Full Spectrum vs. CBD Isolate: What’s the DIFFERENCE?

a display of a small hemp leaf covering a jar of cream surrounded by glass bottles of cbd extract and cbd extract capsules
Cannabidiol – better known as ‘CBD’ – is one of the few ingredients that can be used as an excellent alternative health substitute for products or, conversely, added to products for enhanced overall usability. Because of its versatility, the market is swelling with innovations, with two of the most popular options being CBD isolate and full spectrum CBD. In 2018, the global CBD market was valued at $4.6 billion and was forecast to inflate at a lucrative Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 22.2% between 2018 and 2025.

Legal in all 50 U.S. states, when derived from hemp, CBD is a non-psychoactive derivative of the cannabis Sativa L species. This means CBD can be extracted from either hemp or marijuana. However, since marijuana can grow with more than 0.3% of the psychoactive compound THC tetrahydrocannabinol, which is beyond the legal threshold for CBD products, you’re better off sticking to hemp-derived products.

Commonly used by people in the age range of 25-44, the CBD consumer demographic is incredibly diverse. As the market matures, a profusion of new products are being added to store shelves – both online and offline – including CBD isolate and full spectrum CBD. While market diversity is beneficial to meet growing demand from a broad scope of users, it also means there is more to learn regarding what does what. So, without further ado, let’s find out the differences between CBD isolate and full spectrum CBD.

What is CBD Isolate?

This type of CBD product is composed of the isolated CBD molecule – cannabidiol – and usually consists of greater than 99% purity. For this reason, many people believe that it is a better alternative to full spectrum products. Although CBD isolate does have its benefits, this pure form will not have the whole bevy of other phytocannabinoids, terpenes, or flavonoids. Since terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids can provide bountiful therapeutic properties, you could be missing out on a whole lot of goodness by choosing a product containing only isolated CBD. However, you also avoid any individual or work-based concerns about taking THC, even if it is in such a minuscule quantity.

CBD isolate usually sold in powder or crystalline solid form. To create this product, CBD is removed from the plant utilizing an extraction process. Once extracted, the product is refined to ensure no THC remains. CBD Isolate is a good option for someone who is seeking out CBD and nothing else. It’s particularly useful for individuals who want the assurance and mental relief of avoiding any unwanted inquiries about consuming even a minuscule amount of the psychoactive compound – THC.


CBD isolate falls under the concentrates category. Isolated or “crystallized” CBD products are frequently used in clinical trials, since they enable scientists to fully ascertain the medicinal properties of this compound on its own, without any influence from other cannabinoids. Listed below are some reasons why you may decide to opt for CBD isolate over full spectrum CBD products:

CBD Isolate has a non-detectable amount of THC
When producing CBD using the entire hemp plant – such as with full spectrum cannabis extracts – it may contain a small amount of THC. This could raise the risk of returning a positive drug screening, should your job require testing of this kind. Isolate, on the other hand, contains nearly pure CBD and non-detectable amounts of the psychoactive chemicals.

CBD Isolate Can be Consumed in a Variety of Ways
CBD isolate gives the consumer a variety of options for consumption. There is no smell or taste associated with CBD isolate, making it is a suitable addition to food and drink. Additionally, the isolate can be placed under the tongue for absorption into the bloodstream via the mucous membranes, a method that gets to action in as little as 60 seconds. It’s even possible to infuse CBD isolate with a type of carrier oil and cook/bake with it.

Easier to Consume an Accurate Dose
Since isolated CBD is so pure, it’s easier to measure an accurate dosage than it may be with alternative products. Since the bioavailability of CBD is so high – the amount taken into circulation – isolates will deliver to your body a healthy and efficacious amount of the powerhouse plant derivative.

What is Full Spectrum CBD?

This type of CBD blends various plant compounds and is extracted from industrial hemp in a variety of manner, but most cleanly by using a method known as supercritical CO2 extraction. Full spectrum CBD may be more effective than isolated CBD products. How, you ask? Through the “entourage effect.” (More on that below.)

A full spectrum oil has all the compounds hemp has to offer, including the other cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other therapeutic qualities. Full spectrum products may also carry a slightly earthy smell and bitter flavor, derived from the plant residuals.

