CBD products fall in one of two categories, depending on the nature and origin of its CBD contents, two categories that are in constant dispute over supremacy.
Full-spectrum CBD extracts come from the full hemp plant, containing the full spectrum of cannabinoids, including terpenes, flavonoids, trace amounts of THC (under 0.3%), of course. Even though the star of the show is clearly meant to be CBD, these other elements aren’t impurities that steal from its shine – on the contrary, they are the entourage that together with CBD unleash the magical synergy, known as the entourage effect, which we’ve covered in depth in another article.
CBD isolates are, as the name suggests, products that are the result of scientifically isolating CBD from the whole hemp plant. As such, they can have up to 99% CBD content, which in this case is indeed regarded as purity.
Full-Spectrum VS Isolates
Arguments for Isolates
Isolates are rather straightforward in terms of quality, what you see is what you get – the CBD percentage says it all. If you’re somebody who doesn’t like taking chances and leaving any leeway for an element of surprise, the clear guarantee of purity and quality in the form of an indisputable number might be better suited for you. After all, CBD is the main or only reason why you’re buying the product, and if it works better for you than any other compound, there might be no point sacrificing a certain amount of CBD for the presence of other cannabinoids.
There’s also the peace of mind that comes from knowing there is no THC whatsoever, so you don’t risk failing a drug test for something you didn’t even do, even though the chances of that happening with full-spectrum products are still quite slim.
Isolates are also aroma- and taste-free, which is a benefit if you’re planning to get creative and incorporate them into food and drinks.
Arguments for Full-Spectrum
Full-spectrum, on the other hand, has the X factor in the form of the entourage effect, while still providing the assurance of a guaranteed CBD percentage. Moreover, the power of this X factor cannot be overstated, as it has a surprising side that goes beyond augmenting and enriching CBD’s effects.
For example, a study that can be found in the Lautenberg Center for Immunology and Cancer Research discovered 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.” This is undoubtedly a big point for full-spectrum.
Furthermore, because of all the extra processing, purging, and purification that go into making CBD isolates, they naturally cost more, which can be the factor to tip the scales in such a close contest, especially if that extra cost goes toward something that isn’t even necessarily beneficial, let alone worth it.
From a medicinal and overall standpoint, full-spectrum CBD extracts probably have at least a slight edge. With that being said, isolates can be a better choice for CBD purists and individuals who prefer black-or-white products and guarantees and are willing to pay for them.