’s theoretically possible when taking 1,000+ mg a day. While this isn’t an unforeseeable amount, most people only take 15 mg of CBD daily on average.
While the purest form of cannabidiol, when you start messing with the relationship between the cannabinoids and terpenes of the cannabis plant, your CBD oil and its health benefits quickly start taking a dive. No more is this apparent than when cannabidiol is isolated away from every one else, making CBD isolate concentrates harder to dose and unable to achieve the range of health benefits contributed to whole-plant extracts.
While the only form approved by the FDA, from research to anecdotal reports, hemp-derived full spectrum products remain the favorite because these products contain all the naturally occurring goodies found in the hemp plant. Sometimes Mother Nature just does it best! This is why at Innovet Pet, we use a pure CBD full spectrum hemp extract when creating our hemp-derived products.