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CBD Isolate vs Broad Spectrum CBD vs Full Spectrum CBD: Which is Best for You?


CBD is used by many for its incredible benefits: it’s known to be a potent anti-inflammatory that can relieve pain, reduce anxiety and depression, and help with insomnia. People have seen positive outcomes when using CBD for things like acne reduction to alleviating cancer-related symptoms. But there are many ways to take CBD, and it’s often confusing. Which one is the best for your needs? First, let’s break it all down. 

The CBD isolate, the purest form of CBD. What is it, and what does “pure” mean?

It all starts with the cannabis plant. Hemp oil is extracted from the cannabis plant, and it contains a variety of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other botanical compounds. This hemp oil can be put through further chemical processes to separate all of those different ingredients and yield pure CBD, resulting in a CBD isolate. The reason that isolates are known as the “purest” form of CBD? A CBD isolate is formulated with at least 95% CBD, although most isolate products are close to 99% CBD content.  The other 1-5% are compounds of the cannabis plant, such as terpenes and other cannabinoids. So when talking about CBD, a “pure” isolate is CBD with no other cannabis compounds. 

This CBD isolate is just one form of CBD. Other types of CBD contain other cannabis compounds: 

  • Broad spectrum CBD products include nearly every compound in the cannabis plant, except for THC. 
  • Full spectrum or whole-plant CBD oil includes more than CBD, such as cannabis-derived terpenes, as well as trace amounts of THC and other cannabinoids. Full Spectrum CBD must contain less than 0.3 percent THC to be  Federally legal under The Farm Bill; however, it is not legal in all states due to state laws. With such a small amount of THC, it is not psychoactive. 

Now that we have established the basics let’s dive deeper and find out which CBD is best for YOU.


So why would you want to use CBD isolate?

  • For one, it does not contain THC. 
  • Dosing is very straightforward if you are purely looking for the effects of CBD since it contains one ingredient only.
  • It is a good option for first-time CBD users who wish to experiment with the potential health benefits of CBD without the interference of other cannabis compounds, which may alter the effects. 
  • CBD isolate is refined, so it has no discernible taste or odor. Some people don’t like the taste of hemp. CBD Isolate is often the best option for cooking, baking, even CBD cocktailing!

Why would you not want to use CBD isolate?

Some studies suggest that CBD is most beneficial when paired with other plant compounds, including terpenes and other cannabinoids. You can only achieve this “entourage effect” via full- or broad-spectrum CBD products.

How do you use CBD isolate?

CBD isolate itself is a white powder. Most often, though, the isolates are mixed with a carrier oil. It can then be used in various ways: tinctures or placed in capsules, edible 

products like gummies, topical salves, and more. 


Why would you want to use full-spectrum CBD? 

  • With full spectrum CBD, you can achieve the entourage effect and reap the most health benefits of CBD since it contains all of the components of the cannabis plant. It also includes a small amount (less than .3 percent) of  THC.
  • The THC found only in full spectrum products may amp up the anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving benefits of CBD.

Why would you not want to use full spectrum CBD?

  • If you take large a large enough dose of a high potency product, you may feel a “high” from the THC. 
  • Because of the THC, you may run the risk of getting a positive drug test. 
  • Since full spectrum CBD contains terpenes from the cannabis plant, which gives the plants their scent, it can have a slight odor.

How do you use full-spectrum CBD?

  • Sublingual: tinctures or sprays (can be taken from a dropper directly or added to food or smoothies). 
  • Oral: capsules, pills, gummies, and other edibles. 
  • Topical: creams or lotions


Why would you want to use broad spectrum CBD?

  • Broad spectrum CBD does not contain THC but does contain other components of the cannabis plant. So you get all of the wonderful benefits of CBD without a trace of THC.
  • Like full spectrum CBD, broad spectrum CBD products may also have some additional health benefits due to the resulting “entourage effect.”

Why would you not want to use broad-spectrum CBD?

If you are using broad spectrum over full spectrum CBD to avoid THC, it may mean missing out on some of the benefits of the entourage effect.

How do you use broad spectrum CBD?

Broad Spectrum and full spectrum CBD are very closely related, so ingestion is the same:

  • Sublingual: tinctures or sprays (can be taken from a dropper directly or added to food or smoothies). 
  • Oral: capsules, pills, gummies, and other edibles. 
  • Topical: creams or lotions

How do you know you are getting safe, high-quality CBD?

Whether you are looking for CBD isolate, broad spectrum CBD, or full spectrum CBD, you want to make sure your CBD is pure and doesn’t contain anything you are not expecting. Not all CBD products are held to the same standards, so it’s important to do your homework so you can trust your source! 

  • First and foremost: Make sure your CBD is made by a company that provides proof of third-party testing by an ISO 17025-compliant lab. Get your CBD from brands that are transparent about independent lab results from third-party testing. It shouldn’t be too hard to find; visit the brand’s website or look up the product’s results with its batch number. According to Consumer Reports, “If an online manufacturer or a retail store doesn’t have the information, or refuses to share it, avoid the product and the retailer.”
  • Make sure it passes tests for pesticides, heavy metals, and molds, according to the COA (third-party testing).
  • Buy CBD made from hemp grown in the United States. Products made with hemp grown overseas are not subject to any state or federal testing.
  • Also, pay attention to brand reputation indicators, such as customer reviews and whether the company has been subject to an FDA warning letter. 

So, what do you think?

Did you figure out what CBD fits YOUR needs?

Broad spectrum CBD is the way to go if you want to reap the full benefits of CBD but without the THC. If a small amount of THC is good for you, Full spectrum CBD will bring out most of the health benefits that CBD offers. Just getting your feet wet and want to try a very controlled amount of pure CBD? CBD isolates are the way to go! 

Whatever you use, pay attention to the labeling, and use our tips above to make sure your CBD is safe and of the highest quality.
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