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How are isolate and full spectrum CBD different?

Hailey Patterson
September 30, 2019

What's the difference between CBD isolate and full spectrum CBD?

How are isolate and full spectrum CBD different? 1

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Even though CBD is the wellness product on everyone's lips, a lot of folks still aren’t sure exactly what CBD oil is, or of the differences between the different kinds. But how can you choose the right product for you, your body and your lifestyle without having all of the facts? Well, you can’t. And that’s why we’re here to help.

One of the most important things that you need to know about CBD oil is that there are different kinds, and the kind your product contains will have a big impact on how it works for you.

At B+F we really believe in the responsibility of brands to educate their customers and provide all of the info needed, so that you have the best experience possible. So, let’s cut the BS and give you the facts about the different kinds of CBD oil, and which is right for you.

The different kinds of CBD oil

There are 3 kinds of CBD - full spectrum, broad spectrum and isolate. Sounds compliated, right? But it’s actually very simple.

Full spectrum CBD is an oil that hasn’t undergone much distillation. All of the other cannabinoids (including THC), terpenes, vitamins, minerals and other compounds have been left in the oil.

CBD isolate contains only cannabidiol. Everything else has been distilled out of the oil so that it’s in its most pure form.

Broad spectrum CBD lies somewhere in the middle. The distillation process is a little more rigorous than in full spectrum oils, but not quite as rigorous as with isolates.

CBD isolate 101

CBD isolates are usually sold at 98% to 99% purity, making them the purest form of CBD possible. It’s easy to think that this makes them the safest and most effective kinds of CBD oil on the market, but that’s not strictly true.

Scientists have discovered that CBD is actually at its most effective when used alongside the other substances found in the plant, so purity might not always be the best choice if effectiveness is what you’re looking for. There also isn’t any evidence to show that isolates are any safer than other CBD oils, despite popular opinion.

CBD isolates are super versatile, so you’ll find them used in a lot of different kinds of products. Some of the most common isolate-based products on the market are:

  • Oil tinctures
  • Vape e-liquids
  • Tablets and capsules
  • Edibles
  • Topical lotions

If purity is what you’re after, then check out our CBD isolate products. B+F customers have a wide range to choose from, all of which are vegan, cruelty free and ethically sourced. Hello peace of mind!

Birch + Fog Daytime – Premium Isolate CBD Tincture

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What is full spectrum CBD?

Full spectrum CBD oils are the most nutritionally rich and include CBD itself in addition to a long list of substances from cannabis and hemp plants, such as:

  • Other cannabinoids (THC, CBG, CBN, etc)
  • Terpenes
  • Flavonoids
  • Omegas and other fatty acids
  • Vitamins such as A, E, D, C, and B complex
  • Minerals such as Calcium, Potassium, Manganese, and Zinc

Don’t panic though. Just because these oils contain THC doesn’t mean that they’re going to make you high. By Canadian law, full spectrum CBD can only contain less than 0.3% THC. This amount is so tiny that it’s not going to give you the giggles or the munchies.

What it can do is show up on a THC drug test. This means that if you’re subject to drug tests at work, you should probably consider taking a CBD isolate product instead.

The biggest advantage of using a full spectrum product is something that scientists call “the entourage effect”. This effect is when the different compounds in the oil, such as THC and CBD, support each other to become stronger and more effective. So, if you’re looking for a CBD oil to tackle pain, for example, a full spectrum oil is more likely to bring you relief.

(PS: Check out our range of skin care products that can do just that!)

Birch + Fog Daytime – Premium Full Spectrum CBD Tincture

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Extraction methods: Isolates vs full spectrum

There are a number of different methods for CBD extraction, but the most common is the “supercritical extraction” method. This method is used for both CBD isolate and full spectrum.

The oils are put through a number of different distillation processes, which can involve solvents, in order to purify the compounds. This is where isolate CBD and full spectrum CBD are different.

CBD isolates are put through a much more rigorous distillation and isolation process, since the final product has to be as pure as possible. But full spectrum CBD is only put through a fraction of that distillation in order to keep all the nutrients and trace amounts of THC contained in the finished product.

What about dosage?

Dosage for isolate or full spectrum products is pretty much the same. If you’re taking medication then you should talk to your doctor before embarking on a CBD journey though, because scientists aren’t really sure whether CBD can affect pharmaceutical ingredients or not. And when it comes to your health, it’s definitely better to be safe than sorry.

It’s also important to think about what you’re trying to accomplish with your oil, and how the right dosage could help you reach your goal.

For example, if you are dealing with a chronic pain condition and you want to ditch the addictive pain meds for a plant-based alternative, then your dosage needs to be substantial enough to reduce your pain. On the other hand, if you want to use the skin-healing properties of CBD to banish acne, or soften fine lines and wrinkles, then you don’t need to be taking a very high dosage at all.

There is some disagreement in the scientific community regarding what the right dosage for the average person should be. However what is agreed upon across the board is the fact that remaining inside of your dosage is crucial to avoiding long term side effects. No long term side effects of CBD have been conclusively proven as of yet, but there is much more research to be done before we can rule them out.

For now, sticking to your dosage no matter what kind of CBD you’re using is essential to your health and wellness.

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