One of the questions that I get asked frequently is “what makes full spectrum CBD better than CBD Isolate?” CBD is a pretty simple molecule, so they should all be the same right? Not so fast.
CBD isolate is exactly what it sounds like, CBD that has been separated from everything else in the plant with a solvent. The end result is a product that’s around 99% pure CBD, and looks a bit like table salt (small whitish crystals). CBD companies like isolate because it is plentiful on the market, and developing formulations with it is really easy, customers like isolate because they know that it has zero THC in it.
Full spectrum oils can be extracted in the same way as isolate, or with a number of other solvents to strip the cannabinoids (like CBD) off the plant matter. The main difference is what else is in the extract. Full spectrum oils contain all the cannabinoids present in the plant--CBN, CBG, CBD, CBC, and yes, THC (though in levels far too low to get you high)--as well as all of the terpenes and terpenoids (the taste and smell). This means that you have access to the medical benefits of all of these compounds, not just the CBD.
How much does it matter whether I use isolate or full spectrum CBD? Research has shown that CBD isolate has lower effectiveness than full spectrum oils. This doesn’t mean that if you have a bottle of tincture sitting at home that was made with isolate that you should take it, CBD isolate is still a powerful molecule. Instead it simply means that it may not be as efficient or effective as a full spectrum oil.
The easiest way to think about it is that isolate is a vitamin C tablet, while full spectrum oil is eating a large orange. So the next time you go out to buy a CBD product, take a look at the source of the CBD, because you may not be getting everything you should be getting.