BENEFITS of Full Spectrum CBD

Some people are concerned about the minor amount of THC, the psychoactive molecule in cannabis, in a full spectrum oil portfolio, but that concern is misplaced. When produced from the hemp plant, the quantity of THC may not exceed 0.3%, which is not a sufficient amount to give you the euphoric or altered-state feeling described as occurring from THC. Full spectrum CBD does yield the benefits of other plant-derived compounds. Let’s discover precisely how this can benefit you:

Full Spectrum CBD is a Sustainable Choice
The process for creating full spectrum CBD extracts is not as lengthy or rigorous as the process for obtaining “pure” CBD from the plant. Why? Because the product clings onto an abundance of naturally occurring chemicals. An all-natural solution is developed by utilizing sustainable and best farming practices; full spectrum CBD does not require the use of synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, or heavy metals, just the plant’s natural resources.

Full Spectrum CBD Contains Other Cannabinoids
Full spectrum CBD products include the entire “spectrum” of cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes, hence the name. A theory confirmed in a 2011 article written by Dr. Ethan Russo and published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, proved cannabinoids synergistically interact with one another, and the effects of full spectrum CBD could last much longer than they might with CBD isolate. Examples of some other cannabinoids that may be present in these types of CBD products include Cannabigerol (CBG), Cannabichromene (CBC), and Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV); each of which possesses its own set of therapeutic effects.

Full Spectrum CBD Triggers the “Entourage Effect”
It’s important to know what the “entourage effect” is because this chemical phenomenon will occur inside your body if you consume full spectrum CBD. Full spectrum CBD contains a variety of cannabinoids, and it retains other plant compounds, including terpenes like caryophyllene, humulene, limonene, myrcene, pinene. Full spectrum products will also contain a profusion of flavonoids. These phytonutrients possess antioxidants with anti-inflammatory and immune system benefits. When these chemicals react with one another, it amplifies the therapeutic effects of CBD.

Full spectrum CBD can be Obtained Without a Prescription
Just like CBD isolate, full spectrum CBD does not have mind-altering effects because the psychoactive compound THC is not present in high quantities. When produced using industrial hemp, full spectrum products may not contain more than 0.3% THC. Because of this, a prescription, for full spectrum CBD, is not required in all 50 U.S. states.

Full Spectrum CBD Coupled with Some Active Ingredients has Shown Promise to Naturally Alleviate Discomfort
Over-the-counter (OTC) pain-relieving medications may cause dependency, addiction, and, in many cases, unwanted side effects. Full spectrum CBD, when coupled with some active ingredients, presents an all-natural solution to chronic pain and inflammation. One study on cannabinoids demonstrated significant pain reduction in mice administered full spectrum CBD oils. What’s more, the research presented positive results without causing lingering effects the next day, something chemical-based pain relievers are known for creating.

Full spectrum CBD Has Been Shown to Curb Cravings
A recent study revealed nicotine cravings might be curbed when smokers replace tobacco cigarettes with CBD vaporizers. Published in the journal “Addictive Behaviors” by a group of researchers from University College London, the study suggested that CBD consumption led to a lower rate of tobacco consumption. Since full spectrum CBD can be vaped, phytocannabinoids and phytonutrients can be absorbed through the lungs quickly. Its possible users can experience their synergistic effects experienced within minutes.

Buying Full Spectrum CBD from holus™ pure premium CBD

If you’re on the hunt for full spectrum CBD products, hōlus™ pure premium CBD has a variety of products to choose from. Check out our USDA certified organic supercritical CO2 extracted 1000mg full spectrum hemp tinctures.

Never purchased from hōlus™ before? We offer a 25% discount on your first pure premium CBD order. You can feel confident about what our products contain since we enable every customer to view third-party lab test results before purchasing. Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date on new products, promotions, freebies, and more.

Note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not evaluated the information contained in this article. hōlus™ pure premium CBD products are not intended to cure, treat, or prevent any specific diseases. Further research is needed to fully determine the safety and efficacy of CBD isolate and full spectrum CBD oils.

About the Author:
Bethan Rose Jenkins is a passionate cannabis advocate, writer, and traveler with no permanent address. Currently, based on the Indonesian island of Bali, she can usually be found curating cannabis content on her hammock. High Times Magazine, Leafly, Green Rush Daily, CFN Media, Weed World Magazine, LiveStoner, VeriHeal, Nutritional High, and Cannabis News Box (Ultra Health NM) have featured her work.

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