Isolate vs. Full-Spectrum: Which CBD Product is Better?

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To say that CBD blew up in the last few years is an understatement. Most notably, the great deal of anecdotal evidence that CBD helps with a wide range of health issues, like anxiety, depression, pain and insomnia – to name a few.

This craze led to a huge demand for CBD. Even in states where all forms of cannabis are illegal, consumers can still buy CBD in the form of “supplements” extracted from industrial hemp. Charlotte’s Web, for instance, is one of these products known for its quality and efficacy.

These companies were able to slip through a small loophole in cannabis legislation. Industrial hemp is almost universally made up of CBD. As long as the THC level is below 0.3%, the government doesn’t consider it a controlled substance.

Unfortunately, the push for CBD led to an oversaturated market filled with sub-par products. So it’s recommended you buy CBD oil from only established, reputable companies, such as CBD Shopy in the United Kingdom.

Another factor you should take into consideration is the difference between CBD isolates and full-spectrum CBD oils. Isolates – while purer – are actually less effective than their full-spectrum counterparts.

How does this work? Let’s take a look.

CBD Isolates vs. Full-Spectrum

The difference between isolates and full-spectrum CBD is like night and day. To illustrate, imagine two football teams. Team Isolate consists of a single quarterback and Team Full-Spectrum contains a full group of players.

Both have a chance of scoring a touchdown, but one clearly has an advantage through teamwork. This is basically how full-spectrum beats isolate. But first we need to see what makes these products different.


Isolates are CBD in their purest form. CBD extracts made from isolates are not used by licensed medical marijuana producers, but common in the CBD supplement industry.

Companies extract the CBD from industrial hemp and discard other cannabinoids and terpenes in the process. This leaves a product that is up to 99% pure CBD.


Full-spectrum CBD is the complete opposite of isolate. If you have a medical prescription or buy CBD extracts from a recreational dispensary, then you’re dealing with full-spectrum products. Many non-prescription providers also offer full-spectrum CBD.

Unlike isolates, full-spectrum CBD extracts maintain the other cannabinoids and terpenes from the hemp or marijuana plant. In order to understand what makes this difference so important, we need to clarify what terpenes are.


Terpenes are oily compounds found throughout the plant kingdom. Some examples are limonene, caryophyllene, linalool, myrcene, ocimene, guaiol and eucalyptol. Frankly, the list is much, much more extensive.

These terpenes make a huge difference in how a particular strain affects you. For a medical patient, terpenes are critical in properly addressing their needs. Epilepsy patients, for instance, will only benefit from linalool – a terpene that is known to have anti-seizure properties. Unfortunately, it’s not as common as myrcene or caryophyllene – two of the most easy-to-find terpenes in cannabis.

Full-spectrum CBD preserves all of these crucial terpenes. While we don’t end up with a completely pure CBD product, it still works more efficiently.

Now, this probably goes against all logic. After all, wouldn’t a purer product be more efficient? Absolutely, if it weren’t for a little thing called the “entourage effect”.

The Entourage Effect

The “entourage effect” is a concept that’s been circling around the cannabis community for some time, but new users often miss this critical phenomenon.

In a nutshell, the entourage effect is a synergistic relationship between different cannabinoids and terpenes. Like our football analogy, these various compounds work together, ultimately providing a much more effective, beneficial outcome.

People seeking relief from a variety of illnesses – be they backed by studies or purely anecdotal – need to opt for full-spectrum CBD. This isn’t up for debate. Full-spectrum beats isolate by a longshot.

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