How is CBD isolate different to Full Spectrum and Broad Spectrum?


A lot of people use CBD products for a variety of reasons these days. It’s now uncommon to come across a product which has been categorically labelled with either "CBD isolate", "Full Spectrum" or "Broad Spectrum". They may sound like they’re practically the same thing, but as with anything involving CBD and the plant its derived from, they are vastly different from one another.

In essence, they represent different types of CBD-related products. Seeing as they’re different and end up creating three separate products, understanding the differences between each of them are pivotal for anyone who purchases CBD products.

To begin to get a firm understanding of what defines each of these types of CBD’s, you need to have some knowledge on a something within your body called the Endocannabinoid system, as well as the cells that it consists of: cannabinoids.

Before proceeding with this article, click here to be forwarded to a link on what the Endocannabinoid system is and why it’s so crucial to the contemporary life of humans. If you already know all about it, read on!

What is CBD isolate?

Scientifically speaking, the term "isolate" refers to the purest form of a compound. Isolates are usually produced by singularly removing a said compound from its environment (in this case, the plant), and thereafter segregating it from all other compounds. Meaning it will be completely isolated from everything else, hence, the term "isolates".

Thus, a CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD – because it is created by extracting it from the plant, meaning it has been pulled away from all of the other compounds existent in the plant. Those include flavonoids, terpenes, other cannabinoids and unused parts of the hemp plant. It’s extracted from this plant because it has a naturally low volume of THC – rendering it safe to use.

What is Full Spectrum CBD?

Whereas CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD, which has that compound and only that compound existent, Full Spectrum CBD is the result of a natural extraction of all the compounds found in the plant – including oils and terpenes, as well as other cannabinoids.

The Full Spectrum, including all the above said compounds, are extracted and then cured, which essentially means they begin to work together to amplify the medicinal benefits of every single one of the cannabinoid’s that have been extracted from the plant. This outcome is also known as the "entourage effect".

In past years, scientists believed that the isolated form of CBD was much more useful, and valuable, than the Full Spectrum CBD. However, this theory was put to bed after a study was conducted by the Lautenberg Centre for General Tumour Immunology, in Jerusalem.

The study concluded that test subjects that had been presented with Full Spectrum CBD had shown a heightened level of relief and serenity, as opposed to test subjects that had been registered with the CBD isolate. The second valuable taking from the study was that the higher the dosage of Full Spectrum CBD the subjects were administered with, the further augmented the effects were. With the CBD isolate, however, the results continued to stay stagnant, regardless of dosage levels – proving the superiority of the Full Spectrum CBD.

What is Broad Spectrum CBD?

Broad Spectrum CBD is the result of a slight mix between both the CBD isolate and the Full Spectrum CBD. Much like the Full Spectrum CBD, all the natural components found in the plant are unspoiled as they were found; though, like the CBD isolate, the THC is completely or significantly removed.

The Broad Spectrum CBD was created in a bid to draw the benefits of both the other types of CBD, whilst suppressing the negative attributes of both – and it worked. Broad Spectrum CBD contains the multiple cannabinoids found in the Full Spectrum, which means you’re granted the entourage effect, but you don’t run the psychoactive risks that come with THC, thanks to it’s CBD isolate components.

So, what type of CBD should you be using?

With the information presented up until now, your general understanding of the types of CBD should be able up to scratch.

It’s worth noting that there is no such thing as ‘’this type is better than that type’’, despite what some people may say. This is because each type of CBD presents its own unique set of attributes. Below, I’ve created a small pro’s/con’s table for each type of CBD, to help you determine which type you should be using depending on your individual needs.

CBD isolate:



It does not contain any substantial amount of THC

It’s limited in what it offers, seeing as it does not have the full effects and substances contained within the entire plant

No need to worry about Psychoactive effects

Unlike general CBD products, it is completely tasteless and odourless

Considered to be extremely safe to use

The purest form of CBD – no risk of any additives

Who should use it?

  • People who are new to using external cannabinoids or CBD related products.
  • People who live in parts of the world that have a strict law against THC, as we do here in the UK.
  • People who don’t really like strong tasting/smelling substances.
  • People who are in a profession where they regularly need to take drug tests.
  • People who’ve been medically advised to consume high doses of pure CBD.

Full Spectrum CBD:



Involves fewer procedures

Could result in unwanted side-effects of THC, such as psychoactive or issues relating to sedation

Experience the entourage effect as a result of consuming multiple substances within the plant

Most likely to give off a strong smell and taste

Most likely to show up on drug tests, which is a particular issue if your profession requires you to take them

THC is illegal in a lot of places around the globe, so being found with it could lead to prosecution.

Who should use it?

  • People who live in an area where THC is legal to consume.
  • People who are medically advised to use a certain THC to CBD proportion.
  • People who suffer from a severe condition that could not be alleviated as a result of using the CBD isolate or the Broad Spectrum.

Broad Spectrum CBD:



Offers the best of both CBD types – entourage effect along with no risk of psychoactive side-effects.

Not as readily available as both of the other two CBDs.

Could have strong taste and odour – still not entirely when it will and won’t due to a lack of research and findings.

Who should use it?

  • People who are cautious about using THC but want to trial some of the potential effects it could provide.
  • People who live in an area of the world that are strict with their THC laws.
  • People who could be highly receptive to strands of THC – causing them to suffer psychological side-effects.
  • People who’ve been medically advised to use it, because the CBD isolate alone would not alleviate their state of health.

To summarise:

There are a range of elements that establish how a cannabinoid will have an effect on somebody’s body, because it depends entirely on their biological make-up. Such factors could include the height and weight of the person, as well as their medical history and previous experience with the plant.

For many people, using the Broad Spectrum CBD may be the best possible choice, seeing as it provides all the benefits of the plant, with none of the negative psychological side-effects of the THC substance. For others, a large amount of isolate CBD can help them with their medical concerns, whilst others may only be suitable for the full on effect provided by THC.

Yes, science has come on leaps and bounds over the last few decades, but even still we do not have the resources and technology currently to be able to wholly decipher the full capacity of the compound. One thing is certain, however: the plant provides a plethora of health benefits and cannabinoids like CBD have a huge potential to impact (and save) an immeasurable amount of lives.

In the future, as we advance as a species and our technology does allow us to fully examine the plant and dissect it in such a way we can see all of the potential health benefits and side effects it can provide, we may find that it’s a vital part of contemporary human life. Who knows, maybe the future of medicine and more so, humankind, rests on the laurels of the cannabis plant – and all its derivatives.


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