Feb 19 , 2019
What’s the difference between CBD isolate and full-spectrum CBD oil?
A lot. CBD isolate (which is CBD alone) acts very differently in the body than a spectrum of hemp chemical components. Here are some quick definitions:
CBD isolate is purified cannabidiol (CBD) without any other chemical components of hemp. Usually purity is a good thing, but in this case, purified CBD is missing all of the other beneficial compounds the hemp plant has to offer.
Full-spectrum CBD oil contains cannabidiol, plus the full spectrum of other components of the whole plant, including trace amounts of THC (at less than 0.3%), other cannabinoids, and terpenes.
Broad-spectrum CBD oil is full-spectrum CBD with the THC removed. It’s not as effective as full-spectrum CBD oil with trace THC.
The cannabis plant naturally generates cannabinoids, terpenes, and other chemical compounds to serve different functions in the plant. These functions include regulatory properties, potent antioxidants, and protection from microbes and insects. Any creature that consumes the chemicals from the plant gains these same benefits.
You can think of the full spectrum of all the chemical compounds found in cannabis as the “language” of the plant. It’s not one chemical, but all the chemicals combined working together that cause a response (again, the entourage effect). When you consume CBD oil, you gain the benefits of all those chemical substances in natural synergy. For that reason, you get full benefit at a dose range of 25-50 mg.
CBD isolate is limited to that single chemical messenger. The synergy provided by the full spectrum of chemicals in CBD oil is lost. This is likely why clinical studies using purified CBD require very high doses, in the range of 750-1500 mg of CBD several times daily, to see a benefit.
When CBD is formally legalized at the national level, prescription drugs providing high doses of purified CBD will become available (several are already in the pipeline). CBD drugs will likely be very costly, require very high doses of CBD isolate, and will likely not provide the same benefits as full-spectrum CBD oil.