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Full-Spectrum CBD Oil vs. CBD Isolate: What's the Difference?

August 5, 2018

Full-Spectrum CBD Oil vs. CBD Isolate: What's the Difference?

For first-time CBD oil shoppers, there will no doubt be a bit of a learning curve in understanding the various “lingo” surrounding the industry. Terms like ‘cannabinoid,’ ‘tincture,’ and endocannabinoid system,’ for example, are all phrases that a potential buyer should be aware of before deciding on one brand or another.

In this article, we discuss one of the most important things to know when perusing your options for a quality CBD product – that is, knowing and understanding the difference between full-spectrum CBD oil and CBD isolate.

First Things First: How is CBD Oil Made?

To be clear, both full-spectrum CBD products and CBD isolate tinctures are initially made from the same raw material. That is, both products come from raw hemp plant material.

CBD is a naturally-occuring compound in hemp plants, and there are a few different ways in which it can be effectively extracted. Low-temperature CO2 extraction is the preferred method nowadays in terms of safety and efficiency, as it allows for the maximum amount of CBD to be “pulled out” from the plant’s flowers, leaves, and stalk, without using any kind of harsh chemical solvents.

In fact, we always advise that unless a CBD product (whether it be full-spectrum or isolate) has been extracted using CO2 methods, you steer clear of it. There are just too many low-quality “manufacturers” in today’s unregulated market to take a chance on consuming an unsafe oil that has chemical residues left over in it.

When you run raw hemp plant material through a CO2 extraction machine, however, what you get is a thick, gooey substance that contains virtually all of the active material in that particular strain of cannabis.

How you process this initial “first extract” ultimately depends on whether you end up with a CBD isolate, or a full-spectrum CBD tincture.

What is Full-Spectrum CBD Oil?

Basically, a “full-spectrum CBD oil” is an oil that includes all of the active compounds in the raw hemp – or cannabis – plant material.

Along with the actual CBD, full-spectrum oils can include compounds such as aromatic terpenes (linalool, pinene, and myrcene for example, just to name a few), flavonoids (natural antioxidants that have been shown to help reduce the risk of heart disease, asthma, cancer and stroke), phytonutrients, and essential oils.

They can even contain a host of other cannabinoids (called phytocannabinoids), each of which are believed to possess their own unique health benefits.

Some of these phytocannabinoids (other than CBD) include CBG (cannabigerol / antibacterial agent, inhibits cancer cell growth); CBC (cannabichromene), CBGA (cannabigerolic acid), and CBDA (cannabidiolic acid).

Indeed, in addition to the two “rock stars” THC and CBD, there are believed to be over 100 active phytocannabinoids in cannabis plants. And while the specific function of each one is yet to be determined, it’s speculated that they may influence one another in indirect ways to produce a “synergistic effect” which boosts the overall therapeutic potential of the plant extract (more on this below).

So in short, full-spectrum CBD oil is essentially just CBD oil that contains the complete range of active chemical compounds in the raw plant material – not just the CBD itself.

What is CBD Isolate?

In contrast, CBD isolate oil is exactly what it sounds like it is – an oil that contains nothing at all except the active CBD compound.

Remember, when CBD is first extracted from the hemp plant material, the initial substance is a gooey mixture that contains loads of CBD mixed in with a host of other compounds (as described above).

In order to separate the CBD so that it exists in an isolated state all by itself, further refinement and processing of the initial extract needs to be done. There are currently some manufacturers out there that claim to produce a 100% pure CBD oil tincture.

However, make sure not to confuse “CBD isolate oil” with “CBD isolate powder” (aka CBD crystals).

In its purely natural state, CBD actually exists as a white powder that kind of looks like table salt. Some manufacturers sell this isolate by itself, in which case it is usually labeled as CBD Crystals or CBD Isolate Powder.

CBD isolate oils, on the other hand, are the pure CBD powder that has been infused in a carrier oil – typically MCT oil, coconut oil, or olive oil. In short, a CBD isolate should contain no more than two ingredients: the CBD extract, and the carrier oil.

“Should I Use Full-Spectrum CBD or CBD Isolate?”

So now that you know the difference between full-spectrum CBD oil and CBD isolate, how do you know which one to use?

Well, as we mentioned earlier there have actually been several studies showing that full-spectrum CBD is decently more effective – or “potent” – than CBD isolate.

While the exact reason for this is not exactly clear, scientists believe that when utilized together, the full range of cannabis compounds (i.e. the phytocannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and phytonutrients that we talked about above) have a “boosting effect” on one another that make the entire plant more powerful (so to speak) than the sum of its parts.

In other words, if you’re just getting into the CBD market and trying to pick out your first oil, you’ll probably be better off going with a full-spectrum tincture.

However, that certainly doesn’t mean CBD isolates don’t have their respective place in the industry. In fact, many CBD users prefer them over full-spectrum products for a variety of reasons.

One of these reasons is that CBD isolate – particularly pure CBD powder – is wonderful to cook with. You can of course add any CBD oil (full-spectrum or otherwise) to food and consume it that way, but when you cook with CBD isolate, the crystals actually infuse into whatever it is that you’re making. This can be a great way to administer your daily CBD dose without having to deal with what some people say is an overly bitter taste of the raw hemp oil.

Another reason some people prefer CBD isolate over full-spectrum CBD is because CBD isolate is 100% THC free.

In case you’re unaware, legal industrial hemp plant material is allowed to contain trace amounts of THC, which is the psychoactive compound in cannabis. By law, however, the entire plant must not contain more than 0.3% THC by weight – a miniscule amount that could never be potent enough to produce any kind of a high.

