What’s the difference between full spectrum hemp extract and CBD isolate?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably noticed that CBD has been taking the world by storm. From Kim Kardashian’s CBD themed baby shower to the recent New York Times profile of the world’s hottest cannabinoid, the CBD rush is here – but it’s left many with questions about the compound, whether it’s safe, and what products you can trust.

Today, we’re going to dig into one of the most common questions we get asked about CBD, so you can navigate the wide range of products available and find the right one for you.

The first question about CBD is generally, “Will it make me feel high?” (No, ma, it’s won’t. Read about the difference between THC and CBD here.)  

But once you’ve come around to the idea of using cannabinoids as part of your wellness routine, you’re met with a lot of new information that can be difficult to understand about the different kinds of CBD. 

There are two primary kinds of CBD: full spectrum CBD extract or CBD isolate. Whether you choose a product with CBD isolate or one made from a full spectrum hemp extract, you should know all of the details and differences between the two. 

What is CBD Isolate?

This one is honestly pretty simple to explain: it’s the CBD compound isolated from the rest of the hemp plant. CBD isolate usually looks like a fine white powder and can test up to 99.9% pure CBD. There’s no question about the presence of other cannabinoids (no one wants to accidentally test positive for THC) or residual solvents. With nothing other than the CBD itself, products with isolate are purely focused on providing swift, therapeutic relief.

And while the white powder isolate initially comes as may look a little suspicious, the versatility it provides is unmatched. CBD isolate is often used as an ingredient in edibles like CBD gummies or mixed with carrier oils like MCT oil to create CBD tinctures. You can also add some isolate to any beverage without creating a noticeable difference in taste. 

The time to activate CBD isolate differs depending on the method taken, with vaping being the most efficient. 

What is Full Spectrum Hemp Extract?

While the main focus of a full spectrum hemp extract (aka whole plant extract) is still a high CBD concentration, you also get all of the other beneficial cannabinoids, as well as all of the vitamins the hemp plant has to offer. Having the full spectrum of cannabinoids and vitamins from the hemp plant allows you to take advantage of the “entourage effect,” which makes the CBD as effective as possible. It’s because of this that we use full spectrum hemp extracts in our Calm, Raw, and Pet tinctures, as well as our Fuel and Relax capsules.

Now, if the thought of other cannabinoids makes you instantly concerned about THC, don’t worry. In order to be legally classified as a hemp product, there must be a concentration of less than 0.3% THC. (You won’t get high.) The other cannabinoids found in a whole plant extract are similar to CBD in that they are also non-intoxicating, but each one provides unique benefits.

Cannabinol (CBN) is present in small concentrations and has had limited research when compared to other cannabinoids, but early studies show that it could be beneficial as a sleep aid. Cannabigerol (CBG) has many potential but unverified effects such as reducing inflammation caused by glaucoma and bladder disease.

(These effects are just the beginning and may sound wonderful, but it is important to remember that the findings from these studies have not been verified by the FDA. As always, we encourage you to do some research of your own and consult a medical professional before starting any new supplement).

Aside from the additional cannabinoids, full spectrum hemp extract also provides minor amounts of vitamins A, B, C, and E. While the concentrations of these are not enough to provide you with your daily recommended values, the inclusion is a clear benefit for maintaining a healthy body.  

Is Full Spectrum Hemp Extract or CBD Isolate better?

When it comes down to which type of CBD extract you want to use, the final decision is going to be unique to you. CBD is CBD no matter where it comes from, so the benefits are always going to be similar, but no one can tell exactly how or how much of a certain product is going to make a difference in your body. Everyone digests and processes CBD in their own way, so some methods work better for some and worse for others. Some find better results with isolates and others prefer the full spectrum the plant has to offer. 

It may come down to the kind of product you like to use. At diemCBD, we use full spectrum in our current line of tinctures, topicals, capsules, and vape pens, but we’ve recently added some gummies made with CBD isolate. As more studies come out and the needs of our consumers change, we’ll have our fingers on the pulse of the CBD world so you can always find what you need right here at diem.