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CBD Isolate vs Full Spectrum

February 14, 2019

CBD Isolate vs Full Spectrum

So, you’ve heard about CBD oil and you’re ready to go out and start reaping the benefits today, but you don’t know whether you should go with a full spectrum hemp oil product or a CBD isolate.

Maybe you don’t even know what full spectrum or isolate mean. Don’t worry, you’re not alone, and we’re here to help.

What Are Full Spectrum Hemp Oils and CBD Isolates?

Both full spectrum hemp oil (FSHO) and CBD isolate products contain CBD, or cannabidiol, the second most well-known cannabinoid that comes from theCannabis sativa plant (with the first being THC).

FSHO and CBD isolates are derived from the hemp varieties of theCannabis sativa plant. The difference is that FSHO is a whole-plant extract, meaning that it contains not just CBD, but other compounds naturally found in the hemp plant. These includeover 100 cannabinoids, terpenes, waxes, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.

In CBD isolates, the CBD is “isolated” from the rest of the natural plant compounds, resulting in a CBD-only product.

So, which, then, is better?

Full Spectrum CBD Oil and the Entourage Effect

Mother nature continues to surprise us with plants and fungi that are capable of miraculous things. From adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha to antidepressant plants like St. John’s wort, nature provides us with some incredibly powerful plant medicines.

It may not come as much of a surprise, then, thatevidence suggests CBD to be more effective when used in combination with all the other compounds found in the hemp plant than when used in isolation.

This concept of the whole-plant extract leading to better results than CBD alone is known as the entourage effect. Simply put, the plant compounds work synergistically, providing more benefit together than they do individually.

In a2015 study published inPharmacology & Pharmacy, researchers sought to compare the efficacy of full spectrum hemp oil vs CBD isolates in reducing pain and inflammation in mice.

While both the FSHO and isolate were found to be effective in reducing pain and inflammation, the isolate exhibited an inverted bell-shaped dose-response curve. What this means is that the isolate helped to reduce inflammation and pain up until a certain dose was used. When more CBD was administered, it became less effective.

The FSHO extract, on the other hand, did not become less effective at higher doses. The more FSHO that was given, the more effective it was, until the efficacy plateaued. This means that, unlike the CBD isolate which became less effective when more was administered, the full spectrum hemp oil remained highly effective.

Full spectrum hemp oil

When to Choose CBD Isolates

If full spectrum hemp oil has been shown to have unique benefits thanks to the entourage effect, you might be wondering why some people opt for CBD isolates? While full spectrum CBD oil is typically preferable, there are situations where isolates may be better thanks to unique benefits of isolates in comparison to full spectrum products.

One of these benefits has to do with research and determining cause-and-effect. When CBD is fully extracted from the hemp plant, researchers can determine how CBD, on its own, impacts the body and what benefits it provides. When part of a full spectrum oil, it’s difficult to deduce which phytochemicals, in particular, are responsible for particular benefits.

Furthermore, CBD isolates themselves are nearly tasteless, which allows companies to create products that taste less “earthy” than full spectrum products. This is particularly beneficial when using CBD for children or for those with certain medical conditions that may be more sensitive to the taste of the full spectrum oil.

Other benefits of CBD isolates include:

  • A lower cost per mg of CBD
  • Trace quantities of THC are removed
  • More exact control over the level of CBD


There you have it: research shows full spectrum hemp oil to be more effective than CBD isolates at reducing inflammation and pain. That said, there are some situations where CBD isolates are preferable, such as in making edibles or other tasty CBD products.

Now that you have the knowledge you need to make an informed decision on which type of CBD oil is best for you, it’s time to start exploring the benefits that this unique compound can offer for your physical and emotional health.

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