However, there have apparently been cases of people failing a marijuana drug test (which scans for the presence of THC), after taking full-spectrum CBD oil. If you are routinely tested or otherwise have an upcoming drug test on the horizon, you may want to opt for an isolate product instead of a full-spectrum.

And lastly, many people prefer CBD isolate over full-spectrum CBD because it allows them to measure out exact amounts of the active compound and make their very own “homemade” CBD oil concoctions.

With a quality CBD powder or CBD crystals, you can essentially create whatever kind of therapeutic CBD product you want – including your own oils, topical creams, or edibles.

And of course, with pure CBD isolate you can measure out the exact amount of powder that you want in order to achieve a consistent and reliable dose, rather than trusting or relying on some other brands labeling.

CBD oils that work

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Jonathan Miller
Jonathan Miller, age 53 is an Ex Railyard Engineer who suffers from chronic back pain and anxiety. Jonathan’s goal was to create an unbiased site that would provide anyone who seeks help in CBD oil as a treatment, with accurate and helpful information.
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Getting Started with CBD Oil

If you suffer from anxiety (like me), depression or pain and are looking to get started with CBD oil, you need information on how to buy CBD oil, or you’re simply looking to learn more about CBD products, you’ve arrived at the right place.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol, aka CBD, is a compound found in the cannabis plant that has significant medical benefits. CBD can be extracted from two different species of the Cannabis Sativa L plant, which include Cannabis and Hemp. Unlike its rival THC, CBD does not make people feel “stoned” and can actually counteract the psychoactivity of THC.

One of the main advantages of CBD is its non-psychoactive affect making it a great option for people looking for relief from inflammation, anxiety, insomnia, seizures, spasms, and other conditions.
As I mentioned above the primary distinction between Hemp and CBD oil is the part of the plant they are derived from and what parts of the plant are used to create the oil. Hemp oil is typically made from pressing cannabis seeds to extract the fatty oil from within, while some that have mastered the CBD extraction process also use the flowers as they contain high percentages of CBD. CBD oil, on the other hand, is usually made from the flowers of cannabis plant through various extraction methods.

How Does CBD Affect Your Body?

The way marijuana affects your body varies from person to person as it will often depend on genetics, tolerance to the cannabinoids, medical health, DNA, and more. It also depends on the way you consume the CBD, for example, the effects of vaping CBD are far different to smoking it in the form of high-CBD cannabis strains. 

CBD and the way it affects us is still of somewhat a mystery to researchers they still try to figure out how it effects the EndoCannabinoid system. During the previous century, it was discovered that our bodies have receptors within the brain and central nervous system. Specific cannabinoids such as CBD bind to those receptors and activate the EndoCannabinoid System (ECS). This then provides a wide range of psychological and physical benefits helping the body.

Without going into specifics, cannabinoids signal to the body to create endocannabinoids and build more receptors. This helps the body to limit things associated with pain and inflammation, repairs cells and provides a wide range of other health benefits. Unlike other cannabinoids, CBD is thought to be the ultimate anti-inflammatory cannabinoid.

Want to learn more about how CBD works read: How Long Does it Take CBD to Work

Medical Benefits of CBD

There is a misconception as to whether CBD can help treat patients, similar to pharmaceutical medicine, but thanks to the internet and a few different medical studies patients and researchers have been exposing their findings on how CBD oil is helping to cure a wide range of medical conditions.

The most popular story was the one of Charlotte Figi. At the time Charlotte was only 6 years old. As a little girl, she was experiencing over 300 epileptic seizures per week until she was successfully treated by a CBD-rich strain oil, later named Charlotte’s Web.

The high-quality CBD oil, changed her life, helping her to overcome a 6-year battle. Since her story hit the news, CBD and other cannabinoids of the cannabis plant are constantly being researched to understand how they can help to treat different medical conditions. As a matter of fact, CBD has been thought to help treat over 170 medical conditions, among them severe conditions such as Anorexia, Cancer, Arthritis, Depression, Anxiety, Chronic Pain, Insomnia, Glaucoma, multiple sclerosis and PTSD.

Recent studies have even shown that CBD, may cure life-threatening diseases by altering genes. Other studies have proven that it might even be an effective treatment for osteoarthritis and chronic pain.

The way that CBD works is that it interacts with receptors located in different parts of the central nervous system. These receptors are called CB1 and CB2. Both reflect the areas of the brain they interact with such as the limbic system. When taking CBD, this cannabinoid locks in on these receptors and affects the body in different ways. For example, it can help to block the pain caused by specific medical conditions.

While numerous studies have shown promising results, it is important to understand that CBD research is still at premature stages. A 2011 study that researched CBD for fibromyalgia showed extremely promising results. 56 of 112 participants who took CBD in the form of oil saw a great reduction in their symptoms and pain, while those using traditional methods didn’t see hardly any improvement.

Can you Buy CBD if you live in an illegal state?

The process is not cut-&-dry, and but thanks to the Farm Bill of 2014, forms of CBD can now be delivered to your doorstep. Those that live in recreational states can purchase CBD cannabis oil which is high in potency and extremely effective for helping to treat severe medical conditions, while those that live in other states that are not medical or recreational can benefit from CBD hemp oil. CBD Hemp oil is perfect for helping to treat a wide range of conditions including anxiety, depression and acute pain. 

Who is NaturalWellNessCBDOil?

My name is Jonathan, and I’ve created this loving resource that is packed with information about CBD oil. I am growing a community on Facebook and are constantly engaging with different people to help them make more informed decisions. I review products on a daily basis and provide unbiased reviews about some of the top CBD oil manufacturers. All the information on the site is FREE; I only ask that you help to share the information you find on the site with other people that are suffering. 

To your health and happiness.