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Full-Spectrum CBD and CBD Isolate: Explained

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Since CBD is legal at the federal level, it’s available just about everywhere. That doesn’t mean that all CBD is created equally, though. When a product is available everywhere, it can be challenging to determine exactly what you’re getting. Choosing between full-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate can be a headache, and so can shopping for it online. Here’s a brief rundown on the difference between full-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate as well as how to get the most out of using CBD.

What is CBD

CBD, also known as Cannabidiol, is one of over a hundred cannabis and hemp-derived chemical compounds with no psychoactive effect. It is primarily used as a potent pain reliever, but scientific studies have proven its effectiveness as an anti-seizure, anti-emetic, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective medicine. It helps our bodies stay regulated by mimicking similar chemicals our bodies produce naturally, which also helps us eat and sleep regularly. CBD has even been shown to snuff out cancer cells effectively. Many people take CBD daily as preventative medicine but also to solve chronic problems. 

How to choose a CBD Product

Under the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp and CBD products are legal federally, though the testing standards haven’t yet caught up. That said, there’s a lot of confusion about which products actually contain what they’re advertised to contain. Many CBD brands on the market don’t test for CBD as highly as they claim and don’t work as advertised, so knowing what you’re buying is crucial. 

Start by researching CBD companies online and only purchase from companies that have potency and purity results available on their website. From there, you should know the difference between CBD products. They fall into two main categories: CBD isolate and full-spectrum CBD.  

Full Spectrum CBD vs. CBD Isolate 

CBD has been derived from hemp for a long time now. Initially, scientists thought that isolating CBD from the other compounds in the plant would make the health benefits of CBD more effective. So CBD processing companies extracted the CBD from the hemp plant, isolated it, and got rid of the rest. In 2015, an Israeli study debunked that idea, but we’ll talk more about that in a moment. First, let’s talk full spectrum. 

Full Spectrum CBD is CBD that also contains a vast array of terpenes, cannabinoids, flavonoids, vitamins, minerals, protein, fatty acids, chlorophyll, fiber, and more because it’s hemp-derived. Hemp contains a ton of cannabinoids in trace amounts, but the main compounds found in hemp are CBD and CBDa. Full-spectrum CBD has all the benefits of CBD isolate and some added benefits thanks to the terpenes and other cannabinoids. These compounds work together in synergy to promote more substantial effects in a phenomenon known as the entourage effect

As we mentioned above, the isolate rule was debunked by scholars at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Hadassah School in 2015. The long-term study compared CBD isolate performance to full-spectrum performance and found that full spectrum was more effective for fighting chronic pain and promoting other effects. Most full-spectrum CBD contains other beneficial cannabinoids like CBG and CBN, which are powerful pain relievers, anticonvulsants, and sleep aids. 

What’s Included with Full Spectrum CBD and CBD isolate?

Full-spectrum CBD contains more than just CBD, unlike CBD isolate. With a full-spectrum oil, you’ll find other cannabinoids, vitamins and minerals, terpenes, and essential fats and proteins that our bodies love. Keep in mind that although any CBD is better than none, isolate might not offer you the same health benefits as a full-spectrum oil since all it contains is CBD. Full-spectrum oil will also give you dozens of other beneficial cannabinoids, nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that you need to function. 

Beneficial Cannabinoids Found in Full Spectrum CBD Oils

  • Cannabichromene (CBC): CBC is one of the more prevalent compounds found in hemp and full-spectrum CBD oils that isn’t very well studied. It is a non-psychoactive compound that has pain-relieving properties but also does good for mental health. It has anti-anxiety and antidepressant properties.
  • Cannabigerol (CBG): CBG is known as the “stem cell” cannabinoid as it is the precursor to CBD, THC, CBC, and other minor compounds. It is a potent pain reliever and anti-inflammatory with antibacterial and antifungal properties as well as cancer-killing properties.
  • Cannabinol (CBN): CBN is a potent pain reliever and sleep aid. It’s also an anticonvulsant and will help with muscle spasms. It offers a very slight psychoactive effect that is barely noticeable outside of a slightly better mood and comes from the degradation of THC via heat. 
  • Other Cannabinoids include CBL, CBT, CBT, and CBF. Not much is known about these compounds as they haven’t been the focus of much scientific discussion, but we know that our body makes its own compounds, called endocannabinoids, and they’re all very similar to each other. 

Beneficial Terpenes Found in Full Spectrum CBD Oils 

Terpenes are found in a plant’s essential oils and are responsible for how a plant tastes and smells. Even in small amounts, we’ve seen that terpenes and cannabinoids go hand in hand to provide minor benefits to the body. A typical bottle of full-spectrum oil likely contains trace amounts of the following terpenes: 

  • Pinene: Has anti-inflammatory properties and could help with memory and alertness. 
  • Humulene: Suppresses appetite, relieves pain, and also has antibacterial properties.
  • Limonene: Mood elevator and stress reliever. It’s also shown to be helpful with inflamed gastric issues. 
  • Caryophyllene: Sleep aid with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It also helps with pain. 
  • Linalool: Sedative effect, making it a good sleep aid. It also helps with mental problems like depression, insomnia, or stress. 

Fats, Oils, and Proteins 

Full-spectrum CBD oil contains up to 20 amino acids, including the 9 essential acids our bodies cannot produce on their own known. These essential acids are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. It also contains oils like Omega 3 and Omega 6, which are good for your heart. Hemp oil is also a good source of protein and helps your body repair its tissues. 

Vitamins and Minerals

Full Spectrum CBD also contains a ton of beneficial vitamins and minerals. You can find potassium, iron, phosphorus, and calcium in CBD oil, all of which serve an important purpose in the body. You can also get a healthy helping of vitamins E, A, and C along with B vitamins like niacin, thiamine, and riboflavin.

How to get the most out of Full-Spectrum CBD and CBD Isolate

While CBD is readily available in both isolates and full-spectrum oils, you should also know how CBD works. CBD works best when it’s taken daily as a supplement. A lot of people believe that taking CBD is a good way to soothe acute anxiety, but the opposite is actually true. 

CBD works by helping the body to regulate itself. To see the best results with CBD, it needs to be taken daily. Whether you take full-spectrum or CBD isolate is up to you, but consider using it every day like a vitamin or other supplement to experience the nourishing, whole-body effects. 



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