Isolate vs. Full-Spectrum

Isolate vs. Full-Spectrum

One thing to consider when purchasing products is the type of CBD used, since the ultimate effect may have much to do with the type of CBD used and whether it is isolate or full-spectrum.


Full-spectrum CBD has its advantages, one being that it contains all of the hemp plant’s cannabinoids, including THC. CBD produced with hemp grown in the US can never have more than 0.3 percent THC, however, since hemp grown in the US is subject to regulation that states that it cannot exceed that amount.

Full-spectrum products arguably provide the best therapeutic benefit due to the “entourage” effect. This is because cannabinoids have been shown to have better therapeutic outcomes when combined with the other compounds of the hemp plant.

It is the “entourage effect” that makes a 25 mg full-spectrum CBD softgel, perhaps counter-intuitively, potentially feel more potent than a 25 mg CBD softgel made with isolate.


CBD isolate is the general term for CBD that has been “isolated” from its co-occurring, organic ingredients—this is the difference between full-spectrum and isolate. CBD isolate is pure CBD with no other cannabinoids present, including THC. This is usually why manufacturers choose to use isolate—to eliminate all traces of THC.

While isolates are ideal for consumers who want to avoid THC, this extraction method can also remove other organic compounds and terpenes. This removes THC, but also its co-compounds and the benefits they provide.

CBD isolate has its own advantages, however. Separating CBD from the other compounds of the hemp plant ensures that there is zero THC and allows the product to remain free of the taste of the hemp plant. Companies that focus on the flavor of their products often achieve this by using isolate.

For others, the assurance of zero THC is the deciding factor in choosing to use isolate in their products (and consumers in buying it—especially those who undergo drug testing and therefore need to avoid THC entirely).

CO2 Extraction: Best of Both Worlds?

The CO2 method of CBD extraction, as opposed to the use of chemical solvents, may offer the best of both worlds, since it allows many of the beneficial compounds of the hemp plant, such as its phytocannabinoidsterpenesflavonoids, to remain, while eliminating THC. Joy Organics, for example, uses only CO2 extraction to achieve 0% THC content within their products.