Difference between Full Spectrum CBD vs CBD Isolate

Full Spectrum CBD vs CBD Isolate
Full Spectrum CBD vs. CBD Isolate

In this article I’m going to be explaining the difference between four different types of CBD oil, full spectrum, broad spectrum, CBD, isolate and distillate. Whether you’re searching for the Best CBD Oil or the best CBD Gummies you’ll need to know what’s on the inside. Full spectrum simply means that it has all of the plant parts. It has all of the phytocannabinoids and has all of the plant turpines. It has vitamins, minerals, all of the phytonutrients. It’s, it contains everything.  Like when you bite into an apple, you get everything about that apple…the nutrients, the skin, the pulp, etc. The “Cannabinoid Wheel” illustrates these different options:

Cannabinoid Wheel

CBD Full Spectrum

So if you look at the cannabinoid wheel (this is just an illustration, this is not all of the cannabinoids) you’ll see over a hundred different varieties.  CBD is one cannabinoid but we also have CBN CBG and THC…and this is where the confusion can come in. So yes, full spectrum does have some THC in it, but in trace amounts. It’s still legal because it’s below the legal limit of 0.3% so you’re not going to experience the effects of THC if you’re getting hemp derived CBD hemp oil. In our Mission Farms CBD Review, we detail the lengths they go to get the highest-quality, full-spectrum CBD….because it matters!

So that’s what full spectrum is. One final point, CBD does not have any THC in it…this is a common question (also check out our CBD FAQ for more answers to common questions like this). It would be like saying is there any vitamin B in my vitamin C? There’s not because they’re separate vitamins. These are separate cannabinoids. So one’s not in the other, but they can be in the same plant.

Generally broad spectrum and full spectrum are considered to be really the best options because in nutrients works best synergistically together…which is how nature intended (not surprisingly). The research on this is clear. In our Endoca CBD Review, we highlight how the Dutch founder and biochemist turned to CBD after seeing, firsthand, how ineffective more “traditional” medicine was at treating AIDS in Africa.  Now that doesn’t mean that full spectrum is always the best for everybody because you may be looking for something with zero THC in it.  We’ll go through what those options are below.

You want to make sure that if you want full spectrum, you know how to read that label and you know that there’s full spectrum in that bottle because it’s the highest risk for getting anything in here and junk in there that you’re not aware is in there.

CBD Broad Spectrum

The second type is going to be broad spectrum. So broad spectrum is going to be very similar to full spectrum. The biggest difference is it’s not going to have any THC. So they filter out the THC.  It has plant turpines, phytonutrients, it just doesn’t have the THC. So for example, if your concern about drug testing for THC and you want something with zero THC but you want the benefits of full spectrum, then a broad spectrum would be a great option there. Broad spectrum (like Full spectrum) uses something called the entourage effect which is hugely important. It’s synergistic nutrients working together. When you have all the nutrients working together with all the cofactors, the body’s going to be able to absorb and utilize it more effectively.

CBD Isolate

The third option is going to be CBD isolate. CBD isolate is very, very pure. You don’t have any other cannabinoids. No THC, no CBN, CBG, none of those…no vitamins, no minerals, nothing else. The only thing that’s in the isolate is strictly CBD. And if you look on this wheel, it would be only a relatively small little section. Now obviously there are a lot of potential benefits of just CBD…But if you don’t have these synergistic cofactors and that entourage effect, then pure CBD isolate may not work as well for you. Now there are some things that you can do to help bring back that entourage effect by adding in specific supplement oils but it’s a lot more work.

That’s why you really need to know how to read labels cause CBD isolate is less expensive.  This means to a lot of folks who don’t know any better, it might look like the better (cheaper) option.  Also if you’re paying for full spectrum and you’re getting an isolate, you’re getting ripped off.  You want to make sure you’re getting what you’re paid for (which is why we like these CBD providers). Often times people using isolate are making their own oils so they’ll add back in the plant turpines which help bring back some of that entourage effect as well as increased oral absorption and utilization of the CBD.  Or, some people are actually allergic to the plant turpines, so isolate is a solution.

So isolate is not bad, it just needs to be in a formula that’s going to create that entourage effect for you. Another thing that you’ll want to know about isolate is that you can get super high potency in an isolate.  So if you are making your own oils, isolate can be a cost effective option.  Some people will actually add CBD isolate to an existing full spectrum oil essentially maintaining the entourage effect while increasing potency.  But, to be clear, taking ONLY CBD isolate will not be very effective.

This highlights one of the biggest problems with many CBD edibles and CBD gummies (which have become hugely popular).  Without the other plant turpines, pure CBD isolate thrown into a gummy bear is going to be close to worthless.  But it’s very cheap to make so make sure and read the labels!  This is why we are adamant about using only certain CBD providers.  The benefit of isolate, however, just to reiterate is the ability to boost existing CBD products.

CBD Distillate

The fourth type is very new. It’s distillate which, in a nutshell, is going to be very similar to CBD isolate. What they’re doing is they’re isolating different cannabinoids in addition to the CBD.  It’s considered to be very pure. Just like the CBD isolate is very pure without any of the other plant parts or turpines, CBD distillate starts there and then adds back a few other specific cannabinoids (out of the hundreds of options). 

So it’s, it’s kind of picking and choosing it, isolating specific nutrients and putting it into the formula. So there’s pros and cons to that. One of the pros to that again is you don’t have the plant turpines for people who might be allergic to plant terrapins.  The cons would be that you don’t have the plant turpines which are super beneficial for all the reasons we mentioned. You don’t have the plant turpines. Those are really important and you don’t have all of the phytonutrients, all of the flavonoids, all of the nutrients that come along with the hemp extract.


So those are the four primary different types of CBD hemp oil that you can find and the key takeaways are

  • Full or broad spectrum are probably best for most people
  • Read the labels to know what you’re getting
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