The Differences Between CBD Isolate and Full Spectrum Explained, and How to Choose Which is Right for You.
When you think of cannabis, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol)may be the first cannabinoid to come to mind. But there’s another popular cannabinoid to keep on your radar: cannabidiol (CBD).
While much of the research on CBD is new or ongoing, some evidence suggests that CBD may have certain health benefits, like pain relief. Because of these potential benefits, CBD products of all kinds have flooded the market. It can be tough to separate the great from not-so-good products — let alone understand CBD terminology, like isolate and full-spectrum.
How Full-Spectrum and Isolate Compare
Both full-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate are extracts from the cannabis plant. But even though they come from the same plant, there are still differences.
Full-spectrum CBD products contain small amounts of other cannabinoids, like THC, as well as flavonoids and terpenes, which are beneficial compounds that provide unique scents and flavors.
CBD isolate products go through further refining, so they only contain CBD.
Why Use Full-Spectrum CBD?
The entourage effect theory suggests that taking CBD and THC together, along with terpenes, may be more effective than taking either cannabinoid alone. That’s why some people prefer to use full-spectrum CBD.
One 2011 review in the British Journal of Pharmacology found that taking a combination of terpenes and cannabinoids may help with:
- fungal infections
The same review also concludes that CBD may help lessen unwanted THC effects, like hunger, anxiety, and sedation.
Research from 2018 found that some of the terpenes and flavonoids found in cannabis may reduce inflammation and offer neuroprotective effects. However, as with lots of other aspects of CBD, research into the entourage effect is ongoing — and not all of it agrees.
For example, a 2019 study in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research found no change in CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors, a part of your endocannabinoid system, when terpenes were added to THC.
More research is needed to be able to say for sure how the entourage effect works.
Why Use CBD Isolate?
Some people may want to try CBD but are iffy on THC. That’s where CBD isolate comes in, since it’s the purest form of CBD.
Though CBD isolate won’t provide any benefits from the entourage effect, some research suggests that taking CBD alone may still be beneficial.
Which Type of CBD is Right for You?
CBD isolate may be right for you if you:
- Want a flavorless, odorless product. Though some CBD isolate products have added flavoring, unflavored products should be pretty taste-free.
- Want to avoid THC altogether.
- Want to take large doses of CBD.
- Have to undergo drug testing. Full-spectrum CBD may be more likely to show up on a drug test. However, there may be a slight possibility that isolate products will show up, too. Even “THC-free” CBD products may contain trace amounts of THC.
Full-spectrum CBD may be the right choice if you want:
- The benefits of the entourage effect. Since the amount of THC will be less than 0.3 percent, you shouldn’t experience any of THC’s psychoactive effects.
- An earthy flavor profile. You can find flavored full-spectrum products, but unflavored varieties will have a slightly earthy taste.
- A less refined product. CBD isolate has to go through more refining than full-spectrum THC.
How to Use CBD
It can be hard to find the right dose when using topical CBD products, but a good rule of thumb is to use about as much as you would with a non-CBD topical cream.
When taking an oil or gummy, always start with the lowest dose and work your way up. Edibles may take longer to kick in than other types of products, so wait a bit before you take more.
One week after starting CBD, reassess your symptoms. If you haven’t noticed much improvement, increase the dosage by about 5 mg per day. This should help you find the right dosage for you.
Safety and Side Effects
The World Health Organization Trusted Source notes that CBD is generally safe and well-tolerated, but it can cause side effects in some people.
Some studies Trusted Source note potential side effects, including:
- changes in appetite and weight
It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before trying CBD. That’s especially important if you’re taking any medication, since CBD can interact with certain medications, including those that carry a grapefruit warning.
Studies Trusted Source also show that ingesting CBD products with high fat meals can dramatically increase CBD concentration in your blood. This may increase your risk of experiencing side effects.
Full-spectrum CBD contains small amounts of other cannabis compounds, like flavonoids and terpenes. It also contains a small amount of THC.
CBD isolate contains CBD only.
While the entourage effect suggests that full-spectrum products may work best, CBD isolate may still produce beneficial effects.
Always talk with your doctor before taking any CBD products.
Article by Healthline.