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CBD Products: Full-Spectrum VS Isolate

Written by Petar Petrov

Full-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate are the two most popular terms in the realm of CBD products, and some comparisons and rivalry are bound to ensue.

Full-Spectrum CBD

Full-spectrum CBD refers to products that contain the full spectrum of the cannabis plant’s molecules, opposed to containing (almost) exclusively CBD. This means full-spectrum oils contain terpenes, other cannabinoids, trace amounts of THC(under 0.3%), and respectively a smaller percentage of the overall contents is attributed to CBD.

Just because these products are less potent in CBD doesn’t mean their medicinal properties are dampened. On the contrary, the additional elements in these oils aren’t there as contaminants, too hard to be purged from the end product, but as supplements which, together with CBD, trigger the entourage effect and enhance each other’s effects.

CBD Isolate

CBD isolate products generally have 99% or more CBD contents. They have no other active ingredients, and their sole purpose is to deliver pure CBD.

Full-Spectrum VS Isolate

It’s only natural to think that if CBD is what you need to treat your medical condition, then the higher CBD contents, the better, meaning isolate. However, the entourage effect – synergy between CBD, terpenes, and other cannabinoids, including even that less-than-0.3%-pinch of THC, is actually far more powerful than both CBD on its own, as well as the sum of the other elements’ parts on their own.

In fact, not only is the entourage effect more powerful, but its powers keep growing proportionally to the amount of full-spectrum isolate used. The same doesn’t go for CBD isolates as their medicinal effect reach a plateau after a certain dose.

A study published by the Lautenberg Center for Immunology and Cancer Research found that “the isolated CBD was ineffective both before and after a certain dosage, while the effectiveness of the full-spectrum solution continued to increase as higher doses were administered.” (1)

Considering that isolates tend to be more expensive than full-spectrum products as they require more purging and plant material, full-spectrum isolates seem to be the universally better option.

The benefit that CBD isolates have over full-spectrum CBD products is the lack of any THC whatsoever.This gives people who are afraid of even the remote possibility to experience any sort of high, or to test positive on a drug test, a peace of mind.

Another aspect worth mentioning is that because of their lack of taste and aroma, CBD isolates can be easily mixed in with food or drinks, which might be a bit trickier taste-wise for full-spectrum CBD products.

From a medicinal standpoint, full-spectrum isolates are superior to isolates, but that doesn’t go to say the latter don’t have advantages which people who have preferences can appreciate.


  1. Gallily et al, Overcoming the Bell-Shaped Dose-Response of Cannabidiol by Using Cannabis Extract Enriched in Cannabidiol, PP, Vol. 6, No. 2, Feb. 2015, Times Cited = 2657

About the author

Petar Petrov

Petar is a freelance writer and copywriter, covering culture, art, society, and anything in-between that makes for a nice story. And as it so happens, cannabis is a great element to add to each of those conversations.

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