There are three main forms of CBD products on the market: full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, and CBD isolates. All are derived from the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa, and all three offer significant health benefits. 

In this article, we’ll examine the pros and cons of each, so you can make a well-informed decision about which type to use for your personal health goals. 

What are the 3 different types of CBD?

Choosing a CBD supplement can be a bit bewildering and it’s wise to know the differences before you buy. Here are the three main types:

  • Full-spectrum CBD — A full-spectrum supplement contains the full range of cannabinoids and terpenes found in the cannabis plant, in some cases including up to 0.3% of the psychoactive compound, THC
  • Broad-spectrum CBD — A good broad-spectrum supplement also contains a full range of cannabinoids and terpenes but contains no measurable quantities of THC
  • CBD Isolate — An isolate contains only pure CBD and no other compounds

It’s worth noting that all three forms of CBD are often described as “pure CBD” for the purposes of highlighting the quality of the cannabidiol they contain.

What are the differences between full-spectrum CBD vs CBD isolate?

There are important differences between full-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate. Yes, they both contain CBD, but the presence of all the other cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes in a full-spectrum supplement means that it has the potential to deliver a more potent effect.

Difference #1: The potency and impact

Full-spectrum CBD contains the full cornucopia of beneficial compounds found in the hemp plant. Interestingly, preliminary research suggests that CBD consumed with other cannabinoids offers greater overall health benefits than pure cannabidiol alone.

This ability to work in concert with other cannabinoids is called the entourage effect; a synergistic relationship acting between the full range of compounds in the hemp plant that amplifies and enhances the effect of CBD on the body and mind.

CBD’s beneficial effect on a wide range of ailments, such as pain, stress, and inflammation is well known and using a full-spectrum supplement might give you the edge over your health condition as it offers greater potency than an isolate.

Although CBD isolates work for many people, they simply don’t deliver the same range of benefits as full-spectrum products, so a broad or full-spectrum supplement is often a better solution for stubborn health issues or for people who want the full range of CBD’s effects.

Difference #2: The levels of THC

In order to deliver the best possible effect, full-spectrum supplements receive minimal processing and therefore, can contain up to 0.3% THC. This shouldn’t give you a “high” but there’s a chance THC might show up on a drug test, so it’s something to be aware of.

In Britain, THC is permitted up to a maximum of 1mg total weight in any given product, so make sure the supplement you use falls within this legal limit. Isolates guarantee a complete absence of THC, so are a better choice for athletes and others who have to pass drug tests.

Difference #3: The taste and smell

Many don’t tolerate the taste and smell of CBD, so for those people, an isolate might be better, as CBD isolate doesn’t contain the terpenes that give full-spectrum CBD its characteristic flavor. This also makes isolates a better choice for adding to food or drink.

Difference #4: How you take it

There are lots of ways to take full-spectrum CBD including oils, capsules, gummies, patches, and creams

CBD isolate, on the other hand, is available in pure crystal form, which is perfect for sublingual use, vaping and “dabbing”, topical use, and making your own capsules.

In fact, bulk-buying CBD powder to make capsules is possibly the most cost-effective way to take CBD. Just remember to keep your capsules cool and in a sealed container. Lastly, isolate can also be added to food and drink, as its mild hemp-like flavor is barely noticeable.

What are the similarities between full-spectrum CBD vs CBD isolate?

  • CBD isolate and full-spectrum CBD are both natural products derived from the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa
  • Both supplements are manufactured in a similar way — by using steam, gas, lipid, solvent, and chromatographic extraction methods
  • They both contain the main health-giving component of the hemp plant: cannabidiol
  • Being so rich in pure, natural cannabidiol, both types of CBD offer a wide range of health benefits and bring enhanced physical and mental well-being. Which type to choose is therefore very much a personal preference

What about broad-spectrum CBD?

You may well be thinking that you like the sound of a completely THC-free supplement but also want to experience the entourage effect offered by full-spectrum CBD. If that’s the case, then a broad-spectrum CBD supplement is a great compromise.

Broad-spectrum supplements offer the best of both worlds because they contain no THC but retain many of the other beneficial terpenes and cannabinoids found in the hemp plant and can therefore deliver some of the entourage effect.

This enhances your chances of experiencing the full range of benefits CBD has to offer but rules out any chance that you’ll test positive for THC. Just be aware that some supplements only contain two or three cannabinoids, so can’t offer the entire entourage effect.

So which is better: CBD isolate or full-spectrum CBD?

People often ask which type of CBD is better: isolate or full-spectrum? The answer really comes down to what works best for the individual and the effects they require.

If you want many of the overall health benefits that CBD has to offer, without any of the more potent effects full-spectrum CBD has on the mind, then CBD isolate is the way to go.

However, if you’ve done your research and want the full CBD “experience”, then a full-spectrum supplement may be the best choice for you. As ever, trial and error with different products and doses is recommended. 

Dutch Natural Healing recommends

Here are our top recommendations from our extensive range of CBD products:

  • CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD you can buy and offers all the health-giving benefits of CBD in a mild, easy-to-take form, so it’s great for beginners
  • DNH’s CBD oils offer a range of potent, full and broad-spectrum CBD oils in a variety of formulations, so we have an oil for everyone
  • Our range of premium water-soluble nano CBD products delivers the ultimate in innovation, bioavailability, and efficacy. Trying is believing...
  • Lastly, our CBD patches are a discrete, no-fuss, long-lasting way to deliver your daily CBD dose. Just apply and forget!

FAQs

Is CBD isolate THC-free?

CBD isolate is entirely THC-free. This makes it the go-to choice for people who regularly need to pass drug tests, such as government employees, pilots, athletes, police officers, and teachers. 

Is CBD isolate stronger than full spectrum?

There are a lot of differing opinions as to whether full-spectrum CBD is stronger than isolate. Again, it all comes down to personal experience. Everyone is different and experiences CBD in different ways, so it pays to experiment.

Is CBD isolate or full spectrum better for anxiety?

There’s no right or wrong answer as to whether isolate or full-spectrum CBD is better for managing anxiety. We all react differently to the effects of CBD and what works for one person, may not work for another. Trial and error is the key.

What is the most effective CBD method?

With such a wide range of products available, there’s no definitive answer as to which is the best way to take CBD, so consider your needs carefully.

For example, if you don’t mind an oral dose, then taking full-spectrum CBD oil or isolate sublingually offers a fast and easy way to get CBD into your system.

Or, if you’re looking for the fastest possible effect, then vaping or dabbing might be better for you. (Just be aware that vaping is not entirely risk-free.) 

And, for the greatest possible convenience, capsules, nasal sprays, or patches might be a better choice for you. The possibilities are endless, as are the potential health benefits CBD has to offer, so we wish you a happy CBD journey!