What is CBD isolate? What is CBD distillate? What is broad spectrum CBD? What is full spectrum CBD? Why so many different types of CBD? What does it all mean? We answer all your questions on the differences here.
Every day, more and more CBD products are flooding the market, making it increasingly difficult to decide where to even begin. This is why we wanted to take the time to help you navigate through everything and break down the differences between CBD distillate, CBD isolate, full spectrum CBD, and broad spectrum CBD products.
Products containing CBD have taken many forms such as CBD oils, CBD edibles, CBD topicals, and even CBD enhanced entrees. This is because these products can offer benefits to people who deal with anxiety, insomnia, depression, chronic nausea, and more. All of this comes without the risk of severe side effects or fatal overdoses.
Table of Contents
What is CBD Isolate?
One of the most common CBD isolates is CBD in its purest form. It’s exactly how it sounds— an isolated form of cannabidiol.
During the extraction process, everything is removed or filtered out of the hemp plant except for cannabidiol. This leaves you with pure CBD.
CBD isolates should be free of harmful additives, contaminants, and heavy metals. Isolates also don’t typically contain terpenes, however, some companies have terpenes added back into a CBD isolate product. They should also be free of THC, CBN, CBG, and any other organic matter. Because of this, pure unadulterated CBD should have no taste or smell.
This makes it a wonderfully versatile substance that can be used in edibles or oils without adding flavor but keeping its potency. CBD isolate is great for someone who struggles with the original earthy flavors of other conventional oils or edibles.
What is CBD Distillate?
Unlike a CBD isolate, CBD distillate contains all of the benefits of the whole plant without THC. CBD distillate contains an array of cannabinoids, terpenes, vitamins, and fatty acids that are very beneficial to the body. It goes through special processing to remove almost all of the THC, so you will not become high and the product is completely legal by Federal Law standards – states may vary.
CBD alone is an incredible healing source. However, there are hundreds of other cannabinoids that offer therapeutic benefits as well.
Like CBD, CBG is non-psychoactive, meaning it won’t get you high. It’s technically the precursor to CBD, THC, and CBC (another cannabinoid we will cover in a minute). According to a 2018 study published in Frontiers of Pharmacology, CBG also has the potential to offer benefits to help ease pain, muscle cramps, anxiety, and depression.
CBN is an altered form of THC. It forms when THC has been oxidized and heated, which breaks down into CBN. This means it is slightly psychoactive – more so than CBD – but much, much less than THC. It has also been reviewed as a slight sedative, according to InMed Pharmasuticles.
While CBC hasn’t gotten much praise or attention, it has been shown to have anti-viral, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative (anti-cancer), and pain-relieving properties. It also appears to be effective for depression, anxiety, and migraines.
The terpenes found in CBD distillate products are chemicals that give the hemp plant a unique scent, and even in small amounts terpenes are powerful and can work very well with CBD to heal the body.
It is thought that specific terpenes can induce different sensations; linalool, for instance, may help regulate sleep patterns. Linalool is also the prevalent terpene in lavender—which is commonly used in aromatherapy to induce feelings of sleepiness.
While CBD isolate is isolated cannabidiol in its purest form, CBD distillate contains many more beneficial compounds naturally found in cannabis and hemp, but no THC.
How is CBD Distillate Made?
To isolate and distill the CBD, it has to go through several different refinement processes, starting with crude extraction. This requires the use of a solvent to remove cannabinoids from the plant matter.
Then it has to go through what is known as winterization. This requires the crude extract and solvent to be mixed and left in an extremely cold climate for 24-48 hours so it can congeal and separate.
The next step is decarboxylation. This is the heating of cannabis so it becomes “activated”—much like when someone lights up a joint. Finally, it gets distilled and is purified until it becomes a pure, isolated product.
What is Broad Spectrum CBD?
Broad spectrum CBD is actually another name for CBD distillate. It is CBD extract that retains all the original cannabinoids, terpenes, oils, vitamins, and flavonoids, but it goes through a special winterization process to remove THC. Broad spectrum CBD, or CBD distillate, is practical for users wanting to reap the full spectrum benefits without ingesting THC.
The sheer amount of people getting drug tested for work, probation, or organ transplantation makes broad-spectrum CBD a very practical and useful staple to provide in this evolving industry.
What is Full Spectrum CBD?
Unlike a CBD distillate, full spectrum CBD contains all of the benefits of the whole plant without the high amounts of THC. Full spectrum CBD products are not as pure as a CBD isolate or broad spectrum CBD distillate. Full spectrum CBD contains all the cannabinoids, terpenes, and plant materials, including the naturally occurring small amount of THC in hemp.
