Full-Spectrum vs. CBD Isolate: CBD for Beginners

You’ll see the terms “full-spectrum CBD” and “CBD isolate” with great frequency when you shop for CBD products, and learning what those terms mean is one of the most important steps toward finding the CBD product that’s perfect for you. Here at OK CBD, we proudly sell full-spectrum hemp extracts that include CBD along with hemp’s many other complementary cannabinoids and terpenes. What are the benefits of full-spectrum CBD, though, and how does a full-spectrum hemp extract compare to CBD isolate? Those are the things you’ll learn from this article.

What Is Full-Spectrum CBD?

To understand what full-spectrum CBD is, you must first understand how hemp extraction works. It all begins with the plant, and we use top-quality industrial hemp plants grown by licenced and regulated farmers on organic land in the United States. Our hemp seed stock produces a plant that’s rich in vital cannabinoids and terpenes, and its THC content is below the UK limit of 0.2 percent for industrial hemp.

We ship the hemp plants here from the United States, and we extract the hemp in a clean room environment using solvent-free CO2 extraction equipment. The extraction machine shoots pressurized carbon dioxide through the hemp, resulting in an extract that’s much like an essential oil. We take that extract and dilute it with MCT oil before bottling it or encasing it in gelatine capsules.

What Are the Benefits of Full-Spectrum CBD?

Being a whole plant extract, full-spectrum CBD isn’t just a CBD product; it contains all the active ingredients of the original plant. It’s also the least processed form of CBD that exists. Taken straight from the extraction machine, it’s ready to be diluted with oil and bottled as a finished product.

The primary benefit of full-spectrum CBD, though, is that some people find it more effective than CBD isolate. That’s because full-spectrum CBD contains hemp’s other cannabinoids and terpenes. We don’t fully understand the benefits of hemp’s over 100 different cannabinoids, but many people have reported anecdotally that they’ve found CBD to be far more effective taken in the form of a whole plant extract rather than being taken on its own. People call that the entourage effect; it’s a case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.

What Is CBD Isolate?

CBD isolate is a white crystalline powder containing more than 99 percent CBD. CBD was first isolated in a laboratory setting decades ago; it was actually one of the first cannabinoids that researchers successfully isolated from whole hemp plants. CBD isolate comes from raw hemp extract, but the process of getting from extract to isolate isn’t simple.

To get CBD isolate from raw hemp extract, it’s necessary to first winterize the hemp oil by exposing it to cold temperatures in the presence of a solvent such as ammonia. Winterization strips the oil of plant-based fats and waxes. Next, the oil is heated gently in a process called decarboxylation to maximize the bioavailability of the CBD.

Following decarboxylation, the hemp extract is put through a process of fractional distillation that removes compounds such as terpenes and chlorophyll along with cannabinoids other than CBD. When that process is complete, the hemp extract is mixed with a solvent such as hexane before being heated and cooled. CBD crystals form in the hemp extract during the cooling phase. After removal of all residual solvents, the CBD isolate is ready to use.

What Are the Benefits of CBD Isolate?

CBD isolate is a fat-soluble powder that mixes easily with oils such as cooking oil. That makes it perfect as an ingredient for baking or candy making. You can even use CBD isolate to make topical products. You can mix it with your favourite lotion to make a CBD-infused moisturizer, for instance. The best part is that, when you use CBD isolate to make your own CBD products, it’s easy to ensure that your products will have exactly the CBD content that you want. CBD isolate is over 99 percent pure, so you can simply weigh it with a precision scale.

The second reason why some people choose to use CBD isolate is because it should contain no THC – not even trace amounts. UK law allows for hemp to contain trace THC at 0.2 percent or lower and still meet the legal definition of industrial hemp. Marijuana, on the other hand, typically has THC levels ranging from 9-18 percent. No matter how much full-spectrum CBD you use, you will not get high.

Although full-spectrum CBD doesn’t contain enough THC to cause a psychoactive effect, it is theoretically possible to consume enough CBD to trigger a positive result for THC in a drug test – due to the build-up of cannabinoids in the fat cells – if you consume a massive amount of CBD every day. For most people who consume CBD in moderate amounts, that’s not a concern. However, CBD isolate is potentially worthwhile for those who consume CBD in amounts exceeding 1,000-2,000 mg per day.

What Other Cannabinoids Are in Hemp?

Hemp is an extremely complex plant, and it will be a long time before we understand its compounds fully. Hemp, for example, contains more than 100 known cannabinoids. The two most abundant cannabinoids in any hemp plant are CBD and THC, so those are the cannabinoids that researchers have studied the most. The minor cannabinoids, on the other hand, have received relatively little attention. Those cannabinoids include cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC) and cannabinol (CBN).

What Are Terpenes?

Terpenes are the natural compounds that give plants and plant products such as flowers and spices their unique scents. Hemp is rich in terpenes such as linalool, limonene, myrcene and pinene. People use terpenes for aromatherapy because various terpenes are thought to support relaxation, concentration and stress relief. Terpenes are volatile and evaporate at much lower temperatures than cannabinoids. Our supercritical CO2 extraction process captures hemp’s unique blend of cannabinoids and preserves them in each bottle of CBD oil that we produce.