The terpenes and cannabinoids found in full spectrum can be healthy and beneficial for the body, but remember: full spectrum CBD products usually have a much higher THC content; whereas a CBD isolate, distillate and broad spectrum contain no traceable amounts of THC.
The THC concentration in full spectrum oils can even be much higher than the federal legal limit to be classified as hemp, which in the US must be <0.3%. This all depends on the hemp strain selected for processing, the amount of THC this hemp strain has, and how diluted the CBD concentrate is in the carrier oil.
What to Choose?
So, you know what CBD isolate, CBD distillate, full spectrum, and broad spectrum CBD mean now. But, How do you choose which one is right for you?
Some people struggle with the slight hemp-like taste of full spectrum, distillate, and broad spectrum CBD. Many CBD producers are doing their best to help people with this issue by providing flavored full spectrum CBD oils that drown out the earthy taste.
In most cases, people do not mind the natural taste of hemp, and it doesn’t become a deterrent to using full spectrum CBD, CBD distillate, or broad spectrum CBD oils. If you want to consume all of the possible benefits of CBD without the high, and you don’t mind the taste — broad spectrum CBD, or CBD distillate, may be the best option for you.
Although CBD isolate does not contain the extra compounds found in hemp, it has many benefits by being the purest and most potent form of CBD. CBD alone is known to have many incredible effects on people dealing with different physical and mental ailments, so a very strong option may be best if you’re needing extra strength symptom relief.
Some people do not want to have any THC in what they are consuming whatsoever. Even though most full spectrum CBD contains less than 0.3% THC, and CBD distillate or broad spectrum CBD has almost all of the THC removed and doesn’t produce mind-altering effects, and is legal— a tiny amount of THC may still be absorbed.
A CBD isolate product will give you the smallest chance, if any, of having THC in your product. If you prefer a high potency CBD product that is tasty, and you don’t want all the “extras” that are found in a full spectrum product — CBD isolate may be the way to go.
If you’re wanting all the beneficial compounds that are naturally occurring in cannabis except for the THC, then broad spectrum or CBD distillate products will be more up your alley.
Don’t care about THC? Then full spectrum CBD is definitely the way to go to get all the benefits from the most cannabinoids and terpenes!
Isolate, distillate, full spectrum, and broad spectrum CBD all have their own benefits. It simply depends on your preference and what you would like the product to accomplish. Overall, full spectrum products appear to be more effective simply due to the entourage effect that comes with the small amount of THC in them.
The best way to find what works best for you is to try the product you are interested in and to read some of the reviews left by our valued customers to help you decide.
Frequently Asked Questions
CBD isolate is, in its purest form, exactly how it sounds— isolated form of cannabidiol.
CBD isolate looks like a white powder and is often sold in small jars in gram increments in this powder form, but it can also be used to make CBD tinctures, CBD gummies, and other CBD isolate products.
Most CBD isolate is 99%+ pure. Terpenes can optionally be added back into the isolate for enhanced benefit or flavor.
No, CBD isolate should not have any THC if it is truly isolated CBD.
Pure CBD isolate powder can be used by mixing it into coffee, tea, or other drinks. You may find CBD isolate powder will not mix well into drinks and will float to the top. If you do not like this, another way on how to use CBD isolate is by mixing it into food, such as pudding or jello. CBD isolate can also be processed into CBD isolate tinctures, that can be consumed sublingually or using this in all of the same ways mentioned previously for the CBD isolate powder.
CBD distillate is high CBD hemp concentrate that has gone through post-extraction processing to remove THC, while working to keep as much of the other cannabinoids and terpenes in the concentrate as possible.
CBD distillate is a golden-yellow, sometimes darker, oily, sappy looking substance that is often times diluted into MCT oil, hemp seed oil, or other carriers to make different tinctures and CBD distillate products.
No, true CBD distillate does not have any THC, although some many have very small trace amounts if state of the art processing is not used. To make CBD distillate, the processor sends full-spectrum oil through special processing to remove and eliminate all THC.
Both CBD isolate and CBD are processed to have no THC. The difference is that CBD isolate is 99%+ CBD with only trace amounts of other substances, while CBD distillate averages 50-70% CBD and has many more natural cannabinoids, terpenes, and hemp plant compounds that make up the other 30-50% of the substance.
Broad spectrum CBD is another name for CBD distillate. Both of them are high CBD hemp concentrates that have gone through post-extraction processing to remove THC, while working to keep as much of the other cannabinoids and terpenes in the concentrate as possible.
Full spectrum CBD contains all of the benefits of the whole hemp plant. Full spectrum CBD contains all the cannabinoids, terpenes, and plant materials, including the naturally occurring small amount of THC in hemp.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products discussed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Due to FDA Regulations, we recommend that you do your own research on CBD products. We also suggest that you read the reviews on our website; where our customers record their real-world results of using our products.